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"Splendid Politics" Starts Out Strong

BY Julie Jones | Apr 14, 2015 02:52 PM EDT

Splendid Politics

The first episode of "Splendid Politics," also known as "Hwajung," attracted plenty of attention. In its opening episode the 50-episode historical saga scored a noteworthy 10.5 percent in the ratings.

The front-running drama, "Heard It Through The Grapevine," is only slightly ahead of that figure, reaching 11.6 percent in the ratings this week. The best this drama has done is 12.0 percent.

Remaining in third place is the KBS series "Blood," which only managed to achieve 3.8 percent. The drama has remained in third place for weeks.

"Hwajung" stars Cha Seung Won in yet another interpretation of the real-life Prince Gwanghae. The prince was the son of King Seonjo and a concubine. After his father died, he was overlooked in the ascension to the throne.

Gwanghae seized the throne and executed his half brother, the rightful heir. Because he fears that others will depose him, he bans his half-sister Princess Jung Myung and her mother Queen Inmok from the palace. The princess, played by Lee Yeon Hee, not only has to live as a poor commoner but she also disguises herself as a man so she can plot revenge against the prince who banished her.

The saga has a huge cast that also includes Kim Jae Won as Prince Neungyan and Seo Kang Joon as Hong Joo Won.

The week's ratings frontrunner was "Heard It Through The Grapevine." In this comedy of manners, starring Go Ah Seung and Lee Joon, a young man from an upstanding family gets his girlfriend pregnant. The family grudgingly accepts her as the couple insists on getting married. But eventually they warm to her when they discover she is smart and has legal talent. They try to "clean up" her family background so her poor relatives will not embarrass them. But the poor family resists attempts to make them over. In the course of the drama all the upscale family's pretensions are made to seem silly and shallow. Through the new additions to the family-their new daughter-in-law and grandchild-the rich family receives some well-needed lessons on how to behave like decent people.

The vampire drama "Blood," which starred Gu Hye Sun and Ahn Jae Hyun, never caught on with Korean audiences although it has international fans. It has settled into third place and will likely stay there until its final episode, which is scheduled for April 21.

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