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Best practices: the methods and madness of watching K-dramas

Watching K-dramas is a delicate science. It requires finely-tuned skills around time management, content assessment, and a level of logistics management that could run a worldwide factory if we ever put our skills to work in manufacturing. In other words, the veteran drama watcher knows that there’s quite a bit of juggling and finesse that goes on to keep the drama influx flowing optimally.

How we watch dramas is often as important as what we’re actually watching. We’ve talked about how both live-watching and marathoning a drama have a lot to do with how we experience the story. We’ve talked about things like pace, time to process, and how speed-watching can keep us engaged (or cover up plot holes). But what about our individual, unique methods for curating our own drama experience?

If you’re anything like me, you have a finely tuned drama radar. You’re not only paying attention to the airing schedule and upcoming dramas of interest, but are keeping your finger on the pulse of dramaland. You’re in the know about how certain dramas are performing, what’s making headlines or pulling in high ratings, and which dramas are garnering a cult following. However, these factors may or may not influence what you actually end up watching.

The above information is crucial for how we ultimately determine our own drama schedule, because we need it to determine our balance. Balance is an essential dramaland best practice. I know from painful past experiences that I need a carefully balanced routine of both live and completed shows. Even if I stall and try to stretch live-airing episodes out over the course of the week, I will inevitably be caught up and miserable, hanging on for the next episodes in a way that feels like hanging from the monkey bars in tears.

The solution (if you can call it that) is to have two streams of shows. This could mean live-watching dramas that air on a different weekly schedule, or my method: currently airing dramas and already aired dramas to marathon through when things get desperate.

The balance of live and completed dramas is crucial to maintaining sanity in dramaland, but that can’t discount the weight of the mood I’m in. I might be marathoning through a fluffy rom-com, and live-watching a melodrama but sometimes my mood calls for one of these specifically. And it’s not always in the favor of which drama has the most episodes available. Against all better judgment, I’ll catch up on the live-airing show — then be left in agony. There might be two others shows I have on my plate that are fully-aired and ready for bingeing, but if I’m not in the mood for them, it doesn’t work.

Moods commonly influence which genres you may want to watch, and it might be the toughest nut to crack in the science of K-drama watching. I can’t always predict what sort of story I’ll be in the mood for. I know dramaland can provide dramas in every genre on a silver platter, but the onus is on me to make sure I have a well-vetted list of shows that can cover any mood.

This brings us to another dramaland best practice: having a To Be Watched list. The rate at which dramaland churns out material is staggering so for the K-drama juggler, a list is often the best way to keep track. It’s like a to-do list, only better, because it’s full of stories to watch, not tasks to complete.

Mine is something of a hodgepodge between a list of upcoming dramas I don’t want to forget about and a list of dramas that get so much love and attention that I know I have to get on board. This last category can contain dramas that weren’t high on my list, but their reception in dramaland made me change my mind (at the top of this list right now are I’m Not a Robot and Chief Kim).

The list can also contain classic dramas that I feel are important as “foundational texts” (topping my list right now are Goong and What Happened in Bali). Let’s not forget the list of whoopsie dramas — the ones you meant to watch but just ran out of time on before the next crop of shows came around.

A final best practice of dramaland is course correction. Remember that drama radar we talked about that was always surveying the drama landscape? It can also act as a helpful way to correct the course of your dramaland journey. Because we’ve all been there — a drama that sounded like a gorgeous masterpiece (or even a gorgeous mess) on paper is proving to be neither of those as you’re watching. Do you force yourself through the drama, or pull the plug?

This may sound incendiary, but learning how to drop a show is a crucial, though difficult, dramaland survival tool. Don’t be stubborn and force yourself to watch a story you’re not enjoying. Life is short, and time is precious. The drama will forgive you for abandoning it, and goodness knows there are twenty more to take its place. And there’s always the option to return to it — after all, sometimes it’s just a case of timing. A drama that isn’t resonating with you now could very well do the opposite down the road (I’m hoping that’s the case for me with The Lonely Shining Goblin).

Course correction can steer you away from dramas you aren’t enjoying, but it can also steer you toward ones that you didn’t expect to watch. Sleeper hits, dark horses, call them what you will — there’s often that one drama that comes out of nowhere and winds up knocking your socks off. It’s okay if you weren’t planning on watching it (me with Answer Me 1988). This is often how we find our hidden gems.

