Netflix is set to dive into the zombie apocalypse arena in 2019 with the Korean drama Kingdom, which, if the first trailer is any indication might actually be one of the scarier additions to the genre in a long time. The streaming giant has been offering international dramas for quite some time, giving audiences in North America a chance to check out German hits Dark and Babylon Berlin. The company also brought the Norwegian end-of-the-world drama The Rain last year, as well as the Brazilian political scandal drama The Mechanism.
But as Netflix has clearly learned, working with genre is the best way to get people’s attention. Dark, for instance, made for a surprisingly effective twist on the usual time travel formula, while Rain brought a YA angle to the apocalypse. It would seem, then, that the streamer has designs on Kingdom being an international genre hit, as it will not only lure insatiable zombie fans, but it will do so within a medieval setting, effectively turning the series into a genre mashup — the undead wreaking havoc in a lavish costume drama.
This is actually the second trailer Netflix has released for Kingdom, and it offers a better look at the show’s overall plot, as well as some of the creepier elements that will drive its story. Check out the trailer and a brief synopsis below:
“In a kingdom defeated by corruption and famine, a mysterious rumor of the king’s death spreads, as does a strange plague that renders the infected immune to death and hungry for flesh. The crown prince, fallen victim to a conspiracy, sets out on a journey to unveil the evil scheme and save his people.”
From the look of things, Kingdom isn’t going for the same gritty realism that has marked staples of the genre, like George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead or AMC’s The Walking Dead (and, to a certain extent, it’s spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead). Instead, it seems poised to lean into the typical period trappings, with a hint of fantasy thrown in, just to make things interesting. The result appears to be a stylish new series that will go heavy on horror and action.
Though the primary cast may be unfamiliar to most U.S. audiences, Kingdom does feature frequent Wachowski siblings collaborator Doona Bae (Sense8). If Bae, plus zombies, plus an impressive-looking period setting isn’t enough to get people watching, then nothing is.
Kingdom premieres Friday, January 25 on Netflix.