Flower Boy Sageuk Hwarang Premieres to 6.9% Ratings as Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim Continues to Dominate Ratings

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.


Flower Boy Sageuk Hwarang Premieres to 6.9% Ratings as Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim Continues to Dominate Ratings — 44 Comments

  1. I don’t really care about other dramas in any stations except TVN. Though Romantic Doctor has high ratings, I don’t see many buzz around it. Romantic Doctor just like weekday dramas in KBS that get high ratings without many people talks about it. Or maybe because all people are busy with Goblin LoL.

    • Lol! I actually like Romantic Doctor more than Goblin but yea, Goblin and LOBS get all the hype. Among all the currently airing dramas though, I love Weightlifting Fairt the most and this doesn’t even have the ratings to boast about haha. Whatever floats people’s boats. I’m just glad there’s enough watchable current dramas for us.?

      • I have to admit of the dramas I’m watching now, I most look forward to Weightlifting. It’s not drama crack or anything but just a nice slice of life drama. I want to love Goblin because the genre is a favorite of mine, and I like the set up….but I don’t. Goshdarnit.

      • Out of all the dramas, weightlifting fairy is my recent fave, which surprises me because I wasn’t even planning to watch it. It’s such a sweet coming of age story with no frills or flashy effects. Just an interesting storyline and cast. As for Goblin, I like it, but it is kinda getting draggy and I am less excited every week. Hopefully we’ll get more action in the storyline soon.

      • Weightlifting Fairy become my most look forward drama because of its simplicity, because how the drama never trying to be anything but just to tell its story. It’s just so earnest and honest.
        Goblin is very climatic, stylish and cool from the get go. Yes, the bromance is wonderful but that has always been my concern, how long can I stay not for the central plot itself. The pace is getting draggy and tiring.
        LOTBS turns out better as its progresses and now that it has shifted gear to become more emotional, idk if it will keep me glued just when I have just started to warm up to its comedic offering.
        I have not watched Hwarang but it seems to generate quite a positive response for its debut episode. So, there’s hope.

      • Just like me ! Romantic doctor and WFairy are my favs. I’m watching Goblin but it’s not all that for me . I remember when the last dramas of hyun Bin han ji min and Yoon Eun Hye got this kind of bad ratings it was the talk of the town, now very low ratings are an habit. What’s going on with korean viewers ? Shouldn’t producers change something ? Even Soo Ae and Moon Chae Won who used to be in good ratings projects failed this year.

    • What I’m concerned about is that TVN dramas become so popular that it becomes the new mainstream. Its already happenning though, that’s why you see dramas like K2 and The Good Wife being considered as minor flops in tvn’s book even though they attain >4% ratings. tbh aside from SIgnal and Dear my friends, tvn dramas aren’t as great in their quality as compared to last year. Instead jtbc is slowly rising up to become my new fav channel. Ms Temper and Nam Junggi is awesome, so is TTMWHAA and Age of Youth and MOTW.

      • I think they are considered as minor flop because the money invested exceeded the result, which makes sense to me

        Just like LOBS’s rating is more than fine but it’s considered somewhat flop due to the big hype and invesment. Same with UF.

  2. I don’t know but that rating actually sounds okay given that not a lotta people are gonna jump from Rom Dr at this point. It’s getting those not invested in other M/T drama that Hwarang needs to do.

    Also, the concept that pre-production means anything other than the drama is done and can be shown in China as it is airing needs to sink in. It doesn’t mean the writing/acting etc will be better or anything else. I actually hoped that pre-prod would mean the actors and staff would have an easier time of it during filming, but I actually have my doubts about that.

  3. I had low expectations for this drama because of their hairstyle lol, then I watch the 1st episode and it’s kinda fun tbh, it’s not as cheesy as I thought it’ll be, I’ll be tuning for some more episodes I think…

  4. How can you say lobts cannot beat RM when they are not airing the same day the most fun part is that RM is just like any other weekend drama no buzz around it

    • Lobs doesn’t have a lot buzz too ! Watch all the buzz about Lee jun Ki drama despite bad ratings! We can’t compare a fantasy romance with a medical drama !

      • That too dramas on Monday and Tuesday are usually less trendy compared on Wednesday and Thursday, not to mention medical.
        Kinda remind me of Doctors. Same time slot similar situations

    • Lmao with the initial hype LOBS barely have buzz either. Golbin is doing much better in term of buzz
      The LOBS OTP weren’t even in best couple in Naver if I remember correctly, they must have so much buzz

  5. 6,9% is not bad for a first episode, I was expecting way worse considering the fact they have to face Romantic Doctor which is a monster rating-wise(average 20%) I’m quite relieved I must say.

    Anyway, I don’t care much about ratings, I’m watching Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo which has terrible ratings(4%)and it’s by far my favorite drama at the moment (yeah,I prefer it over Goblin and LOTBS)

    Watching Hwarang mainly for Hyungsik and for the moment, I’m not disappointed, he delivers. Sam Maek Jong is the most intriguing and interesting character of the bunch. First episode was quite good, I’m ready for the ride.

  6. Ban Ryu is the primary reason why I’ll even bother checking out the second episode. Do Ji Han has such little screentime but he’s got REAL screen presence.

