In response, j3ffc basically wanted to know which classic dramas I think drama fans should check out (which would demonstrate the shift in gaze over the years), and Trent heartily seconded the idea and expanded on it:
“The question I’ve been thinking about is along the lines of how do you think kdramas have evolved over the last couple decades? Do you see discernible or important trends in that time?
(Broadly considered: thematically, in treatment of tropes, genre or sub-genre expansion (or contraction), production values, stylistic changes, acting and\or casting type trends: it’s all fair game).
You touched on a bit of this in this Vogue interview, but I’d be very interested in a broader look, and I just don’t have the range of experience to even attempt a synthesis. You do, though. 😁”
So today I thought I’d talk about kdramas which I would consider iconic, over the years, and how kdramas have been evolving, in broad strokes.
Hey KFG. Hope you are well. An idea for “ask KFG” post was one around what your guilty pleasures are? And opening that same question up to the KFG community. In particular those that you couldn’t explain to a non K drama lover.
So for me three immediately come to mind. The first being “Secret Garden”. Body shifting, toxic couple. Female lead sometimes one note, an annoying mother but even though I watched this ten years after it was shown I still fell for all the iconic lines.
The second ” “You are Beautiful”. Cross dressing nun joins a pop band pretending to be her male twin. The chemistry between the OTP never sizzles but it is oh so sweet and actually what develops is a nurturing relationship despite the communication problems. And Jang Keun-suk is so mesmerising beautiful that you can’t take your eyes off him.
The third is” Don’t dare to dream”. Questionable OTP and questionable decisions and at one point the female lead dates both the ML and the second lead at the same but the sparkling chemistry between the leads makes this a great binge watch.
And an honourable mention for Masters Sun. FL sees ghosts and ML acts as a barrier to those ghosts but uses this power to manipulate the FL into furthering his interests but again the sizzling chemistry between the leads makes the show so bingeable”
Designed to be light, easy and feel-good, Show tends to lean more simplistic than I would like, particularly in the areas of business and technology and how that all works. The characters took a while to grow on me, but I did eventually grow fond of almost all of them.
At the same time, there are definitely some stand-outs that endeared themselves to me early, like Kim Hae Sook as Gran.
Ultimately, Show manages to be uplifting and aspirational (if you can overcome the over-simplification of everything), and ends up being a reasonably pleasant coming-of-age – or rather, coming-into-your-own – kinda story.
PS: Most viewers have strong feelings about this story’s love triangle, but I didn’t.
A highly-buzzed, high-profile drama project that boasted strong credentials, a big budget and an even bigger cast, but which ultimately failed to deliver the expected awesome.
Patchy writing, jerky direction & execution, and uneven acting all contribute to Show’s general lack of oomph.
For the tenacious viewer, though, there are small stretches of soapy crack to be had, and quite a lot of pretty to gaze at, for the most part. Lee Jun Ki is mesmerizing and quite wonderful in this, despite his character getting off to a somewhat shaky start.
So it looks like I ought to have my “Woob Fangirl” license revoked, you guys. Coz try as I might (and I really, really, really tried), I just could not get into Uncontrollably Fond.
I trudged through 14 episodes of this one, trying – and consistently failing – to see the light with this show. At this point, I feel it’s time to admit defeat: I just don’t have it in me to sit through another 6 episodes of this one. Not even for Woob (gasp!).
I acknowledge that this show has its fans, who legit love this show. To which I can only say, I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.
But I genuinely enjoyed all of those shows, and any resemblance, in this case, is not a bad thing. I loved that Show is breezy, and showcases endearing characters and their heart-tugging relationships, and I was effectively smitten for much of Show’s run.
It’s unfortunate that Show loses its footing somewhat, in the last quarter. That made me sad. After everything is said and done, though, I still felt wistful in saying goodbye to these characters, and that definitely counts for something.
Funny story, you guys. I actually never intended to watch Goong S, let alone finish it.
It all started a while ago, when I did my rewatch and review of Goong, and discovered to my delight that not only was there new squee to be had, given my better grasp of the Korean language, but even the palace politics were more interesting, given my sageuk exposure since first watching it years ago.
On Twitter, several friends wondered about whether there’d be a similar effect with Goong S, and sort of fun-challenged me to turn my now-better-informed eyes on this show, to see if any of that better insight was to be had with Goong’s spin-off.
I didn’t take the challenge seriously, especially since, during the height of my Goong obsession, I’d dipped my toes in for a bit, and, jarred by this show’s differences and similarities to Goong, had dropped it like a hot potato.
To think that now, 8 years later, I’ve not only gone back to give this a try, but have actually finished it! Past Me would be shocked, I tell ya. 😉
Today’s question is brought to us by Bakazen, who asks:
What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great? I just recently finished watching Doctor Stranger and realized 2 things: LJS is a good actor and I really didn’t like this drama. So why did I finish it? Because I was hooked by the bromance tease between LJS and PHJ.
My personal theory is they work well as substitutes for the sometimes overwhelming lack of affection we see between couples. Guys in bromances show affection, love, solidarity, joy, connection & (dare I say it) skinship!
Nothing warms my heart like one of the F4s coming to a bros rescue, the F44s teasing each other or the leads in School 2013 (LJS & Woobie) saying how much they missed each other’s friendship.
Besides, I rarely get that hooked into the female friendships (major exception, Noh Eun-seol & Lee Myung Ran from Protect the Boss). What do you think?
Fresh, fun and earnest, and backed by a breezy soundtrack that’s easy on the ears, Dream High ranks as one of my all-time favorite music-centric, high school dramas. Heck, it’s one of my favorite dramas, period.
Despite its youth-y premise, Dream High has a pretty universal appeal, with its emphasis on friendship, loyalty and finding & pursuing your dreams.
What the idol-heavy cast lacks in finesse, they more than make up for with earnestness. And then there’s Kim Soo Hyun, Uhm Ki Joon and Lee Yoon Ji in the main cast, lending acting cred and nuance to the overall package.
The drama takes an episode or two to get into its groove but once it does, it’s cracky, delicious goodness.