By Kim Boram
SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean historical romance series starring young and up-and-coming actors are creating a fresh buzz at home and abroad for their dramatic settings and resonating love stories.
KBS' "The King's Affection," based on the popular webtoon "Yeonmo," is a story of a fictional princess of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), who has been raised as her deceased twin brother and becomes a king.
Starring Park Eun-bin, the 20-episode series airing every Monday and Tuesday saw its viewership ratings in South Korea jump to 10 percent for the 13th episode from 6.2 percent for the first one on Oct. 11.
It is the highest among its rival TV series on terrestrial and cable channels broadcast in the same time slot.
The Korean period drama is also popular among global viewers as every episode becomes simultaneously available on Netflix too.
The show has been on the streamer's weekly global top 10 list of most-watched non-English TV shows for a total of six weeks.
For the week from Nov. 8-14, in particular, "Affection" ranked second on the weekly non-English TV chart with 14.1 million hours of viewing after the global phenom "Squid Game."
"The Red Sleeve," a TV series adaptation of the namesake novel on MBC, is also booming on the small screen. It is based on the historical record of a love story between King Jeongjo in the 18th century Joseon Dynasty and a court lady.
Its viewership marked 5.7 percent on the first day on Nov. 12 and rose to 9.4 percent for its sixth and latest episode on Saturday.
It is higher than that of the romance drama "Now, We Are Breaking Up" in the same time slot on SBS, starring Song Hye-kyo, which logged a rating of 7.6 percent on the same day.
"The Red Sleeve," starring Junho of K-pop boy band 2PM, also outnumbered that of tvN's weekend blockbuster thriller "Jirisan," which has been hovering around a lower-than-expected 8 percent in viewership since its release in October.
"Jirisan" was one of the most anticipated TV series in 2021 for its all-star cast and crew, including actors Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon, and screenwriter Kim Eun-hee of the global hit zombie series "Kingdom" (2019) of Netflix.
The historical romantic comedy "Secret Royal Inspector & Joy" on tvN, starring TaecYeon of 2PM, is also on a roll as its viewership hit 5.3 percent in its second week, marking the second best record among Monday-Tuesday primetime TV series after "Affection."
Another historical romance, "Moonshine", starring Yoo Seung-ho and Hye-ri, will premier later this month on KBS after "Affection" finishes. It is set in mid-18th century Joseon when a strict alcohol prohibition was imposed.