Drama Casting & News
The business of kdrama extensions and cuts
by | September 20, 2009 | 46 Comments

Queen Seon-deok

Yep, we as drama-lovers tend to have a love-hate (mostly hate, I think) relationship with drama extensions and, even worse, unexpected cuts. Even a good drama can be ruined in the end by unnecessary extensions — a long-running epic series may suffer less from adding episodes than a short drama whose story was never meant to go beyond 16 or 20 installments. I know that this trend stems from that pernicious habit of broadcast stations’ knee-jerk reactions to ratings, but as much as we hate that, I think we all kind of understand why a station places so much importance on ratings. Here’s an article that discusses the trend.


Queen of Housewives

Ratings-based broadcast changes: Ruining Story vs. Economic Sense

In this landscape, dramas that end according to their original plan are rare. If they do well, they’re extended; if not, they’re cut short. These days, dramas are either drawn out or cut down based on the results delivered every morning in the form of television viewer ratings.

Dramas enjoying lofty ratings of 40% like MBC’s Monday-Tuesday series Queen Seon-deok and KBS 2TV’s weekend series Sons of Sol Pharmacy were given extensions early on. Seon-deok has been given twelve additional episodes and will broadcast more than an extra month. Sol Pharmacy will produce four more episodes.

This year’s “smash hit dramas” have all been extended from their planned broadcasts, beginning with KBS 2TV’s Boys Before Flowers and including SBS’s Wife’s Temptation and Brilliant Legacy, as well as MBC’s Queen of Housewives.

The broadcasters and the viewers who watch these extended series each have their own views. Assertions that “It makes economic sense” mix with those that say, “After ordering the extension, the plot development drags.” One broadcast source said, “In the case of dramas with good ratings, of course there are many viewers with loud voices who want extensions. From the producers’ perspective, there’s no reason to refuse an extension for a successful drama. The frequency of extensions can also have the effect of curbing rival dramas and providing more preparation time for the next project. But one must avoid trite plot turns and excessive drawing out of the story.”

Strike Love

Where there is sun, there is also shade. There are several dramas facing trouble after the announcement of their early endings. SBS’s ambitious Ja Myung Go and MBC’s Strike Love and Tamra the Island all tasted the bitterness of cut broadcasts.

The case was even more disappointing for Strike Love and Tamra the Island, which enjoyed the support of mania fans [i.e., a cult following] and also earned good responses in overseas markets. Another broadcast station source said, “Of course, there are many more dramas that end as planned than those that are extended or cut. However, the situation seems amplified because the interest of the media and the viewers leans toward those cases.”

The basis for these extensions or cut-downs is decidedly the audience ratings. Without an objective basis for judging a drama’s worth, these ratings become an essential yardstick by which a drama’s success or failure is decided.

The same broadcast source said, “The view that the broadcast stations may be focusing excessively on these ratings cannot be avoided, but if you look at it from an economic standpoint, you can’t unequivocally reproach them. It’s because ratings are directly related to the advertising that is bought, as well as being the basis for whether a drama will be sold in additional markets.”

Tamra the Island

I’ll admit openly that I hate this trend on both sides (extending and cutting), but especially series that get cut, which is a grand freakin’ shame. I almost — ALMOST — prefer the American industry’s cruel but swift method of canceling a show and immediately pulling it. True, we don’t get to see the ending that way, but in this era of DVD box sets, at least when we DO get to see the rest of the series, it will be presented as the producers meant them.

This Korean drama trend bothers me more, because it seems like such a jerking around of the production — most of the time they’re already scrambling to film episodes nearly in real time (Boys Before Flowers is a prime example of why that is a Bad Idea), and then they have to suddenly produce more or less at the last minute? When a drama has already wrapped filming 20 episodes (as in the case of Tamra, which began production a year in advance), it seems unnecessarily cruel to then tell producers to hand over 16 episodes instead, when the drama is already mid-broadcast. It’s a lose-lose situation. The drama that gets shown is hurried and edited together at the last minute, and what viewers see is not a true representation of their work.

But I also distrust extensions, even when I’m liking a drama. Goong, for example, killed its momentum when its popularity prompted an extension. By all accounts (I haven’t finished the drama), Queen of Housewives would have been better served without one. I still maintain that Coffee Prince would have been a much better series without its single episode extension, which would have improved the dragged-out pacing of the last two episodes (which were, imo, the weakest). King and I‘s story suffered by the extension, then cutting, then re-extension of its episode order. Even when I don’t feel the extension was too harmful (Dal Ja’s Spring‘s extra episodes didn’t irk me), I still think the quality would have been higher without them.

But I recognize that I’m a mere viewer whose sole concern is entertainment quality, who doesn’t have to worry about the business end of things. Grumble all we want, I don’t think the business model will be changing anytime soon.

Via Hankook Ilbo


46 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Tha

    Utterly and completely agrees with every single word you said. Is the drama really what it was suppose to be when extented and/or cut short!?!?!?!?!? Question for you…what drama came out with the pre-ordered episodes, did well in rating, stayed on coursed to the end and satified your tastes buds?

  2. retsnom_Adedekutsu

    Thanks, javabeans. This is very informative.

  3. javabeans

    Ooh, great question. And a tough one, I realize, since I’m thinking back to all the dramas I’ve seen and I realize that it’s pretty difficult to meet ALL those criteria. (Dramas I liked that ended on time may not have had high ratings, while I may not have liked those that ended on time with high ratings.)

    Last Scandal is one. (They planned a sequel rather than an extension, which was unfortunately scrapped due to Choi Jin-shil’s death.) And… I can’t think of anything else right now.

  4. La Plume

    Regarding Brilliant Legacy, although the series was extended it didn’t feel like it. It wasn’t dragged and the suspense got held up to the very last minute. In that case, you could hardly know it had been extended if you hadn’t read it somewhere. But I agree with you on the rest, either cut or extended, I don’t like these adjustments. Personally, Sageuks which get extended bother me… They’re already long enough, it’s annoying to know I’ll have to follow 10 to 20 additional episodes to get to the end…that’s just me though. For comedies however, extensions are always deadly ( apart for BL)… For Coffee Prince, passed the 14th episode It got reaaaaaalllllllllly slow.
    I rewatched the drama twice and always stopped at episode 15. A Korean friend of mine told me the series was originally planned to be 14 episodes long and not 16… Knowing that, it isn’t surprising I felt so bored with the end of the series.

  5. anne

    what about “story of a man”? didn’t that do well?? or were the ratings not good? i loved the show and it wasn’t extended, right?

  6. lalala

    hey, what about kim sam soon? that was crazy popular but only ended at its original run of 16 episodes

  7. javabeans

    Story of a Man didn’t have high ratings (7%-10%). Yes, Samsoon fits! (If it aired today i’d bet they’d be pushed to extend though.) There are a bunch of dramas that were modestly popular, but I wouldn’t count them as doing well unless they were in the upper teens or higher.

  8. gallivanter

    I agree with you LaPlume. Until this article mentioned it, I had completely forgotten Brilliant Legacy had an extension. I almost shudder to think how they would have gotten the series wrapped up without it. Even going into the last 3 or 4 episodes I didn’t think they would pull it off.

    On the other hand, Coffee Prince was killed by the extra episode. There was a wonderful pace to the series, but the last two episodes draaaaaaged and were, if I’m honest, boring.

  9. Jenn

    I have to give a round of applause to the Tamna the island crew for doing the best they can to give us an ending that’s as true to their original intent as they can get. I expected a complete mess that wasn’t the least coherent but have been pleasantly surprised by their editing.

    It’s a shame for anyone to have dismissed this show based on the first couple of episodes. The acting by the complete cast (Well..not so much William) is top notch. The writers are experts at giving us these beautiful emotional scenes that touch me with their power and simplicity.

    It’s a shame what’s been done to this drama but i’m glad they seem to be going out with their heads held high!

  10. 10 haneul

    ^ completely agree with javabeans’ article AND with Jenn above.
    I’m loving Tamna, even though the first couple episodes were dodgy…
    Hwang Chan Bin’s acting even more so, but I’ll let him off because its his first” drama, and the rest of the actors are good.

  11. 11 Molly

    I think My Girl was one that was popular but not extended too? And Full House?

  12. 12 bleu cheese

    I think this article is talking about recent dramas. My Girl, Samsoon and Full House are all like 4 – 5 years old. I’ve noticed most of these situations with constant extensions are in the past 2 years.

  13. 13 deeta

    I didn’t even realize that Queen of Housewives had an extension. I always thought that the last few episodes were the downturn of the drama and even the end was so weak that it affected all the fun I had while watching the first 2/3 of the drama.

