Once I began running a blog about Ok-dramas 5 years in the past, Ok-dramas as a complete had been new and glossy and thrilling. Certain, I knew a few of them had been fully ridiculous (Lee Min Ho's Boys over Flowers hair involves thoughts), however they had been charming and addicting in a manner that was completely different from many of the American reveals I watched. I've a definite reminiscence of sitting on my sofa over Thanksgiving break, unshowered at 3:00 p.m., hitting "play" on the subsequent episode of Espresso Prince, and loving each minute of it.
For the final 12 months, I've misplaced that Ok-drama–loving feeling a little bit. So what occurred? Is it me getting jaded and overthinking a style I used to get pleasure from? Is drama high quality actually going downhill? Or are exterior forces impacting the way in which worldwide followers work together with dramas? Possibly all the above?
First, a disclaimer: I am coming at this put up from the angle of a Ok-drama fan dwelling in the USA. I do know my expertise accessing and discussing Ok-dramas differs from that of native Korean viewers and even different worldwide followers internationally. I am simply observing how the panorama in my area has impacted followers and viewers right here.
Are Ok-dramas Getting Worse?
I do not care about docs. Ditto attorneys. But when there's one factor I find out about Ok-dramas, it is that they loooooove developments, and docs and attorneys had been the 2 hottest developments of the final couple of years.
Who can actually blame the networks for airing authorized drama after authorized drama when these had been the one reveals pulling in higher-than-lackluster home rankings? From the sounds of it, a few of these authorized dramas final 12 months had really stellar headlining expertise, however no quantity of Ji Sung goes to persuade me that "Let's watch all the pieces go mistaken for 20 episodes whereas some wealthy baddies get away with wealthy baddie stuff" is my cup of tea. And that is principally okay.
I additionally must personal that my drama tastes have in all probability modified over time. I can consider a bunch of dramas I binged begin to end early in my drama-watching days that I might drop instantly now (*cough*Prosecutor Princess*cough*). I am positively pickier these days, in all probability as a result of I've had an opportunity to look at some actually, really unbelievable reveals within the meantime.
I additionally must remind myself that there is a little bit of time bias at play right here. It is like these individuals who insist that all music from [insert decade of choice here] was sooooo significantly better than what we've in the present day, however they overlook that solely the perfect stuff continues to get airtime. You assume everybody within the 1780s was a Mozart? Nah—we simply stopped listening to all of the washouts.
The identical goes for Ok-dramas. It is easy for viewers (or me, not less than) to romanticize dramas of previous years after I had the flexibility to select and select from an unlimited library of content material that got here earlier than. There are many pre-2012 dramas I have not watched as a result of they obtained horrible evaluations. Now, although, I've already picked by many of the reveals folks commonly rave about, and I am left narrowing in on the at present airing dramas—after all it may look like there aren't as many standouts to select from.
2018 Battle of the Ok-drama Licensing Rights
Nonetheless, although, I had most of the similar drama-watching habits again in 2014 and 2015, and I ran right into a a lot greater proportion of high-quality simulcasts again then. There's a little bit extra at play right here than simply altering habits.
Presumably one of many greatest hits to American Ok-drama followers during the last 12 months has been a scarcity of authorized entry to reveals. Sure, again within the Ok-drama days of yore, followers needed to scour the web, hoping that unlawful fan websites would subtitle their favourite reveals. However for so long as I have been a viewer, Viki and DramaFever managed to license and subtitle the overwhelming majority of Ok-dramas. The immense uproar every time a present did not get picked up straight away by both web site was typically an indication that we (American) Ok-drama followers actually did have entry to authorized subs for many dramas.
In 2017, that modified. We noticed each heavy-hitters dropping out on licensing rights because the Large Three (KBS, SBS, and MBC) determined to department off and kind their very own streaming service, Kocowa. Then, after a pattern of licensing much less and fewer Ok-drama content material over the previous couple of years, Netflix made a take care of cable supplier JTBC to air a lot of its content material solely. Initially, some followers took a "What is the subject with extra streaming choices?" mentality. As a cynic with some background information of the Ok-drama licensing recreation, I wasn't as optimistic.
Both manner, we will now see among the outcomes over the previous couple of months. Viki and DramaFever have each misplaced out on a good quantity of content material, Viki ended up including a higher-tier plan to permit entry to some Kocowa content material, tvN (which is not a part of the Kocowa trifecta) grew to become a complete crapshoot on whether or not anybody would get any of its reveals, and anybody hoping to see JTBC dramas like Age of Youth 2 or Fairly Noona Who Buys Me Meals will get to take a seat and twiddle their thumbs, questioning when it should lastly present up on Netflix.
Otherwise you may give up on all of that nonsense and discover *ahem* various choices that can in all probability give your laptop the digital model of syphilis.
Typically I will be fortunate and discover entry to a present because it airs, however the farther we get from the premiere date, the much less enthusiasm I really feel to comply with alongside.
Dying Fan Discussions
If you fragment when the worldwide fandom will get entry to reveals, you additionally fragment the dialogue. Some folks watch uncooked or scour the web for unlawful subs to allow them to comply with together with the simulcast, whereas others find yourself ready till weeks—or months—after the present first airs.
I would not have observed any of this early in my Ok-drama days. I began out with totally full dramas, and I did not watch my first dwell drama for months. Now, although, I benefit from the hype of watching a present similtaneously everybody else and seeing how different followers react in actual time earlier than everyone knows how a sequence will finish. If you're undecided who's watching what or the place they will focus on it, a few of that enthusiasm begins to fade.
Is It Simply Me?
With all that being mentioned, is it simply me? Or has anybody else been feeling the identical sense of drama malaise of late? If I am simply not watching the appropriate reveals, let me know so we will get by the drought collectively!