The MBC special sageuk Goddess of Fire is ending next week. I can hardly believe it, having genuinely experienced a drama that has managed to suck from beginning to end that I bitterly stuck with. There is nothing that can happen next week to redeem this steaming pile of dung, even a group orgy will only leave me wondering how the heck anyone in that cast still musters up enough energy much less the passion. With an unexpected one week off due to Moon Geun Young‘s eye injury (which really is adding insult to injury), that means the follow up sageuk Empress Ki will now premiere on October 28th and hopefully that one extra week helped this massive production get some more footage in the can. It’s never too early to accumulate finished product, right? So speaketh someone with a type-A personality who did homework the day it was given rather than the day before it was due. The teaser trailer for Empress Ki aired this week after GoF and the network also released the first official stills for the three leads Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, and Ji Chang Wook. Currently Ha Ji Won and Ji Chang Wook are in Hendian, China filming the Yuan dynasty scenes for this drama, which will likely be shown towards the middle-to-end of the drama airing.
The origin story shows how the future Empress Ki grew up with the future King Chunghye of Goryeo and together they met the exiled Yuan prince played by Ji Chang Wook who will become the future Yuan Emperor Huizong. So far I’ve seen nothing that I love, and throw in being burned three times in a row with MBC sageuks starting from Horse Doctor to Gu Family Book and now GoF, my instinct for self-preservation tells me to avoid this one like the plague unless and until I hear its decent. The best Empress Ki can aspire to is the Queen Seondeok playbook – zero historical accuracy, lots of juicy makjang political intrigue and hubba-hubba romance. While QSD looked pretty, I’m pretty appalled at how terrible Empress Ki looks off the bat – Empress Ki was of noble Goryeo birth and Ha Ji Won looks like some bandit lady (still sexy as all), Joo Jin Mo looks old and tired, and Ji Chang Wook is cross-eyed and hunched over in some of his stills. I love how MBC thinks giving him a tiny little braid somehow will allude to the Yuan dynasty braid hairdo which is the look an entire male population of a race sported. What gives? Empress Ki claims to be a fusion sageuk but right now it’s bordering on fantasy sageuk, which is also fine as long as viewers don’t expect to learn any Yuan-Goryeo history from this. I think production values-wise this one will be pretty to look at and script shouldn’t be that bad coming from the team who did Giant and History of the Salaryman. Once again part of me LOLs at the far-out attire, which is like dressing Shakespearean-era Englishman in Roman togas and claiming its okay because this is a fusion take on Renaissance English. Whatever floats MBC’s boat.
First trailer for Empress Ki: