The Heart-Pounding Time Between Imagination and Reality
The "K" brands, taking the first letter of Korea, are spreading across the world. They have taken root as a trusted brand for people. As people are spending more time at home due to the pandemic, the K-content market is embracing an unexpected boom. The most popular of all is K-Drama. The fast-paced and breathtaking storylines, compact organization, thought-provoking plots, appropriate editing with no boring moments, and the most good-looking celebrities starring in TV dramas are attractive enough to catch everyone's attention. Recently, as the OTT market where people can watch TV programs on the Internet is expanding, K-Dramas are being exported worldwide across national borders. In this episode, we take a look at how to enjoy K-Dramas twice as much as before.
K-Dramas are channels to promote Korean culture and history.
1. Read the original stories of K-Dramas where you can imagine the scenes
K-Dramas are riding a perfect wave with the development of OTT (Over-The-Top) services and are being widely enjoyed around the world. Netflix, the biggest pay-to-watch streaming service in the world, is basking in soaring profits as more people are staying home due to the pandemic. The number of paid subscribers in the first quarter more than doubled year on year, and it has recorded exponential growth reaching 45.2 billion won worth of brand value. The best supporter behind such rapid growth is indeed the K-Dramas. Ranking in the top 10 most-watched dramas in almost all Asian countries, including Japan, Hongkong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, is proof that K-Dramas are winning fans around the world.
Netflix's Original "The School Nurse Files," recently produced and funded by Netflix, is drawing great popularity in Korea and the world. School nurse Ahn Eun-Young, who has a special ability to see 'jellies' invisible to others, discovers a hidden mystery in a high school she was newly assigned to and goes on adventures to solve the mystery with her colleagues. This fantasy drama's original story is School Nurse Ahn Eunyoung (Minumsa), afull-length novel written by Chung Se-Rang. The book has other entertaining elements than the drama, as there is room for imagination alongside various episodes. If you could not fully understand the story in the drama, you may want to look at the book's details. So, if you would like to catch two birds – the fun of imagination and cute visual elements – at once, we recommend you to watch the drama with the book in your hand.
Meanwhile, "When the Weather is Fine" is a drama about peaceful love. It is a heartwarming romance novel where the main character moves to the countryside after being exhausted by their busy urban life and meets her classmate from a long time ago running an independent bookstore. Its original story is I'll Find You on a Beautiful Day (Sigongsa). If you would like to experience the sweetness and fluttering moments of love along with the beautiful scenes in the drama, how about reading this book, too? You will find yourself smiling as you feel small but precious happiness as you flip the last page of the book.
School Nurse Ahn Eunyoung, I'll Find You on a Beautiful Day
2. Collect scripts and photo essays that would leave a long-lasting impression
If you feel sad that a work you liked has ended or are yet living in the drama, we suggest you find scripts and photo essays of the work and embrace the drama's long-lasting impression. The behind-the-scenes photos and bountiful episodes related to the drama will satisfy the emptiness you feel after it finishes. Following are the works that have published scripts and photo essays that you can own and look at them whenever you want.
Drama “Voice” is a thriller crime drama featuring the intense moments of 112 agents (like 911 in the US) securing the golden time of crime scenes led by the center's leader who gets supernormal ears after an abrupt accident. Catching the attention of overseas fans too, the work was remade in Japan. Season 3 was released this year in Korea, and season 4 is scheduled to be released next year. The books that fill in the gap are Voice Making Story & script (IAmStory). The book includes the overall production process of the previous seasons, synopsis and scripts of the writer, and stories written by ten staff members and 12 actors and actresses. You can add your imagination to the story as you read through the well-organized story and lively scene description while enjoying highlight scenes in each season, high-quality photos from shooting sites, and behind-the-scene shots.
In January last year, the number one TV drama in Korea was "SKY Castle," which recorded 23.8% of viewership at its peak, rewriting the highest viewership record among dramas on cable TV. "SKY Castle" is a humorous but satirical drama that depicts rich housewives' desperate desire to make their husbands stand on top of everyone else, like a king, and their children as a prince and princess. It is the story of the most prestigious families living in SKY Castle Townhouse, where the top 0.1% of families in Korea are gathered. It delivers a message that criticizes society's abnormal enthusiasm towards college entrance along with its high-quality storyline and attention-gathering power. The drama has also released SKY Castle script Collection (Wisdom House) for its fans to enjoy the drama even after the episodes have ended. How about reading a director's edition of the delicate and complex war of these wives' nerves and conflicts in the townhouse? Keep it on your shelf and read it every time you start to miss it.
