Let’s Talk about South Korean Cinema, or K-drama

Park Saeroyi in Itaewon Class

Have you heard of K-drama? I had not. Since starting this blog I’ve made a Twitter friend of Angela Thompson, who lives in the UK. She frequently sends me tips for programs that she knows I’ll like. And she’s usually right. We exchange ideas on what to watch. Angela loves K-drama.

For the last few months I noticed her tweets and retweets about South Korean cinema and actors become more and more frequent. Here’s a tweet.

And many retweets such as this one.


After watching her Twitter feed for a while, I asked her to explain her love for Korean cinema to me. She calls it K-drama, and here’s her Tweeted list of reasons to love it.

Why I’ve become addicted to Korean K-dramas !

You get a great insight & appreciation for the Korean culture. Whatever genre you choose to watch be it a comedy, romance, thriller, historical, etc, the focus is on how relationships are built. You get to see the backstories of the characters. How they develop makes you feel included. You can really relate to all the trials & tribulations they go through.

The majority of K-dramas are quite chaste. There is a lead up to a kiss & proclaiming one’s love . There aren’t any risqué sex scenes. I love the Korean sense of humour, their mannerisms & their facial expressions. They are very different from other country’s dramas .

It doesn’t take long to learn key words & the way they react in certain scenes.

The historical dramas have the most opulent costumes with stunning cinematography. The modern series have the most up-to-date costume departments. Most of their clothes come straight off the fashion runways. So does the beautiful jewellery. They love big earrings or dangling earrings, which l am a fan of.

I am in awe of the amount of glorious food that is shown in many scenes. They are always eating copious amounts of hot food which they stuff in their mouths. I am at a loss to understand how they remain so slender.

The format is between 16 to 20 episodes & only a few get renewed for a second series. The soundtrack on light dramas feature K-Pop music which is very popular & is catchy & fun.

Finally the actors are so very attractive. It doesn’t take long to recognise not only the young actors but the veteran actors that turn up time & time again in a wide range of dramas

These dramas truly show the difference in the wealthy & poor. Education & money are very important, as is status. For example, I don’t know if you’ve seen Parasite, but it’s a brilliant film, well worth the awards it got.

Want to start watching K-drama?

I have seen Parasite, and agree that it was wonderful. Now I’m looking for something else I’ll like.

I suggest you follow Angela on Twitter if you’re interested and want some ideas on where to start. Remember she’s in the UK, so the same films and series may not be available everywhere.

If you find something that looks interesting, let me share my favorite Google search string: “where to watch name of film or series.” You’ll get back a list of every place the particular film or series can be seen.

Here are a few trailers of current K-dramas. These were not specifically mentioned by Angela. They are just examples I found quickly on Google.

My thanks to Angela for sharing this. I honor her current obsession with K-drama. Perhaps it will spark interest in others.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about South Korean Cinema, or K-drama”

  1. I watch K-Dramas too. The reasons I watch are primarily because their plots are better than American, Canadian and most British programs. But that is just the start.

    Korean shows can end unpredictably. They deal with real life issues no one else does except for sex. Sex is taboo for them due to their strict, hypocritical moral code.

    It’s used as a weapon against actresses.

    One of the best films is Memories of the Alhambra. This series is a spectacular home run in every way. I’ve watched it several times.

    Crash Landing on You was mentioned already but it’s worth mentioning again to drive the point home.

    One area of weakness in all Oriental films is their inability to portray humour without it looking fake and contrived.

    Even so, the Secret Life of my Secretary is another series you cannot watch only once. It has everything.

    The women in these K Dramas are uniformly beautiful.

    Oh, wait until you see My Mister. The female lead is UI – her stage name. She is worth your time to do further research on. She is notable for her music and her body guard.

    Hey Mister, you find, is a fictional movie that could believably be UI’s real life.

    The personality of this actress is literally awe inspiring.

    That said, most of the other K Drama actresses are very accomplished as well.

    K Drams make American filming look cheap and garish without the emotional ties that the best K Dramas hook you with.

    It’s very easy to see that the Korean film industry has eclipsed Hollywood and Parasite’s Oscar win was no fluke, it was just normal for them.

    Subtitles? Get over it, you soon get used to them and the musical nature of the Korean language makes the dialogue more natural though always incomprehensible.

  2. Claire matthews

    ‘Stranger’ is a really good Korean drama. A police/law drama, it has lots of twists and turns and no one is exactly what they seem. Plus a catchy music title theme. It’s on Netflix here in Nz and a 2nd season was released late 2020. The main characters are a police woman who has a strong desire for finding the truth despite political and cultural pressure, being a quite hierarchical society, and a prosecutor who has an unusual personality.
    It reminded me of’the killing’ in that big business, politics and crime solving often run into each other and power is used to hide what should be revealed. I am hoping for a 3rd series !

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