South Korea is known throughout Asia for producing some of the best dramas for television, both historical and contemporary. Longer than BBC miniseries, the programs are romantic, intense, and addictive, inspiring fannish devotion. Unfortunately, the Western world has not yet caught onto South Korea’s splendid drama series, but with such sites as Crunchyroll (available through Roku) and MBC Global Media offering free downloads, there’s no excuse not to.
A great place to start is Jewel in the Palace, one of the most popular Korean dramas ever. Known in Korea as Dae Jang Geum, or “The Great Jang Geum,” Jewel in the Palace takes place during the Joseon (or Choson) period, a vast era of cultural flowering and occasional bloody chaos, including political purges and Japanese invasions. One of the longest running dynasties in history, Joseon ruled from 1392 all the way to 1910.