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Ja Myung Go kicks off with a whimper

So, who caught the premiere of Jung Ryeo-won‘s new grand historical series Ja Myung Go [자명고]? (It has apparently dropped the “Princess” from its title.)

…Nobody? Well, you’re not alone — ratings were abysmal (4.1%), considering the months of hype leading up to it.

After trying to maneuver its premiere to evade ratings behemoths East of Eden and Boys Before Flowers, Ja Myung Go‘s Monday “special” broadcast pulled in a weak 5.8%. But that wasn’t too upsetting, since specials that air before a drama’s premiere tend to draw low numbers.

But its first episode on Tuesday aired at probably the worst time ever — it had to contend with the ever-increasing numbers for BBF and the grand exit for Eden.


Song Seung-heon, of East of Eden

So, let’s talk about ratings.

I find ratings fascinating. It’s one of those things we try to have both ways. The numbers totally don’t matter, except when they’re good and then they do, but then once they go bad we try to say they don’t matter again.

In Eden‘s absence on Monday, Boys Before Flowers shot up to its personal best, 35.5%. As I said, Ja Myung Go‘s weak special broadcast isn’t a big deal, but I would have expected a higher number given Eden‘s absence. Ah, the power of baseball.

Tuesday, however, meant that Eden was back with its last two episodes. It finally broke the 30% barrier for the first time in a while with its finale, although technically the last episode had no prime-time competition — Eden‘s episode 55 drew a 25.8% against Flowers‘ 31.2% and Ja Myung Go‘s 4.1%. Because of the pre-emption from the day before, Eden‘s finale followed in the 11 pm hour with a 30.1%.


Boys Before Flowers

Like I said, to some extent these ratings numbers don’t mean much. Yet, on the other hand, it’s fascinating to look at the trends, as though they represent more than mere viewing habits.

And whatever our opinion on television ratings, the fact is that they drive the business, and to completely disregard them would be ignoring a key facet of the industry. While they may not indicate a drama’s quality, they do affect productions in significant ways: money, accolades, prestige, future work for the actors and crew.

I wouldn’t write off Ja Myung Go yet, however — it will have its chance to recover; with 50 episodes, there’s a lot of time to build. Plus, MBC’s next offering doesn’t look like very strong competition: 16-episode drama Queen of Housewives [내조의 여왕], starring Kim Nam-joo (Voice of a Murder) and Oh Ji-ho (Single Papa in Love).

Personally, I’m more interested in seeing if the tragically flawed but inexplicably addictive Boys Before Flowers will be the first miniseries (i.e., non-daily) in a while to break the 40% barrier. (I say it will.)

Via TV Report, My Daily, Yonhap News

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whats the last drama to break 40%?

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The moon that embraces the sun

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Yes yes totally agree with you there!! I believe BOF will definely break the 40 barrier very soon.... but the truth is I don't know why I'm losing interest to the point I gave up watchin the drama?!?! I'm so frustrated that there is only 5 episodes left and no development on the main couple what so ever all I see is JE/JP or the second dude and JD!!! Quick question are you goin 2 write up on Princese Ja Myung Go or Ja Myung Go !!!?? It kind of sounds interesting I might just watch that instead of BOF...

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I kinda hope Ja Myung Go does recover somewhat. I have no intention of watching it, but a 50 ep blunder would suck, given (like you said) SBS's hype for it.

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The only recent series I can remember breaking 40% are all daily dramas, which are a different beast. (Temptation of Wife, Likable or Not...) I can't recall the last miniseries that broke 40%... must go look it up.

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Yeah, the 4% was absolutely brutal, but as there was only one episode this week, I think most of the potential audience planned to catch up on the w/end rerun. Both EoE and BBF did 30s, so there was virtually no viewing audience left for anything else. Nothing to worry about . . . yet. :D

"Boys Before Flowers will be the first miniseries (i.e., non-daily) in a while to break the 40% barrier. (I say it will.)"

