[HanCinema's News] KBS Returns to Historical Dramas With "Bloody Heart"
By William Schwartz | Published on
KBS has struggled with trying to find a workable brand in recent years. The network has been unable to hit the right blend of high concept drama that has allowed other networks to find worldwide acclaim. Where KBS has had some success, however, is with the historical drama. Despite the reputation of historical dramas increasingly skewing toward less desirable older audiences, the value of the niche can be seen as the premiere of "Bloody Heart" draws near.
"Bloody Heart" stars Lee Joon as King Taejong, navigating a difficult political situation in Joseon before and after his ascendancy to the throne. "Bloody Heart" takes over the timeslot currently occupied by "Crazy Love - 2022" which ended with ratings of 4.6%. The at-times deliberately absurd murder-themed romantic comedy ultimately didn't have too much of an impact with audiences, even if its ratings were far from atrocious.
But conceptually "Crazy Love - 2022" appears to have been a misstep. It was preceded in its timeslot by "Moonshine" which, despite a similarly average overall reception, opened with 7.5% ratings and drifted down to 5.9% by its closing episode. The concept of Joseon-era bootlegging concept got "Moonshine" fairly far just by being relatively unique. "Moonshine" itself was preceded by the cross-dressing theme royal historical drama "The King's Affection" which ended with ratings of 12.1%.
There's no denying that KBS is the brand that historical drama fans seek out. While all the drama's discussed so far were for KBS2, the less commercially inclined network KBS1 is also airing "The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won" which had strong ratings of 11.3% in its latest episode, the thirtieth. When "Bloody Heart" premieres on May 2nd, it will fill the niche left by "The King of Tears, Lee Bang Won" and has the potential to be a huge on-brand hit for the network.
Written by William Schwartz
"Bloody Heart" is directed by Yoo Yeong-eun-I, written by Park Pil-joo, and features Lee Joon, Kang Han-na, Jang Hyuk, Park Ji-yeon-I, Heo Sung-tae, Choi Ri. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2022/05/02~Upcoming, Mon, Tue 21:30 on KBS.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.