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Ratings Notes: Que Sera Sera & Devil

I’ve said before that I don’t really care too much for ratings, for a variety of reasons but mostly because I believe they’re horribly inaccurate. I also have an unfortunate tendency to develop attachments to television shows of high quality and low ratings, and it’s upsetting (as much as one can be upset at the fate of a TV show, that is) to see gems go underappreciated.

The ratings measuring systems developed thus far are in no way able to be completely accurate, and are therefore highly susceptible to misrepresenting actual viewership. But currently, there’s no better alternative, so we make do.

According to the headline below (and full article behind the jump), apparently ratings for Que Sera Sera and Devil/Mawang aren’t so hot, which I find disappointing because these two series, in my opinion, are probably the two best shows currently airing.

‘늑대’ 주역 엄태웅·에릭, 동반 부진
촬영 사고로 중단된 ‘늑대’ 출연진, 차기작서도 고배

Discontinued Drama “Wolf”‘s Lead Actors Eric and Uhm Tae Woong,
Both Encounter Disappointment in Following Projects

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SONG OF THE DAY

Epik High – “선곡표”. I’m in serious love with Epik High’s latest album (their fourth, Remapping the Human Soul). I like all of their albums, but this is definitely my favorite. I also have a tremendous respect for intelligent, literate music/lyrics/people, and Tablo represents all of those. [ zShare download ]

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The upside for kdrama ratings is, generally speaking, that even a severely underperforming drama is unlikely to get canceled, so as long as its able to complete its run and I get to watch it through the end, I’m satisfied. (In American TV, it’s a lot more disappointing because shows are routinely yanked from airing, often very prematurely and without warning, and I go crazy not knowing how something was meant to end. But American TV is another discussion.)

For instance, Goong S consistently underperformed, starting at a solid 15% viewership, but sliding downward and ending with a dismal 4%-5%. I believe Snow Queen also ended with low ratings (although I didn’t watch SQ and therefore didn’t follow its performance closely) — as did almost every drama that went up against juggernaut Jumong during its monstrous run earlier this year.

Ratings also don’t include the significant Internet viewership streaming the episodes online, which is no small number given that Korea is the most wired country in the world, with an extremely active netizen culture. I’ve heard that Goong S was MBC’s most-viewed program online despite its poor broadcast ratings, which I can believe, given the show’s appeal to a youthful audience that’s more apt to catch up on the Internet. (I know I’m ignoring the argument of quality, because Goong S tends to polarize opinions on that issue, but even if you suppose it was a subpar show, its Internet and international popularity are irrefutable.)

Anyway, I guess this is all my way of trying to make sense of the disparity between ratings and quality, because inevitably you’ll find some bland and unexciting show overshadowing another drama that you could swear was more deserving.

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Discontinued Drama “Wolf”‘s Lead Actors Eric and Uhm Tae Woong,
Both Encounter Disappointment in Following Projects

[09 April 2007]

Actors ERIC and UHM TAE WOONG, the leads in last year’s drama WOLF (‘늑대’), which was discontinued due to an accident occurring during filming, are both facing ratings slumps in their respective new projects.

Uhm Tae Woong, who gained attention working together with PD Park Chan Hong in RESURRECTION (‘부활’), is now finding it difficult to garner ratings in the KBS2 TV’s Wednesday-Thursday drama DEVIL (‘마왕’ or Mawang), where he appears as the loyal and upright prosecutor “Kang Oh Su.” DEVIL has been unable to even keep the ratings of its first episode broadcast of 9.3% (TNS Media rating), and seems to have come to a standstill in the 7%-8% range. Having now aired three weeks, the 3rd and 4th recorded respective 8.4% and 7.7% ratings, showing a difficulty to break past the 10% mark.

In contrast, it appears that its ratings competition on both sides, SBS’s WITCH AMUSEMENT (‘마녀유희’) and MBC’s THANK YOU (‘고맙습니다’), both of which started airing on the same date as DEVIL, have begun a rivalry with their 15% (and upward) ratings.

The ratings may be particularly difficult in the case of DEVIL because of its distinctive genre as mystery drama, and if the story details are not clearly understood in the beginning installments, it is likely difficult for viewers to follow the latter portion.

Uhm Tae Woong’s previous SBS drama, STRANGER THAN HEAVEN (‘천국보다 낯선’) also recorded poor ratings, some days not even reaching the 5% mark.

Eric faces a similar situation. Similar to DEVIL, Eric’s current project, MBC’s weekend drama QUE SERA SERA (‘케세라세라’) has also not made it above the 10% viewership rating, and has instead stuck at 8%-9%. Debuting on March 17th with a rating of 8.8%, QUE SERA SERA recorded numbers at 8.9% and 8.4% on its April 7 and 8 episodes.

