Once the political intrigue began, I was very, very confused until I did some research to figure out what on earth was happening.
(Dear Subtitlers: I love you very much, but when you translate "Geum-deung-ji-sa" differently in every scene, you aren't helping.) In order to help others who may want to watch the show but are too lazy to use Google, here's a quick overview: King Yeongjo had a son, Crown Prince Sado, who may or may not have been insane.
I did, however, appreciate that his character was a decent person from the beginning of the show, much like the lead in Queen In Hyun's Man.
Fortunately, the writers balance his stoic nature by offering us the most dynamic duo in bromance history: Moon Jae Shin ("Geol Oh") and Gu Yong Ha ("Yeorim"), played by Yoo Ah In and Song Joong Ki, respectively.
Both films were adaptations of Jane Austen's work, but Emma was actually more progressive in terms of gender representations.
The author suggested that modern films don't feel the need to push boundaries as much as period pieces do. Maybe viewers (and producers) enjoy seeing Yoon Hee talk about the capability of women because they can recognize the oppression in her society, but they're less comfortable raising those same issues in a modern-day setting, where they resort to wrist grabs and floods of tears instead. The major reason it took me so long to get to this drama was the historical setting.
While time-travel dramas helped a bit, this drama can be hard to follow if you don't know much about Korean history.The first two-thirds of the series are really heavily focused on Yoon Hee's character development and the concerns she faces as a woman hiding in a man's world.In the last third, however, the focus shifts to the other three members of the Jalgeum Quartet.The only word I can think of to describe why I loved it so much is balance. I put Park Min Young's portrayal of Kim Yoon Hee onto my list of smart kdrama female leads when I was only halfway through the series, and I never regretted my choice.Her character was smart and capable without being a monster.