Finally, this course-correcting drama radar can also help with pacing your own watching. It can act as a sort of sensor when you’re live-watching. For instance, I’ve had it go on red alert when I was watching a drama that I loved so much, I knew I had to stop watching it live. In the interest of my sanity, it turned out to be better to wait for a stockpile of episodes so I could watch it through in a single pass.

Conversely, I’ve had the radar go off when a drama I wasn’t planning on watching suddenly pulls me in like a tractor beam (most recently for me, That Psychometric Guy). If you’re lucky, you’re in the enviable position of slowly catching up to the currently airing episodes at the pace that you choose — and if you’re even luckier, you will catch up just when the last episodes are airing. This means you get the best of both worlds: the hot-off-the-presses story with none of the agony of waiting.

There’s no end to the variety of methods and hacks that comprise dramaland’s best practices, but these are some of mine. Whether it’s based on our tastes, on the buzz around a drama, on the strength with which the story pulls us in, or even just the mood we’re in — drama watching has definitely proven itself to be part dance, part science, and part circus act.

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For me it's almost 100% live-watch, mostly because that works better with Dramabeans. Commenting on recaps & posts here is so much fun, but not much point if I'm 5 weeks behind the rest of you. FWIW, I lurked here for a few years because my early kdrama days were watching on TV and they were always 2-to-6 weeks behind, so I never had anything to relevant to say.

There have been binges in the past - Queen In-Hyun's Man & Girl K because I heard so much good about them here, but nowadays I do well enough at keeping up to date that the closest I come is a catch-binge when a show is still running, like Last Empress and I'm sort-of doing that with the not-Veronica-Park show.

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And FWIW, I don't watch much fiction except kdramas, partly because DB makes the experience so much better. I watch some of the NHK Taiga (historical) shows because I've been interests in Japanese history since my college classes, and if there were a Doramabeans site I might watch doramas. Since I used to live in Taiwan I would probably watch some T-dramas if there was a Taiwan version of Dramabeans. Would that be "Traumabeans" ? :)

My only bingeing lately is about once a year I might buy the disks for some show because if you don't watch much that's cheaper than subscribing to all those sites that want all that money from you.

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I wanna buy the Healer box set but it's like close to $100 NZD plus shipping... *cries*

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Kdrama blue-rays are absurdly expensive, compared blue-rays of k-movies, American movies, BBC/Netflix shows, etc, etc.

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Lol I got the healer bluray boxset and it cost me 400CAD shipping included 😭😭 But fangirl heart is very happy to this day!

I fear that one day all these online sites will be gone (ie Dramafever) so I’ve been stacking drama boxsets I loved/liked. With or without English subs 😓 they cost a fortune but fangirling is an expensive hobby!

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Guess I better find a kdrama torrent site ASAP ...

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@sicarius sad part is I don’t have have room on my computer or external hard drive to store all these dramas! 💔

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Do what one beanie does (forgot her name) and get a separate hard drive just for dramas... 😹

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@sicarius I recently bought myself a new external hard drive so I have one for kdramas and one for kpop 🙈

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We often discuss Taiwanese dramas on rabbit. But nothing formal. Just mostly me and egads complaining that some cheesy rom com has gone completely off the rails again.

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@leetennant—I hope to join you and @egads some day on rabbit. Taiwanese dramas are my junk food that often leave me curled up in a ball of regret. Characters reveal themselves to be creeps (Well Intentioned Love), stories become a grinding bore (Lion Pride) or the haircuts exceed my bang tolerance (Murphy's Law of Love.

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I watched all of LIONS PRIDE but you are right that it was a grind towards the end.

I dropped MURPHY's LAW OF LOVE about halfway through.

Something has happened to Taiwan (and Mainland China and Hong Kong too). LOVE NOW was great from beginning to end, MISS ROSE had some of the best acting and DRUNKEN TO LOVE YOU some of the most hilarious scenes ever put into a rom-com. These shows were done only a few years ago but it seems like Taiwan can no longer achieve anything comparable.

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omg...right on the ball about "completely off the rails again!" i find myself fast watching Taiwanese or Mainland dramas the most because of exactly that.

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Ah, memories! I also relied more on tv in those earlier days of watching k-dramas. And as you mentioned, those episodes were always a few weeks behind the airing schedule.

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My method of watching drama is doing it while doing chores or exercising. I feel less guilty and can get other things done.
I don't have favourite writer, PD, actor or genre . I love Signal but couldn't get myself to watch Misaeng, Ahjussi or Aseudal. I thought I don't like Kim Eun-seok, but in reality I completed her dramas more than other writers. I have To Be Watched list, but it mostly based on DB or MDL rating and beanies recommendation. I can watch any genre as long as there's no love triangle and switch at birth trope.
I come to conclusion that drama slump is a myth. There's literally hundreds of dramas out there waiting to be watched. If I no longer enjoy a drama, I don't hesitate to drop it. I'd rather start something new or try it another time. I dropped Healer the first time, then after a year I picked it up and now it's one of my favourite drama.
Marathoning is a no for me. I don't have attention span and energy for binge-watching.

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Maybe one day you can manage to watch My Ajusshi, it is one of the best drama ever

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I think I know why I couldn't get into Ahjussi:
1. The age gap. I used to love Leon the Professional with a more wtf potential romance. It's just a hint at the end that Mathilda kissed Leon, but the writer open a discussion of any potential romance between the two. I was also 12 when I first watched it, as old as Natalie Portman when she played Mathilda. I didnt see it wrong. Now I'm in my 30s and has been teaching for more than 10 years, it's hard for me to tolerate any potential romance between an adult to young adult under 24 y/o.
2. The unemployed ahjussis. It gives me flashback of 1998-2004 when we had economic crisis. During that time so many men just stayed at home in my neighborhood. I could feel the ahjussi's desperation when I watched them. It's just too sad.
Due to those reasons I can't see myself completing my Ahjussi in the near future. I have watched few episodes and I know it's really good.

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Edit: potential romance between a middle age man and a young adult under 24. Iirc jian and the Ahjussi have 24 years gap. So when jian was born the Ahjussi probably was already sexually active, she could be her daughter. They literally have a generation gap, I just can't...

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Yet, the beauty of the relationship between Jian and her Ajusshi is that there was no romance at all, or there was but only in a platonic way?? 🤔

I think there will always be a discussion (it can be hot, by the way) about whether the Ajusshi fell for her yes or no, and we will never know.

The unemployed ajusshis were not unemployed all the time, even the other ones, they had jobs, it was only they didn't have so called "important jobs" anymore.

Maybe one day you will give it a chance... I feel the message of that drama transcends the typical love story situation. There is love and care, but somehow I feel it is a very unique approach to it. It is worth watching it or analysing it while or after having watching it.

Now I feel like I want to watch it again, LOL!! 😅😅😅😅
I've got to go 🙋

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In my personal opinion, there was no romance and would never be a romance. It would be totally out of character for him to be interested in her. If anything, he was a father without a son, a paternal man in need of a child. I found his concern for her utterly fatherly in only the best way.

I know what's been said about the show but the fact is that's what's on screen is what's on screen. There's no romance. It's not that show.

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@javinne @leetennant
I hope that's the case, a paternal feeling toward Jian. Jian too, please don't with that confession BS. If I were the ahjussi I would smack her head too. I stopped watching after that episode.
Sometimes I'm worry that I'm missing out for not watching these classic dramas. I haven't watch samsoon, misaeng, sky castle. They're still on my Plan to Watch list. I think I just need more time and experience to improve my drama palate.

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@manohira It's true that she was in love with him. But it was very much the love of a child who had someone sweep in and take care of her. From beginning to end, IMHO, he treated her like a child he needed to take care of.

I personally think My Ahjussi is a beautiful show about the ascendance of kindness and community. And you can at least try to watch it again without worrying about gross Ahjussi romance subtext. To me, that was all entirely in the heads of certain viewers and not in the text at all.

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Answer to @leetennant and @manohira
Usually I also don't like not even the idea of a young woman having a love line with an older man, how can I?
But, ironically, in the other hand, I was one who felt Jian could get her Ajusshi by the end of the show, just because of the kind of people they are and the way they have lived. It is not explicit, but Doong hoon was obviously a one woman's man and he was the most decent man I have ever seen on the screen. He would have never played with her like disgusting men do, if he was free, he would have honour her until he dies. But that's not the point, because again, it is not said. It was not even fully clear he was legally divorced by the of the show. And during the show, it was never clear he didn't like her either, but even if he did like her as a woman, he would have restrained himself because of the kind of love he felt, which was beyond romantic or sexually charged... I didn't feel it was fatherly either, I felt it was simply love for the human being she was inside, and the other way around too. She said she liked him, but she didn't say how.
Some people were conflicted because they can only see the outside and do math, he is 24 years older...
Me, personally, I believe age is not relevant when you get to know and love someone, and it doesn't always have to be a specific role in your life, a lover, a friend, a symbolic father or mother because you didn't have one... I think there is purity in simply loving someone just because of the person she or he is inside, that's all, and I felt that with My Ajusshi, and I think it is the only drama portraying that kind of sublime love without labels.
For me, that is even better than concluding they have to get together as a couple and get married or he will say to her "See me as a father", not at all... or "we are best friends" (lol), not either...
For me, it was simple we are who we are and we love each other, that's all.
And there was love and affection... beautiful, to the point they save each other's lives.... can it be better? I highly doubt it.