  14. 14 honest_will

    hey all,
    im sometimes not a fan the extension of the series because sometimes, it just feels wierd, i recently watched queen of housewives, great story until i reached ep 16 when all hell breaks loose, i still haven’t watched the end cos it got slow, boring and no real action, yes it is popular but if it slow to watch that you are playing online poker while watching tv, then it is a problem

    i also had the chance to watch that fool/accidental couple, great and quirky story, something to watch without being to fussed about the story and simple enough ending, but maybe an extension by 2 eps for this one would have been better, the last 30 mins of the series were to choppy, with this and that finally revealing itself.

    now im on to watch the slingshot, aka the story of a man, im only up to ep6 and i want more of it, but feels wierd with itsplanning of the story, feels like im watching the time between dog and wolf

    well my verdict is that if it goes bad, well just let it pan out, if it is good, well dont increase to much eps until it drags out b4 it becomes boring

    i sometimes wish in korean dramas that they are able to make a second series off the hit show like the american one do, like scrubs, gray’s anatomy, prison break etc. but i guess it just doesn’t work

  15. 15 Penn

    I enjoyed every moment of Coffee Prince and Goong. I’m glad for the extension especially since Goong 2 is never going to happen. I have to disagree with you, Javabeans, in regards to Last Scandal. I though it was very boring and slow near the end. I actually would have prefer it if they cut it by 2 episodes.

  16. 16 asianromance

    I think many korean dramas tend to drag a bit towards the end, so an extension would usually accentuate this flaw.

    love that pic from Queen Seon-deok though! I don’t think I’m going to watch the drama, but I love seeing the pictures and screencaps!

  17. 17 belleza

    The only time I supported cuttng a show was Princess Ja Myung Go. Just no way SBS could realistically support a 50-episode sageuk that was doing 5s.

    Tamra should have been allowed to do a full 20-episode run, but really MBC should have been ordered the show for only 16 episodes. I don’t really understand how MBC could have possibly believe the show would have done better ratings than it did.

    I didn’t mind the extension to Coffee Prince, because I think it was kinda understood the story effectively ended in episode 12/13 or so. Everything else did feel like gravy. Having said that, there was still story space for CP to explore Han Kyul’s relationship with his father.

    I almsot never mind extensions for daehas and sageuks. It was pretty clear about halfway that East of Eden had enoguh story to do 60 episodes. Of course, this was before Lee Dae Hae decided to leave. And again when Queen Seon Deok was planned for 50 episodes, it was clear that MBC was just playing conservative. The show can easily do 60 episodes,

    I thought extensions hurt a few shows I really liked, including Fashion 70s and All In. Toward the end, both shows seemed like they were going in circles to burn through filler episodes.

    I think My Fair Lady has enough story to do 20 episodes. There’s still that Hye-na backstory which probably won’t get done.

    Finally, glad that MiSa never succombed to an extension. It was just well enough for 16 episodes, and no more.

    I don’t recall KBS cutting shows due to ratings. I’ve seen shows average 3s that still did full run.

  18. 18 koalabear

    If it’s on the business side of things, extending or cutting episodes would be understandable but like us, viewers, usually extensions are a bad idea since it really drags the story, and I’ve seen some of them. For example, Jumong was supposed to end at 60, but got an additional 21 episodes and ended at Episode 81, I really thought at first that when it almost reached 60 episodes, I still felt something was missing so adding 5 episodes I guess was enough but adding 21 more is like uh oh, but generally I loved the drama but they got to kill off some characters during their extension…about Last Scandal, I was glad that they didn’t add more episodes but the almost sequel made me think twice if it will hold the momentum it had at first, but due to unfortunate turn of events the sequel didn’t materialize, which made me felt bittersweet for a while

    I hope though producers won’t scrap off pre-produced dramas since I think they were much prepared with better acting, storylines and the whole production itself, sadly they got chopped off before they even air all episodes I also even wonder if netizens also had a hand in drama endings sometimes…

  19. 19 Nea

    Reading the article, as a viewer, I’m much more understanding… of cuts that is. I get that right now economically no station can handle even one week of a bad(low rating/ low viewership) show. With that I will try not to be as put off by what “the man” has to do to stay afloat.

    Till now, I’ve seen several shows that have been extended but not one that has been cut (haven’t started Tamra yet) and I have to say that usually extensions are a horrible idea. Good shows should stay exactly that. I think that when working within a frame you have a plan and this works until that gets switched up and usually too late to make it work for the overall story progression.

    As for cuts, sadly, I think that JB is right. When a show is just bad or isn’t doing well initially, cut it! I mean by ep 3! If this is done more people will have much less time to get attached. Yes sure there will always be a handful of people (me and my friends) that say “Man where did so and so go? I kinda liked that show” but ultimately it makes it easier to move on to something better(more financially beneficial). And with that I think the general public would be more understanding.

