My Country: The New Age Korean Drama Review

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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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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24 Responses to My Country: The New Age Korean Drama Review

  1. Timescout says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      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 🙂

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      • Timescout says:

        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.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          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 🙂

          Like

          • Timescout says:

            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.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              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 🙂

              Like

              • Timescout says:

                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. 😉

                Liked by 1 person

                • Kay says:

                  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 🙂

                  Like

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

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Snow Flower says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      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 🙂

      Like

  4. Snow Flower says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      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.

      Like

  5. Snow Flower says:

    Maybe both ink and blood…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kate says:

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      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 🙂

      Like

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