In recent years there has a been a boom of these really out of the box Korean dramas and serials on Netflix. These dramas such as Business Proposal had a strong underground fan following around the world however not much main stream attention. However, Korean serials would soon take center stage with the introduction of more action-based shows. The height of popularity of this sub-genre of Korean television came in the form of Squid Game which captivated the world and led to many spin offs, games and the writing of hundreds of pages of fan-fics. The question then is why are K dramas and shows suddenly at the lime light of media and why can’t people get enough of them? And how did they seemingly come out of nowhere?
Repulsive For Some Relatable For Others
Most Korean shows are written and produced with an Asian demographic in mind what this usually means is that though these shows do challenge societal norms in their own way they aren’t overly westernized. This means that most Korean shows, K-Dramas especially can connect with a larger audience that isn’t just a few countries in the west. It is not just that it’s also the fact that most Korean shows also uphold a concept of modesty as well as supporting gender roles to an extent to cater to their Asian audience, if Quinten Tarrentino did this he would be on the fast track to getting canceled as in the west these concepts of modesty and gender roles are considered to be cliché and misogynistic. That being said critiques of K-dramas and shows usually do site this as a reason, claiming that it some how imparts the need to conform to some so-called natural order of things and degrade women. However, this is a very grass root interpretation of what K Dramas offer. Take Juvenile Justice for example it has an amazing cast of strong, independent, young women, however most western viewers would not see them as such. This is due to cultural differences and in fact most Asian viewers would agree that the portrayal of women in this K Drama is beyond forward thinking and upholds a standard of women’s empowerment. All in all, this means that K-Dramas and shows end up being more relatable for Asian audiences
Ideas Out of Left Field
Korean shows are starting to set a precedent for being more creative than their western counterparts, where the west have conformed to their sitcom, thriller, mystery cycle Korean shows have taken a completely different approach and tried to make shows that really have their audiences at the edge of their seats. Granted this usually does mean that there are a lot of plot holes in the story lines however you are usually too psyched out about what will happen next to truly notice. A perfect example of this is Squid Game, the way the writer sort of re-imagines the horror game show genre and rather than pivoting on goriness (even though there is a lot of goriness) focuses on the mental devolution of the contestants as well as their growth. It makes the otherwise over done genre into something new and interesting. This is what Korean shows offer and has been the impetus for their sudden rise and adoration.
This might just be the biggest reason why Korean shows are becoming so big. Fact of the matter is you can only watch friends and its 100 other clones so many times before they get stale. This applies to most media. So as mentioned above when someone or something comes along that takes a genre you already love and puts a new spin on it you become instantly amused this is again a reason behind why squid game was so successful, but Korean shows don’t end their differentiating at just that they go they extra mile. Korean dramas can get as weird and as fantastical as you want them to. Sweet home is a great example of this. You would not in your wildest dreams ask for a sort of anime-esque young boy getting stuck in an apartment building with his neighbors only to fight off hordes of demons and zombies along with solving his mental health issues. But that apparently seems to be the Korean way don’t ask but they still deliver and deliver they do the show is amazing and has some of the best use of CGI since detective Pikachu. Its also beautiful in its own dreary way. That’s another difference between Korean shows and Western media the way they capture a series or a serial is very different this results in different exposures, tones and even zoom ins. All in all, humans like a change from the routine and so these unique Korean drama features are always welcome.
This was pure speculation; it is still unclear why Korean shows are suddenly so popular. What is clear though is the fact that they are here to stay. As they should because honestly the world lacks diversity and art transcends all languages by watching Korean shows you can learn and fall in love with a completely other culture which you would not have known about otherwise. So, the Korean show take over we don’t know where it came from but we welcome it all the same.