    Ultimately, I think its sad that there isn’t a remedy that works for everyone involved.

  20. 20 maria

    I hate drama extensions, most of the times it just makes the story move slow.

  21. 21 Lauren

    Personally, I don’t think QSD should be extended, they have dragged out each and EVERY episode with ridiculous tangents and unnecessary scenes. Mishil is the only person worth watching but even that gets old. Seriously, how long does MBC think they can milk the brow raising and “lip-thing.” K-Drama interest hasn’t been the same since Story of a Man!!!

  22. 22 nell123

    The three main reasons I drop dramas are:

    1. Changing the story in the middle of the series to compensate for low ratings.
    2. Extending/cutting the number of episodes to make/avoid loosing more money.
    3. Casting popular faces with no talent in hope to attract more viewers.

    I’ve never really liked trendy dramas. All the big hits everyone raves about usually don’t manage to capture my attention. As a result, the very few dramas I end up watching are the mania dramas that very often get mutilated because of the reasons I mentioned above. As if it is not enough that I rarely find an interesting story, but it usually ends up as one huge illogical mess because of someone’s futile attempts to get higher ratings.

  23. 23 ripgal

    I’m extremely disappointed that MBC had decided to cut off 4 episodes of Tamra. I just caught on the wave and I think it’s an extremely enjoyable drama to be afforded a full run of its episodes. I haven’t watched till the edited parts yet, but from the comments in the Soompi thread, I don’t feel good about it at all. Extensions are okay for me, but reduction of broadcasts just spoil everything. >.<

  24. 24 dangermousie

    A recent drama I loved, that had great ratings and didn’t get extended or cut was Bae Yong Joon’s Legend. It’s possibly my favorite drama ever and I was glad there was no extension – that kept the pace even throughout.

    I don’t mind extensions too much, even if I agree they kill the flow of the story all too often (agree on Goong and Coffee Prince. The latter especially basically became dead for the last 3 eps). That’s what a fast-forward button is for and I ultimately get all the story I want, even if at a slower pace. And sometimes extensions work out fine, usually for longer or historical dramas – Jumong, East of Eden, and Fashion 70s all did fine with their extensions, IMO.

    The cuts really bug me though – I have no interest in Tamra but I can see how infuritating it would be to have bits of the story chopped away. I never checked out Strike Love because I had heard horrors of the butchered ending, even though before that I meant to watch it. And I loved Ja Myung Go.

    I suppose if the cuts have to happen (and I understand the business sense), I wish they’d let the production team know as early as possible. I’d be fine with Ja Myung Go being 39 eps and not 50 if that drama was initially planned for that many or early on altered for that many, as opposed to decided at the last minute, because if the former happened, the story over-all would just be compacted and flow well, as opposed to having its feet chopped from under it.

    I really think they shouldn’t plan any not-sageuk/daeha drama for over 16 eps – if it does well early on, then extend it. (Daeha/sageuks can be planned for 30+ eps, I suppose and then extended if need be). Saves a headache.

    The thing that I really hate the most is extension then cut of extension then extension again. That’s usually horrifying in its results.

    It is all still better than American TV – with kdramas I will see the whole story, even if truncated. Something like 2007’s Robbers or this year’s Friend would have been killed asap on Western TV, with the ratings they got, and this way I got to watch them through to the end.

  25. 25 Samsooki

    What an interesting thread!

    I think one of the reasons I like MNIKSS so much is due to the fact that it ended when it should have ended. With the kind of monster ratings MNIKSS received, if it got extended, maybe it would have ended like Goong, perhaps, and how much worse for wear would have been the result?

    I think Goong is the prime number one example of killing a story. They had it, right in their hands, they had something really special, with the plot lines coming together, with a lot of inertia heading in the right direction, they had the viewers sucked in, pulling hard for Chae-Kyung, they had it…. and it all petered out I think.

    For those who have seen Goong, don’t you remember how you felt, as you watched the early and middle episodes, with the fantastic opening credits and the beautiful, well, everything? By the last episode, I was just struggling to get through it.

    Dalja Spring, to a lesser degree, also lost energy towards the end. Dalja Spring was so well-written. Coffee Prince, with its single ep extension, also, really well written, and yet there was a drop off in energy level at the end. I think that Goong could have been one of my most favorite dramas, definitely top 5, but as it is, I’m not sure I would watch it again. I’ve seen parts again, but I don’t think I can sit through the whole thing.

