It’s not exactly a history lesson, but Kingdom does open a window into the middle of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, a centuries-long era that ran to nearly the 20th century. During which time there wasn’t an actual zombie plague…so liberties have been taken. As the series opens, rumors are swirling that the king has died, and his son, Crown Prince Lee Chang, is trying to find out the truth. Turns out that the King did, in fact, die—of smallpox—but the Queen Consort and her father, a powerful courtier, have a plan: they’ve given the King a little-known plant that revives him (you can see where this is headed) in the hope of keeping him alive long enough for the Queen to bear a son. Since Lee Chang is merely the son of a concubine, he’d lose his claim to the throne in such an event.
The show very deftly combines horror and medieval-esque political intrigue, making it something wholly unique to either genre. Based on a webcomic series authored by show creator Kim Eun-hee, it’s Netflix’s first original South Korean series. So far there are two seasons and a feature-length special episode, with a third season on the way.