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‘Mr. Queen’ Premieres with 2nd-Highest Ratings of Any tvN Weekend Drama, But the Original Novel Becomes a Problem

Credit: tvN

The new tvN weekend drama Mr. Queen premiered with an impressive viewership. But after the broadcast, the original Chinese novel the drama is based on sparked a controversy for its “Anti-Korean sentiment.”

According to Nielsen Korea, the first episode of Mr. Queen stood at 8% ratings (highest at 9.9%) nationwide, ranking 1st in the same time slot and 2nd in the entire tvN weekend drama list. The first place is held by Mr. Sunshine.

Mr. Queen is about the soul of Jang Bong Hwan, a man who lives in present-day Korea, getting trapped in the body of the queen in the Joseon era. Along with various situations that cause laughter, the drama planted various “Easter eggs” to stimulate curiosity.

The drama’s ingenious storytelling and actors’ solid performances received rave reviews, however, the fact that there are multiple “Anti-Korean sentiments” in the original novel stirred up a controversy. Mr. Queen is based on the Chinese drama Go Princess Go, which is adapted from the novel of the same name by Xian Chen. However, there are elements that “belittle” Korea in the book, such as using the name Goryeo (Korean dynasty) among fictional countries and calling the Koreans “Bangz” (a disparaging term for Koreans used in China).

In response, director Yoon Sung Sik said, “The drama is based on Go Princess Go, but when we bought the copyright, we only took the basic setting of a man’s soul going into the body of a queen. The rest of the story and development are completely different.”

Meanwhile, KBS’s Homemade Love Story recorded 25.6% to 30.8% ratings, while JTBC’s Hush saw a slight decline to 2.574%. SBS’s Delayed Justice garnered 3.9% to 5.0%, and TV Chosun’s The Goddess of Revenge showed 2.101% to 2.505% viewership. OCN’s The Uncanny Counter showed a slight drop to 6.1%, but Kim Se Jeong’s flawless performance made headlines.

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