When watching a drama live, and keeping an eye on the proceedings ahead of time, it’s impossible not to form an opinion each step of the way. The initial casting creates either an optimism or pessimism depending on the cast, the first stills and teasers give a glimpse of the quality and mood, and the first episode can either be a deal killer or a cautiously promising start. Opinions can change at each stage of the process and I’ve come to enjoy the piece meal experience. Sword and Flower (The Blade and Petal) is one of those K-dramas that has steadily gotten my excitement level up and done so in a very measured way. The cast consisting of Uhm Tae Woong, Kim Ok Bin, Kim Young Chul, and Choi Min Soo are top-notch actors that hasn’t sucked in any type of role, though on occasion there has been some scenery chewing and some sleep walking when the project sucks. The other actors like Park Soo Jin, CN Blue‘s Lee Jung Shin, Ohn Joo Wan, and Lee Min Ho are all serviceable or at least can’t possibly have an important enough character to tank this drama with main four all wielding such mighty fire power in acting ability. What has been the biggest and best surprise was how beautiful this drama looks. I love the styling of all the characters, vivid and powerful and wearing frocks and hairstyles that complement and accentuate rather than obscure and uglify. I have yet to see Kim Ok Bin look this jawdropping level of stunning in any drama, and Uhm Tae Woong makes my knees weak with his scruffy warrior look. Kim Young Chul is kingly and shrewd, but its Choi Min Soo that steals the promotional materials with his General Yeon Gae So Mun fairly leaping off the picture and about to stare you down before cutting you up. Shivers. I’m keeping my fingers-crossed that after the long trailer is released when the cast holds the press conference there will be enough to show us that this sageuk might be the real deal in excitement and intensity.