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[Drama chat] Make a case for web dramas


An ever-so-slightly sarcastic comment by yours truly about web dramas made me think it was worth a chat topic. Because while web dramas are often accompanied by a well-deserved eye roll, there are also a handful that I have enjoyed loads more than any shiny high-budget cable drama.*

The things web dramas do poorly might be obvious, but what about the things that they do well — like how they can become worthy vehicles for upcoming talent, fun little gems that weren’t robust enough for a full-fledged production, or a tiny drama package with big squees inside?
 

Make a case for web dramas, and share your faves. Ready, set, go!

 
*High-End Crush and Go Ho’s Starry Night (pictured above) are my two favorites.
 
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My fave web Kdramas are all from 2021 and of course I watched it all and ended up each having a beanie: Blue Birthday (suspenseful web Kdrama), Bite Sisters (very fun web Kdrama about female vampire trio), Shadow Beauty (another darkest web Kdrama thriller), military drama DP and even the successful thrilling web Kdrama Squid Game which recently an Emmy-nominated.

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Blue birthday was really good fantasy, friends to lovers.

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Go Ho’s starry night is an oldie but a goodie! It would probably do well as a full-fledged drama too.

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I like they are quick and easy to watch and generally not deep like a film. So you can watch in one go or bite sized chunks of time if you are busy. They do great teen drama like A-teen, Big mistake, Beautiology 101, or fantasy like Romance full of life, Queen of the ring, Splash splash love, Scripting your destiny, Timing.

They can raise important messages in a short story format. The one I thought did this really well, unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it used each episode to show a character experience which was based on things to look out for at University. It covered body shaming, bullying, mutual consent when filming sex etc. big topics but very easy to get the message across of what it looked like and how to deal with it.

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Maybe you're thinking of It's Okay To Be Sensitive? I haven't seen it, but the summary on MDL matches up.

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Yes that’s the one, thank you I looked it up and it was season one that I saw I didn’t realise there were three seasons.

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I only watched the season with kim mujun (who played junghwan in love all play) and I was surprised how they brought so many important topics like mental health, cyberbullying, sex as a teenager, etc. the drama was a bit absurd in some moments and ended abruptly, but I was surprised with the themes for sure.

I think one of the seasons is set in a working environment.

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I was going through something, and though I "didn’t click on this web drama when I was browsing YouTube at 2AM" like @missvictrix, I clicked on Longing for Spring on a whim, and it was the pick-me-up that I desperately needed. It was crazy heart-fluttering since friends-to-lovers is my catnip and made me a forever fan of Lee Won-geun.

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That one sounds funnnnn!

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Her character was a little Candy, but Song Ji-eun was super cute in it.

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I HAVE to look this one up. Blame Sassy Go Go for my love of Lee Won Geun.

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I remember deciding to watch High End Crush because of its peculiar OST, the theme song!🤣
I have never imagine or even guess such song to be a drama OST. The theme song sounds so inviting and actually quite sum up the mood of entire drama. Peculiar, absurd, sometimes random, but also feels familiar. I enjoyed Jung Ilwoo's and Lee Sieon's performance and honestly i have never experienced anything like that with other kdramas.
Maybe i should rewatch it someday.

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I enjoyed High-end Crush so much. I watched it right after finishingBossam and the contrast between serious Il-woo and slapstick Il-woo made it that much more funny.

It was so obvious he was having the time of his life playing the A-class jerk, overly dramatic chaebol, I couldn't help guffawing at most of his scenes. He sneered, preened, smirked and eye-rolled his way through the drama. Wearing those ridiculous shorts-suits 😂

Well worth a re-watch.

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The shorts suits! They are my stand out memory from High End Crush 😄

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Here are my favorites:
1. Mermaid Prince: the beginning
2. Find me if you can
3. Salty idol
4. Who kissed me?

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I especially liked Who Kissed me?

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Are all web dramas for example 10 ten-minute episodes? I have only watched one a few years ago, it was meant to be a slowburn romance, but it had cliffhangers at the end of each episode, and it seriously felt like whiplash every ten minutes. I couldn't think of it as a quick easy watch because the whole 100 minutes was either encountering a cliffhanger or a reveal. There was no room or time for any character development to make me care for anything. I have avoided web dramas since then, but I can't help thinking maybe that was only a very badly made one, and maybe there are some that can make me care.

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Definitely try out some of the others recommended here the episodes can be short like that or 20+ minutes and cover a range of genres.

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Thank you.

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No, one of the beautiful things about them is that there is no standard episode length- and ten minutes is on the short side even for a web drama. More common are 16 to 20 minutes but sometimes they can be even longer. It does sound like yours was badly made.

If read back through these comments you will find a good number of good web dramas.

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Thank you for the encouragement.

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I think the major positive of web dramas is experience for new writers, directors and actors to learn their craft.
The major negative is that they try to perform beyond the confines of their experiences.
The format can lend itself to telling simple stories well (like many k-drama specials do) without the production values of network shows.

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As someone who loves long immersive dramas (why hello 60 episode sagueks!) I've generally stayed away from web dramas, but I do get the sense they've opened up space to tell stories, especially LGBTQ+ stories, that "mainstream" networks are still hesitant to touch. I hope the success and popularity of queer storytelling in these shorter forms will make it easier to tell these stories in longer, bigger budget forms as well.

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The first web-drama I watched was High-end crush and it was absolutely hilarious. Time well spent. But my favorites are Scripting Your Destiny and Splash Splash Love. No time for fillers, more complex than a movie with more time getting to know the characters. Short episodes which is really useful when having small children. Instead of pausing a single episode a couple of times, 15-30 minutes are an easy investment. Nuff said. I love the format.

