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Here’s why many people are hooked on Korean dramas

We’ll talk about why people are getting crazy over the land of the morning calm’s drama offerings

Editors’ Note: This piece contains opinions of the author and doesn’t reflect the opinion of the whole HallyuLife team.

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, many people are leaning towards Korean dramas in order to defeat boredom, and obviously here at HallyuLife, we love K-Dramas more than we love our own stuff. Unfortunately, that love that we share with many people are now questioned by prominent Filipino film directors as to why Filipinos sworn by them more than how they consume locally-produced films. It’s already a long-lasting argument that we don’t really want to talk about much, until this time.

For context, Filipino film director Erik Matti said on a tweet that K-Dramas are all about ‘Faux cinderella stories with actors whiter than white’. If I were to be asked, his use of the word ‘Faux’ and ‘belofied(which meant one that is cosmetically treated by no other than Dra. Vicki Belo) meant to be not just an insult but also slander not only to the Korean actors but also to the film-making industry itself.

Another prominent film director, Joey Javier Reyes, also said on an earlier tweet that he is just wondering what makes Koreanovelas such favorites for Filipinos, and what makes them different?

So if you guys really want to know the answer why Filipinos and many people from the world love Korean dramas (and perhaps movies and K-Pop stuff), we’ll list out the reasons in what I think are the most reasonable among many.

Korean dramas are socially relevant

Obviously Korean dramas are not all about ‘Faux cinderella stories’. Most of them may not even be suited to be described as that. As someone who spent more than 5000+ hours watching them, I may be qualified enough to explain why this is important.

Being socially relevant, or let’s say relatable, is one charm Korean dramas have. And while some locally-produced films do have it too, it’s not like always that we get some relatable things being served in a way that we’ll not be bored or frustrated at most.

Korea has been plagued with major social issues which many countries are also suffering to, such as social injustice, racism, differences in class and many more. If we’re not close-minded, we might be able to see it at all. Even a non-fan would be able to, if you just watch closely enough.

K-Dramas boast high-quality production values

I may be mean to our own country on comparing this, but in reality, this has to be told. Korean dramas get the same production quality their movies and even Hollywood movies have. Do I even need to explain more about this? Yes.

In the Philippines, dramas are produced mainly on a fast-paced basis. With shorter meantime between shooting, editing and airing, and with minimal investment on props, visual effects and even shooting / camera gear, the fact is we don’t even get close to the visual quality the modern Korean dramas offer.

The fact is we don’t even get close to the visual quality the modern Korean dramas offer.

And as it seems, many people around the world, not just Filipinos, have fallen into this magical charm of Korean dramas due to great cinematography and musical scoring, partnered with unique soundtracks for each and every drama they do, not just recycled ones.

As a content producer myself and an aspiring film-maker as well, I simply believe that great cinematography and soundtrack in this era are things that really matters, aside from the next one.

Diverse and usually unpredictable storylines

Aside from being socially relevant, Korean dramas boasts diverse and usually unpredictable storylines, ranging from business, politics, medical, historical, to disasters and social issues, to romantically comedic love stories and melodramatic ones that was frustrating enough to get you even hooked until the end. Nothing beats a very good storytelling.

Here, I’m going to use once again the word ‘unfortunately’, as most of today’s Philippine dramas that we’ve watched are subjected to memes, not only because of low-quality production values, but also due to predictable plot-twists and uninteresting storylines. It’s like many drama writers here are now getting lazy to be creative.

Aren’t we getting tired of the similarly-structured dramas we’re getting, usually revolving from the topics of adultery, killing, slapping, kidnapping and shooting each other? Perhaps many of us do. And that’s why many are staying away from them, mostly millennials and youths who wanted a BETTER thing, even if that involves watching with subtitles.

This similarly-structured formula doesn’t mean once it worked well, it will work ALWAYS.

Visually-pleasing people

It can be an unfortunate slap in our face, but let’s be honest here, actors and actresses who mainly headline Korean dramas are visually-pleasing people. Many sworn by them due to their well-maintained bodies and figures (and not being ‘belofied’ at most). They may be known for having some of the best cosmetic surgery clinics in the world, but trust me, Koreans do hate it and even many people hate it if they knew someone had a cosmetic or a plastic surgery in order to enhance something.

It is just that their race are white enough, and are also caring for their bodies really well to unfortunately adhere to a beauty standard set by many, which is, being slim and white at most to avoid racism.

Good acting skills

Believe me or not, but Korean actors are trained to act FOR YEARS, and given that the pressures are high for every project and drama they are working on, it is instilled on many Korean actors to act naturally and skillfully while on camera, while being professional at the same time.

It is well-noted by many, and is praised not only in Korea but also by the world, even recently by recognizing the Korean film ‘Parasite’ as the best Oscars film.

I’m not saying that our actors are not good at acting – I know many people here who are great as well, but I won’t name any.

My final remarks

Korean dramas are not emotionally-draining and are best if you want pure entertainment on these times. In my humblest opinion for the two directors whom I’ve mentioned earlier, this should be your wake up call and tell the local film and drama industry to step up the game or at least match what I’ve said above. Seriously, it could be the ‘doom’ of it if we don’t step up our game.

It is not just a matter of ‘faux cinderella stories’ and ‘belofied’ actors that makes people hooked up on Korean dramas.

The world of Twitter by the way already gave you guys a lot of recommendation for Korean dramas to watch and start with, so I won’t really give anything here for your perusal – and oh, you still have my respect as a film-maker, but I hope you guys realize before throwing shade that it is not just a matter of ‘faux cinderella stories’ and ‘belofied’ actors that makes people hooked up on Korean dramas.



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