K‐Drama: A Whole New World of TV‐Shows
Linnea Vasstrand Nordaas
Heart fluttering romance, thrilling action, fascinating science fiction and heartbreaking tragedies – Kdrama has it all.
K-drama, or Korean drama, refers to scripted TV-shows produced in Korea, in Korean language. The dramas are aired on Korean television, as well as being available through online platforms. Even though the word “drama” is a part of the name, K-dramas can be in a lot of different genres, there’s everything from romance and comedy to action and science fiction, but the most typical is probably romantic dramas.
Most K-dramas are built on clichés and you can catch the same type of scenarios in a bunch of different dramas, each with their own twist. Plots such as “rich boy meets poor girl “or “life-long friends falling in love” are used over and over. Love triangles and heart-fluttering confessions also play a big part of a typical K-drama, but each drama has their own way of presenting the plot and incorporating the typical clichés. If you’re not into the romantic clichés, there’s still plenty of Kdramas to choose from for you; there’s historical dramas, thrillers, action and science fiction shows, the list goes on and on. Despite clichés and reused plots, the K-drama industry always strives to work creatively and innovative to come up with new plots and twists to keep the dramas new and fresh.
The music also plays a big role in K-dramas. Each drama has its own original soundtrack (OST), typically emotional ballads sung by big Korean artists, but there’s also sugar-sweet melodies and upbeat songs. There’s something for every emotion and every scenario. The heart fluttering scenes and emotional moments become even more powerful when your favorite OST is playing in the background.
Unlike most western shows, K-dramas usually only have one season. There are typically 16 one-hour episodes, or 32 thirty-minutes episodes. The shooting is usually done within a short time span, allowing famous actors to star in the shows within their tight schedules. A lot of fans will tune into a K-drama specifically to see their favorite actor. “Live shooting” is a popular process in the K-drama industry where the episode will be filmed and edited the same week that it airs. This allows producers to see how viewers react to characters and plots and adjust the following episodes according to what the viewers want to see more of.
K-dramas are a part of “hallyu” (한류), referring to “the Korean wave”, spreading Korean pop culture across the world. Despite being spoken in Korean, K-dramas have a wide audience with viewers from many different countries. Throughout the years, several K-dramas have become available on online platforms across the world, with subtitles in a variety of languages, some have even been dubbed into new languages. Watching K-dramas is a great way of learning more about the Korean culture and life as well as catching some typical Korean words and sentences.