Why did 'The Red Sleeve' starring 2PM Lee Jun-ho turn out to be the best Korean drama of 2021?

MBC Saeguk romance drama 'The Red Sleeve' starring 2PM Lee Jun-ho and Lee Se-young reached its finale and ended on a high note with its personal all-time high ratings. Nobody had thought that it would become such a huge hit, so much so that MBC extended it for one episode. The drama revolves around a dutiful Joseon King who ends up falling in love with a court lady, will their love be able to sustain all the hardships that may come their way?

Not a single factor can be criticized about this drama, from the acting to the production, everything was top-notch. Beginning from the acting, Lee Jun-ho nailed the role in every single frame seamlessly. But, Lee Se-young deserves the over-due appreciation, her character brings forth all the emotions of every woman who long to live an independent life but ends up being ruled by a patriarchal society.

I read somewhere that this drama is a Cinderella story, however, I disagree. It was not about a woman waiting for her prince charming, it was a story of a woman who craved independence and fought hard for it in the times when women were nothing more than a trophy. From the poetic dialogues to the captivating cinematography, this whole drama was a poetic experience that will leave you heartbroken while reminiscing the happy moments.

The drama is crafted so well that even the political aspect of it will not bor you, the drama is pieced together outstandingly. What really surprised me was that they literally went hard and followed the real-life events religiously instead of romanticizing them, unlike usual K-dramas that crave happy endings. The voice that was given to the female character made her stand out and even though some may have not enjoyed the ending, I feel it was the most appropriate way to end this gut-wrenching story.

No doubt, this drama turned out to be one of the best in 2021. Have you seen it? How would you rate it?