It's only a matter of when. When East of Eden didn't air a new episode, BBF finally got the numbers it deserved (yes, its 30-ish numbers undercuts its actual popularity) and drew a 35.

"whats the last drama to break 40%?"

For non-daily, My Name is Kim Sam Soon and Jumong, which averaged a 40.

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My guess would be 가을동화 from 2000.

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First Wives Club broke 40%, but if you wanna get technical, it's not a miniseries.

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So I'm just curious, what's the rating for the baseball event?

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If Korea was playing Japan on that day, I would say at least 25%

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Here's another question, which drama (daily or not) recorded the highest ever rating? 첫사랑 ? 모래시계 ?

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So, I'm a little clueless on Korean ratings. I mean, obviously, the higher the better, but I'm so used to seeing these in the American millions of people number. Are these numbers the percentage of viewers among people watching TV that night, or all of Korea, generally? And for that matter, do you have any idea if it's counted like the Nielson ratings, where it's just a small sampling, that's probably not that accurate?

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oh yea BOF needs to break the 40% <3

EOE is finally over!!! now i need to catch up, im 14 episodes behind :S

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speaking about my name is Kim Sam Soon, I was really like it to the point I hated JRW (not her fault though) but I couldn t after that overcome my hatred that at each movies or dramas she appeared I couldn t watch it make me frustrated because some of them seems interesting in the story...am I becoming an antifans because of just one drama or is it just mean that KJR is a good actress for making me hated her? ;)

te story of princess Ja myung Go seems ok and watchable but there is something in me that stop me to watch it!

no I am becoming psychotic! :)

anyway rating tends to be a conduct line for any show in this planet and it isn t showing the reality. here in europe, they just put a machine in some household (criters of selection is unknown but it seems to be more an average family) and they just calculate the rating from all this average family. sincerely it represents not really all the population. for example put only a machine in a family with only one tv....(I think u know what I mean). so in conclusion, there s no democracy in the rating and it is a representation of the quality of the show?!! i

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Ah, you guys are workin' my Naver-ing skills!

All righty, according to a search, here are the top ratings of all time for a single episode (note that some of these dramas are daily or long-running):

1. First Love 첫사랑 (KBS2) ---------------- 65.8% (1997년 4월20일)
2. What's Love 사랑이 뭐길래 (MBC) ----------- 64.9% (1992년 5월24일)
3. Sandglass 모래시계 (SBS) --------------- 64.5% (1995년 2월 6일)
4. Heo Jun 허준 (MBC) ------------------- 63.7% (2000년 6월27일)
5. A Place in the Sun 젊은이의 양지 (KBS2) ---------- 62.7% (1995년11월12일)
6. You and I 그대 그리고 나 (MBC) ---------- 62.4% (1998년 4월12일)
7. Sons and Daughters 아들과 딸 (MBC) --------------- 61.1% (1993년 3월21일)
8. Emperor Wang Gun 태조 왕건 (KBS1) -------------- 60.2% (2001년 5월20일)
9. Eyes of Dawn 여명의 눈동자 (MBC) ----------- 58.4% (1992년 2월 6일)
10. Dae Jang Geum 대장금 (MBC) ----------------- 57.8% (2004년 3월23일)

However, when you consider overall runs, you get:

01. What's Love 사랑이 뭐길래 (MBC) ---------- 59.6% (1992)
02. Sons and Daughters 아들과 딸 (MBC) -------------- 49.1% (1993)
03. Heo Jun 허준 (MBC) ------------------ 48.9% (1999)
04. First Love 첫사랑 (KBS2) ---------------- 47.2% (1996)
05. Sandglass 모래시계 (SBS) --------------- 46.7% (1995)
06. Dae Jang Geum 대장금 (MBC) ----------------- 46.3% (2003)
07. Double Take 보고 또 보고 (MBC) ------------ 44.7% (1998)
08. Eyes of Dawn 여명의 눈동자 (MBC) ----------- 44.3% (1992)
09. Truth 진실 (MBC) ------------------- 42.7% (2000)
10. You and I 그대 그리고 나 (MBC) ---------- 42.4% (1997)

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4.1% that's really bad!