QUE SERA SERA is produced by Green Snake Media, the same company that produced WOLF and MY NAME IS KIM SAMSOON (‘내 이름은 김삼순’). Based merely on the fact that SAMSOON and QSS share the same director, PD Kim Yoon Chul, there was extensive excitement over this being a sequel to SAMSOON. However, the reaction of those who then watched QSS was that they don’t expect it to be more than a conventional melodrama, with a similar response to Eric’s character’s past.

Although Eric’s previous work, SBS’s KOREA SECRET AGENCY (‘무적의 낙하산 요원’ or ‘Invisible Parachute Agent’), was not as low-rated as STRANGER THAN HEAVEN, the ratings were below expectations at around 11.6%.

[I translated the above (so know that it’s not a professional translation) from the original article (below) from NoCut News, http://www.cbs.co.kr/Nocut/Show.asp?IDX=483149]

Original article:

‘늑대’ 주역 엄태웅·에릭, 동반 부진
촬영 사고로 중단된 ‘늑대’ 출연진, 차기작서도 고배

[ 2007-04-09 오후 1:52:48 ]

지난 해 촬영 중 발생한 사고로 제작이 중단된 드라마 ‘늑대’의 주역 엄태웅과 에릭이 새 드라마에서 동반 부진을 겪고 있다.

KBS 2TV 수목극 ‘마왕'(김지우 극본, 박찬홍 연출)에서 의리파 검사 ‘강오수’ 역을 맡은 엄태웅은 드라마 ‘부활’의 박찬홍 PD와 다시 손잡고 시청률 공략에 나섰지만 시청률 끌어올리기가 쉽지 않아 보인다. 첫 방송에서 9.3%(이하 시청률 조사기관 TNS미디어코리아 기준)의 시청률을 나타낸 ‘마왕 ‘은 이 수치조차 지키지 못하고 7~8%대에서 답보상태를 보이고 있다. 방송 3주째를 맞은 3일과 4일에는 각각 8.4%, 7.7%의 시청률을 기록, 10% 진입조차 어려움을 겪고 있는 상태다.

같은 날 방송을 시작한 경쟁작 SBS ‘마녀유희’와 MBC ‘고맙습니다’가 15% 안팎의 시청률을 기록하며 경쟁을 펼치고 있는 것과 대조적이다.

특히 ‘마왕’은 미스터리 드라마는 장르적 특성 때문에 앞부분의 내용이 제대로 이해되지 않았을 경우 뒷부분 이야기의 전개를 따라가기 쉽지 않아 향후 시청률 기상도 역시 맑지만은 않다.

엄태웅이 앞서 출연한 SBS 드라마 ‘천국보다 낯선’ 역시 5%조차 되지 않는 낮은 시청률을 기록하며 부진을 보인 바 있다.

에릭의 상황 역시 크게 다르지 않다. 에릭의 출연작인 MBC 주말특별기획 ‘케세라세라'(도현정 극본, 김윤철 연출)도 ‘마왕’과 마찬가지로 10% 시청률을 넘기지 못하고 8~9%대 시청률을 나타내는데 그치고 있다. 지난달 17일 첫 방송에서 8.8%의 시청률을 나타낸 ‘케세라세라’는 7일과 8일 각각 8.9%, 8.4%의 시청률을 기록했다.

‘케세라세라’는 ‘늑대’의 제작사인 초록뱀미디어가 ‘내 이름은 김삼순’의 김윤철 PD가 다시 연출에 나선다는 공통점만으로 ‘내 이름은…’의 속편격 드라마라고 대대적인 홍보를 펼쳤던 작품. 그러나 작품을 접한 시청자들은 ‘케세라세라’에 대해 통속적인 멜로극의 모습 이상을 기대할 수 없다는 반응이다. 에릭의 캐릭터 역시 과거와 비슷하다는 평가다.

에릭의 전작인 SBS ‘무적의 낙하산 요원’도 ‘천국보다 낯선’만큼은 아니지만 기대할 만한 성적은 거두지 못하고 11.6%의 시청률로 종영한 바 있다.

노컷뉴스 방송연예팀 오미정 기자 [email protected] 오미정의 블로그 가기

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aww that sucks; i think qss is the best drama out now... oh well, i hope its ratings go up so its recognized more ...

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thank you sarahbeans for the wonderful article. I feel that it's a shame that some of these wonderful dramas are being ignored..but a good drama is a good drama.. ratings shouldn't affect how one decides to judge a drama.