  7. @ Cahill lobts has its own buzz you can talk about mls but I really don’t see any huge buzz about it it was only parkbogum time to shine that is all I know you don’t like lobts but it has a very so many people following in many countries

    • Park Bo Gum definitely shines but he has two rating hit dramas to back him up. Unlike LJK, he received major buzz despite ML tanked in Korea though hugely popular overseas. But there’s no denying that LOTBS is one of the most buzz dramas, at least in SEA.

    • On another blog someone who was teaching in Korea was commenting that there wasn’t much buzz about Moon Lovers in Korea…it was all about MDBC all the time. ML was made for and geared toward international fans and that’s who showed up. Doesn’t mean they weren’t upset at the local reception which had to hurt.

      I don’t know if Rom Dr goes to 16 or 20 episodes but maybe Hwarang will be able to grab some of that audience in a few weeks.

    • To Enny , i wasn’t talking about the drama of PGB but Moon Lovers with Lee Jung Ki, and internationally it have lot of buzz due to Lee Jun Ki acting . Watch on Soompi!

  8. I have mixed feelings over Hwarang. The comic moments were too slapstick and the introduction of each character was all over the place. One part of me really dislike the OTT comedic tone but it’s just first episode, so I am not going to be over criticial and will just give it a chance. So far no performance catches my attention yet.

    • I feel the same as You @OMG . I have mixed feelings. I have nothing against Go Ara but she never has chemistry with her co stars , and she didn’t possess the “it factor to be a leading actress ( in Reply 1994 she was surrounded by good actors). Just my opinion.

      • Go Ara was trying too hard to showcase a zany, spunky and quirky heroine. I cringed during her entire scenes. It was totally overdone.
        The rest of the boys minus Do Ji Han and Park Seo Joon are too sissy to convince me that they are warriors. They look like Silla hairdressers.
        Hwarang is not that bad but definitely does not have that “pre-produced” feel. I find the editing a bit choppy too.
        But the plot seems interesting so I am staying to see what more do they have in store.

  9. I am in it for the long haul – pretty much watching it cause I think PSJ is a good actor. PHS looks the best in his get up as hidden king. I think I can really enjoy this drama.

    In terms of the first episode, I thought the tone was kinda all over the place and really not a lot better than many of the other dramas this year. The flow is not great. I haven’t really paid attention to go ara – but I agree that she doesn’t seem to have too much chemistry in this drama with either of the two guys. It’s just the start so we’ll see. I don’t think 6.9 is all that bad for a first episode. It could be like Secret drama that started low and really kicked up in ratings later.

    All in all, I don’t really care enough yet to care about the ratings. I’m just hoping to enjoy it. I actually think PHS’s character seems the most interesting. PSJ’s character is super cool but hasn’t really appealed to me yet. At least the editing is reasonable – not like ML – so I consider that a win already. I’m keeping my expectations low. 🙂

    I haven’t found myself too attached to any kdrama this year at all. I am watching LOTBS but not to the point yet of rewatching any episodes. I barely remember anything else, except the mess of UF.

  10. I’m taking hiatus again from K drama, just tired of all the predictable. I’m currently watching C period drama Princess Wei Young. I always like the rich cultural settings in C historical dramas. Although the plot of PWY was sometimes very silly, the cast (both protagonists and antagonists) are great. That should be the lead actress’ best drama I’ve watched so far. All the twists and turns and suspension keep me hooked and marathoning through so many episodes. Well, among all the K dramas I’ve watched so far, only Dr. KMY in DotS is comparable to smart heroines in C drama. When would K drama writers give more intellectual credits to their heroines than heroes without vilifying the characters of smart women?

  11. Mon/tues,wed/thurs slot.there is no big rival,lately i watch omgeunbi but story became draggy.
    Drama 2016 is worst than 2015(imo).
    I hope good pd&sriptwriter make a comeback in 2017

  12. Finally I did it, googled Sung Dong Il.This actor is just everywhere this year 2016. Seen him as the golden tooth general of Moon Lovers, the menacing serial killer of Legends and now a Teacher ,mentor of flower boys.

  13. I’m glad I don’t pay attention to prediction that Hwarang will not do well. Hwarang has captivated me. I can’t wait for ep 3. I love it. The beauty of it all…Hwarang. One sad scene moved me to tears. Some parts made me laugh, my heart skip a beat on some of the action scenes. Keep it up Hwarang! Watching intently on Park Seo Jun, Park Hyun Shik, Go Ara. performing their interesting characters. Minho & the rest…early stage.

  14. It went up in the 2nd episode. I’m slightly hopeful that it will keep gaining an audience little by little and then go up after Romantic Doctors ends.

  15. I disagree that Go Ara/character has no chemistry with PSJ & PHS. The accidental scenes were funny but has subtle sizzles in them. I like the scene where PHS corners Go Ara in the room. Her voice/stories calms him to sleep. PSJ’s character has made her heart skip already?
    I giggle at how she tells romance for adults only stories.
    Go Ara has improved her performance over the years. It helps that she’s a beautiful actress. She’s a natural Go Ara style.
    Hwarang…I can’t wait for the next episode.

  16. China seems to be flexing their muscles… once again. I hope they do not ruin a good thing, I will just give up on all the dramas made in China, taking my money away from them, is the only way to prove our disapproval, it works every time. They can buy all they want, but without viewers they are NOTHING.

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