My Country: The New Age is set during the tumultuous period at the end of the Goryeo era.  It follows the story of two friends, one (Yang Se Jong) who leads a very difficult life, can’t stand injustice, and has a kind heart and the other (Woo Do Hwan) who is always trying to please his father but is looked down upon because his mother was a slave, as they try to survive and make their place in this developing new country alongside a woman (Seolhyun) who is unhappy with its corruption.

Yang Se Jong plays Seo Hwi. He is a very sweet and caring man who struggles to get by and take care of his little sister who is sick. Despite his low status, his skills give him the possibility for a promising future. That is until he is betrayed by his best friend Sun Ho, and his life is completely turned upside down.

Woo Do Hwan is Nam Sun Ho. His father is a noble and his mother was a slave which causes him to be looked down upon. His father is also very harsh with him, and he struggles to live up to his expectations. That struggles finally becomes too much, and he is forced to do some terrible things in order to meet his father’s demands.

We then have Seolhyun as Han Hee Jae. She’s a smart woman who tries to fight the injustice happening to the people, but she soon realizes that her efforts are not enough when she sees how much suffering is really going on and how difficult it actually is to fight the corruption.

Finally, there is Jang Hyuk as Lee Bang Won. He’s the son of a powerful general and helps him on his mission to become the new king. He’s also a very smart and cunning man that has many plans of his own for where he sees himself in this new country being created.

My Country: The New Age was quite the watch! It’s a more angsty historical with a fantastic story and gorgeous cinematography. There’s tension, lots of emotion, and plenty of action.

There are some impressive sword fights to keep things exciting too. Be prepared for lots of blood and people getting stabbed and slashed left and right. It’s also the kind of drama that might just rip your heart out and then stomp all over it!

The friendship between of Hwi and Sun Ho was a hard one to watch. They start out so close as best friends who genuinely care for each other. Then they are pitted against each other, and Sun Ho’s father pushes him to do what it takes to defeat Hwi.

Hwi ends up betrayed in so many ways and is forced to live a terrible life and endure some truly awful things as Sun Ho works his way up in position. I felt so bad for Hwi. Can’t the guy get just a little happiness?

Sun Ho’s story is quite sad too. He never wants to be bad, but he is forced down a dark path. He struggled with his choices and what to do all the way through. This pair sure had a difficult road to follow.

We get a nice little romance in My Country: The New Age. Hwi and Hee Jae are quickly drawn together and fall in love, but circumstances tear them apart. They both struggle to survive in the middle of a dangerous power struggle.

Their scenes were always packed with emotion. The longing stares as they gazed into each other’s teary eyes, the tender embraces, and the heartfelt words exchanged between them always carried so much weight. Their story was a smaller part of the drama, but it always had an impact.

There are some lighter moments in the drama, and I grew particularly fond of a little romance between a couple of the supporting characters, Moon Bok (In Gyo Jin) and Hwa Wol (Hong Ji Yoon).

These two were both fun individually, but then you put them together and they were a hoot! This pair had me laughing and smiling at all of their bickering, flirting, and cute romantic gestures. They were such a fun couple!

Now one person who has to be talked about is Jang Hyuk. A lot of us weren’t sure what we would get with him not being the lead in this drama, but let me assure fans, he is absolutely amazing in My Country! Of course, what would you expect? It’s Jang Hyuk we’re talking about!

His part is smaller in the beginning, but it grows as the drama progresses, and it’s something to see! Jang Hyuk completely commands the screen at all times as he completely embodies the very complicated character of Lee Bang Won. His intensity just grabs you, and it’s hard to look away from such an amazing performance.

Yang Se Jong also has to be mentioned since he gave his own wonderful performance. He’s an actor who impressed me the first time I saw him in Duel, and he has continued to do so since then. He gives a riveting performance here too.

He’s perfect at being so tenderhearted yet fierce as well as having eyes that just draw you into the pool of emotion he’s experiencing. He really poured himself into this role and perfectly conveyed the raw emotions that poor Hwi had to experience. Fantastic job by Yang Se Jong!

