[Article] Can American TV Adapt Kdramas?


[Article] Can American TV Adapt Kdramas?
Cr. - kdramastars

By now my friends know that I watch more kdrama than American TV, even if they don't really understand why. And it's hard to explain, if you've never seen a kdrama.

But since people do ask me here a few reasons.

The first reason is the format. The fact that kdramas are series with a limited amount of episodes is a plus for me, because shows that last for endless seasons inevitably "jump the shark" and then I get bored. The serial format makes kdramas more like watching long movies, really long movies, but like movies and unlike American TV series, they have a set beginning, middle and end.

Also there are some things kdramas do so well. kdramas do falling in love like no other medium I know except maybe for super romantic 60s French movies. The dramas use inventive imagery to catch that moment when your heartbeat accelerates. I also like all the ultra-dramatic ethical conflicts that belong to a culture more traditional than present-day America.


And I like all the clever and silly ways characters know what's going on. No one ever notices another character is listening. Monologues are shamelessly used to let the audience know what characters are thinking.

They are also often charmingly illogical. Whereas normally I follow plot lines carefully to look for holes, the most blatant lapses in kdrama logic will seem perfectly justified to me. Why can't he see that man standing right behind him? Why has he not realized she's a girl? Omo, I don't care. Soon, we are going to get to the good part. What? It's over and I still don't have any idea exactly what happened? Oh well, time to find another one.

I've often wondered if kdramas could be Americanized. American entertainment companies have adapted TV shows from all over the world with mixed results.


I think not. Because, in order to Americanize them producers would waste time getting the plots to make sense. Would an American audience buy the fact that no one in Anjell knew Go Mi Nam was really a girl? Probably not. And screenwriters would have to remove the clichés that make them so fascinatingly Korean.

There would be no piggyback rides. There would be no wrist grab when your girl was about to leave. No one would chase after a bus, expecting it to stop, or drink too much soju and sing karaoke. There would be no makeovers to transform the ugly duckling girl into a swan. No one would carry someone to the emergency room rather than call an ambulance. Where's the fun in that?

I think I love kdramas even more because of all those silly clichés and after a while it's even fun to anticipate them. But I'll have to talk to you later. And take a rain check on the karaoke. There's a bus I have to chase down and beg to stop.

What do you love about kdramas? Do you think they could be adapted?

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