The newest K-drama that people are talking about is Queenmaker—which has all the backroom tension of political shows like House of Cards and Game of Thrones, but with the distinctly Korean flair of revenge series like The Glory and The World of the Married.
Netflix released 11 episodes of Queenmaker on April 14 with minimal promotion. This is unlike the case of its successful predecessors such as the aforementioned The Glory and the Emmy award-winning Squid Game.
While it hasn't been big on promotion, it became the most-watched non-English series on the streaming platform the same week it was released, recording almost 16 million hours viewed. It's currently the second most-watched TV show on Netflix Philippines.
Curious about the hit K-drama series? Here's what you should know about Queenmaker.
Respected actresses lead the cast of Queenmaker, occupying three of the biggest roles save for antagonist Baek Jae-min (Ryu Soo-young).
The two heroes are corporate strategist Hwang Do-hee (Kim Hee-ae of The World of the Married) and human rights activist-lawyer Oh Seung-sook (Moon So-ri of A Good Lawyer's Wife).
Seo Yi-sook (Empress Ki, The Rebel, Hotel del Luna, The World of the Married, Start-Up), meanwhile, plays the antagonist Son Young-sim, a conglomerate chair who is both Jae-min's mother-in-law and Do-hee's former employer.
Behind the scenes
The K-drama has been praised for its depiction of public relations, especially in the political context.
Even the first episode already provides a detailed look at how Do-hee is able to manipulate public opinion at will. Here, scenes include Do-hee establishing false narratives at first to protect the family of Yi-sook and Jae-min when she worked for them.
The show provides examples of how strategists who work for public figures may influence the press for favorable coverage. This includes doing so indirectly by diverting them into other topics like fashion or human interest, as well as directly by threatening to pull out advertisements.
Given that Queenmaker is indeed a political drama, it features the tactics that electoral candidates use in real life to their advantage.
Do-hee does everything in her power to make Seung-sook win as the mayor of Seoul against Jae-min, who used her to get rid of someone who was blackmailing him.
But at its core, the show is able to make the concept of politics entertaining by placing Do-hee at the center as the story's protagonist: from an amoral PR strategist, to an empowered woman who develops a conscience and then uses her powers for good.
Queenmaker is now streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer below: