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.
Recently in the US the great, great American television serial character actor Michael Kenneth Williams died (insofar as I can tell of a drug overdose, though the facts have been slow in coming) at the age of 54.
Just a flat out brilliant actor, Williams has had three especially memorable roles in HBO series.
But one especially stands out, the role of Omar, a kind of lone ronin bad ass, who lived out of his own moral code as a gay, shotgun carrying thief who stole from drug dealing gangs to make his living on the streets of Baltimore during the late nineties, in The Wire, a 5 season series that critics, and I as a watcher of television series, universally have acclaimed as one of the greatest if not the greatest such series ever produced.
While show features a large ensemble, and it would be hard to pin point any single actor as lead, therefore, Williams’ Omar was distinctly a support character, albeit imo the greatest antihero ever filmed.
It is hard to over emphasize what a signature role Williams enacted, except to say in the wake of his death, the outpouring of grief in response, focused in elaborate, admiring, and loving detail in large part upon his role as Omar, his superlative and unforgettable performance, and how its impact upon American culture has been universal.
I cannot myself remember any actor in film or serial drama in a supporting role so iconic; that is, in a drama so universally praised, a supporting character being universally its most memorable. I wonder if in K drama you can think of any equivalent kind of performance?
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”
Show starts out pretty strong, with an interesting premise, a big budget and a promising cast. Production values are suitably high, and I found the scenes of a dystopian Seoul particularly impressive.
Jo Seung Woo and Park Shin Hye are both solid in this, and they are supported by an excellent secondary cast. When viewed through a comic book, space opera sort of lens, and without too hard of a grip on logic, Show manages to be reasonably enjoyable and entertaining for most of its run.
Unfortunately, the ending was not my favorite thing about Show. Admittedly, your mileage may vary on this point, because what bugs me about the ending might not be an issue for you in the least. If you like the ending more than I did, you’d like Show a lot more overall, as well.
Show took a while to settle, for me, and Show’s chosen ending also isn’t my favorite choice that writer-nim’s made, but by and large, Show had me firmly by the heart during the course of my watch.
Shin Hye Sun is simply outstanding in this, putting in a tour de force performance that makes this show watch the watch, all on its own, and Kim Jung Hyun is fantastic as well, making his character Cheoljong someone that I really wanted to root for, both as a king and as a person.
The chemistry that our leads share is of the deliciously cracky variety, and I found watching their burgeoning connection a true delight.
Aside from this, there are also a nice handful of supporting characters that I found myself growing very fond of, as well.
Not perfect by any means, and Show does require some hefty lens adjustments, but still so worth it, in my opinion.
This made me realize that the various, more unobtrusive ways that I let you guys know about my Patreon page (via the sidebar, blurbs at the end of relevant reviews, and my Watching page) aren’t actually enough to create sufficient awareness, particularly for those of you who don’t visit all that often, or those of you who don’t happen to spend a lot of time exploring the blog.
That inspired me to start a monthly post on:
1. what’s happening on Patreon in a given month,
2. exactly when you can expect to see various Patreon-related reviews in the month,
3. what shows I’m considering for coverage on Patreon, to replace shows that have completed their cycles, and
4. what you can expect, as a patron.
I hope you guys find this helpful &/or informative, and I hope you’ll consider supporting me on Patreon! ❤️
I have a Dear kfangurl question to ask! My question is whether you’ve ever had a problem watching the same actor in a different role, because you have such a strong impression of him/her in the first show you saw the actor in?
Asking because I just started watching K dramas last year, and i started with highly rated ones like Crash Landing on You and Healer, where the OTPs are so smashing that I was reluctant to see the actors in other shows as it would feel to me almost like they were cheating on their original OTP! Lol.
So far I haven’t “repeated” any actors besides Lee Jun Ki – I first saw him in Arang and the Magistrate and a few months later in Flower of Evil. But to me that felt ok as his performance made the two characters feel completely different. It probably helped that his Flower of Evil character was supposed to have antisocial personality disorder so has flattened emotions.
But now almost a year after watching Healer, I’m watching Park Min Young in Her Private Life and I keep getting flashbacks to her Healer performance, especially when the two characters overlap on certain traits like optimism, pluckiness and sunny smiles.
It’s probably a personal quirk but I do wonder if anyone faces this issue too! For now there are so many dramas out there that I can avoid repeats of actors but soon it won’t be an option! Ha ha.