The drama did lost a little steam for me about two-thirds of the way through. The princely battles for throne took up more time, and my interest was more with Hwi, Sun Ho, and Hee Jae. I always enjoyed more of the story of the two friends as well as the romance. SPOILER: Plus, after our big baddie, Sun Ho’s father, dies, that took away some of the intensity. END OF SPOILER

Don’t worry though, things soon pick back up for that final quarter. The story continues ahead with some unexpected and very interesting new plot developments to keep things exciting. Bang Won also becomes more prominent and is a force to be reckoned with. And I’ll never say no to more Jang Hyuk!

My Country: The New Age was an excellent drama. I liked that it was more serious and angsty while giving me a story of two long-time friends pitted against each other, a heartfelt romance, and plenty of intrigue.

There were some seriously impressive actors here, and they all gave memorable performances. Add in a great script and wonderful production, and My Country: The New Age was very enjoyable.

My Rating: 8/10

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38 responses to “My Country: The New Age Korean Drama Review”

  1. Timescout Avatar

    Too bloody and emo for my taste. 😀 I’ve lost interest in the more ‘traditional’ sageuks, which is why I haven’t watched any in the past few years.

    1. Kay Avatar

      It was even a bit bloody for my tastes, lol. At least it wasn’t gory though, so I could handle it. Emo it most certainly was too! That I definitely liked 🙂

      I don’t care for the really traditional sageuks that are politic heavy. Other than that, I like most of them if they lean either angsty, fun, or fantasy. Just keep the politics to a minimum and I do well with the genre, hehe 🙂

      1. Timescout Avatar

        I don’t mind certain amount of angst but the problem with most sageuks is that they just go too emo and serious annnnd I loose interest. But fun and fantasy work fine for me too. 🙂 Just as long as the writing stays at least somewhat consistent all the way through. I’m watching Joy of Life (a Chinese costume drama) at the moment and loving it so far. It’s been surprisingly funny, which I didn’t expect based on the source novel.

        1. Kay Avatar

          Yeah, most sagueks tend to get more serious as they go and get pretty angsty by the end. I like dramas that start out lighter and then get serious in both historials and modern dramas, so the progression tends to work well for me.

          It’s good you have better luck with cdramas though. I’m still trying to find another one I can make it all the way though. I always see all the pretty, especially in the historicals, and long to become enthralled in one from start to finish. Hopefully someday 🙂

          1. Timescout Avatar

            Well, that’s where we differ. I prefer my shows’ ingredients mostly carefully blended to make a harmonious whole, though some ‘lumps’ can be tolerated. 😀 Unless it’s e.g a full on comedy or melo, then I expect a comedy or melo all the way through. I especially hate it when shows start out fun and light and tgo all angsty and dark half way through and then spend better part of that half wallowing in misery. Those give me a serious whiplash and leave an unsavoury aftertaste. Consistency, that’s the key.

            Have you tried The Untamed? It has both fun/lighter and angsty bits and a satisfactory ending. As it’s not a palace drama there is no real politicking, just several schemes going on. And the real bad guys aren’t who you’d think they are either. Which I loved. 😉 I think Untamed has bit of everything in a nice package. It can also be highly addicting once you get past the first 10 or so episodes. There are people who still haven’t been able to competely move on from the drama and I do understand why, it was uncommonly hard for me too.

          2. Kay Avatar

            I can definitely understand why dramas that go from light to angsty don’t work well for you and many others. I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t usually get the whiplash feeling since I think most dramas transition slowly as they go along. It’s dramas that try to do both at the same time that don’t always work out for me. That’s where I can feel the tonal shifts since it’s happening right together.

            Otherwise, I tend to really bond with the characters better when a drama starts light so that I really get to like them and then feel for them when things get serious. And then I love me some juicy angsty, and I’ll usually take it any time, lol. But I know how upsetting it is for so many, particularly when they are loving a cute new rom-com and then it suddenly turns into a melo and it’s just not what they were wanting. Though I would always caution that with kdramas to expect that to happen since it does so much. Luckily, there are so many dramas these days that almost all tastes can be met no matter what we like 🙂

            I haven’t tried The Untamed yet, but I do have it on my cdrama list. I know people have been loving that one. It definitely sounds like a good combination of stuff I tend to like. It’s almost always too much filler and a slow feel to them that keep me from getting far in most cdramas. So it can just overcome that, I’d be set 🙂

          3. Timescout Avatar

            Yeah, I’m well aware of kdramas’ tendency to go angsty regardless of the genre. 😀 And yet, I still get fooled occassionally by the promo materials on some supposedly lighter kdramas, ha. Which is why I genereally look to other countries when I want something sweet and uncomplicated.

