Defendant Maintains Mon-Tues Ratings Lead as Newcomer Rebel Beats Out Hwarang in the Sageuk Genre

It’s tempered good news for MBC as the network debuted a new Mon-Tues drama, taking over for the very lowly rated Night Light on the third day of the Lunar New Year. Rebel: The Thief Who Stole the People managed to double Night Light’s average ratings but that’s not saying much since Night Light averaged around 3-4%. Rebel got 8.3% TNmS but the time slot leader remains SBS drama Defendant which brought in 12.8% for episode 3. Sadly Hwarang remains unable to gain any traction as it now falls to third place with newcomer Rebel taking the more standard sageuk route, all Hwarang got was 6.9%. Cable network tvN elected not to air a new episode of its faltering drama Introverted Boss, which makes sense since it was still filming episode 5 that was supposed to air this Monday after hasty script retooling.

Those watching Hwarang, can you share some thoughts on why the drama isn’t hooking viewers, aside from the terrible hairstyles on all the male leads. I was really turned off by the previews but figured if it got good reviews or high ratings then I would give it a shot but now I’ve kinda written it off.

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Defendant Maintains Mon-Tues Ratings Lead as Newcomer Rebel Beats Out Hwarang in the Sageuk Genre — 36 Comments

  1. In Hwarang, I feel like the 2nd lead (played by Park Hyunsik) has a more interesting story,and we see him develop more as a character.

    Lots of people find Go Ara’s character annoying coz she’s just whining a lot reacting to the boys’ storylines now. I also wish she had more to do than worry about the boys all the time. Sigh. She was so much more interesting at the beginning of the show.

    Many people also say that they care more for the supporting characters’ stories than the lead characters’.

    And they keep changing Park Seojun’s wig! I face palmed each time he had a new hairstyle. Also, in the scenes where the boys are in “fighting attire”, all the boys had a headband thing except for Park Seojun. Why?!? Out of all the hairstyles he’s had in the show, he looked best with his hair up and with the headband. Were they trying to distinguish him from the rest of the boys? Instead of a headband he had a flop of tail on his forehead. Facepalm again. The hairstyle he had in the very first promo photos were so so good (the one with the purplish background). I wish they could have used that hairstyle for the show.

    I’m still watching it though coz the bromance between the rest of the boys is awesome and I really want to know Park Seojun’s character’s real identity. But I wouldn’t recommend the show to anyone unless they are fans of the actors.

    Will you be watching Hong Gil Dong, Koala? I can’t wait to watch it because i still have MooHyul feels.:D

    • I’m following the drama (have watched a few of the episodes).. I feel the secondary characters have more interesting stories to tell compared to the revenge plot and the main love line is kind of weak.

      • I tried a few eps and the secondary love line between the handsome guy and one of the Hwarang’s sisters is much cuter and more watchable than the OTP.

    • You hit the nail on the head. I started watching and then stopped, without realizing. There just wasn’t a connection, and I can’t stand Go Ara’s character, or acting, I am just not a fan of grown women making silly faces, I guess.

  2. If you’ve turn off by the hairstyle especially main lead, don’t worry as Hwarang is a special case where first early promotion, official poster, and actual drama has different hairstyle.

      • @SuzyPretty, the question is more appropriately put to you.

        Yoon Kyun-sang only appeared in the rushes at the start of the episode, nice to see you can make calls on his acting when he hasn’t even had a scene yet.

  3. I adore Go Ara in Reply 94 but now o think her goof acting was only because of the skilled PD.
    She is really terrible here in Hwarang and never once i ever thought that i will say this “Go Ara looks really bad in this drama”

  4. I had high hopes for Hwarang, but the plot moves so slow. Also, the main characters don’t seem to develop much in the story. For example, I would have liked to see the King (2nd male lead) Be more strategic in taking the throne back – perhaps befriending more Hwarang members and getting them to help him form a plan to regain the throne. So, I was disappointed when some of the earlier episodes focused on him just chasing GA character. Why does there always has to be a love triangle? Also, GA and PSJs characters seem to have fizzled out… They were so spunky in the first episode. All three main leads have acting talent but it seems the characters they have to work with are so underdeveloped.

  5. Rebel looks promising, I liked the portion with Kim Sang Joong as the dad but I hope they move to showing YKS and the rest of the adult cast soon because the rushes at the start of the episode look really interesting and so did that scene with Kim Ji Suk and Honey Lee.

