KBS announces global youth action romance Moorim School
KBS has announced production of a new drama, Moorim School, but what surprises me about the announcement isn’t its plot or subject material but the bold claims the broadcaster is putting forth, calling the series “killer content” that’ll usher in “a new Hallyu paradigm” to break the “stagnant drama market” out of its current plateau. That’s a pretty big promise; you sure you want to be talking so big so early?
In the drama, students at Moorim School are taught the valuable (and rather intangible) virtues of honor, faith, survival, sacrifice, and communication—exactly how, I don’t know, but that’s what they tell us. The word moorim refers to the martial arts realm; it’s not merely the technical skill of fighting, but the whole philosophy and world of martial arts. So I was hesitant to call the drama “Martial Arts School,” which has a slightly different connotation; the school isn’t a place that merely teaches students how to fight, and is instead touted as an antidote to the traditional education machine that focuses on grades and specs and resumés.
The drama plans to gather a diverse group of students and teachers to undergo special life lessons about the meaning of “true heroism,” and notably will feature a sizable international cast alongside the Korean cast, playing characters who arrive at the “global youth campus” for differing reasons. (Suddenly I’m getting a mental image of X-Men meets Kung Fu Panda.) The producers will not restrict the casting of foreigners to actors already active in Korea, but intend to hold auditions for international actors in China and Thailand with the hopes of discovering new multilingual talent.
Most of KBS’s descriptions are sweeping and overarching, so the plot itself remains unclear. KBS wants to set itself apart from the usual production format, be entirely pre-produced in advance of its airdate, showcase diverse stories including martial arts and romance, target international viewers and share in a cultural interchange that everyone can relate to, and feature “the beauty of Korea’s four seasons.” That… is a tall order. Can you also vacuum my living room and make me cocktails? I mean, those are all worthy aims, but I hope they’re not biting off more than they can chew…
Attached to direct is PD Lee So-yeon of the dramas Baby-Faced Beauty and Prime Minister and I—neither were ambitious paradigm-shifting series, but they were both light, cute romances. And at the end of the day, I don’t need you to transform a whole global market; I just want you to entertain me and make me smile.
Moorim School plans to broadcast in January 2016 as a Monday-Tuesday drama.
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- Baby-Faced Beauty extended
- Baby-Faced Beauty: Episodes 1-4
- Posters, previews, and predictions for Baby-Faced Beauty
- Baby-Faced Beauty’s super-cute trailer