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I agree with both of these suggestions a few people like Scripting your destiny but it isn’t talked about much so glad it’s coming up here hopefully we get some more people to watch it.

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I've seen only a handful, but one that really stood out to me was XX, starring Hani. I enjoyed it a lot.

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Thank you just looked it up and it’s another one I watched and forgotten about until I just saw the intro! So glad I am starting to get these all listed now.

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Seconding the recommendation of XX! I loved that it was about mending a broken friendship and breaking away from a toxic relationship, instead of actual love rivalry between the female leads. The makjang tone/ plot was executed well.

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Web dramas are a useful genre on their own, filling several important purposes.

First, they can be used as a sort of training ground for new talent, a lower cost means of providing valuable experience. That in turn leads to more talented people receiving a chance to develop as actors- and that in turn benefits everyone as the total pool of talent increases.

But the other advantage is that a web drama is much more flexible in terms of episode length and number. Think of how many 16 episode dramas either should have been longer or shorter- like the fabulous BECAUSE THIS IS MY FIRST LIFE which should have ended at episode 14- the final two episodes actually diminished the show. In contrast, NOBLE MY LOVE was originally done as 20 20 minute long episodes- or about 400 total minutes- Too short to be even a standard eight episode show- but the perfect length for its story, and it remains one of my favorite romcoms. Broadcast dramas simply cannot have this flexibility because of the needs of the broadcasters.

With so many viewers streaming shows rather than tuning in at a set time the web drama is an economically viable alternative to broadcast shows. True, some of them crash and burn but this can happen to a broadcast show as well (think FOREST).

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I have added Noble my love to the watchlist. I have tried a few of this actors works recently and not been impressed so hoping this one is better.

I agree, I am liking the shorter format like Soundtrack, Pachinko and Hospital Playlist that are less than 16 episodes. As a tightly written piece is so much better than one that has been padded out to reach the 16 episode expectation.

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It is not better. I think he's either your cup of tea or he's not. I fall into the "not" category, even though I've really tried. I watched Noble My Love and a few of his other ones all the way through.

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I like the Dingo series on YouTube, each episode is like 8 minutes long but they tell a different story with the same actors. I also enjoyed watching Ateen, Twenty Twenty, Peng, Ending Again, The moment the heart shines, Convenience store fling, Be my boyfriend, Failing in love… There's a bunch more. Most of them you can find on Youtube.

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I love Be My Boyfriend more than I probably should and was tickled pick to see the ML and FL actors in Shooting Stars as a couple again.

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oops. *pink

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I'm always amazed at how much story web dramas can fit in 10- to 25-minute episodes. They're also very bite-sized and easy to binge when you want to watch something but don't have the time or energy to devote 14+ hours to a show.

Some of my favorites are Splash Splash Love (cried like a baby), Pop-Out Boy (laughed so hard at the references to dramas in the 00s and 10s), and Blue Birthday (not as tightly written as Nine, but still good in its own right). I've also enjoyed The Temperature of Language: Our Nineteen, Be My Boyfriend, Best Mistake, Revenge Note, Live On, and Love Revolution.

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Pop out Boy! I loved that too. Going to check out the others on the list too ☺️

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Web dramas are some favorites of mine. Splish splash love was my favorite, but Wednesday 3:30, to, Jenny, and several BL’s have also been excellent. To My Star 1-2 and Where your eyes linger are BL’s that the actors had better chemistry than many, many full episode dramas. When I had Covid, I couldn’t concentrate for more than 10-20 minutes at a time, so these were perfect for my short attention span and fatigue. That and they were easily bingeable because of how short they are. I also like to watch them between currently airing dramas as well, to fill the void. I rarely watch full dramas again, but I’ve watched several web dramas yearly and repeatedly. I love them.

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To Jenny I keep forgetting to recommend that as a web drama it had some catchy tunes on the OST that are still on my playlist!

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To. jenny is really excellent. I want to see Kim Sung-cheol in another leading role.

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To. Jenny has got to be the best OST you will ever find. Plus the cutest brother-sister pair. And Kim Sung Cheol.
Definitely in my top 5. And now I need to re-watch this gem.

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Yes, definitely Splish Splash Love!

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I actually love web dramas. The concise format forces the production team to be very economical with their storytelling. Not all of them deliver on this count, but when they do, they can pack a punch.

Fresh faces may result in slightly green acting, but with strong directing, I find that there can be a sincerity to the actors' deliveries.

Playlist Studio's earlier works are a great example of these strengths (Seventeen, all seasons of Love Playlist). You slip quickly into the characters' lives and emotional worlds; there's no draggy exposition. You also get to see the same events from multiple perspectives, and the rookie cast was wonderful.

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+1000 to Love Playlist... Missing the older Playlist Studio dramas!

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Love playlist is really good. I thought I had watched it as the spinning cd rings a bell but so far on season 2 and none of the mini stories are ringing a bell so maybe I came in on a later series. I don't think I have seen any of the actors in anything else but they may be on the daily dramas or local tv or doing other web dramas.

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Are the stories all connected in Love Playlist with a story arc over a season?

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Finally got to love playlist season 4 and found that was the only one I had watched before can’t believe I had missed out on the other seasons. Now at least I am up to date, thanks for listing it here. They all did really well and they were cute characters and stories. I hope the actors got parts on the main channels. I saw one of the actors went on to do Hospital playlist.

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When I need some rush of emotion, I still comeback to Season 4 of Love Playlist a lot like a LOT. Idk WHAT about it but it is just sooo good. Also the Haneul x Jimin storyline just OWNS me (well... Sadly for Kim Saeron.......)

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I just excited for this topic so I can discover more excellent web dramas.

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The Lover.

Just Oh Jeong Se and Ryu Hyun Kyung's characters being the best couple in kdrama history.

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