I rarely check out the ratings and to be honest, it doesn't make such a huge impact to me at all- as long the series don't get shorten due to the poor ratings. I'm sure these low ratings affect the actors tremendously..most likely they will feel some pressure due to the low ratings- which might impact their performances * stress factors.. etc*- and I feel bad for them- and for those members who are missing out on these wonderful series.

I would never solely pick what I want to watch based on ratings ALONE... cuz if that's the case.. most of the time I would be stuck with historical dramas / daily dramas/ or LONG weekend dramas, as those tend to receive the HIGHEST ratings in the systems.

Normally for "regular mini-series" as in 16-20 episodes dramas.. the high ratings might help in the deciding process if there are lots of selections .. after all.. one would want to find out what's all the hype is about.. hehe.. but one can only appreciate & judge a drama after he/ she checks it out personally. In the end.. it all comes down to personal taste and how one relates to the drama.

Romantic comedies & attractive casts usually will do okay in ratings.. since everyone likes light-hearted series -as these are easy to follow & jump in... and EVERYONE loves an attractive casts.. I've noticed that this formula usually work out pretty well.. Romantic Comedy + attractive cast = Decent Ratings

Different genres appeal to different group of people at different time. Take myself for example.. I'm a devoted fan of romantic comedies and always do my best to steer clear of melodramas. Yet.. lately I found myself growing attached to "Thank You" and hoping that everyday is Wednesday & Thursday.. hehe

Also, I love "Que Sera Sera" - It's definitely one of the most refreshing drama that I've seen in awhile. Sometimes it takes awhile for these "gems" to be discovered... so I'm pretty glad that I jumped on the bandwagon at the right time and get to be the first batch of people who gets to enjoy & appreciate this drama.

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thanks for the translation, sarah!
Although I'm definitely aware that a drama's quality may not be equal to its ratings, like mily, I sometimes check out high rated drama just to see what all the fuss is about. However, after several bad experiences, I don't care that much about ratings anymore. I mean, it would be nice to see a high-quality drama gets its deserved ratings. But if not, I'd still follow it; for example, QSS and Devil. And man, thank the heavens that Korean networks don't cancel low rated shows coz then, I'd be pretty upset.
Btw, I watched Snow Queen and as a fan of Hyun Bin, it pains me to say that SQ's ratings is directed correlated to its quality.

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As viewers we really shouldn't care about ratings. Because ratings do not necessarily dictate quality of series.

But somehow we all seem to care a bit too much about this kind of numbers game. Perhaps because the endorsers pay attention to it, and those endorsers foot the bills and will dictate what they will endorse next, that makes us care this much about ratings? As xena calles them *sugar daddies*....And actors in the series are usually concerned about ratings too. *sugar daddies* may or may not want to endorse their shows in the future due to ratings? I am just rambling now on silly speculations.

In the long run, I hope Korean tv networks continue to support good quality shows that might not be the same formulaic commercial-type storylines that do not necessary get the most ratings. AH...Please don't spend all the monies on historical drams...please.

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Thanks for the article translation.
I'm one drama viewer who doesn't rely on ratings, bec. I don't think it's a clear reflection of how good the content is. I think most viewers tend to gravitate towards romantic comedies or comedies in general.

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I do the same thing, doozy -- I won't lose interest in a show because I hear its ratings are low, but if I keep hearing about the amazing ratings of a show I wasn't initially drawn to, I might check it out just to see what the deal is.

Even though I don't buy into the ratings system, it can be disheartening to see how much importance the media and production entities place on them. I suppose they need some tangible (numerical) way to judge a project's value in terms of investments and such -- it is a business, after all. I suppose at the end of the day I should just be glad that some very talented people have managed to strike an admirable balance between commerce and art.

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Ratings are just numbers people use to make profits...but that has nothing to do with the quality of a drama to a certain extent in my opinion. It is disheartening to know that an exceptional piece of television art isn't doing well...but to me it is all because people don't want to open their minds and hearts to new concepts and idea. They want the same old story and then they complain when they get it instead of looking for new and fresh productions. I like my rom-coms just like the next person but QSS for one thing holds a deeper feel cause it is done so tastefully. Mawang is amazing because it is thought provoking and is like watching LAW and Order of CSI. I don't use ratings to decide on what to watch. Like with movies critics think they know everything but they are so narrow-minded in their thinking...don't even get me started. Thanks JB for the article!!

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WHAAAAT??how can it be? the devil/mawang is the best kdrama i've seen so far, and me being the kdrama fanatic i am (i finished all twenty-something episodes of goong in 4 days and My Girl in 3....xD yes i know...thats kinda sad lol) i think the devil deserves super awesome ratings!!!!!hmph!