            The way I see it, it’s the writer’s job to get us invested in the story and characters no matter how it starts. Unfortunately so many writers fail at that these days.

            Oh yes, the epi count in cdramas has been ridiculous, but there are restrictions now on long cdramas can be, so the makers can’t use excessive ‘padding’ any more. The Untamed didn’t actually have much filler. The original webnovel is long, as they are wont to be, so the makers rather had to figure out what bits to include in the drama so that it would make narrative sense and still satisfy both the novel fans and the potential viewers. I think they did good on that front and the 50 epis was more than warranted. Besides the episodes are just about 40 min each, of which several minutes are taken by opening and ending credits, so I’d say the real epi length is more like 35 min. This is the case with most cdramas btw. 😉

          4. Kay Avatar

            Haha, yeah, even I get fooled and I totally expect it 🙂 Especially since they like to release thesethese really cute and funny first teasers with no hint of angst. Then a couple trailers later they go all dark, and you’re left wondering if the first trailer was for the same drama, hehe

            Yeah, those cdrama ep counts are something. I wish they had more that were 30 eps or less since time wise that work out similar to most of the kdramas I watch. The cdramas I’ve actually completed were 20 eps, 30 eps, and 37 eps. And I still thought the 30 & 37 were draggy at times and had filler.

            I had noticed with the really long opening and ending credits of most dramas that the eps did tend to clock in about 35 min though. That’s definitely a help to cut down on the time 🙂 Because now we’ve commonly got the cable kdramas putting in eps that are like 1 hour and 20 min long.

            The pacing and the way kdramas construct their scenes seem to work for me a lot better though. I commonly find myself watching a cdrama scene feeling like scenes just goes on too long and don’t advance the plot much. Cdramas and kdramas definitely tell their stories differently.

            I’m going to keep at them though since there are so many interesting stories and they are just beautiful. So even when I only manage to make it 10 eps or so, at least it’s nice to look at, lol 🙂

  2. honeycrunch321 Avatar

    I haven’t really decided if i’ll watch this one… Hmmm… maybe I’ll try it 🙈

    1. Kay Avatar

      It’s a good watch, but it’s very heavy, so make sure you’re ready for all the emotions when you do. It’s not for the faint of heart, hehe 😉

      1. honeycrunch321 Avatar

        Ehehehe… ok! Hmmm, maybe I’ll watch this after watching ‘The Stranded’ 😊

        1. Kay Avatar

          Haha, sounds like a good idea 🙂

          1. honeycrunch321 Avatar

            Well… we’re done with ‘The Stranded’ and the fam decided to proceed with ‘Watcher’ 😂 I guess we’ll go with it! 😉

          2. Kay Avatar

            Well, best of luck with Watcher then 🙂 I haven’t seen that one, but maybe you won’t need so many tissues for it, hehe 🙂

  3. Snow Flower Avatar
    Snow Flower

    I am glad you liked it! Yang Se Jong and Woo Do Hwan were really great! I will follow their projects. As for Jang Hyuk, he is always compelling to watch. I hope that the young cast learned a lot from him.
    I found the OST online and have been listening and enjoying the music from the show too.
    You can read my more detailed comments for each episode on the Amusings website.

    1. Kay Avatar

      It really was a great drama! Just the angsty kind of historical I was looking for 🙂 Yes, the actors were top notch. I’m sure the younger cast was able to learn some from Jang Hyuk, especially since they are already so good. Ah, the OST was great one too!

      I have been reading through KJT’s recaps and the interesting convos in the comments. This is the kind of drama that has plenty to dissect and talk about 🙂

  4. Snow Flower Avatar
    Snow Flower

    I have a comment about the poster. It is in black and white, so it is not clear if the droplets at the bottom of the poster are ink or blood. Having seen the drama, I was thinking about how much of history is written in blood, and also how much historical events were shaped by the personal traits and relationships of the key figures involved.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Oooh, that is an interesting observation. I would guess blood, especially after seeing the drama. Like you said, it really fits well with how much of history is written in blood. And then reading/watching about how these key figures made history is really fascinating. How much the world changed or went in a particular direction because of one person or relationship is pretty mind boggling.

