The thing about The Tale of Nokdu is that it’s not reinventing the kdrama wheel, but it does put a fresh spin on now-hoary fusion sageuk tropes. It’s also really good at making its characters feel like people and not just trope placeholders – whether that’s Nokdu and Dong-joo, or supporting characters like the Queen.

Also, execution is everything. This is supposed to be a romance, and they cast leads who could actually pull off the more charged moments of Nokdu and Dong-joo’s relationship (that scene where he reveals himself to her at the end of episode 3? Is positively electric.)

Anyway I close out with a pic of Nokdu being cute on the swing: