100

[Drama Chat] Your gateway drama


We’ve talked about it before, but it’s been a hot second, and there are also a lot of newer Beanies that probably haven’t had a chance to devour our favorite topic yet: gateway dramas.

Everyone’s got one, because getting “into” K-dramas isn’t the same as entering any other fandom, really. I’ve shared my own gateway story in the past, but I never get tired of hearing other people tell theirs.

One day, someone will aggregate this data and be able to predict the “gateway factor” of a K-drama, and the aspects of it that act like glue on its audience. Was is the terrible perm, plot, music, and platter of tropes? (I’m looking at you Boys Before Flowers). Or was it the feeling that you’d just stumbled upon something wonderful, that would give back in joy what you put in in hours? Maybe it was both.

 

What’s your gateway drama? What sent you plunging down the rabbit hole into dramaland? How hard did you fall?

 
Let the chatting begin!
 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: ,

100

Required fields are marked *

I think I have 4 stages of gateway dramas.

My introduction to Asian dramas was Taiwanese classic It Started With a Kiss. I was an avid Neopets player in elementary and middle school (yeah, I was a cool kid) and one of my friends from there mentioned that she was watching Taiwanese dramas. I’d never heard of them before but I was intrigued, and she gave me ISWAK as her first recommendation. Ten years later I tried to rewatch and it made me want to stick my head into a garbage disposal, but 7th grade me was INVESTED.

The next couple of years I mostly watched Japanese dramas, as I was big into J-pop at the time. My interest in K-pop was growing steadily when I entered high school, and it was then that I somehow stumbled upon Goong, which ended up being my very first K-drama. I hated almost all of the characters, but dang, I was hooked and entranced by the beautiful sets. That drama had no business being as pretty as it was, being made in 2006.

For several years after that I was a fairly casual k-drama watcher. I sometimes posted about them on my tumblr, but I was never a big part of the fandom. When I started university, though, dramas made me feel less alone, and I began to lurk Dramabeans regularly. It was then that Healer aired, and I got completely swept up in the frenzy of live-watching for the first time.

I became more and more active on Dramabeans after that, and by the time the site was redesigned I was visiting multiple times a day. Of course, it was Because This Life is Our First that made me into a true DB and K-drama addict, and I’ve been stuck here in this fandom ever since. Thanks, Ji-ho and Se-hee.

13
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have Netflix's algorithm to thank for immersing me in the world of KDramas. Like many, I watched SQUID GAME. Suddenly, Netflix suggested more Korean series to me. One of them was OH MY Venus. The synopsis sounded interesting, I was bored and looking for a nice love story. Although I didn't understand a lot of things due to the lack of cultural background and especially the names (these still confuse me partly because I can't tell if they are female or male names) and titles/addresses put me to a hard test, I was hooked. So I watched SHE WAS PRETTY and later other dramas with Park Seo Joon. In between, I kept ending up at Dramabeans, where I got more recommendations (I had quickly discovered that the recommendations were often congruent with my tastes).

What do I like so much about KDramas? It's not uncommon for a drama to make me cry at first and then suddenly make me laugh in the next scene.
I find it ideal that a drama often has 16 episodes. That way I can immerse myself completely in this world without it degenerating into a soap opera. And when there's a happy ending, it's usually not in the last five minutes, but I can enjoy it for a very long time.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

1st Question - Jumong. Swordplay are my thing. Which is the reason why I still have a bias towards Sagueks. Conqueror, Gwangaetto the Great, and then Iron Empress sealed my love for sagueks because it had so many female cast wielding the sword. I'd watch a saguek today if there's a female swords woman (Six Flying Dragons).

2nd Question - Dramabeans Recap section. :- I've read more Kdramas as they aired than I've watched since stumbling on Mirror of the Witch here, which I also watched.
Reading Temperature of Love here on the recap section is why I now watch modern Kdramas and I'm hooked, totally.

3rd Question - I've fallen so hard, my watchlist is pilled up and I'm still adding to it. Plus the ones I have saved since it completed airing but haven't found the mood to watch yet.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Someone else who started with Jumong! Sweeping sword-play sageuks are still my first love, and badass female warriors are also a personal favorite.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Stumbled on Strongest Deliveryman one day while looking for something to watch. Started looking into more kdramas while waiting for the next episodes. Proceeded to get absolutely hooked on Lovers in Bloom and on my week off binged the like 60 or 80 episodes that were out at the time. (sigh, she had so much better chemistry with the SL.)

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Strongest Deliveryman was so underrated.

Despite its flaws, i liked it way better than the widely acclaimed and popular "Fight for my way". They aired in the same year and had similar themes.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

A definite gem, all the friendships in Strongest Deliveryman made it a great watch.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Been a fan of Chinese Wuxia and Martial arts films since i was a kid, my first exposure to Asian dramaland were the condor remakes/adaptations of the early and mid 00s, started checking out other genres and territories dramas I've been a fan since.

My First few Kdramas came a bit later with Iris (2009) and City Hunter (2011), i also got to watch the iconic incest makjang Autumn in my heart (2000). They have not aged well but i still love and defend them to this day.

It was much much harder to find subbed content back then, the internet was not as fast and not as cheap either as today.

Shout out to all the Dramaland fan-subbers who got us this far.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’ve told this story before, but it was my husband that got me hooked on kdramas. It was 2016, and we just cut the cord on cable and went streaming only. We saw Asian content on Netflix and my husband picked My Love Eun Dong as his first kdrama. We watched all of it in a couple weeks. He couldn’t stop talking about it to everyone he saw for weeks on end and it was seriously annoying! (He was infatuated with the former Miss Korea.) Then he “made” me watch Love Rain which we both enjoyed. I stalked Dramabeans to see what some of the cultural references were referring to and have been here since. Then my Korean friend told me to watch her childhood friend in a live airing drama—a little known drama called Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, and a even less know on actress (Seo Huyn Jin who came to her wedding). I must admit I rolled my eyes a bit when she told me over Thanksgiving that year. I had to find a different streaming service to watch it—enter VIKI. I was still a casual watcher, I thought, but started commenting on DB. That winter, we drove halfway across the country and had a few hours to kill and the DB community was raving about some actor I’d never heard of in his “comeback drama” *cough* Gong Yoo *cough* and we started the first episode of Goblin and the rest is history. The cinematography BLEW ME AWAY. The first two episode were so cinematic, Lee El was gorgeous, the set up was so compelling, I knew it was special. We have Amazon prime and so gobbled up some kmovies off of that (The Beauty Inside gave me a who’s who of chungmoro, and Won Bin in Man From Nowhere was a revelation—no wonder @girlfriday was obsessed with him coming back to dramas). And after a certain election in 2016, I swore off news and current events until the 4 years was over and only watched k-content. Then I had to watch the news again, unfortunately, because of a small pandemic. 😂 I still watch kdramas, a ton more than I used to and I like it better that way. And now, who can’t stop talking about them? So long answer, but Love Rain was my gateway drama. Yoona still holds a soft spot in my heart as does Kim Young Kwang, who played the second lead there.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I first discovered K-dramas when my husband and I stumbled upon episodes of Age of Warriors airing nightly on an independent public television station while on vacation. We were intrigued, but this was before the streaming era, and I wasn't able to find the show anywhere else (I still have never seen the whole thing). However, several years later I discovered that Netflix had the DVDs of Jumong so I started ordering them. It was love at first episode. And then when the DVDs inexplicably became unavailable half way through, I found the shiny new world of streaming apps and the rest is history. As someone who has always loved sprawling period epics, it was the best thing ever (oddly, it took me quite awhile to watch a contemporary drama - if it didn't have at least 50 episodes and warriors with great hair was it really worth it?).

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am a sageuk afficionado too! I was intimidated by the length of Jumong at first, but once I started I could not stop.
I remember watching Jang Hyuk in a contemporary drama, and my first thought was that he looked odd with short hair and without a scar.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, it was a bit jarring for me too to see male actors in contemporary dramas with short hair (and no flashing blades).

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

ALONE IN LOVE. I had no idea who the actors were or how a kdrama story normally unfolds or at the time divorce was still very taboo in SK.

It still holds up as a show that does relationship drama right.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have no idea... I have a bad memory. 😂 I think what I liked it's that it was different from the other stuff we watched. We always welcomed something that looked different. We were curious.

We watched "Stairway to Heaven" and then we were like "next drama", and then next and rewatch and kpop, and next... and that's it.

I think I started to get real reasons (besides it's "different", seems fun) after Flower Boy Next Door. That was the first drama that felt relatable, that made me heal, and made me truly happy.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My gateway kdrama was CLOY.

I kept seeing people recommending it on my twitter timeline and I finally decided to give it a shot in at the end of November 2020 and the rest is history.

I can't even put into words what sucked me in but I literally dropped all other TV shows and movies for kdramas. When I look at the 100+ kdramas I have watched since then, I still can't believe what happened 😂. It's indeed a rabbit hole.

I was lurking on DB and reading recaps in 2021 and only started actively commenting this year 😅

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hello, kdrama twin! CLOY was my gateway drama, too. I put it on my watch list a couple of years ago because of an article in the Guardian, but I didn’t actually get around to watching it until last summer. I fell headlong into the deep end of the pool and have not watched anything that is not Korean since then. Googling around for info on CLOY locations and OST led me to a couple of kdrama blogs that kept mentioning this thing called Dramabeans, so I stumbled over here - and found my people.

As a total newcomer I didn’t realize, of course, that CLOY doesn’t represent the entirety of kdrama, and it took some adjustment and exposure to the genre before I could find other shows I liked. I think my second one was Pretty Noona (ugh, ugh, ugh!) because of Son Ye-jin, but at least that had Jung Hae-in as a maintenance dose, which led to One Spring Night, and then recommendations and recaps here led me to WWWSK, Just Between Lovers, BTLIOF, etc., etc. My family thinks I’m nuts, but it’s been the perfect antidote to this neverending pandemic malaise.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hey twin 😃👋🏾
I have made peace with the fact that no one in my close circle might understand my kdrama obsession

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

My gateway drama was CLOY! And like you, I have gone down the kdrama rabbit-hole and am loving it--up to 70+ dramas. I have even learned to like sageuks! There's just something about that Bin-Jin romance in CLOY that is magical entertainment.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

As a kid, I watched the Club Dorothée, it was an TV show for kids that aired Japanese animes. At that time, people were thinking that anime = for kids, so you could watch Hokuto no Ken, a pretty violent anime, or City Hunter during the day :p I loved those animes and being older, I still watched them but on internet with Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Code Geass, etc. I discovered Nodame Cantabile, a nice anime about classical music. By chance, I found the Jdrama. It was completely weird but the actress could make the FL very lovely and the music was great. I started to watch Jdramas. But because of the rights, it became more difficult to find. So I started to watch other dramas TW, C, K, Thai. For a very simple reason, I liked the Kdramas, the language was resanoting very well to my ears. I liked the fact they had a special OST for each dramas too.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

First I had a new house all to myself. Then a family member was traveling to Korea. Netflix having great international content was a go to source to learn about this far away place. Beginning with movies, “Admiral, roaring currents” and “Assassination” then discovering and falling hard for “Descendants of the sun“, connecting with coworkers and friends; however it faded slightly with the busyness of life, and availability of reliable streaming services, but then the pandemic hit and Mr. Sunshine and CLOY re-entered my life with the full force of a heavyweight knockout. A couple of years and many, many dramas later (over 30, I’ve counted) I would say I’m a dedicated fan. Much love to Beanies, Viki, Netflix, IQIYI, etc….😊😉

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I see that I am not alone in beginning my journey with T-dramas. It actually started pre-streaming with DVDs from our library with a desire to watch something in Mandarin, so that my son could retain some of what he had learned of that language in high school. This started with DVDs of the T-drama LOVE NOW (still a favorite of mine), MISS ROSE, IT STARTED WITH A KISS and then FATED TO LOVE YOU.

At that moment I saw that there apparently was a Korean version of FATED TO LOVE YOU sitting on a nearby shelf. I brought it home and watched as Jang Nara and Jang Hyuk proceeded to show me how much better Korea could do with that wonderful story- which has been remade by others since but never quite as well (No offense meant to Joe Chen who had actually done a fabulous job, as did Baron Chen). This was followed by FULL HOUSE and after that I was hooked- and discovered streaming, cut the cord and the rest is history.

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

A few years back, DB made me realize that Boys over Flowers was not the gateway drama for everyone. For people around me or even who I knew distantly, it certainly was. It remained the top recommendation for quite a while to hook people to kdramas. LMH's magic can work on a teenager who was totally new to the kdramaworld. City hunter preceeded BOF and then I took a break.

Checked Heirs again, dropped it but kept with the recaps. DB was the only place that was critical of the show rightly so but other recaps just seemed to ignore the problems of the show which I could see. So I remembered DB a year later when I saw dramas again thanks to Dramafever that kept me updated on dramas that are talk of the town and then started with MLFAS. I wasn't as impressed and honestly, I may have never returned to dramaland had I not come across someone's post on Healer. It was a private conversation on a social media channel but the name gave me an indication that it must be Korean. So I checked it and the rest is history. Didn't leave kdramas or DB after that. Marathoned several recommended dramas but also started live watching immediately after Healer. Sometimes I think I've done the most important things of my life when I put a stop on dramas and definitely feel that I need to cut them off for a while to actually live my life and have some other activity to look forward to than watching an episode. That said, it is still my favorite thing to do.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The Korean version of BOYS OVER FLOWERS is not even the best telling of this classic story- The original Live action J-drama version is much better (and better performed) while the recently concluded Thai version, F4 Thailand, are far superior. And neither has a theme song that will stay in your head for far too long.

Glad you found HEALER, which is a masterpiece.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

If anything, it's considered one of the worst lol. I never revisited it because I'm pretty sure I liked it back then due to my immaturity and BOF was a whole new world that sucked you in. That will not work right now and I've been sceptical of watching any other versions too. Thanks to Healer and Misaeng, I came across quality kdramas that inclined more towards my taste.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is it that bad I don’t remember at all what my first kdrama was? I’ve tried to remember so many times over the years, but my brain just refuses to work. It must’ve been something truly garbage if I cannot recall a single detail, yet addicting enough that I decided to give the medium itself another chance. It was probably some Z-list drama starring idols who can’t act because I was (and am, to a certain extent!) a huge K-pop fan. I ultimately think that interest, as well as my existing interests in anime and East Asian cinema, made it inevitable that I would get sucked into this scene.

That said, I do, however, remember the drama that made me into an active watcher and a lifelong kdrama aficionado - Coffee Prince. Just as now, the power of Gong Yoo is unmatched and I never looked back after that. It may not be my actual first drama, but it’s definitely the first one worthy of being acknowledged as such.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gong Yoo is also one of my favorite actors. In my case this was after seeing him n GOBLIN, THE GREAT AND LONELY GOD. I think that this is what had me watching COFFE PRINCE soon thereafter- a completely different role but there it is- he is a versatile actor.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I owe my fascination with kdrama to my local library. They carried a small but eclectic selection of kdrama DVDs. But the reason I checked them out was because my grandmother and aunt got swept up in the Hallyu wave first, and my grandmother constantly talked about how wonderful "Bae-sama" (Bae Yong-joon) was. My grandma always did like Korean pretty boys. She ran away from home and eloped with one.
Obviously I had to check out Winter Sonata, and now I think the story is utterly ridiculous, but at the time it kept me on the edge of my seat because it was so different from anything I had seen before. Dae Jang Geum and My Name is Kim Sam Soon followed, and those two remain among my all time favorites. I gobbled up the library's remaining titles--Jumong, Queen Seon Duk, Will It Snow for Christmas, and Terroir; and after that it was just a matter of finding more dramas wherever I could.

Winter Sonata will always have a special place in spite of itself, because it was the first. I had occasion later to realize it was not as farfetched as it seemed. It happened to me in real life that the mother of a Korean friend told me she had died. Ten years later the family came to the US and there she was, in a wheelchair but alive. I never received any explanation or apology for that incredibly unnecessary falsehood.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can't believe that it has already been about 15 years since I watched a kdrama for the first time. When my second son was born, I discovered English period dramas on YT and used it as a nice easy entertainment during my breastfeeding moments. I usually just followed what was suggested as the next watch and one day I clicked on Loveholic... and was blown away by the colours, beautiful shots and by the EMOTIONS! (I cried so much then 🙈 It was also my introduction to The Voice 😁 who then *gasp* played the Second Lead!). Then I watched My Name Is Kim Samsoon... and I fell in love. That drama I would call my Gateway Drama (and I rewatched it a couple of times and even bought a DVD set). Then You Are Beautiful came with the CRACK element (and music I downloaded and put on my playlist)... and the original version of 1% of Anything brought the first introduction to traditions, hanboks and FOOD. Since then I'm that strange member of the family who doesn't know what's on in Hollywood or on TV (*cough* I first heard about Frozen on Dramabeans *cough*) and wastes her time on some strange Asian TV. 😁
(And I think I have been with Dramabeans for 12-13 years.)

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Conversation between me and a friend, ca. 2012:

Friend: "Do you want to watch Korean drama?"

Me: "Korean drama? What is that?"

Friend: "I am watching a really cool one right now. It is about a plastic surgeon who travels back in time."

Me: "Sounds interesting. Will give it a try."

10 years after "Faith", I am still watching Korean dramas. Sageuks are my favorite. Hard to say no to swords and manes of glory.😀

10
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Faith was, at the time I watched it, the best kdrama I had seen.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I still have a soft spot for it. I had no previous knowledge of Korean history and culture, but I got motivated to learn because of this drama. My second drama was Sungkyunkwan Scandal and the rest is history.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

What’s your gateway drama?
The first korean dramas I watched were Jumong and Emperor of the Sea. I didn't fall for them that hard to call them gateway dramas. They mostly surprised me with their new-to-me storytelling. But then I watched Dae Jang Geum and I fell SO HARD that I watched all fifty plus episodes at least fifty times. I loved it so much that I was scared to try other shows for fear they would let me down. I started to watch other shows like Goong and others later, when kdramas srarted getting famous around the internet and my friend pressured me to watch them.

What sent you plunging down the rabbit hole into dramaland?
Dramabeans. I was reading so many conflicting comments about Coffee Prince that I started a thorough search to find a site which would tell me exactly what it was like. This lead me to dramabeans recap section. And Javabeans' in depth explanations about every single nuance in Korean shows. It was a revelation. I started looking at all shows, even those I had seen before differently. I still lament her absence.

How hard did you fall?
So hard that Kdramas are my sole source of entertainment after 17 years?

12
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The first kdrama I ever watched was Coffee Prince and strangely enough I stumbled upon it by reading an 'Alternate Universe' Card Captor Sakura fanfiction that was based on it lol.

I was able to find the first few episodes subbed on youtube and got hooked practically immediately. It was fun and zany and this ensemble of weirdos stole my whole heart. I was hard pressed to find any more subbed content online so I ended up having to do some research and discovered an asian media store in the city.

It took me an hour by train but holy moly was it worth it - the kdrama DVD selection was huge! I picked up Coffee Prince, Goong (because I liked the actress) and Shining Inheritance (It was new to the store and had a recommended note on it from one of the staff members).

The quality of subs always varied from episode to episode which I found weird but they were always at least comprehensible and really, those 3 box sets were all I needed to become a kdrama addict for life!

6
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

So cool to find another person who got into dramas with Coffee Prince like I did. Although I have to say that your way of finding out about it is way cooler than whatever I did. Card Captor Sakura is awesome and a Coffee Prince AU just sounds… *chef’s kiss*

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Cool is probably not the word I would use to describe it but I'm pleased to find another CCS fan!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Card Captor Sakura was my gateway into subbed anime!

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same! Once I realized how trash the english dub was I've never watched a 'dubbed' anything again.

I don't know if this is a byproduct or not but I also struggle to watch english media as well now without subtitles but that might also be my terrible hearing hahaha.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can relate to that, I need subtitles for English media now too

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I wish I could say Coffee Prince was my first. It was the first one I wanted to watch, but I wasn't as industrious as you and settled for a silly little drama called My Princess. But it did the trick and the rest was history (and I did eventually work out how to watch Coffee Prince and hundreds of others over the internet...)

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

At the heart of them I find all kdramas very silly, it's their main draw imo!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I enjoyed My Princess so much! It was such cute, mindless fun.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I just watched that recently for the first time, it was fun!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Secret Garden was my gateway kdrama. I can’t remember EXACTLY why I decided to check out the show, but I remember being recommended to check out kdramas if I wanted some good romantic comedies. At the time I was watching a bunch of anime, and that was just a genre that wasn’t too well represented. So I went looking for some well reviewed kdramas, and a few that stuck out were my first viewing experiences. Secret Garden had just finished airing and shortly after finishing that, Coffee Prince cemented my fandom with both shows’ humour and melodrama that hit me just right.

Found Dramabeans a couple years later, and lurked for a couple after that before starting to post from time to time!

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i too have shared my story of falling down the rabbit hole of k-dramas years ago. I'm cheap when it comes to buying cable (actually don't have it now.) so i just always bought the basic package. the cable company that i was with at the time (2005) offered every so often their whole gambit of networks as to entice us to buy larger packages. it never worked on me but i always enjoyed being able to scroll through all their offering for these spurts of times.

1 time i happen on this channel "asn" an all asian network that no longer exists. they showed everything from animes to Bollywood to news to k-dramas. 1 day i happen to catch this k-drama that hooked me & i remain so. the drama was "my lovely sam soon" or "my name is kim sam soon". it stared kim sun ah & hyun bin.

so what hooked me, simple her! sun ah's character of sam soon. she was everything, funny, self-centered, selfless, direct, confident, insecure, loving, tough, determined, giving up easily, respectful, etc...
sun ah's acting was superb. i believed this character & wanted to know her story.

well, the cable network only gave you about a week of their free offering before stopped it. i was so into it that i tried to continue watching through the fuzzy picture only hearing the korean audio, which i didn't understand, that's how hooked i was. this show forced me to join the 21st century. it was because of this show i bought a dvd player & a laptop. the 1st so i could get the dvd of the drama to watch the entire show & the computer so I could share it with my daughter in europe. won't go into it here about the difficulties i faced just to get the dvd, but it was all worth it.

i have shared the drama with loads of family & friends bringing them into the k-drama world.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@bbstl-you have a Seoul sister!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I came to kdrama through such a cliched path I hesitate to mention it, but it was through the films of Bong Joon Ho, especially Memories of Murder, and Okja. Because of Memories of Murder, when my wife and I saw Stranger available on Netflix, we watched immediately, and that was we've probably watched every similar detective/crime/political corruption drama since then. With Netflix, it would have been inevitable that I would have watched romantic K-dramas, because of a weird psychological obsession (trauma from childhood, of course) that has compelled me to do things like watch every adaption of Jane Austen about 200 times.

I do want to say this, though, echoing several people above: one of the main reasons I watch as many k-dramas I do is Dramabeans. It is, hands down, one of the best discussion sites on the Internet, and I go through 10-15 such sites a day, on a range of topics-- sports, politics and other forms of culture.

I have read the scholarly article on Dramabeans by Prof. Regina Yung Lee, (in 2014's The Korean Popular Cultural Reader) and though I could do without the references to "Althusserian interpellation" and "critical code theory," she is probably right on the important mediating function of DB recaps. (I understand Prof. Yung Lee's at times impenetrable writing is the cultural studies apparatus you have to attach to an article to get it taken seriously in some circles, and her article is worth reading if you haven't already. )

Still, I myself don't need any fan culture theory to identify exactly what makes Dramabeans good--a combination of enthusiasm for and emotional responses to the show's stories and characters, with a great deal of historical genre knowledge, and then really intelligent analysis and criticism, so it becomes not just an essential supplement to the shows, but at times better than the shows themselves.

10
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I honestly wouldn’t say that getting into kdramas via Korean cinema is very cliched, especially not around here. I tend to hear more stories about randomly watching Boys Over Flowers or something similar to that. Your pathway is fascinating though, and I just think it’s very cool that your first drama was Forest of Secrets/Stranger. That’s one helluva introduction to the medium.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sorry--I hope I didn't sound pretentious, but the reason I thought it was cliched are the kdrama jokes about Bong Jong Ho being the only Korean film maker that anyone in the U.S. knows.

The move from film-->kdrama I think is pretty common for someone of my generation, because it parallels what went in the U.S. U.S. television in the 70s/80s was pretty bad, and it wasn't until cable/HBO in the 1990s that you'd watch tv for anything more than a quick escape from having to think. My generation's nostalgia for the shows of the seventies and eighties always makes me laugh. Seriously: Charlie's Angels? Three's Company?

As far as kdramas, I was very interested to read these stories here. It just shows how culturally unaware I was that a lot of people were discovering kdramas prior to 2015 and it wasn't until Netflix for me.

What makes this a little strange is that I actually was quite aware and was a big fan of k-pop early on (of course, I can't pat myself on the back for that, since there were Southern California k-pop festivals in the early 2000s.)

But then, also, I think kpop isn't that brand new a musical phenomenon for anyone aware of pop music from the 1960s on. Whereas, there really was a new conception of T.V. emerging in the U.S. and internationally, of which kdramas were an important part, and so its not surprising that someone my age was slow to catch on.

Sorry for my usual self-absorbed rambling, which I know must seem pretentious after all.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sorry--as usual filled with typos, and I didn't mean to mangle Bong Joon-ho's name.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

It doesn’t sound pretentious at all! I apologize if my comment made it seem as if I’m reprimanding you or making you look elitist when that wasn’t my intention. I think your transition from Korean films => Korean dramas is fascinating and unique. Your point about this particular shift being a generational phenomenon is interesting. I never would’ve thought of something like it. There’s nothing self-absorbed with writing about your own experiences. On the contrary, I find it informative to read about other beanies’ lives and their drama-watching. Also, if there’s anybody on this site who does self-absorbed rambling, it’s me lol. I just cannot shut up and stop writing. Just look at how long my comments are.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

My Girl (2005)

In 2007, my eldest sister stumbled across it on Youtube. She enjoyed it so much, she made us watch it, and we got sucked in too.

It was our first time watching some East Asian (after Oshin as wee little kids), and everything was so fascinating! From Lee Dong-wook's flawless skin and slim fingers, Lee Jun-gi's feminine beauty (the original flower boy) and cool martial arts, a very cute Hwang Bo-ra, the snow, the invisible makeup, a robot vaccum cleaner (sorry Park Shi-yeon, that robot was more interesting than you were), the dichotomy between the western clothes and traditional customs, and most of all, a witty and naughty Lee Da-hae (where's she, she was such a great actress).

The Hong sisters wove magic with the push and pull, the angst (god such angst), will they won't they cliffhangers, damn the 64 Kbps internet, you'd have to hunt and buffer the next ⅙th part of the episode to find out.

I read the little information that was there on Wikipedia back then, downloaded the episodes so I could rewatch them, and boy did I rewatch so many times. But to find another subbed drama was a lot of work with a stuttering internet, so I gave up, but never got over the fascination.

So the next drama was way later in 2012, when I searched again for Korean dramas on YouTube, and saw a song from Goong. I downloaded it from a torrent (with some missing subs, alas) and binged the whole thing overnight. And i wanted MOAR.

A few dramas later, hunting for more of My Princess (2011)'s cute fluffy fun, I came across Dramabeans, and oh Javabeans and Girlfriday's wit and humour was as addicting as the dramas. Not to mention the hilarious beanies comments under most of Song Seung-heon's posts, that era on Dramabeans crackled with such wicked humour. Those were indeed great carefree times.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

StartUp was my first kdrama. I saw a recommendation on an Internet newsletter I subscribe to and gave it a go. I was completely blown away by everything - the writing, the different pace to my usual fare - everything was given more time, the gorgeous actors! I was also fascinated by the culture, the food, the excessive drinking! I've never looked back and have existed on an almost exclusive kdrama diet since. Netflix didn't have it all, so Viki was added to the streaming list, and now my frustration is that Disney+ in Ireland has the grand total of one kdrama... this has really got to improve...
I found dramabeans almost as soon as I found kdrama and it's become the essential companion for my habit. I'm the only person in my family/friends etc with this obsession, so dramabeans community, you're central to my kdrama knowledge and info!

5
14
reply

Required fields are marked *

Disney+ is frustrating even here in the US- at least regarding K-dramas.

2
12
reply

Required fields are marked *

I've been sending Disney+ requests to add their kdramas in other regions almost everyday. Hopefully I am not the only one complaining to them and they will listen.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@oldawyer this is off topic for the thread, but why do you think Disney+ is doing this? Streaming/server storage costs are negligible.
I was thinking it must be that the wider distribution, the more they are required to pay the shows creators--writers, directors, actors, production companies and the like. But surely, the show's creators would welcome this wider distribution, especially into the potentially career expanding U.S. market. I was wondering if your expertise gave you any insight into what on the face of it seems an incredibly short-sighted decision.

1
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am not an expert in the entertainment industry, but I do have an opinion stemming from my legal knowledge. I remember that, back when we bought or rented movies on VHS tape (I really am old enough to remember when that was a new thing) Disney would bring classic films "out of the vault" to release them for a limited time only. That phrase tells us what we need to know- that Disney believes in scarcity to maintain or drive-up prices. Intellectual property rights are a very real thing, and no one understands this better than Disney.

My hypothesis is that they are approaching the streaming world with that mindset. Which is another way of saying that they do not understand this market at all. In other words, they are applying that older intellectual property mindset to streaming even though it is not analogous at all because withholding shows from some markets does not increase their value- it simply reduces the potential audience- which reduces the profit to be gained from a new show.

There is an alternative hypothesis: That they agreed on regional restrictions that were dictated by the studios which produce the dramas, with the studios expecting to sell rights to distribution in the other regions to another streaming service like Viki, iQIYI or Netflix. It does happen at times that shows originally only available at one place are released a few months later, or even years later, on Viki. But I rather doubt that this is the case here because Disney is a power player in the entertainment industry- no one dictates to Disney.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks--this is the insight I was hoping for.

The latter scenario makes more business sense than the first, but I agree with you about Disney's market power making that unlikely.
I think one mistake I make too often, not being part of the corporate world myself, is thinking that corporate strategists are always savvy about their best business interest. But obviously looking at business history, that's not the case.

Plus, I do know that in a large corporation, bureaucratic infighting, personal rivalries, and just out and out neglect of small divisions (as I'm sure the kdrama division is in disney) are commonplace. So that could be an issue here as well.

But that doesn't keep me from being outraged that I can't watch Love All Play even when I'm willing to pay for it!

2

@hacja - I think regionalization is more a business decision than a legal decision. Disney chooses titles that it thinks will do best in its different regions, and in North America (& Europe), those would be Pixar and Marvel material, not kdramas.

You can make the argument that some viewers (such as Beanies) want to watch kdramas, but these viewers likely make up a small % of Disney+'s North American subscriber base. Teams have targets that they need to hit, one of which is subscriber growth (by region), and kdramas won't help teams hit their target as much as Marvel (and other content) does.

Disney also makes most of its money through its amusement parks and merchandise, and kdramas aren't going to contribute anything to those revenues stream, but Marvel and Pixar content does alot.

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, thanks-- but what I think @oldawyer correctly points out is that classic geographic distribution decisions were made where the costs of distribution were relatively high. To open these shows up to international streaming requires a relatively small addition of server space, and then whatever it costs to stream per viewing, which I am sure must work out to pennies per viewing, at most.

Its true, as a kdrama fan I'm not going to buy an Marvel action figure, nor am I going to head to Disneyland to experience the new Star Wars inspired ride--especially at $100 a ticket!.

However, even if there is no spillover effect for me or most U.S. kdrama fans, the $11.00 we would pay to view Disney shows that we are not paying now would, I'm sure, allow the company some profit because of the low costs of international streaming. And who knows--maybe we'd also purchase an official Love All Play authorized badminton racquet!

0

I would also point out two things here- Disney did not just buy distribution rights for these shows- it paid for some if not most of the production costs. So the royalties it pays per viewer would certainly be much lower (particularly with Disney bargaining). There would be very little real cost to streaming these shows in the US.

Add to that what I call the "Netflix Effect" - Netflix pitches non-K-drama and non-Cdrama shows to me whenever I turn to Netflix- and on occasion we watch them. My wife loves the Marvel movies (we usually get them on DVD from the Library) and we both love Star Wars since the first movie came out (though the more recent ones have been subpar- Disney has really damaged the Star Wars franchise through some very poor decisions). By broadening your subscriber base you cast a wider customer net even for the purposes that you describe.

The commercial appeal of K-dramas is very broad- so much so that new services like Disney+ and Apple have entered the market. My problem is that they are not doing a good job with it and are causing a lot of unneeded frustration- and even waste in this case. A good show deserves to be seen by as many people as possible. That is both a moral as well as an economic truth.

3

@hacja - I don't get the geographic distribution argument. So far, Disney is the only streaming platform for all the kdramas it bought. It's not like Snowdrop & Co. are appearing on other streaming platforms. I haven't seen any streaming platforms "share" kdramas.

@oldawyer - I would not yet count Apple as entering the kdrama market. Pachinko doesn't count as a kdrama.

1

@songxrising
I'm assuming that in the old days, Disney would first release its films to theaters in places that would bring in the most revenue with ticket sales, because there would be a limited number of physical copies of the film available and because there would be higher costs to make more.

Or, alternatively, in the VHS/DVD days, they might find it useful as oldlawyer says, to restrict the physical supply available in each geographic location to maximize revenue in those locations. But those cost/earnings models don't apply, as far as I can see, in an international streaming economy, where you want to maximize subscriptions everywhere.

Plus, as I know some are doing here, even in the upright, generally law abiding, and scrupulously honest dramabeans community, it is much easier to subvert digital restrictions to see a first-run show or film than it was to make a bootleg copy of a first-run film. (This changed with vhs/dvds, of course, but Disney could sell deluxe packages to remove that temptation.)
Obviously, server space is not unlimited, but I'm sure if I looked at the current Disney on-line catalog in the U.S. I could find 10 shows that aren't regularly viewed and would never attract any new viewers either.
So I dont see, on the surface, a rational reason to restrict streaming a first-run show to a geographic area where subscriptions are otherwise widely available, unless there are some sort of contract distribution limits that we don't know about.

1

In 2020-21, Disney ended its linear cable channels throughout Asia to start localization of its Disney + streaming services. It wanted a direct connection to viewers, more data mining and greater share of revenue. It wanted to start with local content in native language then grow the Disney brand in each country. It signed a 5 year deal with NEW to provide 1 Korean show per year. It launched + with its inventory of Marvel movies, series and US shows.

Executives want to keep things local not just because of the language translation issues and bandwidth agreement concerns but cultural governmental concerns (it has made many concessions to China in the past).

SK top 5 streaming platforms have 85 percent market share. Waave is owned by 3 SK networks (with their original shows and syndicated foreign series), TVing by CJENM/JTBC (original productions), Coupang (more foreign syndicated content and global sports), Netflix and Disney. Disney has less than 7 percent share. Seventy percent of streamed content in SK is Korean; US content is 14 percent.

Disney is willing to sit back and wait to have rivals stumble. Netflix Korea, 34 percent of market, is being flogged for shipping its local profits to its parent company; and sued for not paying fair carriage charges to ISPs.

In summary, Disney's plan is to keep localization over globalization of its new regional content.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, welh, this is very informative. It just goes to show that even in the Internet age, "globalization" only goes so far--geography remains crucial.

0

I suppose this makes sense but I'm still not sure it's the smartest decision on Disney's part. I know Netflix is having issues right now, but they've proven the global appeal of foreign content. Squid Game is their top performing show, of course, but it's not the only K-drama that has performed incredibly well for them.

1

Access to Disney+ kdramas has been a long running battle for many of us.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

My first drama was My Girlfriend is a Gumiho back in 2015. I was not at all interested in watching it; my friend had to practically beg me to watch it with her. Next thing I know, I had finished MGiaG without her and started another kdrama. This was back in the times of Dramafever. It was far too easy to fall down the rabbit hole when you had such an exhaustive library of dramas at your fingertips...FOR FREE!
RIP Dramafever

I have since then watched more than 300 Asian dramas. My friend says that she created a monster.

6
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol at the monster :))

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

RIP Dramafever. Gone since October of 2018 but forever in my heart...

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

What is really aggravating is how stupid a business move was the closure of Dramafever. As can be seen with the expansion of Apple and Disney into this field- neither of them handling this well.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am with you all the way. Easy for me to say but if I was Bill Gates, DramaFever2 would be up and running strictly licensing dramas with no original programming.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was the summer of 2015, and my American shows were on hiatus. I was bored and looking for something to watch when I came across the movie, MISS GRANNY. Because I was facing a milestone birthday, I found the premise appealing. It’s hard to believe now, but up until then, I didn’t even know about the Hallyu wave. I ended up LOVING Miss Granny. It was one of the funniest and most touching movies I had ever seen. After that, Netflix recommended SECRET LOVE AFFAIR. I was skeptical about its premise, but I gave it a shot. Boy, was I blown away! Everything about it sucked me in. That sense of unease you feel throughout the drama yet you can’t turn away. I was mesmerized by Yoo Ah-in’s performance. He had me believing he really was Lee Sun-jae. And the music! At the time, I knew so little about Korean culture, even though I have several Korean friends. So, even with subtitles, many things were lost in translation. I started searching for everything I could to help me better understand and that’s how I found Dramabeans. In the seven years since I first began my drama journey, I’ve learned so much. I went to South Korea three years ago, and even though I’m far from fluent, I knew enough about the culture and people to get along well.

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

It went back as far as Sassy Girl Chunhyang (the old version drama).
I was instantly hooked. Han Chaeyoung and Jae Hee blew up my TV screen with their chemistry.
I’d been into jdrama and anime long before that. However, after My Sassy Girl, I found the basic element that makes all the difference between Jdrama and Kdrama. The latter one, is much more meticulous. In wtiting, setting, all the way to styling, hairs and customes. Everything put into details that makes it all a solid round up show. It’s not necessarily about a good or bad drama, but the production team put a lot of effort in putting everything to make it a perfect ensemble.
Then came Full House. I watched it a few years late after its released and once amazed how the koreans have sizzling and expressive emotions compared to japanese. I used to call them Itallian version of Asia. How close knit they can be with their families, how a mother is the anchor of a family, how the food, a home cooking or trafitional one at that, is the soul of the people.
After that follow strings of mid 2000s drama. My Girl, My Name is Kim Samsoon, and so on. Then comes the generation of My Secret Garden, Coffee Prince up until these days.
I’m much more picky compared to the old days. But from time to time I always find a drama that suits me well.
Hence, no way out of this rabbit hole.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Technically I guess my Gateway was Princess Jamyung. Not a very good show, but good enough to start me channel-surfing to find more k-shows.

But my interest in Asian movies goes back 50+ years to Yojimbo in my freshman year in college. My first Asian dramas came right after college when I went to Taiwan and taught English for a few years. Back in the US I channel surfed and watched what I could, mostly Japanese because that's what they had. My first actual kdrama was Jumong, but I only caught a few episodes at the end, and even then I missed alternate episodes because I didn't realize they were two-a-week until the final week (the cable company's listings for Asian shows just said things like "Asian TV"). Jamyung was the first one I caught almost all of.

I didn't start streaming until 2015, when I realized that the reason I didn't like KBS shows much was that the channel that carried them was chopping random bits to fit a one-hour show PLUS COMMERCIALS into 60-minute time slot and I wondered what had happened to be bits of School 2015 that I remembered from the DB recaps. So School 2015 was the first show I commented on here because the cable channels were about 2 weeks behind and by the time I actually saw a show it was old news here.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I first found kdramas in 2015. I was living on campus for the summer and looking for a new show to watch. I'd always loved British historical shows like North & South and was in the mood for something similar. My search brought me to a list of romantic historical TV shows on a website I'd never heard of before - Dramafever. I'd never watched anything from Asia before, but one show caught my eye. It was about a girl who disguised herself as a boy in order to go to college. I started watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal and got totally hooked on it. I didn't understand any of the cultural context, but it was beautiful and engaging and I loved the romance (no SLS for me). After that I watched a couple more shows but I stopped when college started again. One year later I had just graduated and moved to a new part of the country for grad school. Since I didn't know anyone in the area and classes hadn't started yet, I had a lot of free time to fill. I found my way back to Dramafever and this time I got hooked for good. Shortly after I came across Dramabeans and have been lurking here ever since.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My gateway drama was BOYS OVER FLOWERS as is the case for most of the people. I had become tired of watching English serials and waiting for the new season to come out which was still definitely an improvement over the Indian soap operas which never get over. At least English serials have a finite number of episodes! But I watched so many that I got burnt out I guess. So my friend recommended me to watch the serial with 4 very pretty boys. Admittedly, she was trying to make me watch it for a while but I was resisting. Finally, I gave in and started watching. It was so different from what I had watched that I ignored all the problems the show had (which were a lot). I got distracted by the boys wearing makeup ( I had never seen boys with such delicate features), the grand music, the class divide between the leads and the romance was so different than how it is portrayed even in the so called English romcoms. Obviously after that, I watched a bunch of serials which are very problematic but I ignored them because I was so fascinated with this world-like PERSONAL TASTE, PLAYFUL KISS, MY PRINCESS, GOONG, SECRET GARDEN etc. And again I got burnt out seeing the same tropes being played again - the rich jerk male lead, the sweet candy female lead, disapproving parents etc. So I swore off k dramas and went back to watching English dramas.
After a couple of years, I again ran out of English series to watch😅, so one of my other friends recommended REPLY 1997.I was hesitant to watch it because I was scared of watching the same old tropes but it was so much different than what I was expecting that I fell in love with it and have never turned back since. From then on, I discovered other genres like thriller, suspense, procedurals which, there was a dearth of in my hostel as they usually had stock of only the romcoms and all of Lee minho's serials. I was so traumatized by seeing BoF that it took me a long time to watch city hunter (which was pretty decent) and personal taste was not that bad compared to BoF. Even then, if I hear he's the male lead, I automatically put that serial in the not interested list- I have missed out on eternal monarch and legend of the blue sea and so many other dramas of his but I don't care. It's a prejudice against him, I know but I can't help it.
So before I got distracted😂 I meant to say that REPLY 1997 saved me from giving up on kdramas altogether. This was the drama that made me stay and I have never turned back since then.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Stairway to Heaven, in 2005-2006-ish. For
me, everything seemed to be from the other world. Cinematography, OST, casts and every other thing. All public broadcast and cable channels in my country competed to show good Kdramas at that time. Full House, All About Eve, All In, Dae Jang Geum, Jumong, Love Story in Harvard, etc.
2010s was the pinnacle of KDramas in my opinion.
Now, I'm still watching K dramas although I became a lot more selective due to my limited time.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"2010s was the pinnacle of KDramas in my opinion."

Agree!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

dont really remember, but I think it was Full House. Of asian dramas in general, Hana Kimi 2006 taiwanese version.
I really liked taiwanese dramas at first. they kind of have a warmer and more fleshy feeling while korean dramas are clearly a "story", a fairy tale.

the next one was You Are Beautiful. I FFded quite many parts and I couldnt watch Yong Hwa at all. when I rewatched it 10 years later though, I found some parts endearing that were initially annoying. maybe it was me who had not grown enough to empathize with some parts the first time.

The first korean drama I watched pretty much episode-by-episode was City Hunter. Friggin nervewrecking choice. dropped all the way back to anime for a while after that. was too much for me. and yet, got me started on action, martial arts and suspense dramas. first major kdrama crush in Lee Joon Hyuk. I even got hot lashes every time he was on the screen.

and then there was the time when I watched Hello Monster 51 times on repeat.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dae Jang Geum. So up to today, I’m partial to (well made/ non comedy) sageuks.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Since I'm a new member to Dramabeans, this is the perfect place to write something for the first time:
I remember my gateway kdrama very well, since it was not so long ago. In the winter of 2021, we got a recommendation from an American friend, an over 80 yr old (!) retired professor of philosophy (!!) to watch Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung. We got Netflix for that and enjoyed the show a lot: the cinematography, the storytelling, the humour and the tears, the costumes, the cute sound effects, the music, the beautiful people!
In looking for explanations about history and context, I pretty soon found Dramabeans, and you are the source of so much information, background, personal stories and sheer fun since then <3!
After watching some random Netflix recommendations, I found first Goblin, then Coffee Prince, still my favorites now. And when I found out that Netflix (expecially in Europe - I'm from Germany) has a limited and late supply, I subscribed to Viki - to watch Healer at first :-) and use other streaming services if necessary...
I started watching live shows with Doom At Your Service, which I still love and will defend against criticism! (Except for the secondary story line, of course...) And right now I am forcefully limiting myself to watch not more than 8 ongoing shows. So that's how deep I fell into the rabbit hole...
On the way, I found a fellow kdrama lover in my best friend, and lost my husband ;-)

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Manga -> Anime -> Jdramas -> Kdramas -> TWdramas -> Cdramas

Became interested in manga & anime when I was teaching high school and my daughter (then in 9th grade so this was 2007) started watching Naruto and Inuyasha. Inuyasha was my gateway into that world. Then I discovered "live action" Jdramas of Mei-chan no Shitsuji and Hana Kimi (Mitsushima Hiro was my first J-actor crush). Hana Yori Dango followed and I will forever be a fan of Oguri Shun.

While searching for Jdrama recommendations, I kept coming across mentions of the Korean adaptation of Hana Yori Dango, but I wasn't ready for a remake and so You're Beautiful became my Kdrama gateway. I did eventually watch Boys Over Flowers and while I loved Lee Min Ho and Kim Bum, HYD remains my favorite version.

By this point I was a daily visitor to DB and used the recaps and other articles to find new dramas to watch. The comments Open Threads and What We're Watching articles often mentioned TWdramas, so I decided to try them out. Love Keeps Going was my first TWdrama and I was very disappointed, but several commenters encouraged me to try a few others. Fated To Love You was followed by Mars, and those sealed the deal.

By 2013 I had started looking into Cdramas and had tried a select few, most of which were disappointing and I really didn't like the dubbing. In 2014 my father passed away and 4 weeks later we learned that my mother's cancer had returned. I quit work to take care of her full time for the next 3 years until she passed in 2017. There was just no time for dramas.

I came back to dramaland this year when one of my daughter's friends started watching Kdramas and asked my daughter for recommendations. My daughter came to me for suggestions (I was the Kdrama addict, not her), and all the reminiscing had me wanting to rewatch some of my old favorites and wondering what great dramas I had missed over the years :)

I'm about halfway caught up with the Kdramas that aired 2014 and later that I want to watch, and I'm steadily rewatching old favorites (some of which do NOT stand the test of time lol). I have a handful of J & TWdramas on my watchlist, but good golly have the Cdramas sucked me in this time around! I used to only watch one drama at a time. Now I easily have 4-5 going at once!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

For people who want to watch the original live action HANA YORI DANGO please note that it is now available on Viki- as BOYS OVER FLOWERS (Japanese version). It was just posted there recently. The movie sequel is listed on Viki's 'Coming Soon' page.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Mine was Mister Sunshine. Netflix recommended it to me, and I love history, so I checked it out. That first episode was the most confusing hour I've ever spent. My caucasian eyes weren't yet trained to look at things beyond colouring and haircuts, etc, to tell people apart, so everyone looked similar to me, and that first episode has SO many characters, plus it jumps between two time periods. I was utterly lost. But I was also mesmerized. By the history, the cinematography, everything. By the time the voiceover came on near the end that said this (below) I was hooked.

"The enemies are still desperately fighting back, even in the face of crushing defeat. Despite being on the verge of losing, there has not been a single deserter. Even with the overwhelming motor power of our forces, the enemies keep getting back up, time and time again, under the battle flag of their general."

I just fell in love with South Korea and its people, and since then, it's been only SK media for me. I was already sick of what was coming out of Hollywood by then anyway.

I am also a huge language nerd, so by the time I finished that show I was already learning Korean, and three and a half years later, I'm at the advanced language level, watching some stuff without English subs, and loving it!

Mr. Sunshine is still my absolute favourite show. It also got my sister hooked, and I'm so thankful that it did so I have someone to share it all with. We're currently doing a rewatch of "Chief Kim/Good Manager" together - our other fave - and we're going to start "From Now, Showtime" next.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My gateway drama was Descendants of the Sun, introduced to me by my youngest daughter. She came home for the Christmas holidays and said her father and I, “I want to show you my new favorite TV show!“ I turned on the TV only to watch her walk over to pick up her Dad‘s laptop and pull up (now nonexistent) DramaFever. I was processing the fact that it wasn’t on television and then when she brought it up and showed it to us, I was processing that it wasn’t in English, LOL! She asked us to watch two episodes (which was the length of a movie) and if we didn’t like it after that, we could turn it off. By the end of the first scene my husband and I were hooked!! We were blown away with the fabulous script, incredible acting and direction, and amazed at the original soundtrack.

We are a military family, my oldest child has a medical degree so the plot definitely spoke to us. Additionally, I am a retired professional singer/actress, so the original soundtrack was a big deal to me; certainly something Hollywood has never done for TV shows. My favorite of the DOTS soundtrack is actually the instrumental love theme between the two leads entitled “Mission One.”

Thereafter, we wanted more so the next show I tried was Cinderella and Four Knights, which I thought was charming and related old-fashioned American values of hard work, honesty, integrity, forgiveness and more.

Now 230+ KDramas later, I am uninterested in any other products. IMHO, Hollywood hadn’t produced quality shows in many decades and even then did not produce anything of this nature. We used to produce shows that uplifted our people, that related ethics, integrity, honesty, patriotism, strong family ties, etc. Today, shows seem to glorify violence, crime, the destruction of the nuclear family, and what tears down our country instead of builds it up. Korea definitely shows problems that they have in their country, but the bad guys always get what’s coming to them, crime does not pay, while at the same time they relate an overwhelming amount of forgiveness, second chances, the importance of family, respecting your elders (though this can be overdone and abused, as they show), and many other positive traits that they are showing their own citizens and sharing with the world.

I do not like shows that are depressing. I watch KDramas for their excellence, but also the opportunity to laugh, and at times laughed myself silly. I like uplifting, upbeat shows which has caused me to leave HW completely for KDramas. I also like that we have a complete story beginning, middle, and end without years and years of ongoing, endless shows, many times with no conclusive end.

Additionally, KDramas have shown me some of the most heart wrenchingly powerful love stories I have ever seen in a TV show, such as in Fated to Love You, Doom at Your Service, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay, Tempted/The Great Seducer.

I’ve laughed my way through You’re Beautiful, Oh My Venus (we call it, “Ma’am! MA’AM!”...

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The rest:
I’m Not a Robot, She Was Pretty (we call it “Jackson!”), Legend of the Blue Sea.

I’ve learned a lot about Korea‘s history with Hwarang, Chicago Typewriter, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, even the hilarious Mr. Queen.

I’ve been transported with fantasy stories like W: Two Worlds, Extraordinary You, Queen In Hyun’s Man, My Roommate is a Gumiho.

My husband has kept me up late, refusing to stop watching some of the more intriguing shows like W: Two Worlds, Healer and Signal until we get to a stopping point of his approval, LOL!! We are currently embroiled in the excellent show Military Prosecutor Doberman.

So the bottom line is, regardless of what type of show it is, Korea can be trusted to usually handle it in a stellar manor.

My husband now says we don’t do English in this house anymore, we only watch Korean. LOL!

It’s true!

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Every once in a while, there is a decent show in English, but I understand where you husband is coming from.

My wife and I loved LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA, which is on our re-watch list.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had a friend in college who learned Japanese and was very passionate about it, so she lured me in and my first Asian drama was Nodame Cantabile. After that I watched five Japanese dramas more, but Nodame was by far the best. A few years later, the same friend switched to Korean dramas and also wanted to share that with me, but I was actually a bit hesitant at first, but than she showed me a few clips from Sungkyunkwan Scandal and managed to sell it to me because it contained my favorite trope from childhood - a girl in boy's clothes. So my gateway K-drama was SKKWS - I got hooked around episode 5 and just kept jumping on the couch until the last ep. Then I looked for another drama with a similar premise, and I found You're Beautiful - which turned out to be my favorite drama of all times - even now, some 11 years and 50+ dramas later. I developed a little crush on Jang Geun Suk, so my third drama was really bad (Mary Stayed Up All Night), but then Internet informed me about BOF, so I discovered LMH with perm. 11 years later, even though none of his dramas are in my top five list, LMH is still my favorite actor. Than I had a three year hiatus, which ended with Faith, and after that things just got nasty. I got really skilled at making kimchi, and much less skilled in talking Korean, but I still learn it and I even managed to earn some money by translating it. And I hooked three more friends and my cats to dramas. I have no idea how to end this.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Mr Sunshine
It went like this:
"What is this? I've never seen anything like this before!"
It was different in every way:
the OST: the intense opening theme: emotional, dramatic
the sheer physical beauty of the setting, the exquisite cinematography
the history: how did I not know about this outrageous history of invasion?
the narrative: the tragic love story
It was all so very very different and totally engrossing.
Kim Tae-ri and Lee Byung-hun had my attention as actors.
Several scenes will stick in my mind forever:
1. The eclipse
2. The grieving families finding the bodies of their slaughtered sons (too terrible for words)
3. The leads on the icy river (I could feel the cold)
4. The meeting between the ML and FL in the palace when they had to pretend not to know each other
Every single scene was so beautifully composed so that the visual composition underlined the emotional intensity

So began my journey into the history of SK, into the works of the actors, into searches for reviews, into communities where dramas were shared.

Since then, some unique and wonderful viewing experiences:
1. My Ajussi
2. Forest of Secrets
3. Move to Heaven
4. D. P
5. My Liberation Notes
(to mention only a few)
Full of the foibles of humanity, warmth, redemption, and moments of recognition.
It's a journey that doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think the groundwork was laid when I was a high school student and we watched Japanese movies in class; but the real work was done when I was at university and my roommate was a Malaysian international student who got dramas and movies sent to her on VCD (it was the olden days). I don’t remember many of the titles we watched but it was lots of fun.

Time skip a few years of things not being readily available, to Netflix being a thing here and me being pregnant and too sick to do much more than watch TV. I couldn’t watch any of the shows I was watching with my husband when he wasn’t there to watch them too….so what would he not be interested in? What is this show called Playful Kiss?

And the rest is history.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Methinks the groove was carved in my brain by a local TV program that started at 4:00. If I ran home from school I would make it to watch Bernie Herman's Afternoon Movies. I saw all the old classic black and whites, the musicals (Busby Berkley) and the dramas and the screwballs. This allowed me to seek out all the classic Italian, French, Brit and South American films. My poor guys (husband and son) coined a descriptor for my films, calling them "dinky movies".
Fast forward to a place in time where I would want to escape my real world to have a Hallmark movie on while making tamales after a long week of days. Yeah I loved me some Bollywood and some Kurisawa and some Aussie Priscilla, but I needed something other.
All this build up is in service to a random click on Netflix to b> Romance is a Bonus Book. Dang, the FM was squatting in her old house that was being demolished and cleaning an old pal's place and trying to return to a work world she might have ruled? Every one was so gorgeous and the production so slick AND she told the guy who rescued her shoes..., "Nobody believes in this anymore".
Hook line and sinker.
So for me it was 2018. I had a co-worker who fell into the rabbit hole with me for a spell but had to leave because, for her, as a Mormon, the drinking is beyond the pale. Seriously, I thought my old Irish uncles were sad drunks but Koreans even beat out Russians.
My love for Kdramas waned a bit during the pandemic but I am in it for the long haul. Recently found an index card where I listed all the highly rated dramas I needed to watch and I am almost finished with them all. Hoping that the list will grow forever.
Thank you Beanies for sharing a witty, wise and wisecracking view of this storytelling I love so much.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Was craving some nostalgic romance that I remember watching from the 00s. My real dip into K-dramas was Encounter/Memories of the Alhambra. Life got in the way, and I wasn't able to finish both. Sometime after in 19', I started going through the classics and ended up with Goblin, DOTS, Oh My Venus, and etc. It was then my fascination and adoration of K-dramas started, and then obviously given the pandemic it went into full speed. Really got to dive into the lesser known dramas, and into non romance genres. It was like a whole new world opened up, and its been exciting, frustrating, and interesting to see what K-dramas have become.

I remember when Dramafever closed in 2018, a lot of international watchers were nervous it meant the end of K-dramas popularity/titles in parts outside of Korea/Asia. Of course, we all know what happened since. For me, its great to have something be 12-16 episodes one and done! But also following an actor's work, and the fun aspect of seeing them in a completely different role the same year! Its just fascinating to me, because I had this prejudgement of them being Cinderella/Candy shows. Much to my surprise, I have been greatly enjoying K-dramas and hope to enjoy them in the future as well!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

If you don't count movies, which i had been watching for more than a decade before, my first actual K-drama was, I recall, 'Dating Agency Cyrano' in 2013(?). I look back with amusement how entirely novel it was for me at the time and how entirely a 'standard K-drama' it looks now. Which is not a complaint.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was 2019. I had moved to Asia (not Korea) several years before, and was sitting in a waiting room with one of my undergrads who I had been asked to accompany to the hospital. About an hour and a half into our four hour wait, I asked her to explain what this "thing" was that kept popping up on my social media feed (it happened to be a reference to BOF). She explained; I was cynical; she (rightly) challenged me to watch a Kdrama before I judged it. I followed through, but didn't go for BOF but Memories of the Alhambra. First few episodes blew me away - the imagination, the tropes (but they were charming as well as predictable), the quality of the production. The ending of Alhambra frustrated me like crazy, but I was sufficiently hooked to try another, and another, and another... Got into Dramabeans shortly after that, primarily to share an enthusiasm that my friends don't have (they still think I'm bonkers!) and then stayed for the quality of the thinking which allows me to appreciate so much more in a drama. Fallen bad: pretty much don't watch anything else these days!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’ve watched a few k-movies couple years before I knew about kdramas but this is how it officially began.

It was 2014 and I was in the 10th grade. I had a school project for history where I picked the topic of the Korean war. Me wanting fancy backgrounds and gifs to design my slides, I searched up Korean related things on tumblr when I somehow came across a gif of Kim soo hyun from MLFAS and I found him good looking, needless to say. I saw the tag for the show, read the plot and Lo and behold finished all 21 episodes in less than a week. From there I watched a couple more classic dramas, particularly park shin hye’s dramas, until I watched my first live drama of ‘my lovely girl’ followed that time slot into Pinocchio and found out park min young (city hunter, which was my absolute favourite) had a new drama in December, which I followed on DB as well, when I fell down the rabbit hole of kdramas. 8 years later here I am still watching and following kdramas without a break. Best discovery ever.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

In the US, March 2016 I watched my first kdrama on Hulu: HEALER (2014/15) (hence my DB name). Followed by:
HIDDEN IDENTITY (2015)
TEN (Special Affairs Team TEN) (2011/12)
TEN 2 (2013)
HEARTLESS CITY (2013)
CITY HUNTER (2011)
FALLING FOR INNOCENCE (2015)
MASTER: GOD OF NOODLES (2016)
which was the first kdrama I live watched (on Viki) beginning in April, 2016)
BEAUTIFUL MIND (2016) and
BAD GUYS (2014).
I have fond memories of all these dramas and cops/crime/mystery is still my favorite kdrama genre.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I started watching Jung Hae-In films and dramas on Netflix like Tune in For Love, Something in the Rain, One Spring Night and so enjoyed these titles I signed up for Viki and power watched drama after drama: Coffee Prince, Healer, I'm Not a Robot, Secret Garden, Are You Human Too?, Love in the Moonlight, Secret Affair, and dozens of other fantastic shows. Other than Downton Abbey, I don't watch much else than Kdramas for their soulful storytelling. There's something about the Korean culture that cuts through to essential human questions. Plus as an Asian person who only had western media and entertainment, I love being immersed in this world where Asians are the kickass, beautiful heroes, not some tokenized stereotype.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

In feb 21 a friend told me "I have watched a kdrama and it's fun & interesting, you should try". She was talking about Rookie historian. Since we don't have exactly the same tastes, I did a little research to find a suitable title to try this new (to me) serie format.
My first kdrama was Healer.
I'm French, and was accustomed to US and European series. The format, the timing, the filming, the music, the culture... everything was new and oppened new horizon for learning.
I have fallen hard into the dramahole. 50 dramas in the year hard. (59 kdramas and 16 cdramas per my personnal file)
The pandemic helped/pushed me, even if I found dramaland after the partial unemployment times. I found Dramabeans quite fast, and was delighted to find some explanations. Reading the recaps add another enjoyment to drama watching, even if I have the chance to discuss with my friend, I feel less alone.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Bueno, creo que han sido varias etapas. Mi primer K-drama fue Escalera al Cielo y verlo coincidió con otras películas asiáticas que como ese K-drama me hicieron llorar mucho por lo que no ví ningún otro hasta como el año 2011 que hubo una oleada de series coreanas en Latinoamérica como Boys Over Flowers, Playful Kiss, You're Beautiful, 49 Days, Winter Sonata , Faith, City Hunter, Love Rain, Personal Taste o The Heirs cuando una amiga y yo nos reuníamos para verlos. Pasaron unos años y por casualidad llegó a mis manos el K-drama Secrets, y otros como The Princess Man, Oh My Venus, Master's Sun y a partir de ese momento veía al menos una cada mes y fué durante es tiempo que ví también Descendants of the Sun y también quedé encantada con los OST, pero no fue hasta septiembre de 2020 que vi Flower of Evil que realmente me enamoré de los K-dramas y desde ese momento no pasa un mes sin que vea 3 o 4 dramas.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *