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The King's Woman

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  • Score: 8.0 (scored by 673 users)
  • Ranked: #743
  • Popularity: #1052
  • Members: 2,275
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moondust
23 people found this review helpful
Oct 3, 2017
Overall 6.5
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
Looking for a reason to start this drama? You can stop reading now. But if you're curious for a realistic take on what appears to be a promising yet angsty historical romance, then continue at your own discretion.

Story (7/10):  

  In more ways than not, the premise is unconventional - not only by Chinese dramas standards, but in the realm of romance. If one is even slightly familiar with early Chinese history, then the idea of a forced relationship with a man whose ruthless tyranny is more infamous than his merits in unifying what is now China, has all the ingredients for an interesting romance. A romance tying into real historical characters and their famed personalities, leaves one curious to see how this equally unstable yet devoted ruler thaws his way into the heart of the object of his infatuation, after taking her away from the life she wanted and those she loves.

 Throw in a second lead (Jing Ke) whose name is synonymous in history with balls rivaling the Great Wall for his assassination attempts on the emperor, and imaginations be running wild from all sorts of directions this story can go, and the immense potential it has. Sounds very ambitious, doesn't it?
And yet it fell flat. Over-saturated with unoriginal, predictable tropes that take away substantial momentum from the bigger picture, and in the end achieved nothing for plot and characterization. Despite active ingredients for what could have been good storytelling and real conflicts, poor characterization is probably what ruined the drama. Characters that garner neither sympathy nor respect, whose actions make no sense of the insensible, and mostly controlled by situations rather than in control of. Drama begins with a plot only to end with none (minus the part where they stuck to history).  Seriously, will someone please think of the plot?!

And then there's flashbacks. The only thing more overused is good ol' flashbacks with the cheesy music, to cement itself as extremely lazy, poor writing at its finest.  One flashback in particular has me thankful for helping me realize self restraint levels I never knew existed.
Because everytime it comes up the urge to shave myself bald before pulling my hair out from seeing it for the 100000th time is real. To paraphrase another user, the excessive flashbacks is "an insult to audiences as if the lot suffers from amnesia" couldn't be more accurate.

And ultimately, all is left are frustrating characters, unfulfilled potential and whole lot of disappointment.

Acting (6.5/10):

Not much to be said here. The cast does little to connect the audience, poor characterization aside on writers' part.  Dilraba is wholly unimpressive as the leading lady , and proved herself as lacking depth to carry heavier roles like her character here.  As for Zhang Bin Bin, he delivers as a mean guy with tender moments, but lacks the magnanimous charisma of a unstable frightening ruler that is Qing Shi Huang. Seriously just read up the guy on Wiki for those unfamiliar with Chinese history. Chemistry between the two however, might be the only saving grace for the drama, if ever is one.

Supporting characters played by actors for Han Shen and Li Zhong are more convincing than mains.

Music (7/10):  The OST is good. And by OST I mean two songs for the entire 48 episodes. One in particular is the jack of all trades, used for happier moments to tragic ones, rain or shine, Li Er with Jing Ke, Ying Zheng, etc you name it.  One can even guess when it cues and where. The producers of this drama tend to have a single favorite for everything, from music to flashbacks. Besides that, the OST reflects well the tragic theme of the drama, and is memorable. Though may be a function of being hounded into one's memory.

Rewatch: (5/10)  only reason I can imagine anyone wanting to bother with this is for the leading pair during more romantic moments. One is better off finding those YouTube MVs for all those "swoonworthy" moments instead.
 
Am I being too harsh? Perhaps. However, as a frequent watcher of Chinese historicals, I can't help but feel unimpressed. Maybe a better writer, production team and leading cast would have brought out a better outcome. Went into this excited but came out with shattered expectations. Unfortunate because the cinematography, filming (minus choppy editing)and costumes are gorgeous,  and despite the complaints, I wanted to like this so badly for parts I did enjoy. However redeeming aspects are largely overshadowed by what is not

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pammo1949
5 people found this review helpful
Oct 7, 2017
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 9.5
This drama was one of my top 10.   I have read many reviews and comments and I realize that we comment based on our life experiences and expectations.  When this drama began - no expectations.  For me a lot of good-looking actors and great slow motion sword and martial arts scenes.  As I watched I began to realize that this starts as an obsessive romance drama but the underlying story is really the history of the First Emperor of China.  The King's woman was only a fictional backdrop to telling a story about a tragic time in history but one of the most important times in Chinese History.   It became an opportunity to educate myself about that timeframe.  The writers and producers tried to keep historical incidents and facts accurate and the costumes were just breathtaking for recreating a period more than 2100 years ago,   To film 48 episodes pacing, backstories, jealousy, 2nd male lead syndrome all played a part but was not overdone.   Palace life among concubines and consorts was not exaggerated when you read Chinese history.   I watched without subs and with subs in great anticipation each week of the coming story.   I was saddened - most Chinese dramas are that way.   However, the sadness came more from reflection later after I traced the King's Woman's life story throughout the drama.    Beyonce sings this song "If I was a boy"  -- that is just how I felt at the end for Li'er.

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ErysimumHybrid
2 people found this review helpful
Oct 5, 2017
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 5.5
Story:
It's a good watch, but the pacing was a bit weird for me. The amount of time skips made it a bit rushed feeling even though the romance had good pacing. There were some characters I found did not add much to the plot and were added in only for more romantic plots (ex: Gai Lan) and they did not interest me at all. I wanted to skip their scenes most of the time, what kept me watching the drama was the chemistry between Diliraba and Zhang Bin Bin. Although in our modern time, the romance would not be well received due to the mistreatment of Gong Sun Li, it should be kept in mind that in their time, the king does whatever he wants LOL. When adding his past, you can kind of empathize with him. Personally, I liked the progression of the romance between the two. The characters are all very flawed, and sometimes although human, makes you want to strangle the person for their stupidity. Some poorly written characters aside, the story itself was pretty good, although the ending left me feeling a bit empty. Characters are very one dimensional for a 48 episode drama.

Cast/Acting:
Love the cast, but felt like the acting could have been better. I have high expectations of Diliraba and Zhang Bin Bin. They did well, especially ZBB, but there were moments where the emotions were not as well received on my end. There were scenes however, that damn, ZBB delivered so well I had to rewatch some parts due to feeling the intense emotions and not on what was being said. Major props to the actors of Han Shen and Li Zhong. They did great in their character portrayal and you can really feel their love/loyalty towards Sun Li and the King. As for Jing Ke, I've watched the actor in other dramas and he was pretty great in them, so I will chalk it up to poor writing of his character. He did well for what he was given, but all he was able to show was self pity most of the time, not much to show his acting abilities. I think the rest of the supporting casts did great, from the kings mother to the evil eunuch! The only one that bugged me was the actress for Gai Lan. Something about her acting made it seem forced and unnatural, but she wasn't horrible.

Music:
Standard sad OSTs that sound nice. Will be on my chinese OST playlist but isn't anything groundbreaking.

Rewatch Value:
I will most likely just watch the romance between Ying Zheng and Sun Li due to Jing Ke and Gai Lan being very boring.

Overall:
Keep in mind that the characters are based off of real people, but it is not very accurate in portrayal. Jing Ke 90% of the time was in a mode of self pity and Ying Zheng was not as ruthless compared to in real life. Not recommended to watch this if you want to learn about the history of the characters. They were changed to put more emphasis on the romance. However, if you put that aside, the romance was great between Sun Li and King Ying Zheng. The ending left me feeling a bit empty as it did not show much, wished we could have seen more of little Tian Ming.

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Linky
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 11, 2017
Overall 7.5
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 6.0
I started off really enjoying The King's Woman. It's beautiful to look at. Zhang Vin carried the first part of this drama for me just by sheer charisma alone. I like watching him even though the character he plays is so bad. For the the first third of the drama or so I was into the plot setup and the martial arts characters and their "quests". I like that sort of thing. There are several passionate love scenes in the first part too. It was pretty easy to watch from episodes 1-24. But somewhere around this point I lost enthusiasm. An actor's charisma can only take me so far.

The King's Woman aims to portray a ruthless tyrant as a complicated character that we can sympathize with in telling the story of his true love for a beautiful and talented woman. It's kind of difficult to do well and basically I don't think this drama did a great job at it. It relies too much on the actors' charisma and good looks, slow mo flashbacks, and pretty cinematography rather than thoughtful story writing and good character development.

By episode 40 or so I had a lot of built up frustration and dislike for the main characters so I didn't really care about them anymore. The side characters were uninspiring, but at least Jing Ke and Han Shen were more consistently written and had some good fight scenes. The main characters behave inconsistently and don't feel like real people. The most problematic character is the heroine, Gong Sun Li. She is supposed to be wise, upstanding and tough. As the story progressed I felt more and more repulsed by the idea of her falling in love with the King and being such a martyr for him. He is murderous one scene and then suddenly cute and seductive in the next. The drama jumps into a romantic comedy tone whenever the king does something terrible and they need you to feel sympathy for him and buy into the love story again. It bugged me that an intelligent woman would become submissive to such a man. The main failing in the storytelling is that there was not a compelling reason for her to be won over by him. They didn't portray much of her internal struggle to be with him. It goes against her character to fall in love with him, so give us an explanation. There were hints that she might have done it for political reasons or to protect others. But mostly the romance is portrayed as just fate - that Li was fated to always protect, love and serve the King no matter what his actions and he would always love her because of it. But why? This wasn't enough for me to buy into the romance.

I watched the last part of the drama mostly out of curiosity to see how the events played out. I knew I was supposed to feel the tragedy of it all as a result of the king's fatal character flaws and feel the heroine's selflessness and integrity, but the feelings just weren't there for me. Still, there were ample slow motion flashback scenes to inform me that something dramatic was happening. And every time they played a certain childhood flashback scene (which was  A LOT) I knew I was supposed to be feeling how poignant it all was.

Then again after all my complaints about this drama again, I never once thought of dropping it. On a basic level it is watchable and entertaining enough to see the good looking costumes, actors, cinematography and martial arts scenes and find out what happens in the end.

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ctinav23
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 10, 2017
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 5.0
+1 Cast: I don't think the two leads matched but they were great leads individual-wise. The second male lead I found to be quite boring,  except for his swordsmanship

+1 Videography/Cinematography: was absolutely amazing. Probably one of the only reasons why I kept watching this drama was because it was greatly done. The visuals were amazing.

+1 Music: It didn't catch me at first but wow, towards the end the music really gets to you

+1 Value of Friendship, Peace and Kindness: The female lead did a great job holding a strong character that stood up for her values of friendship and kindness and pursuit of peace. However, it's what got her in trouble and what made me upset at the same time.

+1 Complex Relationships: The main two leads had a complex relationship. I'm not sure if I liked it or not. All I can say is, they both have trust issues. At different points I had feelings of contempt for both of them.

+1 Action: Action was better than most I've seen in dramas. The swordsmanship and fighting kind of got redundant for me because so many fighters kept showing up and some of the same fights kept happening over and over again so I skimmed through those parts knowing that the action was already good. It was the storyline that needed to hurry up.

+1 Clothing Line: I was a bit disappointed in the female leads clothing set but I knew it showcased her value of modesty and simplicity. However, two particular I enjoyed seeing clothes in was the first male lead (King) and the Han Shen.

+1 Tragedy: I enjoy tragic genres in general

-1 Story dragged like most dramas do. I'm glad it wasn't a 50+ drama. Hallelujah Amen!
-1 I felt uneasy about the female lead the second male leads relationship (her senior, not the king). I guess I'm just never comfortable with the idea of a person who walks into another relationship while still in love with another person. On top of that, I personally wanted her to only be in love with one person.
-1 Redundant political schemes as always.

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Shae
1 people found this review helpful
Oct 12, 2017
Overall 5.5
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
I'm not going to lie, I dropped this drama somwhere in the last 10 ep, when I realized I was watching a wash and repeat of the same self-inflicted angst caused by our pouty king.
 If you're a fan of this genre and are immune or enjoy endings that are meant to piss you off, this is the one.
 If you are new to this kinda stuff, don't feel guilty ff through second lead jerk-face's scenes. You'll still get the idea of what's going on Ff bith hs scenes and what I call "The bad people plotting/doing/discussing the bad things'. I swear the second leads story arc despite the head-scratching simple conflict of the OTP, is the weakest and somewhat unnecessary part of the show.
I found it evtertaing until a certain point, then I just wanted to know how it ended, which as you either know or will find , a lot of stuff is given in the open/ending credits.
I wouldn't watch it again and would only recommend to the male lead's an without reservations. He did look good in this.
Other than this, I wouldn't recommend this drama to those new to historical Chinese shows, under any circumstance. 


