Jewel in the Palace[대장금 (大長今)] also known as Dae Jang Geum, is the first blockbuster among the historical series from Korea. Jewel preceded both Jumong and Yisan and achieved record breaking audiences during 2003-2004, when over 50% of Korean households would watch when airing. This series is arguably also the first successful historical feminist drama, retelling Jang Geum's rice to riches story during the Chosun Dynasty 500 years ago.
Jewel is the real story of Jang Geum, a young girl who, from a lower caste in a highly hierarchical and male dominated society, is the first woman to become the King's supreme royal physician. This story takes place during the Chosun Dynasty, and exemplifies the timeless qualities of hard work, endurance and "working the system". Behind her tragic and sad stories, her naiveté and childish eyes, lies a truly ambitious working girl with a 21st century mindset, with complete disregard for glass ceilings and social discrimination. See how Jang Geum goes from being a virtually abandoned child to getting a cooking position at the palace to losing the cooking position to studying medicine and becoming the King's doctor. It's 70 episodes of rooting for the underdog and, apart from a couple of tear jerking moments, a touching and feel-good story.