Hangul: 밤을 걷는 선비
Other names: The Night Scholar
Star Rating (Out of 5):
Starring: Lee Joon Gi (Kim Sung Yeol), Lee Soo Hyuk (Gwi), Lee Yu Bi (Yang Sun), Sim Chang Min (Lee Yoon), Kim So Eun (Choi Hye Ryung/Myung Hee), Jang Hee Jin (Soo Hyang), Choi Tae Hwan (Ho Jin).
Number of Episodes: 20
Episode Length: 60 mins
Recommended to: Historical drama fans, vampire fans, people who like bittersweet stories, romance fans.
NOT recommended to: People who want no permanent sources of sadness, people who dislike romance interrupting the plot.
Set in an alternate history during the Joseon period, the story follows a royal family who cursed people to live at the mercy of a vampire who dwells within the palace (Gwi). One heroic Crown Prince decides to stand up to the vampire and as a direct consequence his friend becomes a vampire himself (Kim Sung Yeol) whilst losing the love of his life, Myung Hee.
The story then follows events a few hundred years later. Kim Sung Yeol is still seeking to destroy Gwi and enlists the help of a book keeper (Lee Yu Bi) to solve the puzzle of how to get rid of him. Kimg Sung Yeol is assisted by his staff Soo Hang, who is a calculating, intelligent woman running a pleasure house and Ho Jin, who is the bumbling but loveable shoe man.
Initially, unbeknownst to Sung Yeol, the current Crown Prince (Lee Yoon) is also looking to take down Gwi. The story continues to follow the intertwining stories of the main characters as they try to find the old Crown Prince’s memoir, which contains details of a plan to kill Gwi, and then try to decipher the plan until the story’s ultimate conclusion.
Scholar is a solid historical drama and certainly engaging enough. If you are a fan of Joon Gi or Soo Hyuk then you should enjoy the show, if only because both actors turn out a fantastic performance in the show. Lee Yu Bi’s character, whilst still vulnerable, does a stellar job of being a little more independent than most female leads.
If you are particularly bothered by the portrayal of strong female characters being affected heavily by men and leaning on their love interest for support, then you may want to give this one a skip – although I certainly found it less grating than I do with some dramas.
The show itself does suffer from a dip in pace about midway through though. Sometimes I feel that K-Dramas commit to episode count at detriment to the plot and this is far from the only one to suffer from that.
Soo Hyuk’s portrayal of Gwi is amazing, although is let down somewhat by the world’s worst wig/hair extensions. It is hard to look menacing with hair that bad. This is an indicative trend in Scholar, where often budget limitations show through and let down an otherwise stellar show. The special effects are mostly top tier and the show certainly relies on effects to portray its character and plots. However, at times the polish of the effects does slip and this can break the mood the actors had worked so hard to create.
All in all, I would recommend this drama as a ‘one to watch’ but perhaps not as your first foray into K-Dramas!
Check out our Scholar GIF set HERE.