Drama "The Descendants of the Sun," which made all our hearts flutter in 2016, recorded prime-time viewership of 38.8%, with its OST songs ranking first place in the chart for six weeks in a row. It is a blockbuster drama that was exported to a whopping 32 countries across the world. The most popular lines such as "I just get to do such a difficult thing every time," "Your mission is to worry about me only from now on," and "I am attracted to you every single moment when my eyes meet yours" have won the hearts of millions of women around the world and made them love-sick even after the end of the series. This mega-hit drama also has The Descendants of the Sun Photo Essay (Wisdom House). You can feel the yet unfilled holes in your heart with 240 HD photos, 50 behind-the-scenes shots, and a photo-essay collection with the episodes' best lines. You can also find printed versions of four main actors/actresses' signatures and a photo card set of highlight scenes. The heart-rending impression you had from the episodes can be recalled again as you read through the novel The Descendants of the Sun (Wisdom House). Even though the series may have ended, the deep scent and impression lingers on in the books.
Voice Making Story & script, SKY Castle script Collection, The Descendants of the Sun Photo Essay
3. Thoroughly read through special bonus books that appeared in the drama
K-Dramas have various visually-entertaining elements, as from the bottom to the top, everything is delicately directed. This is why everything shown in an episode could become a point of interest. Books are not an exception, too. Even though books are sometimes used as a prop for reading scenes or for backgrounds, they are also used as an essential key point when expressing the character's values or emotions or foreshadowing a future development. Then, what kind of good books can we find in dramas?
The romantic thriller drama "W" is a melodrama where the main female character, an amateur doctor in the real world, falls into her father's highly popular webcomics titled "W," meets a man inside, and falls in love with him. The real world and the world inside the comics are intertwined as the story goes, and Love TMI Book (ARTE) by Korean illustrator Puuung appears as a reference book for the couple as they show their affection to each other while looking at illustrations of ordinary couples' sweet daily life. The warm strokes drawing the not-so-fancy but peaceful days of couples have caught the minds of many people. Here, the book has added a part where one can write a line they want to hear from their loved ones and exchange it with each other, drawing significant attention from overseas fans in the illustration field. The book once hit the top 2 in the bestsellers' rank.
"So, don't forget it. Don't forget it and get over it. If you can't get over it, you are just a little kid with a soul that does not grow." Drama "It's Okay to Not Be Okay" aired in 190 countries through Netflix and is a strange but romantic comedy-drama. It tells the story of how Munyoung, a writer of children's books who does not know what love is due to a genetic defect, meets Gangtae, a heavily-burdened caregiver in a psychiatric ward who refuses to fall in love, and has and how they heal each other's pain and grow up. The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares (Wisdom House) is a special book that appears in the series. The book was actually made to be used as a prop in the drama but ended up being officially published. This book, written by Munyoung, was meaningful in that it symbolizes the relationship between Munyoung and Gangtae and their minds; it is also highly valuable to keep as the originally non-commercial book made for the scene has gone commercial after the end of the series. As soon as the book was shown on the screen, it became one of the top 10 most-searched-terms, followed by explosive inquires from fans. This led to the publication of the book. Ever since it was published, The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares has been a bestseller, giving a lingering impression to fans.
The new drama series "The King: Eternal Monarch (or 'The King')" by popular writer Kim Eun-Sook of multiple mega-hit titles such as "Mr. Sunshine," "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God," "The Descendants of the Sun," and "The Heirs," has also mesmerized global citizens with the spread of the OTT service. In a parallel world where the Kingdom of Corea and the Republic of Korea coexist, the emperor of the kingdom and a detective from the Republic of Korea cooperate in shutting a dimensional gate against devils. It is a fantasy drama added with a wholly different romance and has gained tremendous popularity outside Korea. When the main character experiences "the fantastic moment" for the first time as the side effect of crossing the dimension, the book Kim So-Wol's Poem Collection: Azalea Flowers (RH Korea) heightens the soft and vague atmosphere. His work Chohon (meaning 'evocation') is read by the main character as a background narration, which worked as a catalyst for intensifying the scene's tingling and calm atmosphere.
Love TMI Book, The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares, Kim So-Wol's Poem Collection: Azalea Flowers
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, K-Dramas are making us smile as they soothe our exhausted minds.
You will be able to find more dramas in Korea, both new and diverse, on top of the ones mentioned above. Genres, topics, and stories come in different sizes and styles ranging from history to fantasy, melodrama, humor, and horror. While we are living in a time where our minds also need help due to the pandemic, how about strengthening our minds with K-Dramas that you like? The persisting COVID-19 would be over even without notice when we spend happy and lively days with K-Dramas.
Written by Lee Ji-Hyeon