MBC's brand new sageuk Hwajung (aka Splendid Politics) premiered this week and was so enthusiastically received by the Korean audiences that it has already raced ahead to take the #1 spot in ratings. With its first episode achieving over a 10.5% rating, it now holds the record for best first episode rating so far this year.

Its first episode came in second behind this week's Heard it Through the Grapevine, which achieved a 11.6% rating, but by Hwajung's second episode it surpassed its competition by achieving 11.8%, while Heard it Through the Grapevine came in behind at 11.7%.

The success of the drama is likely due to its stellar cast of veteran actors, including Cha Seung Won and Lee Yeon Hee, solid script, and beautiful costumes. The story is about Princess Jungmyung (Lee Yeon Hee),  who lives a life of the highest privilege until her half-brother Prince Gwanghae (Cha Seung Won) executes the rightful crown prince and usurps the throne. Exiled from court, Jungmyung goes under disguise as a man and learns to adapt to life as a commoner — never forgetting Gwanghae's wrongdoing. Amidst rampant corruption throughout the kingdom,she attempts to exact her vengeance, restore order, and take back her rightful place in the palace.

Have you watched the first episode of Hwajung yet? What did you think? Does it warrant its success in ratings? Comment below!