Reimagining the birth of an ancient empire in tvN’s Asadal Chronicles
This teaser looks pretty epic, which scares the worrier in me, because the higher the expectations, the higher the potential fall. One of the year’s most anticipated shows, tvN’s Asadal Chronicles, has just released its first teaser and we get our first glimpse of the show’s impressive lineup, Song Joong-ki (Descended From the Sun), Jang Dong-gun (Suits), Kim Ji-won (Fight My Way), and Kim Ok-bin (Children of a Lesser God), in all their tribal glory.
The clip first shows Jang Dong-gun cutting an imposing, and evil-looking, figure, as Song Joong-ki asks offscreen where he can find him. His answer is Asadal, the legendary capital city of the ancient kingdom of Gojoseon, which is where I’m assuming Song Joong-ki is urgently headed, sporting some intense face paint. The captions on the teaser say, “If you survive, may you become a legend.” Offscreen, a man warns that no one should be trusted, especially given the existence of those who would “satisfy their greed by destroying others.”
We get some glimpses of some impressively epic scenes that look somewhat related to pagan rituals and a stone-constructed room filled with soldiers. These brief flashes, especially of the armored and be-feathered soldiers, look a little anachronistic, given that it reminds me more of ancient Greece and medieval Europe than prehistoric Korea, but we’ll roll with it. The clip ends with shots of our female leads, with Kim Ji-won similarly sporting some face paint and Kim Ok-bin looking quite regal, and then Jang Dong-gun and Song Joong-ki to round out the foursome.
So, as much as I’m eager to see how Asadal will fictionalize the founding of the Gojoseon empire, which is itself recorded in history as a mix of mythology and fact (?), I’m also generally worried whether the show can pull off the grand scale of the story without letting it implode into a mess of campy CGI and cringe-worthy portrayals of “primitive” Koreans. That’s probably the pessimist in me, but I’m holding out hope for the show because directing Asadal is PD Kim Won-seok, who has a very impressive list of credits for tvN, including My Ajusshi, Signal, and Misaeng. And equally impressive are the credits attributed to the writer duo, Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon, who also collaborated on Circle: Two Connected Worlds, Six Flying Dragons, and Tree With Deep Roots.
Asadal Chronicles is slated to premiere on tvN in June.
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