  5. Snow Flower Avatar
    Snow Flower

    Maybe both ink and blood…

    1. Kay Avatar

      I like that idea 🙂

  6. Kate Avatar

    Thanks so much for the thorough review! I wish I were more into these kinds of historicals since this one seems to have been so well done but I just can’t sit through hours of politics and angst.

    1. Kay Avatar

      You’re very welcome 🙂 Well, the politics isn’t too bad in this one, just more towards the end. But the angst has a big presence from start to finish. This is the drama to watch when you want to cry, hehe. Definitely well done though with lots of excitement, emotions, and intrigue 🙂

  7. […] I liked that My Country: The New Age was more serious and angsty while giving me an intense story of two long-time friends pitted against each other, a heartfelt romance, and plenty of intrigue. Yang Se Jong, Woo Do Hwan, and Jang Hyuk gave some seriously impressive and memorable performances here. My Country: The New Age was enjoyable all the way through. My Rating: 8/10 (My Country: The New Age) […]

  8. […] Yang Se Jong, Woo Do Hwan, and Jang Hyuk gave some seriously impressive and memorable performances here. My Country: The New Age was enjoyable all the way through. (My Country: The New Age Review) […]

  9. Drama Fan Avatar

    I watched for Jang Hyuk and was amazed by him once again (and maybe more than ever) I really enjoyed all his scenes with his father, with Namjeon, his brother and the three young leads. I fell for Banghwi (Bangwon-Hwi team) and then cried for them. So while the drama had flaws and some repetitive angsty situations I was never bored.

    1. Kay Avatar

      I always have the same experience with Jang Hyuk too in that he continually amazes me. I think can he really impress me even more, and then he goes and does it! And I agree, all of his scenes in My Country were enjoyable, and he just brought the character of Bang Won to life in such an intense and interesting way 🙂

  10. Gaebongaaah Avatar

    I must confess to having something of a man-crush on Jang Hyuk and pick up pretty much anything he’s in. So it’s tough for me not to root for him, even though in this case he is neither one of the leads and plays someone who is morally quite (dark) grey. It’s that ambiguity that makes Bang Won, along with the deeply conflicted Sun Ho, the most interesting characters personally. Jang Hyuk, portraying the prince’s ambition and sense of injustice practically burns its way through the screen.

    Elsewhere i thought Seolhyun did a decent understated job. I wasn’t aware she was from AoA at the time of watching. Now if we can just get ChoA into a time-travel comedy sageuk my life will be complete.

    Overall I would agree, 8/10 seems spot on. Not sure if you have a review planned but next up for me will be ‘Tell Me What You Saw’.

    1. Kay Avatar

      I’m a huge Jang Hyuk fan too, so I completely understand 🙂 And I know what you mean about feeling the need to root for him even with a character like Lee Bang Won. Jang Hyuk makes him so compelling and you begin to understand him. He really is something 🙂

      Although I want to watch it for Jang Hyuk, I have been undecided about Tell Me What You Saw. I’m pretty picky with my crime thrillers, so I’ve been waiting to see some more fan reactions before I decide. I’d love to hear what you think of it if you do watch it next 🙂

      1. Gaebongaaah Avatar

        So after churning through 60 episodes of cdrama Love & Destiny I finally managed to get round to this. I enjoyed my time with it to be sure, it’s a competent, by-the-numbers crime drama with a lot to like. Sadly however, I don’t think it really lived up to expectations.

        There were some good performances from Soo-young (who I have just learned was in Girls Generation) and from Jin Seo-yeon (who was not in any kpop group to my knowledge) and of course the talented Mr Jang. Even so I don’t think it will go down as one of the more memorable characters he has played like Dae-gil or Pil-joo, in this he feels a bit unchallenged, like he never has to leave 2nd gear.