Wells, guys, maybe you will hate me for what I am about to say, but I also read this kind

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@javinne it's the very reason why I think there's a potential romance between Jian and ahjussi, because of what they've been through individually and what kind of person they have become. Jian has been living in hell, so of course she will be in love with a fatherly figure like ahjussi. On the other hand, Ahjussi's wife cheated on him with his hoobae/boss of all people. The thoughts running on his mind would be something like, why his wife doesn't love him for who he is, what wrong with him, why can't she accept him. Her cheating hurts him, makes him feel not good enough. Then there's Jian, a kid that need his help, that doesn't reject him like his wife when he helps her, that loves him for who he is. If you're in Ahjussi's position at least you would consider it in your mind to be with her and spend the rest of your life with her.
I actually think that's the writer intention. She wants to show us that age gap relationship like Jian and Ahjussi is possible in our time now, in the 21st century. The viewers who like the drama find that Jian-Ahjusshi's relationship is beautiful because she has given us background and justification. What kind of man would be good for a wounded child like Jian? And doesn't the ahjussi deserve to have romantic partner who genuinely love and respect him after all he's been through?

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The most on-point essay I've read on this site in a while.

One of my practices is waiting until four episodes have aired before checking out a drama.

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Thanks for this amazing article @missvictrix ! I have been doing the same, watching live shows along with already aired shows. Only in my case, it has happened that the already aired shows have turned out to be more interesting to me than the currently airing ones, that somehow my interest in the currently airing ones started to wane. The already aired shows that I have watched have been some of the best rated dramas on Dramabeans so I guess if pitted against certain current shows they are definitely better!
I have a tendency to sit through dramas that I don't enjoy, but there have been a couple that I dropped. I'm going to take your advice and watch them later in life and see if I enjoy it then!

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Ooooooh, I also have a super duper long list of dramas to be watched, that come from favourite actors, writers, and Dramabeans' year end reviews and recommendations! I also have a list of already watched dramas! :P

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This days i always keep in check with the dramas that air and will air and basically DL almost every week day drama first(to have it there in my HUGE Dramas Folder) and mainly watch each day the shows that air then and based on what drama i start adoring i watch it on priority first...The ones that for time reason can't keep or not in the mood to start but the premise,actors intrest me remain in their cozy folder and goona watch them later(so basically those end up being marathon type)...Mostly DL the ep right after it airs and re-watch again later when subs come for the fine tunning of understanding(10 years of drama watching made me understand korean on the common thing without the speciality terms).....I rarely watch a weekend 50 drama because time,space etc...ALso don't know about u guys but i'm very much OCD about subs and need to always DL them and correct those " - " and have each dialogue on two separare rows,so it takes time and i always but always atch it on my laptop and not on streaming sites...

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I've dabbled in so many of these drama watching methods. When I first started watching dramas 2 1/2 years ago, I was strictly a binger. I find that I have the most emotional attachment to my earliest binges such as Oh My Ghostess, Oh My Venus, Age of Youth, & Goblin. Pairing a newbie drama watcher with a binge fest really gets you emotionally invested.

Then as I became more knowledgeable on dramaland, I became a huge live watcher with a healthy dose of catching up on older dramas on the side. This caused me to start my gigantic "To Watch" list (currently 84 dramas strong) so that I could keep tabs on everything.

Now that I am no longer in school and work full-time, I think I have settled into a new routine. I prefer to watch currently airing dramas, but at a slightly lagged pace. I like to wait until a handful of episodes have aired so I can do mini-binges on the weekends. If I'm really pulled in by a drama, I'll catch up and live watch. But, strictly live watching is really hard for me nowadays. I have too much on my plate that I really can't remember what happens from week to week.

