Six Flying Dragons

Six Flying Dragons (2015)

8.9
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,092 users
Reviews: 9 users

A fiction historical drama about the ambitions and success of six characters based around Lee Bang Won.
Lee Bang Won was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great. He helped his father King Taejo establish the Joseon Dynasty.

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yankumicho
38 of 41 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 23, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Is there any difference? Is there any difference?
I’m asking the world, on deciding life and death
Is there any difference between politics and swords?

These words, from the song “Muiiya,” a Six Flying Dragons OST, emphasize the human cost of both politics and the sword. Six Flying Dragons, as a drama, does the same when it implores the viewer to contemplate the possible outcomes of choice and the effects of those read more choices on relationships and society as a whole. If anything, Six Flying Dragons attempts to answer this question without limiting the answer toward one argument. As a result, this drama and its writers Park Sang Yeon and Kim Yeong Hyeon effectively communicate the answer to this vital question through the display of its narrative and characterization.

Six Flying Dragons’ narrative ponders the above questions by its creation of characters and actions that test the functions of relationships and its lack of limitation of the characters to a particular faction of good and evil. Characterizations are layered and multi-faceted; for example, Lee Bang Won’s early desire for justice masks a desire for recognition and power. One is surely good, and the other is dangerous, but they both exist within the character. Similarly, in Jeong Do Jeon, one can argue that desire for the people masks desire for recognition and power. Where history tries (and goes back and forth) on the bad/good spectrum of these two characters, Six Flying Dragons delivers realism--the reality, of course, that all humans possess a bug which may swallow them whole. It renders choices, not fate nor relative determinism, as the progenitor of results, effects, and conclusions while maintaining neutrality in its tone.

The narrative achieves this as a whole by offering twists and turns on a grand scale. Tiny, even miniscule character introductions turn into important aspects of character and scene later on; conversations between characters that are seemingly benign hold importance at the right moment. Between betrayals and loyalty, is there any difference? may be the question asked here; the question may also be Between two forms of government, is there any difference? Six Flying Dragons, then, explores these subtexts throughout its frames, urging the viewer to contemplate them as well.

Another way that the narrative urges viewers to explore these notions is through its cinematography. The cinematography of Six Flying Dragons colors and frames the narrative in much the same way that the characterization does. Through use of light, dark, colors (in particular, the deep scarlet of blood), the viewer sees the overt versus the subvert. Overt actions are more splashed in light; subvert or covert actions cloaked in darkness. In doing so, Six Flying Dragons plays on the eyes of the viewer at times, asking us whether the subvert cannot be seen in the overt and vice versa. Between light and dark, is there any difference?

The crispness of character aspect and portrayal not only resides in the narrative, but also in the acting of Six Flying Dragons. With a stellar cast at the outset, one could argue that potential for this drama’s outcome was high, but it would be remiss to leave it at that. The cast of Six Flying Dragons supersedes any previous notion of greatness accorded to it; they crash down the barrier of greatness and replace it with excellence of the highest caliber.

While extending regard to the entire cast of Six Flying Dragons, the focus of the show, and the most compelling character-wise, is its main cast. Yoo Ah In as Lee Bang Won and Kim Myung Min as Jeong Do Jeon bring depth and mindfulness to each of their characters. They allow the viewer to see all aspects of their personality. Yoo Ah In, in particular, plays Lee Bang Won with such nuance that the viewer sees the inner motivations of Bang Won’s heart clearly and sees the influence choices make even in expression and emotion. Kim Myung Min does the same; the viewer sees a man whose concern for the people gets lost a bit in the desire for political recognition. The phrase, “You are the same as me,” is a common and apt theme when it comes to the characters, and in their brilliant acting, one can see how this phrase manifests itself throughout the narrative.

Along with the two protagonists (as I refuse to name either an antagonist), Six Flying Dragons peppers the narrative with great acting. From young men to hardened warriors, Byun Yo Han (Ddang Sae) and Yoon Kyun Sang (Mu Hyul) provide insights from those who are not political but honor bound and how choices made by others affect them. Shin Se Kyung (Boon Yi) ignites a fire and demonstrates the plight of the people in politics--how, between love and loneliness, is there any difference? Jung Yoo Mi (Yeon Hee) shows the importance of standing up for values in light of all other desires. These are just a few of the many great performances Six Flying Dragons introduces into the dramatic world.

As the narrative and action set the drama, music sets the tone. In Six Flying Dragons, the music glorifies an already-rich narrative with lyrical power and earth-jolting strength. This OST is quite simply one of the best. A favorite, surely, is the song “Muiiya,” a song with so much meaning that pervades the narrative and asks the viewer to contemplate its short lyric for far longer than the song. One cannot get enough of the sound of Six Flying Dragons. If I could rate the OST, I would give it a 10, hands down.

