My Country: The New Age Review


Synopsis
. My Country: The New Age is a 16-episode 2019 kdrama about two friends who take different paths to create their country (aka the world they want to live in). Initially the two friends have a natural rivalry. But when a competition is held with only one victor, one of the them takes a win at all costs approach. The ramifications change their lives forever. The friends are separated and end up whisked into the political and physical battles for the throne. They work on opposite sides, Can they find their way back to each other? Or will their political decisions create a gap that cannot be breached? Will the powerful people they serve alter their souls or kill them when their utilization is complete?


What I liked
.

Gripping episodes and excellent production. Writer Chae Seung Dae created a villain that all the core characters worked against (and sometimes for). What happened next was never boring. Director Kim Jin Won’s superb production team brought it all to life. The cinematography was top notch. The night scenes were clear and beautifully lit. The fight scenes were well done and not over long. The costumes and makeup were excellent.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong). Seo Hwi had misfortune heaped upon him in the initial episodes. He found a trio of friends and this foursome stayed together through the remainder of the series. Seo Hwi was used again and again for someone else’s gain. When Seo Hwi took control of his choices, he blossomed showing his strategic abilities. Seo Hwi wouldn’t and couldn’t give up on his friend. Seo Hwi had a terrific support team that added levity to oft serious series.
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan). Sun Ho had his reasons for treating his friend as an adversary and destroying his world. Sun Ho aligned with the powerful people who used him while it suited him. This allowed him to see when his friend might be making the same mistake. But if someone did to you what Sun Ho did could you forgive him as Seo Hwi did?
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk). Bang Won was polarizing. All the powerful characters realized Bang Won could take it all and eradicate them from the game. Jang Hyuk was terrific as Bang Won. He was powerful while navigating the political quagmire to achieve his vision of the country of the abandoned, vulnerable when his father repeatedly discounted his worth, and inspirational to the men that followed and supported his quest. Bang Won had empathy for others and saw their worth. Though if he deemed you were an obstacle, see ya!
Compelling villain Nam Jeon (Ahn Nae Sang). Nam Jeon was the big bad in this series. Nam Jeon was an opponent for every major character in this series. He was cruel, cold, calculating, duplicitous and yet he OWNED who he was. It seemed like any scene shared by Ahn Nae Sang and Jang Hyuk was a master’s class in acting.

What I didn’t like.

Bang Won’s father wasn’t held responsible for the evil he incited. Sun Ho’s father was. Bang Won’s father, the General and then King, only used others for his own goal – to gain and keep the throne. He did not cared about anyone in his orbit (including 99% of his children). He used, he abused, he ordered people killed but he did not accept responsibility. He was a different kind of evil than Sun Ho’s father, Nam Jeon.  Lottery losers in fathers, Sun Ho and Bang Won both did terrible things to appease/satisfy/nullify their fathers. In the first half, the puppet masters were their fathers. Sun Ho’s father’s didn’t deny his evil machinations. But Bang Won’s father claimed that he didn’t force anyone to do anything. Many times he disavowed directing Bang Won, much to his outrage. Writer Chae attributed Bang Won’s initial actions to following his father’s wishes. Granted Bang Won evolved past doing his father’s bidding and did PLENTY on his own, with his goal to create his country.

Would I recommend My Country: The New Age? Yes, this series engages and delivers. The writing was rock solid. The production team was top notch especially night scenes. The cast was a true ensemble. This series exemplifies Aristotle’s quote “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”


OST
. This drama’s OST was more extensive than the series showcased. My favorite vocal song was You Stand on the Landscape of Remembrance (link) and my favorite instrumental was My Country (link) which always put a smile on my face during the series.

Track list:
1. Because It’s You performed by Jung Seung Hwan
2. Rose of Sharon performed by Melo Breeze
3. Wild Road performed by Kim Jae Hee
4. Remember performed by U-mb5 & SEAGATE DJ featuring Seoho
5. You Stand on the Landscape of Remembrance performed by Ock Joo Hyun
6. Bird performed by Purple Rain
7. The Farewell performed by Seoho
8. Tears of Moon Flower performed by Space Dust
9. Moonbok’s Song
10. River Flower
11. Garden of God
12. Lost Castle
13. My Country
14. Flavor of Life
15. Sword of the Stranger
16. Arrow-Head
17. Dark Walls
18. Kingdom
19. The Warrior
20. Battlefield
21. Remember (Instrumental)
22. Remember (SEAGATE DJ Mix) [feat. Seo Ho]
To listen to the OST in full use this link or listen below:

How does My Country: The New Age rate? I rate this series as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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Posted in Kdrama, My Country: The New Age, Reviews
19 comments on “My Country: The New Age Review
  1. Snow Flower says:

    One of the best dramas of 2019. Best acting, best bromance, and definitely best OST!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kay says:

    Definitely an engaging series with compelling characters. It was nice to get in a more angsty historical in 2019 as it was such an enjoyable watch. Everything was done well and any historical lover should check this one out 🙂

    Like

  3. beezrtp says:

    Thank goodness they cast Jang Hyuk! Otherwise I would’ve missed out on a very good saeguk and the other very good performances!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. beezrtp says:

    Now, kjt, this gives me a good opportunity to nag you some more to finish watching Six Flying Dragons because it answers a lot of questions you might have of things this series didn’t have time to answer although they brought those things up time and again.