I've also noticed the number of dramas I can watch at once has changed a lot. First starting out I could only watch 1 at a time (another reason for my huge emotional attachment to the early binge days). Then, the number increased until I was watching 4 or 5 dramas at once. I think I've settled in to a nice groove of watching 2 to 3 dramas at once.

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^ Truth! I was also first a binger since Netflix is all I had/knew. Once I discovered DramaFever (RIP) and now Viki, I like to do small binges on the weekends while watching older dramas on the weekdays if I have time. I think I am up to 5 dramas now >.<

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TimeWarner and AT&Ts decision to axe Dramafever is looking increasingly stupid. They are having trouble figuring out how they will do their streaming service- while several other companies, like Comcast. Apple and Disney are preparing to launch competing services (and of course Netflix is already out there).

AT&T made the mistake of thinking that it was DramaFever's technology that it needed- not the content, not the loyal subscriber's or the tie-in with Amazon. I predicted that this would go badly for them and it appears that it will. In a world of many competitors it is content, loyal subscribers and tie in partnerships with other major companies are competitive advantages - each of them just an incremental one but collectively the difference between survival and success as opposed to failure.

It is possible that at some point when AT&T/TimeWarner are flailing that one of the competitors will offer to buy DramaFever's library and subscriber list- and actually bring it back as a way of providing unique and expanded content as part of their service. I am not saying that it will happen- just that it could because it would be content that no one else has.

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I am still looking for a Dramafever replacement which went so well with my Viki watching (prior to Kocowa). I guess I was spoiled and did not realize it back then.

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I'm a casual drama watcher and watch no more than one already completed show at a time (so I don't waste time on dramas that fall apart), no more than two episodes a week, if I can even squeeze them in. I have a list of dramas I'm interested in so when I finish one show, I pick another show from the list and get started. This does mean my list is probably larger than I'll ever have time to finish, but I'm only one person and have too many interests. If I could make a hive-mind duplicate of myself, I'd gladly dedicate one to full-time drama watching though.

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I totally get what you mean by mood. I have to be in the mood to watch certain things sometimes. And I always do have a to-watch list that I often don't get to bc of the mood I am in. My mood usually doesn't match the dramas that are on that list. I also totally get you when you say you watch currently airing dramas and dramas that have already aired. I have been doing that these days bc I am currently in a desert of currently airing dramas. Not that many dramas airing that I want to see.

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The hook for me lately has been following a daisy chain of *stars*. I had a hard time getting into the brutal '100 million stars from the sky' but Jung So-min was the star so I powered through the depression to watch, then afterwards I binge-watched 'Father Is Strange'. After 'My Ajusshi' it was time to watch 'This week my wife is having an affair' because of Lee Sun-gyun. And after that series I of course watched 'Emergency Couple' for Song Ji-hyo. Its gotten so I've been Googling the bios of stars to find the names of previously unwatched series.

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In the past, I only used to do marathoning/binge watching, because I relied too much on recommendations. It was good, usually I couldn't control my time until I finished, but I had lots of fun on my own. There were favs like "I hear your voice", and question marks for me like "my name is kim sam soon" (however you write the name) that I didn't understand why my best friend would have recommended to me. I didnt like kim san soon.

And yes, they were all recommendations. Although I discover DB long ago, I didn't catch up with the community and the fun of live-watching and commenting but until SWDBS, and then I thought I enjoyed live watching better, because as @lordcobol says, commenting and recaps are so much fun! And it is true!!
But nowadays I do a little of each, being careful what I chose to binge while I wait for my airing episodes each week, because I need balance in real life, and yes, just like @missvictrix, it depends on my mood. I have wanted to watch "the most beautiful goodbye" and "sky castle" (just to mention two dramas) since they came out and I haven't been able. I was rewatching "Chief Kim" for a second time but left it at episode seven or something and haven't been able to catch it up again, and I can't manage to finish Mr. Sunshine last two and a half episodes because I know someone will die and I don't want to see it... please don't give me spoilers!
But anyway, it has been better with you guys, either way, thank you very much. 😍
You are my only digital social "place"! 😉

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Wow this is such a thorough analysis of the art (or science) of watching dramas. I enjoyed the wry humour and dramatic flair of the essay - very appropriate to the subject.

