WHY IS K-DRAMA OK?

And why I couldn’t finish a K-Drama series in less than a month before. I also interviewed friends who are K-Drama fans and what’s been their favorite series so far.

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Since I’ve been home most of the time, I’m always finding ways to occupy my day. I cook, I work out, I cut stickers, I window shop online, I annoy my dog, and recently, I’ve been watching Korean dramas/series. Ever since I got into BTS, I started watching almost all of their content from past ‘til present. But as much as I want to spend an entire day in front of my computer or phone to feed off from everything BTS, I couldn’t because I don’t have the luxury to do so.

Dallyeola Bangtan! or Run BTS! is a variety show starring K-Pop idols BTS. You can watch it for free on WeVerse and VLive

My start with K-Drama watching began about three years ago and the progress has been very slow. My friends, Donna Santos and Glaiza de Castro who are K-Drama semi-veterans, insisted that I try watching a series and surely, I’d get hooked. Eventually I submitted to peer-pressure and I watched my first K-Drama which was Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon, it’s a story about this girl with superhuman strength who was asked to be a personal bodyguard of a CEO of a gaming company. This was one of the many suggestions of Donna that I should watch first. I’m not sure how I ended up picking this series to kick off my K-Drama journey but I liked it, more on why later when I list down the K-Dramas that I’ve seen so far (not a long list, trust me hahaha!). I remember finishing the series over a month and my reasons would be:

I had to work. – I have already started doing freelance projects and working on our consultancy when I began watching Strong Woman. I was busy with my job in the morning and afternoon that I couldn’t find the time to watch it continuously.

I get sleepy when I watch it before going to bed. – A few of my friends suggested to watch K-Dramas before going to bed. The thing is I would always fall asleep whenever I do this with me trying to remember the next day where I left off.

I couldn’t multitask. – I’m the kind of TV viewer that I tend to do other things while a show is on and I don’t understand and speak Korean so I have to read the subtitles in order for me to comprehend every scene.

Not in the mood to read subtitles. – I sometimes just don’t feel like reading anything at all.        

After finishing Strong Woman, it took quite a while for me to follow that up. It’s nice that there are streaming sites like Netflix, Iflix, Viu that has a good number of K-Dramas and other Asian series to chose from making it more convenient to watch these shows. And since I have a very short list of K-Dramas that I’ve finished, here it is:

Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon (힘쎈여자 도봉순)

Park Bo-Young plays Bong-Soon, a cute woman with superhuman strength. She got it from her momma. She’s into gaming and dreams of designing a video game with her as the main character. Enter Min-Hyuk portrayed by Park Hyung-Sik, a CEO of a video gaming company whose life has been threatened, so he hired Bong-Soon to be his bodyguard.

Crash Landing on You (사랑의 불시착)

When lady Boss Yoon Se-Ri, portrayed by actress Son Ye-Jin, had an accident while paragliding, she had to make an emergency landing in North Korea where she met army officer Ri Jeong-Hyeok played by the dashing Hyun-Bin. He and his mates tried to protect her so she can return to South Korea.

Fight for my Way (, 마이웨이)

This K-Drama stars Park Seo Joon who plays Ko Dong-Man, a taekwondo hero at school who eventually became a UFC fighter to prove to himself that he can defeat his previous foe. Fan and friend Choi Ae-ra, played by Kim Ji-Won, is an aspiring announcer that eventually became an employee at a department store manning the information desk. She continuously auditions to be a TV announcer / host until she bagged the job destined to be hers.

Vincenzo (빈센조)

Abandoned by his mother in an orphanage, Park Joo-Hyeong was adopted by an Italian couple to live with them from Korea to Italy. He grew up to be Vincenzo Cassano, portrayed by Song Joong-Ki, a consigliere of a mafia family. He flew back to South Korea to perform a heist but while he’s trying to figure out how to do it, he met a few interesting people along the way. One of which is a feisty lawyer Hong Cha-Young portrayed by Jeon Yeo-Bin who has father issues and one of the most problematic clients.

Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰 )

Park Sae-Ro-Yi, played by Park Seo-Joon, has one goal: to destroy the Jangga Co. headed by CEO Jang Dae-Hee, played by Yoo Jae-Myung. Sae-Ro-Yi’s father used to work for Jang Dae-Hee and was a victim of a hit and run caused by CEO Dae-Hee’s son Jang Geun-Won, portrayed by Ahn Bon-Hyun. Fueled by passion and revenge, Sae-Ro-Yi built his own empire with the help of cute social media influencer Jo Yi-Seo, played by Kim Da-Mi.  

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (역도요정 김복주)

It’s a story about a female weightlifter Kim Bok-Joo played by Lee Sung-Kyung and her life in uni with her friends not getting along with the gymnastics team and how they’re also not that lucky with boys. She bumps into childhood classmate Jung Joon-Hyung played by Nam Joo-Hyuk who, like her, is an athlete at the same uni. Bok Joo saved Joon Hyung’s life when they were kids and now that they’re older and go in the college, they reconnect.  