    Still, this is a business. They gotta make money in order to stay in business, and so inasmuchas I complain and grumble, I defer to the economics of the business. So, I guess we have to put up with the extensions and the cuts. Unless, of course, you want to make dramas like Style, and have the ubiquitous 1-second shots of the lead actors walking over to name-brand refrigerators and pressing their cup into the ice-maker attachment or the drinking water dispenser….or showing which brand of knives are being used by the chefs, or air-freshener, or whatever else they are branding…

  26. 26 Em

    Love the opening screencap of Queen Seon-Deok, that’s an eyecatcher right there. The colours are so vibrant.

  27. 27 ockoala

    @ Samsooki

    “They gotta make money in order to stay in business, and so inasmuchas I complain and grumble, I defer to the economics of the business.”

    Yes, the magic of tv/movie making is a business, but it’s also an art form, entertainment for the masses. The cuts/extensions business for me is where business and art butt heads in the worse possible way.

    I’m a relative newb to the k-drama scene, and definitely have never read articles or knew about the cuts, extensions, BTS drama that avid drama watchers would know about.

    However, I have watched Goong, Fashion 70s, Jumong, Coffee Prince, etc. (pretty much all the dramas being discussed in this cut/extend article). And each of those dramas, when I watched it, the first half or 2/3s were just awesome, sucking me in and taking me on a roller coaster ride or emotional journey. But the last half or 1/3 of those dramas being extended felt like such a painful letdown even as I was watching it without the knowledge that it was an extended drama. I thought Goong was 24 eps, and just couldn’t understand why it was so bad at the end, i.e. I thought a troll had commandeered the production company and written the last 4-6 eps.

    So, production companies, take heed, viewers are not stupid. Yes, we will turn in to watch that highly rated drama being extended, but most likely it’ll turn our love for that drama into like or worse, dislike, after what you did to wring out more money. I may have recommended the drama or even bought the box set, but now, I’ll probably pass. So, you’ve made some extra money at the expense of the possibly the longevity of your drama, and plenty of viewer goodwill.

  28. 28 Alain

    I have to agree with the other comments regarding Coffee Prince. The story really ended after her real gender was revealed which was around episode 12 or 13. I totally lost interest after that and skipped to the last chapter. So the extension(s) on this show was unnecessary.

    For Shining Inheritance (Brilliant Legacy), if there were any extensions, I wouldn’t have known since the story was just told brilliantly (no pun intended). Great acting and story execution.

    I’m watching My Fair Lady (Take Care of Young Lady) now. Pretty good so far. I don’t have any problems with her acting contrary to comments on a previous thread. Anyhow, I put some videos together for the show. Enjoy the soundtrack!


  29. 29 belleza

    I didn’t really have an issue with Coffee Prince because, again, the original story ended right about where it should have. Usually an extension would have had Eun Chan and Han Kyul drag out their issues before reconciliation, but that didn’t happen.

    I thought Jumong getting expanded to 80 episodes worked pretty well. Sure, probably the “mountain prophecy” bit was . . . interesting, but the show was never really short on plot. And frankly the show kinda glossed over the political problems with Prince Yuri’s return. Could have spent more time on that, but then again the show didn’t want to depict Jumong as anything less than heroic.

  30. 30 Samsooki


    What can you do? Actors need to be paid, the PD and staff needs to get paid, sets cost money, costumes and clothing, makeup, lighting, electronics, liability insurance, medical staff, drivers, advertisements. Investors need to get their loans back with interest.

    Last night, I was subbing for Style, and it was so weird, seeing the product placement. Reminded me a little of The Truman Show. Of course, I remember the dramabeans post on the subject of product placement: (http://www.dramabeans.com/2009/09/style-criticized-for-excessive-product-placement/)… but I didn’t really notice until it happened multiple times in an episode I was spot-subbing.

    I was watching, kind of lazily, so I missed obvious product placements the first time. But the second time it happened, it was really out of the spirit of the scene….I think the scene went something like this:

    INT, 9 P.M.: KIM MIN JOON’S APARTMENT. Suave Kim Min-Joon is trying to soothe an upset Lee Seo-Jung.

    KMJ: Here, let me give you a sexy but platonic massage.

    LSJ: We’re just friends though, right? Young male and female professionals can room together, with k-drama-esque co-habitation rules to follow, can’t they? And they can still give sexy but platonic massages, right?

    KMJ: Sure. Now why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you?

    LSJ: I over-act, I am out of my league against the others, but I am cute enough to have been chosen for my role. Plus, they told me I can’t keep the handbags or the clothes.