    Although, have you seen Tree With Deep Roots? Because I feel that the enjoyment of SFD is enhanced by meeting some of the characters first in their elder years in Tree. It gives you a pre-fondness for them in SFD as you watch what shaped them into who you know them to be in Tree.

    Like

    • I haven’t seen tree with deep roots. I’ve only watched the first episode of six flying dragons. I got caught up with a couple other dramas. I’ll get back to it soon.

      Like

      • beezrtp says:

        I hate to say it, because I know you’ve got a lot on your plate and a lonnnng watch list (like we all) but I’d recommend watching Tree With Deep Roots first. Besides the fact that that’s how we were introduced to some of the characters, Tree is only 24 (I think) episodes long (and has Jang Hyuk).

        Like

        • Since I’m only one episode into 6FD, I could take the detour. Thanks for the tip!

          Like

          • beezrtp says:

            If you watch Tree first, pay attention to the King Seojun’s bodyguard Moo yeol and elder master Bang ji. Not very large roles in Tree, but they are expanded in SFD.

            Like

          • Jane Tilly says:

            I saw SFD first, which comes chronologically before Tree with Deep Roots. I think you will enjoy both KJT, regardless of the order you see them in.

            Like

            • beezrtp says:

              Yeah, I agree that you CAN watch SFD first and still enjoy both shows. I’ve just found with prequels that usually there’s reasons to watch in the order the shows were produced. Plus, in my opinion, SFD is a masterpiece and watching it first detracts a bit from how really good Tree is because how can anything live up to a masterpiece?

              Right now my nephew-in-law is 12 and my son sat him down to watch Star Wars in chronological order. Now the kid thinks nothing of Luke Skywalker but instead thinks Aniken is the ultimate hero. lol

              Either way kjt decides to watch, I do agree she’ll enjoy both.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jane Tilly says:

                Hmm, you may be right that the order you watch them, may put you in a different paradigm for watching the next one …

                Liked by 1 person

                • beezrtp says:

                  lol,JT. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing my take on the StarWars saga over the years, but the latest is that my nephew-in-law was shown Star Wars in (new) chronological order and now he thinks Luke Skywalker id lame and Aniken is the hero! He was also bored by the 1976-1978 episodes because the special effects could not hold up after first watching the newer and better Fx of the 21st century.

                  Likewise, my other experience with prequels is Spartacus 2011-2014 (I think). Before I go any further, this show is not for the feint of heart. It’s full of nudity and portrayals of sex and rape but I have been interested in the historical character Spartacis ever since the 1968 movie starring Kurt Douglas and have watched all versions of it. So about this new version and its prequel – the first season showed the slaves being bullied by another top slave who, although he was a heartless piece of dung, had a soft spot for some pet pigeons. He would piss in the other prisoners porridge so that one day they were sitting around talking about how they’d love to see his face if they could put his pet birds in the pot and eat them. The scene was very funny and interesting although they were helpless in the pecking order. In the prequel, some other poor bullied slaves (with a bit more backbone) actually do eat the bully’s birds and a gory exciting fight follows. But if the prequel is viewed first, by the time you hear the prisoners only trash talking big about only thinking about eating the birds in the first (original) season, then that scene loses its impact in comparison of having already seen an exciting scene in the prequel thus the original has become less interesting/exciting.

                  Spartacus had excellent writing but the network it was broadcast on was just starting out and wanted to pull in male viewers and relied on sex to do so. But even the gratuitous sex fit the story of slaves with zero human rights but the network just took it too far as far as what was necessary to be shown for viewers to get the drift. But as long as I’m talking about Spartacus, I do recommend it for great storytelling and its two epic romances but I tack on a huge RRR warning.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Jane Tilly says:

                    I see you point about the watching order changing your paradigm.

                    Man’s inhumanity to man is a very hard thing for me to watch … I think I may skip Spartacus

                    Liked by 1 person

            • I expect I will enjoy both…when I carve the time to watch.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. beezrtp says:

    Here’s a very cute and touching video clip of the actor who provided comic relief in this series and his wife and daughter.

    I personally think that when they give men the faux pregnancy bodywear that they should make it much heavier than the weight of an actual baby in comparison to the guy’s strength since the goal is for them to experience what their wife does.

    Like

  6. Iman says:

    I’m pretty sure Seon-Ho realises his love for Seo-Yeon after her death & it would most likely be romantic after he was driven by nothing but her after her passing 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Like

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