And yes, long live “To Watch” lists and the practice of dropping dramas! 😊

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I almost never live-watch dramas. I am all about binge watching dramas because if I love a drama I gotta watch it all right meow. Unfortunately, it does mean the recaps here don't mean much to me as by the time I get to watching them most people have moved on to other dramas, which is a big downside to waiting for dramas to complete.

I did recently make the mistake of starting The Secret Life of My Secretary (I thought it was ending this weekend) and now I am in that horrible position of having caught up but needing to wait for more episodes to come out. I was not expecting to love it as much as I do and can't wait for more episodes to come out.

I also watch a lot of dramas at work (my family makes fun of me saying I watch more dramas then I do work). If there is a drama I really like I will wait to watch it in the comfort of my home where I can give it my full attention and watch another drama while working. But I am usually watching a couple dramas at a time. One that's my guilty pleasure at home, another that I will be watching with my Mom and my 'work' drama.

Great and fun article that I think pretty much everyone who visits this site can relate to 😸

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@trinpie That sinking feeling in your heart when you realize there are no more episodes and you have to wait for them to air...

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It's awful! Which is why I try to stay away from currently airing dramas until I can binge watch all to my hearts content!

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The best way to watch a Kdrama is with Ramen and a Melona

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Its all about knowing when to stop...

1st. S-Korea gets to make its own dramas for itself and I don't expect them to change for non-S-Koreans. However, I also get to watch on my own terms and I don't have to subscribe to the normalisation of blaming the victim, class brutality or brutal or possessive treatment of women. As a non-S-Korean and non-Confucian for me its about reading the signs that the show is about to throw in the story to conform with SK social norms.

I can handle the switch to live, the budget cuts, the gratuitous PP and even the ratings regig. However, for me, I stop at the rewriting of characters so they conform. Its the K version of a mix of the West's non-virgin always meets her doom - meets the Hays Code - meets Victorian moral tableau.

It really did take me a number of years and re-watching dramas before the telltale signs became obvious. Strange side effect - now I have a great list of KDramas that are just shorter versions than everyone else's. It has also made me truely appreciate the shows that go all the way to the end as special and rare treasures.

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I live watch dramas I find interesting. I watch first two episodes and judge which ones are worth following. It sucks to miss out the fun if I had to wait until a series is finished. Waiting every week is a torture especially if you’re crazy about the series but that’s part of the fun I guess! And as Lord Cobol mentioned, you meet people online and discuss the dramas you like, so that’s the thrill of live watching is about as well.

If a drama made me uber crazy to the point I couldn’t wait for subs to come out, ie. You’re Beautiful, Dream High, Reply 1988, I would watch it in realtime, as in legit their Korean time which is mostly 3-4AM my time! It’s insane, but, *shrugs* 🙃

I tend to check out what’s popular on Naver drama ranking. I’m not into non-romance dramas but if like, something is like super popular on there, ie ratings soaring high, I’ll check them out - Signal, SKY Castle - loved them.

On my kdrama slump days, thats when I check out dramas I had missed live watching, and it’s not healthy either cuz I binge watch..... especially if that series turned out to be so good.

I have no way out of this unhealthy uncontrollable drama-watching cycle 😐

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Regarding : dropping drama. I’m proud to say I’ve been better at this since my kdrama slump a couple of years ago. If I ended up doing other things while watching that’s when I realize I have to drop it. Or if a drama started toying with my emotions (plot getting ridiculous or going into a direction I didn’t want it to go to), I drop. I dreaded dropping them but once I did, it’s like a whole load was taken off me.

Watchlist : Heh. I thank mydramalist for existing or I wouldn’t have known the dramas I put on watchlist!

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I had to voice type this so it's probably not as eloquent or cohesive as it could have been.

There seems to be a great deal of similarities between how you watch, @missvictrix, and my own methods.

When I first started watching k dramas I binged everything. But not consistently. I think I only watched a drama about once every one to two months. I followed the recaps on here, because it helped me with things I didn't understand but I did not start live watching until late 2016. 2016 was also when I stopped watching any other kind of television and switched completely to kdramas.
(It is perhaps worth noting that I did not grow up watching television. Therefore my television education came only in my very late teens but mostly when I left high school. I only watched American and British television shows for about 2 years before "giving up"; I have been watching kdramas for 4 and a half now.)