    KMJ: There…there… . Feel better?

    LSJ: Mmmm. A little. I am thirsty for water though. Cold water. Where can I find refreshing, charcoal filtered, cold water that has ice cubes in it?

    KMJ: Ah, well, I have the new Samsung RFG299AARS, with twin cooling system, a 7 inch digital LCD touch screen, charcoal filters for the water dispenser AND the ice cube maker, and it is energy star compliant to save the environment. If you ever make Editor of Style, you can buy one at the Lotte Department store for W3,500,000.


    LSJ: I love refreshing cold water with charcoal filtered ice cubes.

    KMJ walks over to the kickass RFG299AARS.

    CLOSEUP SHOT on KMJ’s hand touching the 7″ LCD display / touchpanel.

    CLOSEUP SHOT on the ice cubs falling into a crystal water glass.

    ZOOM TO PAN from the RFG299AARS french doors that open wide.



  31. 31 Alison

    for anyone who’s still bitter out there about tamra’s cut, i got a very reassuring email from the dramafever crew. a few weeks ago i emailed them to suggest they should add tamra the island on their drama list. and i just got an email back from them that said “we’ll try to air it once the networks release it to the states. and we’ll try to get the whole 20 eps!” : D

  32. 32 Kgrl

    @22 nell: oh, I used to be the exact same way, my friends would be watching “Scream 2” and I would be hung up with “Schindler’s List” – took me awhile to get off that high horse to watch things more fitting of my age and social network. But still, it is hard to let go of quality standards when you’ve seen so much better.

    But I think the problem isn’t necessarily the content/story, but how it’s being presented. You can give me a cliche storyline, but present it in a new, unused , and charismatic light and I’m good – afterall isn’t that what “originality” is? Unfortunately, presentation, is being dictated, or at least heavily influenced, by the money-making of the business. They need to do product-placements, need song/singer-placements, need fashion/clothing brand-placements etc. Which again, brings me back to the issues with filming so close to broadcast dates.

    Granted, suddenly requiring less or more episodes is still not the best scenerio, but at least if filming has been completed, or nearing completion, the direction of the story has been set. And there is more leverage to bargain that the show end the way it was designed. Sure, maybe it’s so popular, they’ll decide not to cut certain scenes that was already on the cutting board; or add more detailing scenes to enumerate certain messages they want to get across, etc. But the thing is – it’s LEVERAGE. Having a production filmed right as it’s being broadcasted opens the doors to bargaining from outside influences, who’s agenda is almost never solely trying to improve the story-telling of a production, but for other more economic reasons. (I remember watching a movie satire-ing the process of making a movie nowadays – and at the end, the entire movie wasn’t even about the story/characters anymore – it was about the product placements, about the sponsorships, about the stars, about the fans – everything but, the original story. It was so shallow, yet so smart, so brilliantly done, it was hilarious!)

    It still bewilders me how much power fans have in Korea – and it’s a slippery slope. This fickling power that fans have over artists doesn’t help suicide ratios and mental health in the industry. They should just be artists and focus on the artistry of their craft – but the industry doesn’t award many on these levels, but rather more so on how many endorsements an artist can rake in. Like JB has mentioned, change is not happening anytime soon. Maybe when it’s gotten bad enough or meets a disaster will it prompt some action. (It only took a world financial crisis to rethink how money should be borrowed, leveraged, and regulated. I suppose it may need a meltdown in K ent. to do the same thing *sigh*).

  33. 33 Dramaniac

    @ 31 Alison – Are you for real with dramafever’s response ?!?!??! They’ll air Tamra’s full 20 episodes? *crying frantically

    I can’t help but be drawn to these last edited episodes b/c I am Team BeoJin&ParkKyu. The episodes are satisfying but not quenching. To actually see the true writer’s intentions for the storyline and watch the characters truly develop is what I call quenching. Did any other Tamra fan feel that Yan was eventually going to warm up to BeoJin?

  34. 34 belleza


    “I used to be the exact same way, my friends would be watching “Scream 2″ and I would be hung up with “Schindler’s List” – took me awhile to get off that high horse to watch things more fitting of my age and social network.”

    And that’s the thing. This is the reality everywhere, whether it’s Korean, Russian, American, or Martian. Korea also has much edgier, more progressive cable-based TV, which also better fits the demographic used to watching Western television. Something like “Fight” worked because it was shown on cable and allowed the freedom to be the story it needed to be.