  6. I really love Hwarang. I like the feel of the drama which does not seem to be taking itself too seriously. The main character PSJ and main OTP is admittedly underwhelming and tbh, no one actually cared for. But Park Hyung Sik is gold in here. He is so amazing and to me that watching Hwarang feels more like watching his journey to take on his rightful place as the king. Supporting characters, the bromance and comedy also very nicely done.
    Regarding the hair, you will have nothing much to worry cause the boys do look good except PSJ with his constant change of hairstyle and length. Acting wise, plot wise, production wise…this drama is so much better than the hot mess that is Moon Lovers which you somehow managed to endure for 10 weeks. I guess the light fusion with mix-match of modern contemporary element in a sageuk is part of the reasons why it is not selling in Korea.

    • @Del weirdly I felt the opposite – Moon Lovers was bad but it was never boring, while Hwarang’s main otp/main lead guy’s storyline just bores me to death.

      And Go Ara’s acting is no better than IU’s.

      • I was addicted to Moon Lovers too. I agree that despite the hot mess that it was, the drama has the crack factor. I also agree that the main OTP/lead (PSJ) are boring. What I meant is Hwarang is better in term of production (no glaring editing flaws, incoherent pacing and so on) and it knows the story it wanted to tell. Maybe I have a soft spot for Go Ara, so I feel her acting is bearable. But the rest of Hwarang boys definitely out-acted Moon Lovers’ boys except LJK and KHN. I somewhat never feel bored and I find the show very enganging since I cared so much for all the characters. Ofc, this is based on one’s preference 😊

      • I think moon lovers just so bad that people want to defend them so they tuned it each episode, especially the core story give so much to desired, they just never delivered,
        hwarang is a simple drama and easy to understand without much fan support so it become flat in the buzz,
        if Moon lovers didn’t riding BBJX internet fame, Iu’s abd acting, LJK fans and all other actor fans, it will never becomes headline,
        the crack factor in ML is not because of the story rather the fans flocking

      • I think moon lovers just so bad that people want to defend them so they tuned it each episode, especially the core story give so much to desired, they just never delivered,
        hwarang is a simple drama and easy to understand without much fan support so it become flat in the buzz,
        if Moon lovers didn’t riding BBJX internet fame, Iu’s bad acting, LJK fans and all other actor fans, it will never becomes headline,
        the crack factor in ML is not because of the story rather the fans flocking

      • I agree… Despite its flaws, Moon Lovers storyline seemed to be more eventful in each episode. However, Hwarang takes so much time to build up to just one event. There are a lot of fillers scenes that I tend to skip over.

  7. I am still watching Hwarang because I want to find out the true identity of PSJ and the fate of King PHS. I usually fast forward the one hour episode into 15 minutes & can still get the storyline well. Interesting enough, no one here has commented on Go Ara’s horrible thick eyebrows… Her acting is a turnoff. I wish there is more screentime on her friend (Minho’s sister) & her very good looking boyfriend. This drama is a very light watch which won’t take much time, won’t be too disappointing as ML, & certainly nothing worth recommending…

    • @candycane seriously all I can see in Go Ara’s face is her eyebrows.

      She’s not a good actress but at least she was known for her pretty looks, but her styling here even ruins that.

  8. For Hwarang, the leads are useless. The main character doesn’t think, just act and know nothing… worst than Jon Snow :p And he just keeps his feeling for him and leaves, so it’s little bit boring. For the second lead, I think a little more interesting, he said what he wants and acts but for a futur king he could do better. We don’t really see what Hwarang are important except for dancing… Even if Moonlight Drawn By Clouds was playful at first, the story became a little bit darker and had great emotional scene. In Hwarang, there isn’t emotion… just humour.

  9. I’m staying tuned to this drama only because bromance that’s happening in it. I think it’d be fine if there were no romance involved at all (this is a first for me). This drama is more about guys trying to work/fight together while they have their own problems to deal with. Total eye candy if I should say so myself. The long hair was really awkward at first, but now I’m use to it. I’m just glad no one is wearing eyeliner. To me, Park Hyung Sik and Do Ji Han are totally stealing the spotlight. Perhaps it’s due to their given roles, I don’t know, they just outshine the rest. There’s no real action yet, but all that bromance is worth watching for me.

  10. A “flower-boy” drama that flops (“Hwarang”), always makes me happy. Maybe, they’ll give up producing such dramas in the future.

    • Wow. That is so mean of you to say that. I don’t understand what’s your problem with the extreme prettiness. Hwarang just so happened to not be many cup of tea but the pretty flower boys theme is definitely relevant. Sigh. Some people are just so mean-spirited. It’s best to not say anything rather than saying something mean and kill the joy of others who appreciate it.

