This was the drama that follow's EWG and brings us up to 10 years prior to Empress (I Must confess i have never seen EWG or Dawn and sadly not AOW which picks up 80 years after Empress ,because at the time they were broadcast all we had was the late AZN and ImagineAsian the latter never cared for historical stuff ,It was only half way through DJY that Comcast added a local Korean Pbs Station for us ) Anyway im very curious as to those that saw it and what they thought of it ,as many of the characters and the History are in Empress also .
DOTE was OK, compared to what we are seeing now, it could be Hamlet.
I remember that it began with the death of Wang Gun, and one or more princes rivalling to take over the empire. What I remember most is that the King at the end of the show was something of a despot, and was hyper-sensitive to the Shilla vs. Bekjae factions. And he tended to over-react to those issues. In retrospect, it struck me as a filler between the excellent EWG, and AOW.
Even though it's true that the historical period of IE follows DOTE, it's an entirely different animal. IE's almost entirely fictional (she never, ever fought on a battlefield to begin with!)and DOTE was pretty true to the actual history. I think a lot of people shared mikey's reaction to it, myself included, but I never missed an episode! It wasn't in the same league as EWG or AOW, but at times, it was very compelling and interesting.
Part of the problem with DOTE at the time was that it shared a lot of the same characters as EWG, but the actors who played them in DOTE didn't even slightly resemble them. EWG's second wife, Doyoung, was shrewd and athletic, while in DOTE, she was portrayed as petty and matronly. The worst case of this had to be General Park Sulhee, who was one of my favorite characters in EWG. He loved the same girl for 17 years in EWG and didn't end up with her, but he had a very boisterous personality, while the actor who played him in DOTE always acted very reserved and didn't look anything like him.
Dawn of the Empire focused on the three sons of Wang Guhn who became emperors, Mu, Ho and So (Hyejong,Jeongjong and Gwangjong). Part of the problem with DOTE was that the first two were weak and inept rulers. So (Gwangjong) was the best of the three, and some of the parts of his reign in the series, such as when he freed the peasants who had been enslaved after Shilla's surrender and the institution of the Civil Service exams actually made DOTE rise briefly almost to the level of EWG. While EWG showed a lot of interplay between EWG and his other generals and had some brilliant strategems, DOTE was more concerned with the intrigues of the court and subsequent political purges and inquisitions. Not exactly fun viewing. Because of that, I didn't save most of the tapes because I couldn't imagine wanting to watch any of that again, but in retrospect, I give the show's creators a lot of credit for not whitewashing the history of the time. Like EWG, there was narration that clarified the history and even noted a few places where scholars disagreed.
While DOTE wasn't anywhere near the level of EWG and AOW, it still had an enriching value because of its integrity and historical accuracy. IE isn't much in comparison, bears notwithstanding.
I should mention that DOTE also had a lot of unintentional humor with the brothers Ho and So, such as:
Ho: So, What are you thinking about? So: This and that.
Well, this thread finally got me motivated. I dug out the big box of moldering old VHS tapes in the backside of the bedroom closet, and - lo and behold - there were my “Dawn of the Empire” tapes. So, I shoved tape #1 into the Panasonic and started watching.
Wow . . . it was way better than I remembered! Some of the fascination was with the actors (largely unfamiliar to me back then, but all of them old friends now). But, more importantly, I sensed a certain dedication to (gasp) factual history in DOTE that’s been all but missing in the latest crop of Korean historical dramas. The soldiers behaved like soldiers, rather than like fantasy, swordfights-in-the-trees martial artists. And the DOTE storyline was totally, completely believable. I never once found myself rolling my eyes over something, as I’ve done way too many times while watching DJY or IE.
I’m wondering now if my cool response to DOTE was maybe the same reaction others had to "Great King Sejong." After the action-packed "Emperor Wang Guhn," DOTE was a little slow-moving, without a whole lot of battles. Perhaps made it SEEM more inferior to EWG than it deserved to be.
I’m wondering if DOTE might be one of those shows you’ve got to watch a second time to really appreciate it.
Don’t know if I’m always accurate, but I guess I’m never shy about expressing my opinions!
KoreanWiz says DOTE was 94 episodes total, but that doesn’t exactly jive with the tapes I have. The first episode on my final tape was 85, and each tape held 5 or 6 episodes, so unless I missed a couple of the last episodes (I don’t recall doing so) DOTE must have run 89 or 90 episodes.
It’s hard to know for sure, because KTE (forerunner to KBS-LA) left off the episode numbers on the last half-dozen or so episodes, and they therefore tended to blur together on my VHS recordings. And (as they continue to do so today) KTE often butchered the episodes so much that it’s hard to evaluate the actual program length.
DOTE ran Monday and Tuesday nights. The last DOTE was on a Monday night and AOW began the next night without warning (typical of the then Ch. 28), which is why the tape was loaned out so much! A little into the run of AOW, The Great Jang Geum started airing on Friday and Saturday nights. That was the best the schedule ever got for historical dramas here!
You're welcome, sevenstars. Sorry you missed DOTE - it got much better about halfway through, as soon as So became emperor.