    The other thing is, 90% of Korean drama content are soaps, whether it’s historical soaps, comedic soaps, or daily drama soaps. And most soaps and telenovelas rely on the live-shoot formula. And, so, it’s a bit like criticizing the latest story arc on General Hospital. You can categorically hate trendies on principle, and that may be a more honest reference point.

    Finally, live-shoot is the norm in Asia. While pre-broadcast shows can be much higher in quality, sometimes the real problem is that you may be sick of the genre itself. This is kinda why I don’t understand why most non-Korean viewers try out, say, J-dramas. And not just the manga stuff, but the serious J-dramas made for the adults. It’s a completely different approach to drama.

  35. 35 Kgrl


    Actually, I think live-shoots have been more utilized in the last decade because of it’s economic potential, not as a historical practice. Why would a production want to rush and film days before a broadcast? It’s not ideal. Unless of course, the practice allows for incentives, such as higher ratings by adapting to audiences’ reactions, more sponsorships due to these ratings, etc. which in the end usually all comes down to numbers.

    Many other Asian countries are also adapting to this practice because the results are pretty clear – if you’ve got a winning recipe, this strategy will reap you the maximum benefits. Whereas before, profits for the production (not stars) could have maxed out at 50% because the sponsors are mostly set; now, sponsors can increase 200%+ at every new episode that is broadcasted – added to a scene, inserted in the background, etc.

    I’m not trying to refute the strategy, but I’m seeing such a loss in quality that it has become…bothersome. I can just stop watching, which I do when it irks me too much, but it doesn’t lessen my sense of loss – if that makes any sense. This is why I sometimes need to diversify and watch American, British, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, TW/HK/Singapore, etc. entertainment. Granted I’m fickle, but over-immersement in any one of these regions’ productions keys you in on some of their flaws. Maybe I should just “check my brain at the door” or just stop watching altogether. lols…Oh, do I lament my lack of restraint. 😛

  36. 36 belleza

    “Actually, I think live-shoots have been more utilized in the last decade because of it’s economic potential, not as a historical practice”

    I think live shoots have been the norm since I can recall. More or less grew out of daily dramas and the like. Most countries do it.

    “Why would a production want to rush and film days before a broadcast? ”

    Part of it is ratings. Part of it has to do with Korean TV lacking true seasons. (For example, even though J-drama also executes live-shoot, the shooting schedules are calibrated against the seasons.) Most of it has to do with poor planning. Korean dramas have been pushing production limitations for 10 years, and in doing so, it’s also caused greater risk.

    Really, the only time where I see live shoot really kill a show is when the show has a mega-budget attached to it. Then you can see the dropoff in quality, esp. if the producers hadn’t worked it out. Korean soaps are formula, and so most of the time, the producers mostly figure out how much airtime should go to the “color people”, how much airtime the support characters should get, and so on. *ideally*, the show won’t go crazy illogical if the first half of the show is clicking.

    I agree shows fully produced prior to airtime are much higher in quality. The acting goes up a lot. I don’t really subscribe to the theory that it kills ratings though. Many of those shows tend to be more sophisticated and challenging, and so their audience appeal is more limited. But I also feel that live-shoot improved My Fair Lady. They were constantly tweaking the dynamic between the two leads until they found the right tone with the audience. I didn’t have a problem with that.

    The real culprit is actually the total amount of footage per week. Opens up what kind of stories you can tell. Removes the need for so many ad-lib scenes and family characters. Tightens triangles and throws them out if not needed.

    “his is why I sometimes need to diversify and watch American, British, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, TW/HK/Singapore, etc. entertainment.”

    But then again, only the Americans and British fully produce shows that are not live-shoot. Most telanovelas are shot in live-shoot style.

  37. 37 wondering

    You know what I want to see done in Korea is a move to a drama with 1 episode per week format. This 2 episode a week format is buggers – Korean staffs/actors work brutally to make these dramas, especially dramas that aren’t pre-filmed/not live-shoot. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing season format in Korea too. Helps dramas lines to evolve more, not that Korean dramas haven’t come a far way, and gives staff/cast more breaks. Though to be honest, I don’t know the in-and-outs of the K-entertainment industry to see if it’s financially feasible to do the 1 episode per week/season format – or if it’s just the a case of figuring out how to finance/profit from a 1 episode per week format drama series. I would also think by going by a season format, the extension of stories will be more controlled.

    P.S. Plus a 1-week per week/season format will probably be more manageable for K-drama subbers too, no?