Despite its 50 episode length, I need to rewatch this again. There remains much more for me to glean from the drama’s depths, much more for me to contemplate about character, much more for me to study about politics and choices. From someone who could not watch a long drama until last year, I could not get enough. I could go another 20 or 30 episodes if only to see more of this drama’s richness and characterization.

Overall, Six Flying Dragons provides me with the overarching question, Is there any difference between politics and swords? My answer to that question...well, I will let that remain a mystery to the for the new viewer. Instead, I will sit here in the grey, where these questions keep being pondered. Instead, I implore the new viewer to ask themselves these questions while watching and see if they can find a conclusive answer as well.
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wonhwa
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Mar 25, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
In a time of injustice, what means are legitimate to right the wrongs? What happens when efficacy clashes with idealism, loyalty with morality, when the codes of the scholar, the warrior, the peasant and the noble founder on the shoals of ambition, love, envy, and self-preservation? Six Flying Dragons sets up six (well, actually, seven) protagonists, real and fictional, male and female, elite and ordinary, and sends them hurtling into the chaos read more of a collapsing nation as they struggle to conjure something better from its ashes. As a microcosm of the wider world, their intertwined stories allow the writers to explore how every choice, for good or ill, ripples through society, and to humanize both the triumphs and the costs of revolution.

On a technical level, the screenwriters’ ability to juggle so many through lines is stunning. Set-ups in early episodes lead to powerful payoffs hours down the line, and little time is wasted, with each scene deepening characterizations, drawing parallels, establishing new conflicts and reinforcing themes. Fictional elements are well integrated with the actual history, and while liberties are certainly taken, this is a much less romanticized world than that of most fusion sageuks. Reality constantly intrudes in all its messy brutality, and show embraces this, refusing to whitewash the actions of its characters. For me, the only misstep was the writers’ attempt to create a grand, overarching mythology running from Queen Seondeok to King Sejong. It felt forced and unnecessary, an in-joke that distracted from the story at hand, and its corresponding secret society was the least convincing aspect of the show.

The directing is initially a bit awkward, but as things progress, the editing calms down and the fabulous ensemble cast takes center stage, riveting in all their flawed, passionate, terrible humanity. Dark but never cynical, violent but never gratuitous, grim but never hopeless, the show cares for all its characters, and it makes you care deeply too. They often lose their battles, but they fight with everything they have, refusing to stop seeking, striving, dreaming. They can’t go on, and yet they do. And because of them, Six Flying Dragons soars.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (3)Recommendations

They mention several times Queen Seon Duk and Bidam.
Also Bidam actions in Queen Seon Duk have consequences in Six Flying Dragons.

Other similarities:
- Same writers.
- Politics.
- The "bad" characters are also very charming.
- Strong female characters.
- Both dramas tell historical events.
- Almost there is no romance (Is more subtle compared to SFD).
- Action.

They have more things in common, like the treatment of the characters and the drama structure (the sequel A tree with deep roots also follow the same structure).
Recommended by ireth
Here are the similarities:

- Intelligent plotting of both main characters.
- A clear fight between good vs evil. (and the good people aren't necessarily purely nice and the bad people aren't necessarily purely evil)
- A subtle romance (the romance in NiF is very subtle while in SFD, it's slightly stronger)
- Relationships. Romance, friendships, comrades, etc.
- Politic
- Bittersweet.
Recommended by MissFifi

Comments (1071)

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    d-lite 16 hours ago

    50 episode seemed at first like something i would never complete but ended up finishing it without skipping the episodes which came as surprise to me because i didn't realize how much i was invested in it and it was worth it from the cast to plot everything was well done ...

  • Reply
    DianaCarvalho 1 day ago

    I can't even explain how I miss this unforgettable drama! ❤

  • Reply
    AmastrisDratwka 7 days ago - edited

    I'm the type to wait until a drama's complete then marathon it. I've been watching this for the last 5 days. Yes, it's 50 episodes, but I find myself stopping and starting.. not because I cannot get into, but because it's just so freaking AWESOME I want to savor every moment. I am stunned at the writing. The dialogue and story are perfectly done. It's so mesmerizing and compelling. Great stuff. Then there is all this keen acting, one after another. Everyone is hands down doing such a good job and giving it everything they have. I don't even have one favorite actor in this because they're all so damn good. You know it's a good drama that, even though I want to wring their necks and kick them in the rear, I still had sympathy for the bad guys. When you can even appreciate the bad guys contribution to good acting, you know they're doing really well.

    I can honestly say that this is in my top 5 ever, including movies, of historical entertainment. That's saying a lot.. but I cannot help it. This was just written and acted so well.

  • Reply
    RoseRain 14 days ago - edited

    Can someone explain to me why they are called dragons? 1st dragon, 2nd dragon,etc? Is it because of the influence they have in the Joseon era? Or in the world? Perhaps it is a name to emphasis on their greatness? I'm only in episode 4 so far but this dragon thing is getting me hyped for no reason xD

    • Reply
      wonhwa 12 days ago

      The title is taken from a poem that was the first original Korean work published in the new hangeul script that King Sejong, Taejong's son, created. In the poem, the six dragons are the six illustrious ancestors who lead to the founding of the Joseon dynasty. The show keeps the phrase from the poem, but picks its own six "founders".