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llama
0 people found this review helpful
30 days ago
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 6.0
Let me just start off by saying that I'm really picky with my dramas (more so than with my vegetables). But I'm also a sucker for historical dramas... and tragedies.

The general storyline was good, but I can see where they failed to bring this story to life. There were some parts that I felt were incredibly boring and irrelevant, but thankfully your girl pulled through. The costumes were stunning, which is to be expected in a historical drama; but the cinematography will blow you away, especially where there is action. If I had to point out one thing I disliked, it would have to be all of the unresolved misunderstandings found way too common in a drama. God, I hate those.

The main reason why I decided to watch this drama in the first place is because of the main leads. They've both really impressed me in their past roles, and definitely didn't disappoint in this one either. The antagonists also did a really good job of riling up my emotions. One thing I wanted to point out—and I know this isn't the actor/actresses fault but I felt like some of the supporting characters were poorly portrayed. Again, this isn't always their fault,  as a character is only as good as its script.

If you couldn't already tell by my ratings, original soundtracks are my biggest weakness. But I definitely have a preference when it comes to these. I'm kind of obsessed with soundtracks in historical dramas. I don't know what it is, but I just find them way better. I feel like they're filled with more raw emotion and I somewhat enjoy the feeling of getting my heart wrenched out of my chest (kidding, but not really).

Overall, I think I would recommend this drama BUT with fair warning, as it may not live up to everyone's expectations. So watch at your own discretion.  As for whether or not I would rewatch this, the only reason why I could bring myself to do so would be to relive the romance between the two main leads.

With that said,
Llama out.

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All_In
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 7, 2017
Overall 6.5
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 3.5
The main reason to watch The King's Woman is the outright sexual chemistry between the two leads.  Both actors do good work here and have a believable chemistry.  Unfortunately, as often happens in historical dramas, a lot of this chemistry seems to dissipate after their relationship reaches a certain point.  

 I liked the initial episodes of this story and watched it all faithfully, but the drama rushes through some of the relationship between Li and her senior so that the audience can't totally buy into her strong romantic emotions toward him...at least I couldn't.  I get what they were doing because drama does have King in the title after all.  Unfortunately, because time wasn't spent on this early relationship, I never really bought that she passionately loved senior.  

I could nitpick a lot of the drama, but my main issues were that I was totally uninterested in the secondary story and quickly started to fast forward through these parts.  The three characters I cared most about were the king, Li and Han .  Also, a lot of the drama is spent on the political shenanigans, and I was totally uninterested.  To compare, I found The General and I flawed, but the political maneuvering was actually done quite well.  

My other main complaint is that several times Li does things in what I would say was "for his own good"  i.e. the king/a prince/senior.  Sitting down and having an honest conversation might have actually worked better.  They make her a bit of a too perfect martyr and in one case have her do something that makes no sense and puts people in danger. We are let to believe that's something she would care about but she doesn't give it a second thought.

The end is pretty much how I thought it would go and, though overly convoluted, I appreciated some late twists and turns.  I also appreciate that the relationship between the leads was quite complex, and the drama writers did not sugarcoat the reality of the king being a tyrant.    The mixture of the writing and the actor's talent really makes for a nuanced performance which I liked.  

The first half of this drama, I would rate a solid 7.5 to 8 so it is the second half which brings me down to 6 or 6.5 range.  I can't honestly say full steam ahead when I felt the need to fast forward through a lot of the drama; however, for the story about the king and Li and with some judicious fast forwarding I found it a compelling watch.

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dilmuratsbae
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 6, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
I loved this drama. Anyway, it's not for everyone to see. It contains really depressing and sad. The story is so deep about two lovers who love each other deeply but they have to apart their ways because the King (qin state) wanted to marry her. The acting is completely amazing, I give it a 10/10 because they really made the efford to give us the most beautiful scenes to make us feel the way they're were feeling, the best one here was Zhang Vin, she practiced for months in order to act in Ying Zheng's role. The music is fantastic, beautiful and deep just like the drama, I could hear it a lifetime. The story is good, anyway it could have been better, but I know it has to be realistic, but in my opinion I loved Jinke and Li'er, also Han Shen was an amazing character, Jinke, han shen and li'er will always have a place in my heart. And last but not least, I would watch it again but in a few years so I can feel the same feelings as now.  Give it a try. Story 8/10 acting/cast amazing 10/10, rewatch vaue 8/10 and Overall I would give it a 9/10

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