    • Giving up making eye candy dramas will make me sad! 😭 The problem of Hwarang is with the weak storyline, not the pretty faces

  11. Hwarang started off pretty interested but it has been dull af since the hwarangs entered hwarang house. There were a couple eps. that were a complete snooze-fest and so, so SO ANNOYING (when the female lead was crying so much, ya’ll know what I’m talking about, those who watch it lol). They started under utilizing PSJ (for reasons unknown since he is the main lead) and 2nd lead made A LOT of headway with his story. At this point, it is just easier to connect with 2nd male lead because we have so much of his backstory and know almost nothing about PSJ’s. Basically, any of the hwarang’s backstory is more interesting than PSJ’s because we atleast know SOMETHING about them. All we know about PSJ is that there’s some kind of birth secret but that can only carry the interest so far, the director needs to start dropping us some more bones, PLEASE.

    Because of this, it’s pretty understandable why ppl have 2nd lead syndrome. I don’t personally (I’m PSJ trash) but I can see why ppl are liking the 2nd lead more because the director is making it much more easy to connect with him. Hell, even I’m liking PHS and he has never made much of an impression on me before. Tbh, I think this should’ve just been a 16-ep drama. There are SO many unnecessary scenes that just makes me scratch my head like, WHYYY?? Like someone else said above, I would only reccommend this drama for fans of the cast. I’m basically still watching for PSJ and Go ara because they are both so damn pretty. I’m so shallow, I know lol.

    PS. Go ara is damn pretty but her acting here leaves so much to be desired. She has a big fat ZERO chemistry with either leads. It just pains me to see them oozing and throwing chemistry at her and she’s just like O.O like girl what? WAKE UP. DO SOMETHING! They are acting circles around her and girl can’t keep up to save her life. This is more so for PHS than PSJ just cuz PHS’s character is much more aggressive with his affections, lol. But damn girl, that king bracelet has more chemistry with either guys than you ever did. Hell, PSJ had better chemistry with your brother (kwangsoo) and PHS with his bodyguard/bff. SHAME.

    • Kayla now that you mentioned it, PSJ did have more moving scenes with Kwangsoo (that dying scene!) and PHS with his bodyguard. Ahahaha..cant believe how bland Go Ara is with two hot guys making gooey eyes at her. She is so killing the romance lines here but I am still sticking with it to see what happens to the King and also the warrior princess! Her scenes with the Baekje prince is smoking..something sorely missing from Go Ara’s performance…is she older than the two male leads I wonder?

  12. None of my recent comments was posted successfully. So I may doing a test here you just dropping onew short comment. The only thing worth watching in Hwarang is the king played by Park Hyung Sik. LOL. The rest of storyline is pretty boring including OTP. PHD stole the thunder from the male lead PSJ.

    • I agree. Park Hyung Sik totally stole the thunder from Park Seo Joon. A lot reasoned out that because he was given a more interesting character which I partially agree. But I have to say his performance totally is outstanding like he is cut out for sageuk. Comes episode 14, the writer went hell bent butchering his character. Poor Hyung Sik.

  13. It’s shocking how boring Hwarang is. It’s not all bad, but they spend too little time on the good parts (all the secondary characters, and the secondary romance between Suho’s sister and Ban Ryu) and too much time on the useless heroine and draggy OTP. No one cares about those, no wonder the ratings are dropping to 6 percent!

  14. This 6.9% is TNMS but still I doubt AGB Nielsen will look much different, especially seeing that Rebel started off so strong. And to think Hwarang even got double digit ratings last week. I agree with others, the problem is that the story got more boring in recent episodes.

    • So it got 9.7% on AGB Nielsen and Rebel got less than 9.3% because it’s not on the top 20. Wonder if there will be any major shake up today.

      • Tuesday Nielsen nationwide ratings:

        Hwarang ep 14 – 9.1 (8.8 in Seoul, peak 10.1)
        Rebel ep 2 – 10.0 (10.2 in Seoul, peak 12.1)
        Defendant ep 4 – 18.7 (20.8 in Seoul, peak 22.1)

        Defendant still wins by a big margin but Rebel has potential, I think.

  15. dear miss koalas. I’ve watched Hwarang since the beginning and yes Park Seo Jun and Hyunsik really delivers the performance so well and so does the other character.
    the female character (Go A Ra’s) is a meh but I blame it on the writing.
    It’s a bit boring nowadays now all I care aabout was the bromance and the romance of side character storyline

  16. Like I agree with the other commentators here, the story of the 2nd lead is much more interesting than the 1st lead, and the female lead is basically being dragged into everything, so every time she’s in trouble, the Hwarangs have to sacrifice their duty to save her or drop everything to make sure she’s ok. Plus, It’s already episode 14 and there’s not much movement in the plot line, so I think people are getting a bit frustrated (myself included) that they either need to pick up the pace or try to wrap/solve something or viewers are going to leave and check out other dramas. I’m going to stick around to watch it some more hoping that there’s going to be more in the storyline but not sure if that is going to happen soon..

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