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Korean dramas are popular worldwide, partially due to the spread of Korean popular culture (the “Korean Wave“), and are available through streaming services that offer multiple language subtitles. They have received adaptations throughout the world, and have had an impact on other countries. Some of the most famous dramas have been broadcast via traditional television channels; for example, Dae Jang Geum (2003) which was sold to 91 countries.
One director usually helms Korean dramas and is written by one screenwriter, thus having a distinct directing style and language, unlike American television series, where often several directors and writers work together. Series set in contemporary times usually run for one season, for 12−24 episodes of 60 minutes each. Historical series may be longer, with 50 to 200 episodes, but they also run for only one season.
The broadcast time for dramas is 22:00 to 23:00, with episodes on two consecutive nights: Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and weekends. Different dramas appear on each of the nationwide networks, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and on the cable channels, Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Company (jTBC), Channel A, tvN, and Orion Cinema Network (OCN).
The 19:00 to 20:00 evening time slot is usually for daily dramas that run from Monday through Friday. Dramas in these slots are in the telenovela format, rarely running over 200 episodes. Unlike American soap operas, these daily dramas are not also scheduled during the day-time. Instead, the day-time schedule often includes reruns of the flagship dramas. The night-time dailies can achieve very high ratings. For example, the evening series Temptation of Wife peaked at 40.6%, according to TNS Korea.
Korean dramas are usually shot within a very tight schedule, often a few hours before actual broadcast. Screenplays are flexible and may change anytime during production, depending on viewers’ feedback, putting actors in a difficult position. Production companies often face financial issues.
Sageuk refers to any Korean television or film drama that is either based on historical figures, incorporates historical events, or uses a historical backdrop. While technically the word sageuk literally translates to “historical drama”, the term is typically reserved for dramas taking place during Korean history.
Since the mid-2000s sageuks have achieved major success outside of Korea. Sageuks including Dae Jang Geum (a.k.a. Jewel in the Palace), Yi San and Jumong enjoyed strong ratings and high satisfaction ratings in countries such Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Fiji and Iran. Jumong, which aired on IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) in 2008, had 85% viewership.
Often centred on a love story, series set in contemporary times put family ties and relationships in the focus. Characters are mostly idealised, with Korean male protagonists described as handsome, intelligent, emotional and in search of “one true love“. This has also been a contributing factor to the popularity of Korean dramas among women, as the image of Korean men became different from that of other Asian men
It is a global TV site where Kdrama lovers can watch Korean dramas online in English sub. You can also discover, enjoy and subtitle global prime time shows and movies in 200+ languages here.
A website for watching latest free Korean dramas, Japanese dramas and Asia dramas in high quality. Almost every drama comes with English subtitles
MyDramaList, the largest social network for Asian culture, offers a great number of movies, shows and new dramas online for Asian drama/movie fans. Kdramas are also included.
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