The best zombie property on TV or in film right now gets a more than worthy follow-up in this excellent second season.
This review of Kingdom Season 2 is spoiler-free.
One can scarcely imagine a more grimly fitting release date for Kingdom Season 2 than today when the world is in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic and the threat of a rampant virus isn’t just doomsday fantasy but real life. Luckily, Covid-19 doesn’t turn people into zombies like the viral menace in this South Korean period piece, but the anxiety must be similar; there’s even a very obvious undercurrent of classism, as the rich recline in their ivory towers watching the poor suffer and die. In that sense, the Joseon period of Korea is basically present-day Britain.
But enough badly-timed jokes about the English political climate – we have the in-universe climate to deal with in Kingdom Season 2, since, as we learned at the end of the first season, zombies aren’t nocturnal at all! They just don’t like warm weather, which means that our intrepid band of uninfected heroes isn’t as safe as they thought. Winter is coming!
It’s a simple but nonetheless near-perfect setup for a second season, especially since what made the first season seem so fresh even within the necrotic zombie-apocalypse genre – the class dynamics, the period setting, and so on – is still very much present in this continuation. There are no more morally simplistic antagonists that zombies, but it turns out dropping them into a pretty complex historical framework really helps to liven them up. That and the undead in this show are surprisingly nippy, which never stops being an effective scare tactic.
To cut a long story short, Kingdom Season 2 is very good. It many ways, such as those mentioned above, it simply continues to be good; in others, such as the usual advantage of a second season not having to busy itself with plot and character setup, allowing it to get straight into the action, it’s good in a somewhat fresh-feeling way. Either way, fans of the first season will certainly be satisfied, and Kingdom remains the best zombie property anywhere in TV or film right now. And it’s not even close.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.