  38. 38 nell123

    @ kgrl:

    It depends on your definition of “things more fitting of my age and social network”. I got interested in dramas in my early twenties. And at that age trendy dramas like “Full House” of “Goong” were a little bit too cute for my taste. Not that I don’t like silly and funny stuff on TV ;p. I do, the problem, as you said, is the presentation. I have the feeling that almost any sort of TV show in Korea has to fit the melodrama format-long episodes, lots and lots of talking, tons of close up shots to show the pretty faces of the leads, repetitive stories. It’s just the filling that is different. If it’s a comedy, the actors get funny lines. If it is not, than the lines are not funny and they cry much more that usual. And that’s a big problem because I get bored quickly. Unless the story is unusual and has interesting characters I probably won’t finish it. There is no point in wasting time on something I’ve already seen.

  39. 39 ripgal

    @ 33 Dramaniac

    I had a teeny weeny gut feeling that Yan would warm up to Beo Jin too. Something like them being buddies or something? But definitely not anything romantic..

    Have a feeling that if not for the 4 episodes cut, we would have more scenes of Beo Jin being responsive toward Park Kyu’s feelings and all. At least, maybe some scenes of her thinking about Park Kyu? Or with her reminiscing their moments together? On how he always always came to her rescue (and William’s too) whenever she pleaded for his help? Cos all we’ve seen right up till now, everything’s about the 2 men vying for Beo Jin. Not the other way.. Now, if they would show something from Beo Jin for once, in the last 2 episodes.. pretty please….

    Really don’t want the drama to end up like the how My Love Patji ended…

  40. 40 Kgrl

    @nell123: When you feel like that, it means you need to move to another region’s entertainment. lols…If you want quality acting and detailed character development to the point where it gets really slow, you can try Chinese dramas. Gosh, are they the King in character analysis and relationship development – sometimes it’s absolutely awe-inspiring, but sometimes you just feel like shutting it all off and watching something silly. Hahaha…I would start off with the martial arts epics – it’s sorta like best of both worlds? lols.

    @ belleza: Hmm…I’m not sure if the acceptance of the show now is because of the adaptability of the audience, the actors, the crew, or everything combined. But I think even if there was no live shoot/reaction from audiences, and everything was pre-filmed, the directors/actors would have seen that early eps needed improvement while they were filming, and adjusted. Chemistry between the actors might have been better developed, in a shorter time-frame, without the criticisms/pressures from live ratings/audiences. I don’t want to dwell on things that’s past, but just wish the production going forward can be more consistent and flow better. I want to understand the characters actions without having to stretch/rationalize too much.

  41. 41 Elena

    @ samsooki

    You are such fun!

  42. 42 Dramaniac

    @ 31 ripgal

    Oooo…that would be a great turn of events. I’d like to see Beojin remind herself of the numerous times ParkKyu saved her. It would be especially great if she’d reminisce of their first date. I know we have to wait for the full episodes and some of us fans have that patience, I’m not one of them. I have to see these last 2 episodes even if it may spoil my opportunity to watch the full version later.

  43. 43 coolness


    Same here, I can’t wait to see the last 2 episodes even if it ruins the 20 episodes that are going to air out of korea. After this drama ends, I’m still planning to watch the 20 aired episode later in October…
    It’s disappointing that they had to cut 4 episodes of Tamna Island…

  44. 44 Alison

    @Dramamaniac, yes i really did get an email from the dramafever crew saying those exact words. so excited!

  45. 45 George

    Love Korean dramas, but they have the lamest of endings, with or without extensions. Their endings leave you hanging, needing a (hopefully) happy conclusion. Aissh!

  46. 46 Anonymous

    i agree that the whole business reasons for extending or cutting make sense, but i think it depends on a story whether or not it should get an extension. also, while they are debating whether or not to extend, the writers often go a little crazy and either slow it down too much, ony to be told no extension, and then they hvae to wrap up to quickly. take personal taste, for example. it was agreat story, but the last 4 episodes feel weak. i was disappointed with the ending (i still like the drama, but i felt it it had left untapped potential), because i felt like plots had been wrapped up too quickly and without proper explanation. this was probably due to the maybe or maybe not extension debate that went on, but in the end no extension was given, so the writers/editors were left to sort out the mess. sometimes, one more episode couldn’t hurt, like with my girlfriend is a gumiho. i was very happy with the ending, and the series as a whole, but the ending at the very last episode feels rushed, and maybe one more episode would have allowed things to come together better. other times, no extension is best, the way king of baking, kim tak goo ended. it ran the way it was supposed to, and it was PERFECT. cuts probably make you feel miserable, but they could help a story if the plot is too slow.

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