        That’s the fault of the writing which feels quite safe and formulaic. Heck, it’s a crime drama with a genius profiler and a naive young cop with special abilities, it’s not like they were shooting for originality here! And while the whole season builds nicely towards its finale, early on I did find difficulty in connecting to both characters and storyline.

        Overall I’d call it a decent watch, but one that falls a short of the best in the genre. 7/10.

        Oh well. Onwards and upwards. Next up for me is Kingdom Season 2 and then I really must get round to Descendants of the Sun. Hope you are keeping safe and well in these extraordinary times. At least we have kdrama to keep us company in lockdown.

        1. Kay Avatar

          It does sound like it’s a pretty straight forward crime thriller. Nothing revolutionary, but decent. Yeah, the writing is frequently at fault when it doesn’t allow a talented actor to really shine in the character. Jang Hyuk has so many memorable characters that he truly made his own.

          I had a similar experience with him in the crime thriller Voice. He does good of course, but his character was very one dimensional and he didn’t have as much to work with. Although I always love him, I think he’s had better luck with historicals, melos, and comedies than crime dramas. I’ll probably keep Tell Me What You Saw on my list, but maybe save it for later.

          I hope you enjoy Kindgom 2. I’ll definitely be checking out that one too, but I’m going for lighter fare these days, so it’s another I will hold off on. I hope you are staying safe too and finding lots of dramas to entertain you as all try to move through all this 🙂

          1. Gaebongaaah Avatar

            I must admit I did like the first season of Voice, despite the lack of depth to his role. With Oh Hyun-jae, his character in Tell Me What You Saw, they have decided to go a little more edgy, which if nothing else gifts us with some lingering shots of him rocking the long hair.

            After what you said about melos and comedies I decided to go back and re-read your review of Fated To Love You. It’s been sitting there in my backlog for months now but you’ve convinced me to bump it up the list. The problem is that there are just too many great kdramas to choose from. At least Kingdom is short.

            Anyway thank you for this site Kay. I’ve picked up more than a few dramas based off of your recommendations and although our tastes do differ a bit you haven’t steered me too badly wrong yet.

          2. Kay Avatar

            Oh yes, Jang Hyuk was rocking the hair in Tell Me What You Saw. A nice carry over from My Country 🙂

            I definitely have some serious love for Fated to Love You! It was my first Jang Hyuk drama, and he’s at his most eccentric in that one. Lots of fun for sure 🙂

            And thank you for saying that! I’m glad you enjoy the site and have been able to find some good dramas through it. I try to highlight what to expect from a drama in my reviews so that even if our tastes differ at times, people can still use them to help decide if they might be interested in a particular show. People who like the same types of dramas I do get ideas on what to watch, but even people who have completely different tastes from me can get ideas that way 🙂

  11. Vick Avatar

    Terrible that the two friends died… They were the only reasons why I continued watching, the romance between Hwi and hui jae could have crowned the movie by then living happily… But Hwi died instead, it has a bad end I rate it 7/10

    1. Kay Avatar

      It was definitely a tragic ending to for our two friends, and thus for our couple too 🙁 I guess at least some of the secondary characters got a happy ending though.

  12. Linnhe Avatar

    This drama reminds me a lot of the great, underrated sageuk “Six Flying Dragons”. Whereas that one followed Bang Won more, this one centers more around other, well written and interesting characters (although the whole time I just expected Moohyul to come out of nowhere yelling “Warrior Moohyul!”).
    Hwi needs a hug.
    Sun Ho needs a punch in the face and then a hug.
    Yeon is a precious baby and we should all spoil her with pretty things.
    General Yi, same as in SFD, is the only older person that actually seems to give a hoot about others at times.

    For me, 8/10. 9/10 if I stop keeping the perfect score spot for the future and just give it to SFD.

    1. Kay Avatar

      I definitely enjoyed seeing the parallels between this drama and Six Flying Dragons. It was interesting seeing the similarities as well as the differences in how the story and characters played out. Both had some really great characters. I’m glad you enjoyed these great dramas too 🙂

  13. Carolyn Bruce Avatar
    Carolyn Bruce

    In My Country: did Sun ho fall in love with Yeon

    1. Kay Avatar

      It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this drama. Which character was Yeon?

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