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thanks for the translation sarah!
its a sad fact that ratings seem to play a huge part on things. i dont always think they are accurate basis to judge if something is good. but also sometimes they are right when the drama is a stellar one.. mostly though, ratings is just a competition between the networks at times and the money game as tsunamiblues mentioned. its sad that many underrated dramas are neglected because of the standard ratings thing and sometimes overrated ones arent that great too they just cater to the public views more.

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That makes no SENSE! >:O I agree! I think Devil is one of the best kdramas I've watched recently. It deviates from the stereotypical romances and gives a refreshing take on drama plotlines nowadays.

You mentioned above that Snow Queen ended with low ratings? That's so disappointing! I think Snow Queen has become my second most favorite romantic drama of all time, after Autumn Tale. It was such a lovely story... but I suppose others might have thought otherwise. TT_TT

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I wonder why Korean don't like QSS and Devil??Their taste are so different!still I support for QSS and Devil. Love Uhm and Eric and YooMi-veru nice actress!

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Totally agree with everyone here. Ratings do not dictate the quality and goodness of a drama. Of course, it would be disheartening and sad for the actors themselves because I guess that's where they get their consolation and internal reward from. Ratings are not important to us viewers...we're not very bothered because as long as we enjoy the drama, nothing can stop us. But for the crew involved, the ratings are crucial...sort of like an invisible reflection of appreciation by the viewers. And the higher the ratings, the more motivated they would be. So sometimes I do feel bad if a good drama gets good ratings. Not because it deserves it and not getting it would deprive us of anything, but just that I feel bad for those actors who strive so hard to bring so much to us audience.

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btw..i made an error above. it should be "I do feel bad if a good drama gets low ratings..."

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can't agree more!!!

ma wang is like one of its own and it's pretty much nothing i've seen before.

but i believe in uhm tae woong, whose 'resurrection' really resurrected in the end and had better ratings towards the ending..

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hey at first I was watching yoo hee and hello miss and I didn't watch QSS because I thought it wasn't going to be good untill I took a chance and I think I perfer it over yoo hee and hello miss, QSS is so good.

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It's too bad Mawang isn't raing that well. Still that will not stop me from watching it! Quality wise, it is great! But maybe, it is for the more intelligent audience. For those who enjoy mind play. Cutting edge is the way to describe it so....I WILL STILL WATCH MAWANG!

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Hm..
I started to watch QSS..
But stopped because it wasn't my cup of tea.
Then I started to watch, and am still watching Mawang.
I just hate how much people day, though.
It's so repetitive!

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I watched QSS and just finished Devil. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them both!

They're very different from the norm of most Korean dramas these days. QSS is certainly lighter than Devil and somewhat a happier ending. They both have a very solid story line and supper acting from all the casts!

I really hope the low Korean viewer rating on these types of dramas won't deter the networks & producers from making them in the future. These gems can't be underrated!!!!!

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I'm watching the Devil and I also seemed to find that the ratings were low. It's an amazing drama, really deep as well. I almost want to laugh and say the ratings show how superficial society is being. The Devil is complex and deep and I can't take it in all at once. But it has an amazing plot, amazing acting, amazing talent. I love it and I want to thank you for expressing your view on ratings.

Also, the song "dont love me" in the Devil, is it sung by uhm tae woong? or is he just singing it for show...i really love that song and want it so bad

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I seriously agree with you about some very good quality dramas getting undeserved low ratings. That's why I just watch what I watch ^-^ But I just finished watching QSS, and I thought it was so fresh compared to Witch Amusement, which I watched at the same time. I also like Devil alot too. Even though the plot was kind of complex at times, I just couldn't stop myself from watching the next episode. Actually, I was totally into it and finished watching the thing in one sitting. How I did it, I don't even remember.

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People must really like the typical dramas. I personally think both Devil and Que Sera, Sera were fresh and different.

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I saw the Japanese version of Devil, Maou, and that was really mind warping, so I can only imagine what the original Korean version would be like! Judging on that, it's really disappointing that the ratings were lacking. Especially since the opening is epic.

Concerning QSS, I'm in denial about that. It makes sense now that dramafever put in the summary for QSS that if you want a romantic comedy to check out MNISS. I just scratched my head at that. lol QSS has all the ingredients for a well received kdrama, and it's a bit surprising to me that people would get turned off from it, thinking it was a typical melodrama and about Tae Joo's past, because it has to be one of the most raw and unforgiving kdramas I have ever watched.

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