What are Kdrama and Kpop?
The K is short for Korean in both words. A Kdrama is a Korean drama or better described as a Korean TV show that only lasts 16-50+ episodes. Don’t let the word drama fool you; it’s just a word that groups these, for lack of a better term, mini-series shows together. There are all types of Kdramas: historical, contemporary, family drama, comedies, rom-coms, etc.
Next you might wonder how Kdramas differ from American TV shows. Korea has many of the same type of shows as America: news, celebrity shows, soap operas etc., but Kdramas make up a huge part of their airtime as opposed to the rare mini-series in the U.S. They usually air 2 episodes a week and most foreigners watch them legally for free online. If a show is already finished and has English subtitles it will be available in its entirety. If it is currently airing you will have to wait for the website to sub it, unless you know Korean, but this usually only takes a of couple days. The popular websites to watch Kdramas are Viki.com, HULU.com, and Dramafever.com. Korea doesn’t have a rerun season like America; when a Kdrama ends another one begins, and all the major broadcast companies have their own dramas. Dramas are a huge business in Korea, and are internationally popular.
As to why they are addictive—First off, since there is a limited amount of episodes, each episode is working towards the end goal, and each episode usually ends on a cliffhanger. This leaves the audience feeling like they just have to see what happens next. If the whole show is finished this could lead you to marathoning the whole show. Add to that in many cases, great writing, beautiful actors, and no holds barred romance in many of the shows, and you have the Kdrama addiction. Just like in America they have just as many duds, but I’ve found myself pulled in and marathoning even the bad ones. I said they were addictive right? I will also warn you that there are a couple of typical story lines they use a lot, mostly the rich TKJ (my term meaning typical Kdrama jerk) and the impoverished, quirky, overly naïve heroine. As time goes by there has been a larger variety of strong heroines, and some very interesting story lines.
In many ways Kdramas are the gateway drug to Kpop. As you are watching a drama, you’ll start dancing along to the soundtrack, and eventually you will start seeking out the bands whose sound you like. This is how it started for me. Damn you Kdramas; I rarely listen to anything other than Kpop now.
The only real negative to Kdramas is you may stop having a real life because of your addiction. Consider yourself warned.
And if you’re interested in reading my kdrama inspired novel Love in the Country of Wine, here is the link. Purchase Love in the Country of Wine