  • Reply
    DiosaUnica96 16 days ago

    Amazing <3

  • Reply
    FiPancake 17 days ago

    I'm only on episode 10 and i am addicted .___.

  • Reply
    Fortuna 18 days ago

    Fabulous. A gem among the multitude of airing dramas every year. #historicaldramawithdrawal

  • Reply
    WinaChan 18 days ago

    amazing historical drama. You will never feel bored in the entire 50 episodes. Each episodes keeps you wondering what will happen next. fighting scene doesn't look boring either. Amazing character development and portrayal.I am truly impressed with Yoo Ah In's portrayal of Bang Won. I don't think this show will disappoint

  • Reply
    Jojo 23 days ago - edited

    is it like Empress Ki or it's more better ??

    • Reply
      Pate 22 days ago

      Empress Ki is trash compared to Six Flying Dragons.

    • Reply
      Jojo 22 days ago

      I'm on ep 9 now, and I'm hooked already ^_^

    • Reply
      RawaRauf 20 days ago

      SFD is better written(so much better plot) ,great swords fighting, and a faster pace.
      While Empress Ki had a really good romance story
      both have great acting and music
      for a melodrama fan Empress Ki is a Must watch
      for a physiological drama fan SFD is a Must watch

    • Reply
      94loveKdrama 16 days ago

      way better

  • Reply
    Chocobana 25 days ago - edited

    It can't be just me suffering from withdrawals, can it? A show as good as this that is so well-plotted and filled with many complex characters is hard to come by. It even trumped 'A Tree with Deep Roots' for me (although their strengths/emotional intensities are different).

    I would definitely watch anything this screenwriter puts up. She has a good record so far.

    • Reply
      ChoiSima 22 days ago

      can you tell me which are the other dramas she wrote?

    • Reply
      wonhwa 21 days ago

      Her other shows that I've seen are Tree with Deep Roots, Queen Seondeok, Jewel in the Palace and H.I.T. Of those, Tree and QSD are my personal favorites, although the others are solid as well.

  • Reply
    MeegsS Apr 26, 2016 - edited

    Is it just me or does every episode fly by so fast it seems like 6 minutes instead of 60? I'm on episode 13 and I thought I was on 10 or 11. So good and not one boring or draggy moment yet. I always hesitate on the long dramas. I loved Empress Ki and figured 8.9 is probably a good indication this is worth watching. I'm glad I started it. Now I have to decide if I want to start Descendants of the Sun. 2016 is already an amazing year for dramas and we're only a quarter of the way through it. Yaaaasss!

  • Reply
    KMR Apr 23, 2016 - edited

    I can't decide whether to watch this because I don't like Yi Seong Gye and anything related to his era. lol
    I'm forever a Choe Yeong fan, one of the greatest man of human history, so I'm stupidly annoyed because this is basically a saga around YSG's offspring ah ah ah!

    • Reply
      krosland Apr 25, 2016

      I don't know much about history + i'm only on 5th episode but they say this drama is fictional, so I guess also his actions are somehow changed/rearranged? So far I like the drama, maybe you should try and drop it if you don't like it+it revolves around his son, not him. I don't know since i'm only on 5th episode though haha

    • Reply
      KMR Apr 26, 2016

      Yeah. I think I'll do that. Try it then drop it if I really don't like it. Hoping they made cool changes to the story. ;)

  • Reply
    ChoiSima Apr 22, 2016 - edited

    I already miss them :( .. 50 episodes were not enough to me. I wouldn't mind if the drama lasted an eternity

    • Reply
      Ma-ri Apr 24, 2016

      Heck, I wouldn't mind even if this drama explored the entire known lineage of Lee Bang Won till today.

  • Reply
    Joshua Apr 21, 2016

    i fell in love with all the characters, including the villains! it is something that is worth watching again. up to now i am still teary eyed whenever i discuss it with my friends, it is like i want to embrace them all and tell them that everything will be ok in the future! i rate it a perfect ten. the music i great by the way

  • Reply
    rheabiel Apr 20, 2016

    One of the best historical drama. One of the best korean drama. Every cast done justice to their character. Im missing Bonyi and Bang won now :( especially when they're with MooHyul and Ddang Sae. Loved it so much than I am having a SFD withdrawal syndrome right now.

Details

  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

    Drama
  • Episodes:

    50
  • Aired:

    Oct 5, 2015 to Mar 22, 2016
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

    SBS
  • Duration:

    60 min.

Statistics

  • Score:

    8.9 (scored by 1,092 users)
  • Ranked:

    #23
  • Popularity:

    #43

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