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And with the next drama from Song Ji-na (Sandglass & Eyes of Dawn) following BOF, it's quite obvious KBS2 will be keep this first place for a while. It's "funny" because before BOF, KBS2 had a lot of flop in the ratings in MON/TUE drama.

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A lot the high rating dramas were in the 90's...
Does it mean there are less t.v. viewing now, or just more dramas to watch.
I'm thinking there's a whole lot more competitions now.

I would be fun to see BBF reach the 40's.

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Question... did SamSoonbreak that 40% barrier?
Anyhoo... I really think that once Boys Over Flowers wraps up, the ratings for this show WILL RISE.

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Soon BBF will end (dont we have only 2 more episodes left?) so I'm sure theres more chances for higher ratings ^^

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BBF has six episodes left.

I think Sam-soon's highest episode was a 49% or 50%. If you take its overall average, it was somewhere in the upper 30's.

GreenFreak, I don't think we'll ever see numbers that high as in the 1990s. It's kind of like US television -- with all the diversifying options these days, there's just too much competition and we're not going to see the same numbers we saw when there were only three stations and limited offerings. In addition to cable channels, there are so many options now -- downloads, internet, rebroadcasts -- that people aren't always going to watch the episode when it airs at its scheduled time.

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BOF is overrated. EOE is simply wasted.

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oh man, I'm SAD about the ratings of Ja Myung Go .__. I saw the 1st episode, it wasn't this great, but yeah it shows lot of the hard work that has been done for the drama!! and also it has potentials to be really interesting in the upcoming episodes! Hope the ratings rise in the next week, so the production team will keep the quality of the drama as it is!!

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lost in all this was the fact that despite the ratings, Ja Myung Go's first episode was really strong...
dialogue's are not too old-korean language heavy without losing any of the poetic flair many saeguk dramas have, also i was kinda weary on the wire fighting scenes but its not too overdone, aka flying on roofs etc...

plus its not too heavy on the wide-eyed cuteness that my brain has been overdosing on while watching BOF or the cliche dump that 'Cain and Abel' is... which in some sense is a relief... not that cliches or cuteness is bad...

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I kinda feel bad for them especially after all the build up and trying so hard to avoid the competition, they STILL came up against BoF and EoE .

I thought the first episode looked pretty good and PMY's acting is getting better, but it all amounts to nothing if no one's watching! Who's gonna be watching even after BoF and EoE ends? Isn't the first episode supposed to be the puller episode that grabs the viewers attention?

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6 episodes??

As much as I love it, I feel like its dragging and *almost* want it to end soon >.>

But seeing how majority of the high rated dramas were 90's early 2000... Most of my favorites were in that time period, and IMO, I felt most are better than the ones we have today :/

Sandglass will always be a top-favorite~~~

But I guess you're right. I really dont rush to the tv to watch a show when I know I can just watch it anytime I wanted to via internet :/

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wow... 4%..that really is brutal. But seriously its their own damn fault! Could they have picked a worse night to air the first episode? Not really, unless it was the BBF finale. THey aired it on the same night the two top ratings grabbers (BBF and EOE) 1)came back from a delay in airing (BBF) and 2) had its series finale (EOE)

This is just plain DUMB! to the point of 'special'

That said. here's hoping that it will be able to pick up significantly after BBF is over. Come on, which one are YOU going to watch. Exactly. It does sound actually kind of interesting so best of luck. I might just check it out. Somebody said that a 50 ep. bomb would just plain suck for everyone involved and I think we all agree.

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@11
The numbers represent the percentages of the population (not just those who are watching TV). TNS & AGB are the 2 research companies gathering the ratings; they have their own samplings so the numbers can sometimes vary.

