“King the Land” review: Fun but super predictable, tropey, and cliché

Yoona and Lee Jun Ho’s collaboration has finally been realized after nearly 15 years, but the result is somewhat disappointing. 

Prior to its airing, “King the Land” can be considered one of the most highly-anticipated romance-comedy dramas of 2023. However, the project, which features the long-awaited pairing of Yoona and Lee Jun Ho, boasts a somewhat weak story. 

king the land

In particular, whilst acceptable to watch, “King the Land” has various weaknesses in its storytelling, and the plot itself is both predictable and full of cliché. Some audiences even took it as far as to compare the rom-com to dramas released over around a decade ago.

Yoona’s beauty is a major bonus point

As of the moment, “King the Land” undoubtedly showcases and emphasizes Yoona’s beauty. Since her debut with Girls’ Generation (SNSD) until now, Yoona has consistently been a leading figure, a “fortress” in terms of beauty within the idol realm. As such, in “King the Land”, Yoona’s role as female lead Sa Rang naturally provides ample opportunity for the idol-actress to fully unleash her beauty. In fact, by just standing still and smiling, Yoona in “King the Land” can attract a tremendous number of viewers.

It is nearly impossible to find an unattractive shot of Yoona (unless she intentionally acts “ugly”) in “King the Land”. Sa Rang is a hotel receptionist, the “face” of the VVIP waiting area, so she is always flaunting both her beauty and excellent professional skills. Additionally, Yoona’s performance is quite good, clearly conveying her character’s spirit, though not particularly groundbreaking compared to her previous roles.

A highly-anticipated collaboration after nearly 15 years

While Yoona deserves credit, Lee Jun Ho’s presence also hugely contributes to the so far success of “King the Land”. In particular, alongside the idol-actor’s immersive acting and charming visuals, the long-standing “connection” between him and Yoona has drawn attention since Day 1.

yoona lee yunho

In fact, the “connection” between Girls’ Generation (Yoona’s group) and 2PM (Jun Ho’s group) dates back to the late 2000s. At that time, Yoona was often seen alongside the 2PM member Taecyeon, forming a “power visual duo”. Adding to this, Jun Ho was depicted to “nurture” a humorous sense of envy as he also admired Yoona, even expressing hope that one day he would have the opportunity to work with her. 

Now, the long-cherished wish of Lee Jun Ho, as well as of many Kpop and K-drama fans, have come true. 

yoona lee yunho

Furthermore, as longtime close colleagues and friends, Lee Jun Ho and Yoona easily bring forth a harmonious chemistry as they star together in “King the Land”. Both their characters are developed as humorous figures, albeit in different styles, and are fleshed out as a fun couple who are constantly bickering.

In the initial episodes, Goo Won (Jun Ho’s character) and Sa Rang (Yoona’s character) do not like each other. However, the two still exhibit a natural and wonderful chemistry. Undoubtedly, the friendship, story, and seamless collaboration between Lee Jun Ho and Yoona are noteworthy factors that help “King the Land” lure in and captivate viewers, even against somewhat unremarkable writing. 

A Rom-com filled with “tropey” and outdated clichés

Although the collaboration between Lee Jun Ho and Yoona is a significant milestone after nearly 15 years, “King the Land” is a case of “right people, wrong timing”. As it is a rom-come, “King the Land” is inherently easy to watch and understand, but it sinks too deeply into “tropey” and outdated clichés, causing the entire story to become predictable. 

yoona lee yunho

In particular, the drama’s plot is set in a workplace setting with a typical “boss and employee” love story. Initially, both of them have no feelings for each other, but gradually they transform from enemies to lovers. The male lead embraces the “cold on the outside but gentle inside” trope, whilst the female lead is a “bubbly girl” that captivates those who meet her and break his tough exterior. 

To add some suspense, the screenwriters introduce mysterious “detective” elements  along with conflicts within the upper-class family – all of these being “token clichés” that K-drama lovers are way too familiar with. 

In fact, “King the Land” can be said to be a typical embodiment of the romantic comedy genre, with little changes compared to the same genre from 10 years ago.

King the land yoona lee jun ho

“King the Land” can be seen as a combination of “Business Proposal” and “Hotel King”, which may be regarded as novel should it be released in the early 2010s. However, it is already 2023, when the rom-com genre should have evolved.

Furthermore, the drama also contains countless stereotypical details inherent in the romantic comedy genre. Every episode of “King the Land” has two typical “scenes”: where the main characters would either accidentally fall into each other’s arms or be making intense gazes supported by slow motion. 

The sentimental and outdated approach to the script makes it difficult for “King the Land” to excel, and the main couple’s chemistry is unfortunately, one of the only saving grace. 


“King the Land” may make for a fun watch, but it can be considered a disappointing project for Lee Jun Ho, Yoona, as well as the audience who eagerly awaited its release. 

Alongside the aforementioned endless cliché, there are also many illogical plot points, such as excessive conflicts in every layer of work. In addition, the male lead has a huge desire to defeat his cruel older sister, but so far, he has not achieved any outstanding achievements, except for flaunting his wealth (although it is unclear where the money comes from).

King the Land Lee Jun Ho Yoona

Nevertheless, “King the Land” still has promising achievements with steadily increasing ratings in each episode, becoming the hottest weekend cable drama at the moment. 

It seems that despite the overwhelmingly predictable plot, the series manages to provide humor, charms, sweetness, and positivity, allowing audiences to enjoy it in a refreshing and entertaining way. 

All in all, there is nothing special about “King the Land” so far, but the series truly lives up to the very essence of the rom-com genre, which are laugh and entertainment.

Photo: JTBC

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