I did a post similar to this back in the fall when I first started watching Kdrama (you can check that out here). Since then, I’ve completely immersed myself in the wonders that Korean Dramas have to offer. And let me tell you, the wonders are many.
Just kidding. I am not trying to convince you that all American TV is bad. I think there are some exquisite American shows. But I am going to try to persuade you that your average American show is far inferior to a good Kdrama (depending on your genre preference, of course).
- Do you ever get tired of a show that goes on for seasons and seasons, twisting all of your favorite characters and relationships, and losing that “spark” that made you love it in the first place? I’ve found this to be true with so many shows here in the US; maybe I just have a short attention span, but after four or five seasons at the most of a show (full length seasons, not like, Sherlock length) I find that I just don’t care anymore. Even if I was crazy about the show in the first couple of seasons. Usually, conflicts get recycled in some way, there are very few lasting relationships (everyone just moves onto another person to sleep with in the friend group), and characters become extremely different people from the ones I liked so much in the beginning. Well, in Korean Dramas, each show lasts one season (MAYBE two, if its popularity was off the charts, but even then, this is like finding Bigfoot). There’s usually one major conflict arc, one major relationship/romance arc, and then boom, it’s done, concluded, finished. Whether the ending is good, happy, or satisfying purely depends on what genre you are watching.
- Korean Dramas understand the value of romance and emotional intimacy, not just sex. In American shows, viewers are inundated with sex; in Kdrama, certainly there is a physical component to the romance, but emotional intimacy is more important. I don’t think I’ve ever said things like “it looks like he’s staring straight into her soul” or “it’s adorable how they know each other so well” as much as I have watching Korean dramas. (Maybe Kdrama world is completely run by women, and Hollywood is run by men??). Not to mention the fact that Kdramas tend to be extremely clean, both modesty wise (heck, you barely ever see anything less than a one piece even in the rare pool/beach scenes) and language wise (sometimes the violence is serious, but that’s the worst I’ve seen so far). Anyway, I saw this meme a couple of weeks ago, and I laughed out loud – mostly because it’s entirely true:
- The conflicts in Korean Drama tend to be more interesting and urgent than your average US show. This is 100% dependent on what drama you choose to watch, as I have seen Kdramas that could pass for Days of Our Lives. But I think it has to do with the compressed timeline of each show. They don’t have many filler episodes, like US shows do, which have to fill a season of 24 episodes. In Kdramas, you’ve got 16-20 episodes to tell the entire story, and then you’re finished, so there’s no time to mess around. Again, this is heavily dependent on the show you choose, but it’s been consistent for most of the shows I’ve watched.
- Koreans love their historical shows. If you love epic stories with period sets and costumes, and politics and backstabbing and secret, forbidden romances, then hop on over to historical Kdrama land, where you’re certain to get your fill of beautiful costumes and horrifying heartbreak. To be fair, not all historical shows are sad or end badly, but lets be honest, most of them do. That being said, you can find a kdrama to fill any genre, though I would say if you’re looking for a romantic comedy/drama or a historical epic, you’re more in luck, as there are loads of choices in these genres. Another good reason to watch historicals is because they have awesome fight choreography, due to many actors being skilled in martial arts.
- Beautiful people making noble sacrifices and making the world a more beautiful place. You knew I had to mention at least one really shallow reason to watch Korean dramas, right? Kdramaland is filled gorgeous people (many of them are models) who fall in love and are (usually) trying to make the world a better place. American TV is filled with so many “grey area” people, that it gets really hard to know who to root for, or to even enjoy characters. Not that this isn’t interesting sometimes, especially if the show is focused on their character development, but with the rise of the anti-hero in US TV, I’m very thankful that I can find shows where a noble guy does amazing things, falls in love with a spunky, lovely girl, and does his part to make the world a brighter place (I’m looking at you, Descendants of the Sun). Did I mention the acting from many of these gorgeous actors is quite excellent as well? I don’t know what they’re teaching them in those Korean acting schools, but I want to attend, ASAP.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you, I have more points. 😉 I’ll be reviewing some of my favorite Dramas I watched in 2016 this month, so if you need a place to start, check those out!