@16
Eyes Of Dawn & Sandglass are the best & most successful works from Song Ji-nah, not all the scripts she wrote garnered high numbers though. As for her upcoming drama 'Story Of A Man', we'll have to wait & see how it is first.

I'm not exactly sure when AGB & TNS started collecting ratings in Korea, but it was mentioned in Korean papers that 1986 MBC drama 'Love & Ambition 사랑과 야망' (the original one) from top writer Kim Soo-Hyun (the hitmaker behind countless blockbusters such as ''What Is Love', 'Bath House Men', 'Trap Of Youth') topped 70% rating. Her most recent dramas 'My Mom's Woman' and 'Mom Is Dead Upset' surpassed 40% rating as well.

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Off the top of my head, 내 남자의 여자 (My Man's Woman) starring Kim Hee Ae and Bae Jong Ock, came close to 40%. According to TNS ratings, the last episode was around 38-39% nationwide and hit 40% in Seoul. The drama aired spring of 2007. Call me an ageist, but I'd rather see women in their forties still able to have success in such a youth dominated scene, than to see a group of newbies shoot to fame so easily.

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***Top 10 dramas by viewer rating since 2000***

What 'hit dramas' were born in the new millennium?

In a research conducted based on data from January 1st of the year 2000 to the 26th of this month, TNS Media Korea ranked MBC's 'Dae Jang Geum' to be at the top with a 41.6% viewer rating average. Following in second was 'Lovers in Paris' of SBS which aired in the summer of 2004 at 41.5%. MBC's 'Jumong' which will end soon after breaking the 50% viewer rating line ranked third with a 40.6% average viewer rating.

MBC's 'My Lovely Sam-Soon' which brought about the 'Sam-Soon' craze in the summer of 2005 ranked fourth at 37.7% while 'Tae Jo Wang Geon' of KBS, despite airing over a period of a year and eleven months, ranked fifth with a 37.3% average viewer rating.

'Jinshil' that starred Choi Ji Woo and Ryu Shi Won back in 2000 ranked 6th with a 36.9% average viewer rating while 'My Rosy Life' starring Choi Jin Shil ranked 7th with 34.2%, followed by 'Stairway to Heaven' of SBS with 33.9%.

'All In' (2003) and 'Successful Story of a Bright Girl' (2002) both aired on SBS ranked within the top ten with an average 33.7% viewer rating.

If the highest viewer rating surpasses 50%, the series is generally called a 'national drama,' yet observing the average viewer rating allows comparisons of which drama series had a constant level of popularity.

In the case of 'Tae Jo Wang Geon,' it is notable in that it ranked 5th among series that usually end in two to three months. 'Dae Jang Geum' and 'Jumong' both also aired and have been aired for more than six and nine months respectively but still managed to rank among the top ten.

While 'Jumong' is a special case in that it is still being aired, there are only two episodes remaining with high expectations for the conclusion. It is projected to retain its position as third even after the last episode has aired.

Director Chae Jae Woong of TNS Media Korea commented, "While the highest viewer rating is only instantaneous, the average viewer rating truly shows the popularity of the series and therefore ones with high average viewer ratings can be considered a 'hit drama.' It is especially difficult for regular drama series whose lengths exceed miniseries by more than several times to maintain a high average viewer rating.

