River Where the Moon Rises Releases New Stills Gearing Up for Final Two Episodes This Coming Mon-Tues

I started my K-drama journey on a sageuk, years and years ago. A good and proper sageuk, all 55-episodes that was Seodongyo full of slow and meaningful developments interspersed with cliffhanger episode endings and plenty of meat to keep me hooked. I haven’t seen one of those in years, and it’s a shame. I mean, Jumong was 81-episodes long and I was riveted through the entire series, it can’t be that people’s attention spans are that nonexistent anymore. I bring this up because I feel River Where the Moon Rises could have worked as a true long form sageuk, with 10-episodes devoted to backstory of the Gorguyeo tribal conflicts and the kids stories, then another 10-episodes with Ga Jin being an assassin before returning to the palace and regaining her identity. You get my drift, this drama felt like the cliffs notes version and while there are flashes of brilliances it’s fleeting and a good story isn’t just a paragraph or a chapter that captivates. I do appreciate how the cast and crew tried so darn hard to make it work, every scene is a labor of love and the acting is solid all around. Nothing to write home about much like how this drama will stack up post-airing, but I do think it positions Kim So Hyun to really dig deep whenever she’s ready for a true test of her ability and mettle. She’s ready for a Queen Seondeok or Empress Ki challenge, stepping into the shoes of amazing sunbaes like Ha Ji Won and Lee Yo Won and many more who have been bedrocks of the Korean sageuk drama tradition. Please don’t let that tradition die out in the world of Snapchats and Tiktok videos, long form art should be appreciated and preserved and I truly appreciate what River tried to do but alas didn’t plan out thoughtfully enough to accomplish.


River Where the Moon Rises Releases New Stills Gearing Up for Final Two Episodes This Coming Mon-Tues — 20 Comments

  1. I love this post! I too started my Kdrama journey with long Sageuks: Dae Jang Geum, Jumong, Emperor of the Sea, Queen Seonduk, Dong Yi, and more. It was probably a year before I even watched a non-Sageuk Kdrama. Sageuks felt so cool and different from anything we have in the US. I recently started rewatching Jumong because I miss that epic feel so much.

  2. I think the real reason why networks nowadays release lower counts of episodes for historical dramas is due to risk level and budget. A modern drama like a 50-100 episodes daily is obviously way easier and cheaper to produce than a historical one. If it doesn’t do well in the ratings than the losses isn’t much but for a historical dramas, the losses are much, much higher. And ratings overall in drama world generally isn’t as good as it used to be, so I perfectly understand why investors would be reluctant.

    I also think the drama could had done well with a higher episode count since it has so much story to tell (which is rare because many dramas nowadays in my opinion drags) but regardless I love this drama immensely and I will miss it dearly ?

  3. In complete agreement with this post but like someone pointed out not sure if anyone has the budget for long form three kingdom era dramas anymore. Nonetheless they could make a comeback in a few years because RWTMR shows that people are still interested in more serious and epic sageuk dramas set in the time period.

  4. And now So Hyun is nominated for Baeksang Best Actress. Is she the youngest nominee for that award in Baeksang history? Please let me know.

  5. I agree with the part where Gajin’s story is not deeply explored. There was like only one scene that showed her brutality and killings but after that, she remorsed with her experiences already. 20 episodes is really short for this drama and it should have been longer in order to successfully flesh out or give depth to the story. I’m especially disappointed that they don’t let the viewers see more of Gajin’s ruthless side and how she started it, but only focused on her turning point. This drama could have been the best one if only they risked extending it for more episodes however I agree that investors don’t have the certainty it can do well. Song Il Gook had sageuk Jang Yeong Sil in 2016 with 24 episodes and airing on weekends but only ranged within 9-10% range even the sched was on Saturday-Sunday which is the most convenient timeslot. Modern dramas with hundred episodes tend to do well than the sageuks plus it woudn’t be tiring for them to film it. I wonder if any stations will ever take such a challenge again?

    • A longer backstory for Queen Yeon and Gajin would have benefited the drama by eons. They zapped through the two most interesting plot points and characters that defined the rest of the drama. They could have also focused more on Ondal’s pacifist nature and his inner conflict which caused the OTP to break up.

    • Actually I remembered there was a rumor of this drama being 30 episode. I’m closely following this and it was around twitter and was put on 2021 drama sched/line up. There is no way it’s in new format because if you cut it in half, that would be 15 episodes? So I thought 30 episodes with one hour each but they might have shorterned it to 20. I’m still contemplating about how this drama could turn out if the writer took his time to develop the characters because honestly, RWTMR has so much interesting stories to tell that it can revive the glorious era of sageuks but the way the things are built up feel short and a summarized version. But I understand though because they are limited within 20 but overall, still a good show for me.

  6. I would love to see more of Queen Yeon too. She was in the drama for just 1 episode. If it’s a longer drama with more episodes then we might have seen her in 5 or more episodes. She’s an interesting character. So young, so badass, and she’s a mom. I think the female lead portrayed her really well. I mean, same actress for Ga Jin and Pyeonggang but you can see that they are different characters. I wish they have shown her back story too but I understand that it’s a short segeuk.

  7. This was the breakout role that KSH needed to move towards more female oriented dramas and complex characters. She positions as herself as the go to actress for layered characters which no other 20s actress can accomplish as of now. Her filmography is rich and diverse and she has been smart with her drama picks. Not only that she’s the Kingmaker for male rookie actors which benefits her in the long run.

    • Agree. It is a good career move on her part. No one on her generation matches the diversity of the roles she have. Hope Culture Depot will help her a trendy drama which will her reach new heights of popularity (tho she is already popular at home and overseas).

      • She’s already so popular it’s fun to imagine how much more a commercially popular drama could do for her. Her future has endless possibilities and opportunities.

  8. Similar with you..I have started my K drama journey since 2005..when I accidently watched Emperor of the Sea in KBS..and then get enchanted with Jumong..Seo Dong Yo..Warrior Baek Dong Soo..Queen Seondok..Empress Ki and many more
    Kdrama does change nowadays. The rating is not as strong as previous days..but hopefully they still can produce great saeguk.
    The last ling Saeguk that I can remember enjoy was Empress Ki..and that almost 10 years ago..?

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