I told you my list is pretty short but I have to say, I enjoyed every bit of these series. Not a time wasted watching hour-long episodes of these shows. I find plots of K-Drama series refreshing. Sure, there’s still the need to push romance in there but the way they actually do it is kind of cute.

The lead guy would constantly be this alpha type paired with either a quirky, cute, or go-getting female and they would end up falling in-love with each other with enough slow burn that doesn’t really get you impatient. If it’s not the main angle of the drama, the writers methodically slip it in making sure that it doesn’t intrude from the main story. I also like the fact that most K-Dramas that I’ve seen have antagonists that you wouldn’t really hate that much because the story would usually show you a flashback of their lives, their own hardships, which would lead them to why they’re being the way they are. It also doesn’t hurt that these Korean actors and actresses look really good. I mean, have you guys seen PSJ? SJK? Hyun-Bin? My gahd!

PSJ
SJK
Lee Sung-Kyung

Aside from their flawless skin and well-maintained physique, they’re good actors too. When they cry, THEY CRY! From having that tough exterior to be broken down emotionally, it’s almost painful not to weep with them. Whenever they try to be comical, it also hits differently for the same contrasting reason.

They almost always have the best ensemble. I remember laughing and crying so much watching CLOY because of some scenes that include the secondary cast. Watching a K-Drama also allows you to see the culture and different places in Korea, making you want to include the country in your next travel destination list.

I’m not a fan of spicy food that SK is also known for but seeing how it’s being served and eaten at every K-Drama makes my mouth water.

I’ve talked to some of my friends who are into K-Drama and asked for their favorite series and why they enjoy staying tuned:

Mel Alcaraz (podcast host / entrepreneur)

What’s your favorite K-Drama?

Goblin

Goblin, My Mister, Fight for My Way

Why do you like watching K-Drama?

K-Dramas are just the prefect escape for me. Love getting lost in each show’s worlds

Millet Antonio (Brand Manager)

What’s your favorite K-Drama?

Reply 1988

They say you never forget your first. And that’s how I chanced upon ‘Princess Hours’ (which would later have a Thai version). I first caught this K-drama in its Tagalized version aired over ABS CBN and would repeatedly watch it in Hangeul for about 10x (like ‘My Sassy Girl’) until I could tell you by heart the actors’ blockings. This is one of those favorites because as they say, first love never dies. But if you were to ask what my contemporary favorite is, it would be Reply 1988— a well-written family-oriented drama that represents culture and heritage because I learned a lot about South Korea’s history and why Reply was titled after a significant year. I wish I had written the Reply series because of its narrative that is true to its form and substance. But what’s the most romantic I have ever seen? Descendants of the Sun. You would know when you watch the series.

Why do you like watching K-Drama?

I love foreign subtitled movies (Cine Europa, Eiga Sai film fest, etc.) ever since because they always bring me somewhere beyond my imagination so it was so easy for me to slide into the Korean drama craze whose plot and twists were unexpected. I believe that good storytellers suspend your disbelief to make the characters believable and the series an enjoyable one. And K-dramas did more than just that by putting visually appealing characters who are damn good actors that draw you in and thus, fall in love with the story itself. Plus, a 16–24-episode series is a fair one and make it less dragging compared to other Filipino dramas that run for years. Probably because K-dramas have the story as a central theme to have a good flow compared to local dramas that always consider status of actors or the management’s decision in the narrative.

August Martinez (Restaurateur)

What’s your favorite K-Drama?

Goblin

Goblin

Why do you like watching K-Dramas?

Maganda mga babae, maganda story, at maganda mga location

Ana Gonzales (Content Creator)

What’s your favorite K-Drama series?

Hotel Del Luna

Ang dami! Top of mind: Reply 1988, Itaewon Class, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Hotel Del Luna

Why do you watch K-Dramas?

I like the storyline more, mas naeexcite ako sa plot and twists ng Korean dramas. Relatable, but also fresh and new! – Yung humor ng Koreans almost same din satin! Super hilarious. But at the same time pag drama naman, talagang tagos sa heart! Kinikilig din ako sa oppas, hahaha! Love their acting tapos super eye candy pa for me ang korean actors hehehehe, usually yung couples super good looking ang sarap panoorin haha

Roxanne Nebres (Photographer)

What’s your favorite K-drama series?

Hospital Playlist

Goblin & Hospital Playlist

Why do you like watching K-dramas?

Fast paced (average of 16 eps per story), great prod value, most stories are out of the box kahit luma ang theme (at least compared sa series satin hehe!) Plus cute mga oppa hehe.

Wiji Lacsamana (Tattoo Artist / Illustrator)

What’s your favorite K-drama series?

Weightlifting Fairy Bok Joo

Goblin, Weightlifting Fairy

Why do you like watching K-dramas?

It’s a really good form of escapism for me– I get to be transported to a different place, scenario. Korean writers are amazing– they really know how to get your attention and hold it.

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