Source: BROasia (site is closed down)

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hurm, i'm not really bothered by the ratings.anyways, hope that you can do the recap for this series.pleaseeeeeeeee!!!! =)

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so i never got into east of eden and, while i love the light fluff of boys before flowers, it is getting a little tiresome (though the "jandi as maid" arc looks pretty interesting).

i just caught the first episode of ja myung go and i have to admit that it was pretty intense...i loved how they made the drum beat since it wasn't merely magic and there is a tinge of regret between the sisters during one of the few scenes they shared (though perhaps they could have drawn it out a little more).

there was an awkward moment here and there with the acting, fighting, and special effects but overall i'd say that it was pretty amazing (i'm a major fantasy lover so i'm loving the history/fantasy fusion). plus, there's a little shakespearean drama with the sisters.

so there are a lot of dramas where i love the first episode but everything after isn't quite up to par. in any case, here is my plug for the first epi of ja myung go...i'm not great with the historical korean dramas since my korean knowledge is limited to present day colloquial, so if anyone is willing to sub or put up summaries, that would be much appreciated.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen_Ratings

read this..

example of nielsen ratings. I guess TNS use the same method

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LOL! Yeah, bad timing really for a premier. The series ought to be able to recover though :) I watched the first episode and liked it ^^ I wasn't even expecting to see the main characters until like after the whole "prologue" phase leading up to the main story and the grown-up characters. Definitely keeping an eye on this kdrama!

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Im usually always bothered about ratings whether they're high or low.
It bugs me with the double standard that if ratings are high its omg amazing but if the ratings are low its oh well they're not important.

I completely forgot Ja MyungGo was starting this week...too much has been happening in drama land recently. But even with EOE & BOF I was really surprised that ratings for JMG were SO low. Thats kinda embarassing for SBS after the heavy promoting.

But about BOF reaching 40%, I really hope so! It seems likely now with no more EOE but its kinda sad changing times means it has a low chance of achieveing similar results as SamSoon did with ep of 50%

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wow, is this a new low for lavish saeguk productions?
i still want to check it out, for the veterans in the cast ;) even if for a laugh it should be worth one go at least...

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Ja Myung Goo could be losing the ratings all the way.
If my ratings prediction is right, KBS 'The story of man' will be highest during the april time-slot until Queen Seok Deok starts in May.
Queen Seok Deok is the only historical drama I'll recommend this year.

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"or the cliche dump that ‘Cain and Abel’ is… which in some sense is a relief… not that cliches or cuteness is bad…"

Amnesia plots FTW!! :D

"If my ratings prediction is right, KBS ‘The story of man’ will be highest during the april time-slot until Queen Seok Deok starts in May."

I'm going out on a limb and say that there will be virtually no ratings carryover between BBF and "Story of Man." Demos are just way too different between the two shows. I'm hedging that So Ji Na's Story of Man will struggle to do 20s, because the audience doesn't want to be reminded of how bad the current economy is. This hits a little too close to home.

@Kobe,

"I kinda feel bad for them especially after all the build up and trying so hard to avoid the competition, they STILL came up against BoF and EoE ."

I wouldn't pay that much mind into it. The first part of the show will likely have a "childhood" arc, which should finish about when BBF is ready to wrap up. Neither Park Min Young nor Jung Kyung Ho are really established leads yet, but this looks a Bichunmoo-style fusion of wuxia and heavy romance. It should have legs, once the BBF demographics hops over. Also, Kingdom of the Wind finished a month ago, so the backstory is still pretty fresh.

And oh yeah . . .

Kobe -- for the love of Black Jesus, please get your team to play some defense. What's in Lamar's head??? Do you want me to tell Vanessa about your fascination with Park Min Young???

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Javabeans, do you have any dramas to recommend? I've run out of good ones to watch. Just finished Autumn Tale and cried buckets.

Thanks

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javabeans: "The numbers totally don’t matter, except when they’re good and then they do, but then once they go bad we try to say they don’t matter again."
--> lol funny - but true! you hit it right on the spot (i'm guilty as well.... hahaha)

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i got so bored halfway through episode 19 of bof that i ditched it and went for ja myung go. not a big fan of sageuks, but have to say that this one seems pretty decent. the set-up of the story's pretty unique.. it's a really twisted version of romeo and juliet haha. umm i'll get back to bof over the weekend or something -.-

dbeans, did they really ditch the 'princess' in front of ja myung go?? i thought i saw a 'wang nyo' in hanja on the poster..

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are those serious? HOLY POTATOES!!!

..the only reason for my holy potatoing is that this BOF craze already seems so --well-- CRAZY to me, and overwhelming and ube uber hyped, that i can't imagine what it would be like, what it WAS like for dramas that reached 40++%!!!!

is it just BOF, or did all the of the dramas who enjoyed ratings like that also enjoy---suffer?-- this much fancraze?

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Amazing...I was really interested in BOF but then the acting disappointed me a bit (spare LMH he did well) as well as the illogical events happening. -_-

I am satisfied reading your reviews. As for sageuks...the only one I completely watched was Dae Jang Geum...

Right now I'm only watching Cain and Abel because it rocks my mind how SJS and the other guys can act so well. :D

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Hmm.. Helena, what about All About Eve? Its in the 2000 right?

Anyway, too bad for JRW. And I hope she'd gain weight.

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I am hoping BBF will break the 40% ratings. even though I am at the point where I can't ignore and overlook the flaws of the drama, i am still fervently praying for its eventual redemption in these last 2 weeks or so.

I thoroughly enjoyed episode 1-14, but for some reason the following episode does not have that same spunk, fun, drama and angst. It consistently suffered with bad scenes, transitions that does not make sense, and plot lines that are "too quick" for us to feel any attachment to it, and often left us all thinking "what is that scene for??"

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sad times for ja myung go...i can understand 4% for a special, but for the first episode: that must suckkkk. but like you said javabeans, they had some pretty crazy competition. it's a 50 episode drama so i'm assuming it'll [maybe] pick up after bof ends since that show is KILLING other dramas' ratings.

i was pretty excited about it because i really like jung ryeo won and the main dude [name fails me right now]. i actually saw the first episode and i really liked it. the cg at times was a bit lame and the fighting scenes were sometimes not so greatly staged, but it was much much better than i thought it would be. i'm really enjoying the acting and it's interesting to see in it actors/actresses that i'm used to seeing in modern dramas [even the minor characters]. i'm not sure how i feel about the non-linear story-line [it's not completely non-linear though]. it's like linear, but not...there are like a couple of flashbacks in between the linear storyline. i feel like the whole set up leaves a number of things unanswered or half-answered, which just kind of leaves you hanging sometimes, which is what they're going for i guess?

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The MLB World Series highest rating was back in like 1981 or 1982. There are too many TV choices now.

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I still go with All About Eve

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"If the highest viewer rating surpasses 50%, the series is generally called a ‘national drama,’ yet observing the average viewer rating allows comparisons of which drama series had a constant level of popularity."

Probably worth mentioning that the benchmarks have dropped a bit since. Nowadays, if a daily drama hits 40s or if a non-daily hits 30s, it's eligible for "National Drama" status.

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With East of Eden ending, the chances of BBF breaking the 40% barrier is quite high.

Ja Myung Go was just unfortunate timing.

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Seriously people, does every topic posted have to turn into a BoF discussion? Surely there are more relevant things to talk about such as basketball :D

belleza: "for the love of Black Jesus, please get your team to play some defense. What’s in Lamar’s head???"

Hey, give the guy a break. He keeps the bench warm for me when I'm out there playing the league's best D-fens. Haven't you heard the "MVP!" chants? At Madison Square Garden!

"Do you want me to tell Vanessa about your fascination with Park Min Young???"

Keep her out of this! What she doesn't know won't hurt her. We don't need no court case to interfere with my MVP ambitions....err I mean, championship ambitions. Park Min Young and I are consenting adults man. She consented!!

Ok, now back to the topic:

"but this looks a Bichunmoo-style fusion of wuxia and heavy romance. "

I really, really liked Bichunmoo because as you said it's more Chinese style than Korean, but isn't that the problem though? Bichunmoo rated pretty poorly too. But not this bad though....4% is just....ah never mind, I can't even begin to describe how bad that is.

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