Binge-worthy: K-drama King The Land is a fun romcom, Latest TV News - The New Paper

Binge-worthy: K-drama King The Land is a fun romcom

King The Land

4 stars

In the new K-drama King The Land, which is topping Singapore’s Netflix charts and has been among the streaming platform’s top 10 television series since it premiered on June 17, hotel heir Goo Won (Lee Jun-ho) is locked in an inheritance battle with his half-sister.

He becomes attracted to Cheon Sa-rang (Im Yoon-ah, also known as Yoona), a beautiful woman with a bright smile who works as a concierge in his family’s hotel.

Here are three reasons to tune into the romantic comedy.

1. Second-generation K-pop leads

Cue the nostalgia for millennial fans of K-pop.

King The Land is led by not one but two idols from seminal groups of second-generation K-pop who were active in the early 2010s – Lee of 2PM and Yoona of Girls’ Generation.

The leads have an easy chemistry, whether they are bickering or feeling shy around each other. This is, no doubt, helped by a long industry friendship which saw them collaborate on a steamy dance to the pop song Senorita in 2021.

Both characters are clearly designed to fit the image of the singer-actors as well. Yoona has long been known for her charming smile and Lee has a body built for expensive tailored suits, which he often wears in the series.

2. Fun romcom tropes

There is no denying that King The Land is, in many ways, a standard romantic comedy with many of the tropes the genre is well known for: the rich young master falling in love with the ordinary, hardworking girl, and an enemies-to-lovers plotline.

Yet, the show has no interest in reinventing the wheel. Instead, it not only sticks to, but also fully embraces the humour in the well-trodden path as the main love story unfolds.

There is a slow, deliberately dramatic zoom-in on Goo Won’s besotted face when he sees Sa-rang walk into a room with her mega-watt smile. Several scenes later, Sa-rang is similarly enamoured when she spots Goo Won striding towards her with slicked-back hair and in a bespoke outfit.

Lee Jun-ho gets to wear plenty of expensive suits in romantic comedy King The Land. PHOTO: JTBCDRAMA/INSTAGRAM

Sa-rang falls into Goo Won’s arms accidentally several times, giving Lee the chance to fix his smouldering gaze at Yoona more than once. And when Goo Won tries to stop thinking about Sa-rang, he ends up smiling goofily at her picture on his laptop.

Predictable? Perhaps. But it is comfort food for any romantic.

3. Service industry sisters

Sa-rang and her two best friends, Da-eul (Kim Ga-eun) and Pyeong-hwa (Go Won-hee), form a cute, watchable trio as well. Over the years, they go from their child-free 20s partying at clubs to being older and quietly drinking beer next to a children’s play area, while Da-eul’s young daughter chides them for embarrassing her.

Yoona in King The Land, where she plays a hotel concierge. The drama makes it a point to highlight the difficulties of working in a service job. PHOTO: JTBCDRAMA/INSTAGRAM

Like Sa-rang, both Da-eul and Pyeong-hwa work in customer-facing jobs. Da-eul is a saleswoman at a duty-free shop while Pyeong-hwa is a flight attendant.

While romance takes centre stage, King The Land makes it a point to highlight the difficulties women face working in the service industry, be it unreasonable customers or a hierarchical workplace culture, where the senior staff often bully and exploit their subordinates.