Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth - 20 episodes
This is a story about how the Hwarang was created in the ancient kingdom of Silla. They are the finest young men who came from elite families and who will support the King in the future. However, the king is hidden while the Queen consort rules. In the heart of the political struggles are Dog Bird, a half breed and a nameless King.
The Hwarangs are part of Korea's history and they are actually called Flowering Boys or Flowering Knight or Flower Youth. The rest of the story, are of course, are fictional. Modern Flower Boys in the roles of ancient Flowering Boys. Even though it's about flower boys and with a leading lady, it's not a reverse harem. It's a love triangle. But she (Ho Ro) was given the task of scouting for the boys and becoming the doctor in a place where women are not allowed. That might help in the reverse harem department, right? But it didn't stop there. It gets irritating where everything revolves around her. I mean she's supposed to be the heroine but it feels too forced and the spotlight rightfully belongs to the two main guys, Moo-Myung and Kim Ji-Dwi.
The first episodes are super fun. It also had a stylized modern feel on it like in their costumes, club scene, football game and sword/dance exhibition. Think A Knight's Tale movie or Reign TV series. I also love the catchy soundtrack. Some of the songs were sung by the cast. But it lost its charm when it started to get serious. The ending was predictable since it's a giveaway already. Not to mention I was watching this at the same time with Goblin which deserves its own discussion but not on this blog. It just paled in comparison. Okay, not fair to compare the two.
This is the first time again in ages where I get so giddy and first time to get so many palpitations from several boys. It's usually just 1-2 guys who will really catch your attention. But my main guy is the King. I want him with long hair. I've just added him third on my list of actors that I want to have long hair just like their characters. First is Orlando Bloom as Legolas and second is Yoo Ah In as Moon Jae Shin in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. I can't get over their long-maned roles and I can't bear to look at them with their real hairstyle. And my second favorite flower boy is Ban Ryu. I lived for his expression when Soo Yeon grabbed him. It was priceless! I didn't particularly crush on Dog Bird but the first time he kissed her was heart stopping. And special mention to the Queen's handsome commandant. I wished he has gotten a proper closure.
This is not the first time for some of the actors to appear in reverse harem-ish dramas. There's Go Ara from Repy 1994, Minho from To The Beautiful You and Jo Yun Woo from Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. To be honest, I didn't recognized Jo Yun Woo.
The strength of the drama is the cast ensemble. Well aside from the eye candies, they have great chemistry with the many different relationships shown. As sister-brother, half-brothers, friends, comrades, parent and son, bodyguard and King, teacher and student, King and country, so on and so forth. But it's too bad that the politics and drama failed to sustain the happy, playful beginning.
The main three actors also remind me of Ryuki, Shuurei and Seiren of Saunkoku Monogatari. Their personalities and even their looks/hairstyles/costumes are similar. Both the kings also hid their true identities.