Nowadays I try to have a balance between live watching and watching older already aired dramas however as of recently this seems to mostly be live watching. (I was supposed to start Tree With Deep Roots in January...)
I binge watch far less these days and when and if I do, it is no longer extreme binging, watching a single show in one or two days; it will only be three episodes maybe in a day (partly because I don't typically like to watch during the day anymore)

I like to try and have 1 episode to watch for every night of the week because my evening routine involves kdrama to unwind before bed.
Thus I usually have two to three airing dramas on the go and one other already aired.

I have a Master Word document where I keep track of everything I have watched, dropped, coming soon, airing, want to watch, to watch, variety and now even some jdramas, cdramas, or otherwise.

My mood definitely affects what I watch or what I want to watch. Sometimes I only feel like rom coms, and we'll watch nothing but them for entire months. However for more serious action, thriller or political pieces I like to have the head space for them, and time to watch them because I will inevitably write a lot about them (probably. if they're good)

I used to be a serial finisher. I had to finish the drama, I could not drop it. Now I give myself more grace with dropping dramas, however I still have a semi formal rule that I have to finish a drama within 4 episodes of the finale to call it "watched".
I also as of late seem to somehow enjoy watching dramas I don't like, just because I can tear them to shreds. This is probably a form of masochism but shitposting is fun.
I hope to endeavour in the future to watch more dramas I want to watch, and be more brutal with my selection.
However because one of my favourite things to do is analyse writing (books film tv you name it) I find watching and analysing bad shows rewarding in its own way anyhow because it teaches me more about writing in general (what not to do in my own writing, common mistakes in...

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... television writing etc).

((And I forgot to copy so I don't know if there is anything after that... I think that was it... I hope that was it..))

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@sicarius "grace" for dropped dramas is such a lovely way to put it. And your list-keeping sounds epic! #kudos

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You know I felt that way about books before. Now I don't read that much, or at least I don't read what one could consider a bad book anymore, because I rarely have time even to read or re-read a good one. My opinion was I have to read it all, so that I can have idea and appreciation for the good ones, so that I can improve my writing (I dreamt to become a writer), and so that I could explain the difference between genres, authors, periods, styles, etc... I love literature and I don't regret, but it is just I don't have much time anymore. Now, in regard to dramas, I don't think I can mimic the same method, but I understand a lot why you do it, and it is fun. If you have the time for it, it is great!
I try to watch only dramas that make me happy, or those I feel just too much curious about it, or even those that are easy to watch as pure entertainment. Nevertheless, even among those I have to be selective, due to my moral standards or my mood or simply, again, because I don't have the time to watch.
You keep on enjoying yourself... Your critics are good for us in order to choose a drama to watch or not. Thank you!

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I live watched Signal, Arang, and Rebel: the thief who stole the people because I couldn't bear to wait til I could marathon them. Shows that I wasn't interested in (and I can't tell you why now) were Chief Kim and Misaeng. (I didn't give either of those dramas until after the final episode had aired. And then after I marathoned them I thought, "why the heck did I wait so long? These are great!) And one of my most favorite shows ever was "History of a Salary Man." I started watching this, dropped it, started again, dropped it again over and over. But finally I got sucked in. That show has the best ending--well, except for maybe the Hong Sister's "My Girl." (Also, special mention for ending of the film, Miss Granny.)

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History of Salaryman! Especially ep 3 when the female lead was being especially outrageous.

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I'm glad Psychometric was one of the shows that got you interested enough to start watching! 💚💚💚

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i guess i related to almost everything except keeping an eye on how a drama performing.
for me if i like a drama i like even if its not liked by majority or even if its a flop in korea.

rest is so true for me... while live watching if i delay watching even a single episode i get into this whirlwind of time with other drama episode and i dont know how to finish the one i postponed.... and that had me dramas dropped cause i just couldn't watch it any further.
also hv exact same way of watching to love watch 3-5 on air shows (and if i have time) and any of actors of live shows i am watching first time then their old shows will be my marathoning dramas.
and only if people, who ridicule kdrama watcher saying its waste of time, read this to know how much hard work, determination, technical and scientific approach it is to watch a drama.thanks for sharing

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I usually have a backup drama to watch when I don't have enough live dramas. I started Five Children (since @mary recommended it) and was happy with it in the background for one or two episodes a day. Then around ep. 30, I started getting invested and I binged the rest of it. It's 54 dang episodes. Needless to say, my sleep/work/eating/housecleaning suffered for a few days. I need to be more careful what I start in the future!

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Five Children made me not sleep for about 3 days. It was a problem as I also needed to be a functioning human being at that time. No regrets.

