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.
Technically, someone did ask the questions – what makes it different than usual, is that that someone was representing VOGUE India, and it was for a collab of sorts, where I answered a bunch of questions over email, for a VOGUE India article!
Hasina Khatib (@thejoblessjourno on Instagram), who writes for VOGUE India, reached out to me a couple of weeks ago, and asked if I’d be interested to participate in an article that she was writing for VOGUE India. I said yes, and you can check out the article, where she quotes me selectively, here!
At the same time, there was a lot that I said, that didn’t make it into the final article, so with Hasina’s permission, I’m sharing the actual interview questions and answers here with you guys – because my gut tells me that this is just the sort of topic that you guys would enjoy digging into.
The only difference is that I’ve added screenshots and linked my reviews where relevant, to make this more reader-friendly. I hope you all enjoy! ❤️
My observations have been (and this may be a generalisation based on the 80 or so K-dramas I have watched) that most male second leads are presented in a way that engenders sympathy. So, by the time the series have ended we are actually rooting for them to find love!! I know that there are exceptions but they are a rare breed in drama land.
In contrast, most female second leads are presented in a more negative light – possibly a throwover to the ‘vamps’ of earlier times! I know going into the reasons for such portrayals needs a lot of study of human society and the status of women and have probably been the subject of a lot of research! But my question is simple – Are there any dramas that present the second female leads in a positive light?
Hope you are well and staying safe! Your blogs continue to be my first port of call before I pick a new drama to watch so thank you!
So my question is: Is it just me or is it really hard to find likable leads these days in dramas? I mean most female leads these days annoy me compared to older dramas. But also male leads are just sometimes you know …. facepalm material.
Is that me or is there actually something changing in dramas? Back in the day I liked 9/10 of the dramas (and their leads) that I watched but now it is more like 3-4/10…
Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.
BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.
Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend. Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.
..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.
Measured, quiet and thoughtful, I really liked this show, for the most part. I enjoyed the deliberate, considered vibe of the writing and the overall handling, and the small town setting feels refreshing and different. For a good stretch, watching this show feels like a nice dose of therapy, away from the roar of current affairs and world events.
However, I struggled quite significantly from episode 13 onwards, with certain plot developments making me legit angry with Show. BUT, Show manages to turn things around just enough in its final steps, to end on a sufficiently positive and uplifting note.
I wanted Show to be better, especially given its strong start, but I suppose it could’ve been worse. For the record, I really enjoyed Seo Kang Joon in this.
In the course of one of our chats scattered across the blog, where I was trying to think of dramas to recommend to Jesse, I’d suggested Romance Is A Bonus Book. He’d ultimately sounded quite happy with this suggestion and said that he would probably check it out soon, but, he’d also said this, about the first time he’d considered watching the show:
“I remember at the time that I came across the show in a search awhile back, I saw the word “success” (as in Cha Eun-ho is a successful author) and completely lost interest. I didn’t want to see successful characters! I wanted to see losers and average Joes, because that’s who I could relate to at the time. I wanted to see love interacting with unremarkable people so I could nod and say, “See, Jess – it happens. Just you wait…”
..And that made me realize that Dramaland’s been so focused on creating everygirls and everywomen to give the female viewers (traditionally a majority) someone to identify with, that it’s forgotten that our growing number of male viewers would also appreciate an everyman to identify with. So I set about coming up with a list of dramas featuring regular guys – instead of the usual chaebol prince, or requisite geeenius – as romantic leading men.
thank you very much for your answer to my previous question, the one about strong and nuanced women 😀 I already started watching “The Story of Minglan’ and I am loving it so much! (Btw it’s also one of my first C-dramas, so thank you for the new experience!)
This time too, I have a similar question about couples. I love romance and I’ll never have enough of it, but many times it seems to me that the characters end up together just because it’s a “plot requirement” and because we expect them to get together. So there may be no chemistry at all, or plot holes about their coming together, things can feel clichéd and may lack of depth.
I read your review of “Crash landing on you” and since you appreciated the OTP, I went to watch the show and yes! The OTP was marvellous! They were very believable and engaging. Thus I ask for your advice once again xD
Can you recommend me some dramas with believable couples and good chemistry?
I love you blog! Your reviews are very interesting!
I started watching kdramas last year, and haven’t stopped since xD
I was wondering, can you recommend me any kdramas with good, compelling, interesting female characters? Because I find this aspect kind of lacking D: