Greetings! Hope you’re doing okay in these uncertain times. Recently, I was asked by a friend why people are watching a lot of kdrama these days and I found myself groping for a good answer. I couldn’t really gush with goggly eyes as I would before a fellow kdrama enthusiast. There’s the matter of availability and good looking actors, but that didn’t really feel to be at the heart of it. I also felt angry at myself for feeling apologetic about my drama choices (the person’s what you’d call a “serious” type and I didn’t want to be an object of his condescension). Does this mean I subconsciously subscribe to the notion of kdramas somehow not being up to the mark? I have been agonising about this for a while now. I want to be able to watch what I like without feeling guilty or hesitant to acknowledge my love for it to the world. And I could think of nobody better than you to provide a thoughtful answer to my predicament. The next time I come across this question, I’d like to bank on your eloquence and insights, please!
Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll; 552 votes were cast by 289 voters, and Stranger / Secret Forest came out on top, with 119 votes! Looks like I will finally watch Stranger, after putting it off for so long, heh.
At the same time, some of you have let me know that the poll results were showing inaccurately for you, in terms of the shows that you voted for. I do want to make sure that the group watch features shows that you guys actually want to watch, so I’ve taken the various opinions raised in the comments into consideration, in mapping out a solution that I hope will satisfy most voters.
I did also promise Ele, that I’d use my Editor’s Choice to balance things out, if our winning show doesn’t feature a romance, because it’s true that we’re due for some romance, in our group watch.
I really hope you guys like the solution that I’ve come up with.
So, full disclosure, everyone: this question wasn’t an actual submission for Dear kfangurl; it’s just that enough people have asked this question, or a variation of it, both here on the blog, and over on Patreon, that I thought I’d attempt to answer the question.
And since Dear kfangurl is where most of my attempts at answering questions sit, I thought this would be a suitable addition. 😉
Just so we’re clear, I’m not an actual professor of Korean entertainment (is there such a thing?). These are simply my personal observations and opinions, after hanging around the Dramaverse for.. (woah) 14 years now.
Lots of worthy titles were floated, and as promised, I sifted through all of them, and shortlisted the most popular titles for this poll. I also made the executive decision to add 2 wild cards into the mix, which you’ll see in a bit. 😉
Except for Hikaru no Go, Mother and Stranger, I’ve seen the other shortlisted dramas, and I do believe they are each solidly worthy of your drama hours.
Recently due to Noble Idiocy I abandoned the vision of a drama that I really enjoyed: Monthly Home Magazine.
Could you do a post with the list of dramas that contain this detestable gimmick?
I remember getting so mad on Clear With Passion With Me Now too and I would like to avoid investing hours of my life to be so disappointed. In the comments your readers could integrate the list and it would be a really useful service in my opinion.
I hope you guys have been having fun with the group watches! I especially appreciate those of you who managed to join both group watches &/or have been active on the Open Threads. Sharing your reactions and your thoughts really makes the experience richer for everyone. Thank you for playing! ❤️
It’s time to brainstorm on what we should watch next, as a community. Here are some initial ideas, feel free to let me know what you think, in the comments!
I was watching kdrama clips and have been wondering. They all look so pretty, even one with jobs in which there is exposure to excessive sunlight and dust look so…. clean. Its all good adding to kdrama fantasy but are there any dramas whose leads look more like normal us…with common jobs and maybe cheaper clothes?
Maybe all I am talking about is more realistic dramas out there. I liked Another Oh Hae Young in that aspect and felt I was more into the story and scenes rather than their appearances.
First of all, I am an avid fan of your blog and am so grateful for your detailed, thoughtful reviews of various Korean dramas. You probably don’t remember me, but I loved The Third Charm and posted once on your blog using the handle “erstwing” about how much your review of the show resonated with me.
I have a question about genre that I was wondering if you might address/discuss on your blog one day. What do you make of the label “slice-of-life?” What are some “slice-of-life” Korean dramas and what makes them so? Based on the shows you have reviewed, I feel like you enjoyed this category of dramas, and thought you might have some wisdom to share. If you do enjoy “slice-of-life” dramas, what are some reasons? The label is used a lot in Kdrama discourse, but unlike other more established genres like the melodrama and the rom com, “slice-of-life” seems to be much hazier as a concept. I even did some research into American analogues and/or antecedents, but haven’t been able to find anything meaningful. Full disclosure: I am a college professor and my current research project investigates the slice-of-life genre in Korean dramas. I’m teaching in the US but I am actually from Singapore, so your blog is literally close to home for me. 🙂
Thanks again for all your insights and for the time you’ve generously given to cultivating this Kdrama fan community. 🙂
I am now a kdrama fan for quite a few years with several dramas under my cap. Of late, I feel that I’ve grown too critical. The kdrama world is no longer my escapist fantasy and stress buster. I keep nit picking. I feel disappointed (there’s that magic charm missing) by recent dramas (True Beauty, Lovestruck in the City just a few examples). I would have enjoyed these premises earlier. Should I just keep watching old dramas? Can you help?
Dear kfangurl, I have a question for you – can you recommend dramas that are really good and don’t involve romance? I have just finished Healer and really liked the love story there. When picking a new series I searched for drama that does not have romance on purpose because I did not want to “replace” the OTP from Healer with a new OTP right away, but I still wanted to watch something engaging. Two examples that come to mind are My Mister (thanks for recommending it! I loved it so much!) and Hot Stove League (which is the one I’m watching at the moment). I’m sure there are more. And thank you so much for this awesome blog! I very much enjoy reading your reviews before and after watching a drama (except for Someday or One Day. I stopped reading the moment you said that’s best and returned after finishing it 🙂 )