For the longest time, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (also known as Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and Scarlet Heart: Goryeo) has struggled to attain a high domestic viewership rating. To put it bluntly, it is not popular with South Koreans. To understand just how the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) K-drama stacks up to others, series that aired on Korean pay channels either did almost as good as it or even better. This is definitely true for Total Variety Network (tvN) K-dramas. Right now, The K2 and Drinking Solo have around the same viewership ratings as most episodes of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
Now it seems the tide has changed as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo attained double-digit viewership ratings for its latest episode. Is it possible the biggest reason why the period K-drama suddenly doing well in Korean viewership is because Moonlight Drawn by Clouds concluded?
The numbers do not lie as the viewership ratings provided by AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea show the 17th episode of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo which aired on Monday, October 24, earned double-digit ratings since the second episode. It must be noted said double-digit ratings were for the nation, but they are double-digit nevertheless as both viewership rating companies scored 10.6 percent viewership for the nation.
To be frank, the 17th episode was very important for fans devoted to Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. For starters, only one episode aired the prior week because of a baseball game. Ergo, fans waited with bated breath to see what would happen next. Also, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo takes a creative license to history and fans wanted to see just how far SBS would take said creativity.
[WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!]
One of the most-asked questions is if Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) will become the King Gwangjong history knows him to be. Throughout the series, Hae Soo (IU) — who originally came from the 21st Century — constantly remembers from Korean history that Gwangjong was the most ruthless and bloodiest king of all the monarchs of Goryeo. Hae Soo, who is in love with Wang So, guides him to be a good and wise king.
Apparently, it seems all of Hae Soo’s influence does little to change history. In one scene, Wang So is told by astronomer Choi Ji Mong (Kim Sung Kyun) certain people are questioning his ascension to the throne. Wang So, in a fit of anger, orders them to be executed. He also orders the families, servants, and everyone associated with the people questioning his monarchy to be executed too.
The direction Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is going is sure to have viewers on the edge of their seat. That alone can be enough of a reason for why the K-drama suddenly experienced a spike in viewership resulting in double-digits, but it is more likely Moonlight Drawn by Clouds having concluded is a more valid reason. The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) period drama dominated its time slot with double-digit ratings that broke past the 20 percent ceiling. It is that K-drama most responsible for hindering Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Now that it is done, it can no longer be a threat. It is even safe to say many Moonlight Drawn by Clouds viewers are now watching Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
The only sad part of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo earning double-digits right now is it may be too late in the series to really make much of an impact. After the 17th episode, there will only be three episodes left until it concludes. At least Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo made a huge impact internationally.
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 11 p.m. KST on SBS. For those who do not have access to the channel, it can be watched for free, with ads, exclusively on DramaFever. Take note that the latest two episodes will be exclusive to premium members for one week.
[Featured Image by Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]