The arrival of Hwarang this Monday night heralds the end of the 2016 K-drama cycle as the last major drama to premiere this year. It straddled many of the popular thematic elements in 2016 dramas – pre-filmed, flower boy packed cast, and sageuk trend. Now it’s also following in the footsteps of many such dramas in landing with a thud – the first episode of Hwarang got just 6.9% AGB nationwide ratings, far below time slot leader Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim which came in at 22.6% which was actually a drop of 1.2%, though poor Night Light remains mired in the low single digits at 3.8%. The pre-filmed dramas of 2016 have all been ratings duds except for Descendants of the Sun but this trend may not end anytime soon since China’s broadcasting requirement will only grant approvals for finished dramas It’ll be interesting to see what trends rise to the forefront in 2017.
I haven’t watched Hwarang’s first episode yet but I would be happy to place Park Seo Joon under a hat for the remainder of the show so his amazing cheekbones peek out with the awful hair hidden.