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Five Children sounds dangerous. I have it on my "To Watch" list :D

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Thank you Miss Victrix for this wonderful essay. It has helped to clarify some of my own practices.

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in my early days of drama watching, i practically watched anything i could get my hands on that had english subtitles. this largely meant i had to wait weeks for episodes so i often waited until the end to binge and live-watching was pretty much out of the question. i really have to thank subbing groups (big shout out to with s2 subbing squad...anyone? anyone?) who provided (d)addicts (anyone? anyone?) like me with access to dramas. some of you (?) might remember the struggle...hahaha...

since turning to dramabeans (many years ago) and subsequently the rise of sites like viki and dramafever (rip), i have fine tuned how i watch dramas. it happened unconsciously and just became a routine.
as all of you know, dramas require a significant amount of commitment--time is a scarce resource and you can never get it back. i use recaps, in particular those on dramabeans, to screen dramas unless i already adore the actresses/actors (e.g. gong hyo jin, im soo jung, jang nara, han yeri, gong yoo, etc.). reading recaps and comments have (for the most part) consistently provided me with the best use of my time because they have turned me onto great dramas (e.g. signal, life on mars, reply 1988). Using the cast as a heuristic has, unfortunately, only worked some of the time (switch: change the world is one that currently comes time mind. i dropped that fast.) the great thing about using recaps as a screening device means that i save my time and effort for those i truly enjoyed reading, often binge watching and then live watching the final few episodes. i do not have to worry about fast watching nor wasting my time. i devour the drama in all its glory, savoring every single minute. i have "finished" entire dramas through solely reading recaps (e.g. missing nine, beating again, reply 1994, etc), with the understanding that the nuances of a scene or details will likely be missing--i'm okay with that. so far, this has often worked the best for me. reading recaps have often saved me from wasting my time on a bad drama. there have also been many, many recaps that have been better than the drama itself. (some dramas i've read and watched concurrently).

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Switched to my laptop and logged in just to give this one a thumbs up. With S2 Subbing squad were there for me since the 'Goong' days so forever hold a special place in my heart, and the websites that don't exist anymore like mysoju XD

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"high five"
because a thumbs up is not nearly enough.
i'm glad someone remembers! With S2 saved so many lives! :D

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OMG! i had forgotten about mysoju...yup them too!

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Good read! For me one of the dramas I didn't intend to watch but ended up binge-watching was Sky Castle because of the attention it got. Anyways, I agree with most of the things you said and I do them myself. I've had so many dropped shows but as you said, time is precious. We can spend those hours on a different drama, ones that resonate with us deeply, more effectively. And the list! Aha I even include in my list the actors and actresses and my very own rating after watching a drama. That's how I know I can re-watch or recommend that drama to others. ^^

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My practice rule is short and simple: Never live-watch, never watch more than one at the same time. No other method has worked for me.

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I live-watch, but I try to stick to one or two dramas at a time.

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Along the years of drama watching. I noticed my watching style has also changed.

My current watching preference is anything that involves actors I like with hopes the storyline will keep me interested. Luckily for me, I'm enjoying the dramas I watch. And since I only have a very small pool of actors I like, my drama to watch list is also small.

I live watch several dramas but usually only 1 at a time. I try watching dramas at random, if it piques my interest I will stay. if not I'll drop it.

I dwell on dramas I like. I'm still hung up on LoM and TLE. I foresee the same will happen with Perfume, but its too early for that. Hahahaha

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too many dramas to watch, and not enough time lol...i mostly binge on shows that are completed (the options are too many since i only started watching kdramas first time few months back) and try to also keep up on current airing/live show/episodes mostly to relate to the articles here, but I'm definitely behind on many such shows...also, there are many shows which i watch after a break because i can't seem to binge on them back to back for some or the other reason eg DOTS, SFD, WWWSK etc...i don't think i 'drop' a show as such, it's more like i put them on hold coz i need something else at that moment to watch (i can usually pick up (episodes) where i left off very easily), but on a daily basis i need few doses of kdramas in my life & more so during the weekend:-)

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My best practice is to ration. I usually have one that I am watching as its airing. With Netflix this has become easier. However I will not watch an on going drama unless I really like the actor, story or the director. Too much angst sometimes to follow a drama every week. Right now it's One Spring Night.

However I also have a list of classics or oldies I need to watch so I have something on that I watch few episodes every week.

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