What are you watching online? Chances are you’ll name a K-drama. They are simply so addictive! But why Korean drama is popular is a mystery to many.
The popularity of korean dramas worldwide is phenomenal. But don’t you wonder how despite being in a different language and belonging to a different culture, these dramas have captivated western audiences?
In fact, a lot of Korean dramas are streamed more than shows from American networks on OTT platforms like Netflix. So we thought we’ll dig in a bit deeper and unravel the mystery of the Korean drama’s popularity in America and other countries.
Why Korean Drama Is Popular
Easy To Binge Format
One of the main reasons why Korean dramas are so addictive is because they come packaged in a very addictive format. We’ve moved on from waiting week after week for half an hour of a show.
Today, everyone wants their entertainment to be packaged in easy-to-digest, binge worthy bites. And K-dramas are just that! Unlike western soaps with their 25+ episodes, Korean dramas have a runtime of 12-13 episodes.
And the storyline wraps up pretty well in this limited time too. So you can binge an entire Korean TV show in a day and maybe two in a weekend.
Multiple seasons of one show is rare. And if they are present you’ll hardly find a K-drama that goes on for more than 2-3 seasons anyway. So these shows remain fresh and do not stagnate in terms of plot and popularity.
As everyone moves away from cable TV to OTT platforms that promote viewing shows in one stretch, Korean dramas have hit the nail on the head with their format.
Another reason why Korean drama is popular has something to do with their soundtrack. After all, K-dramas are not the only sought-after export from South Korean. There’s also K-pop!
And hey, one can argue that K-pop is, in fact, much bigger than the K-drama industry. Groups like BTS, BlackPink, and have fans (or armies, as they like to call themselves) all over the world.
In fact, some of these K-pop artists have even collaborated with western artists like Selena Gomez. So these soundtracks offer a sense of familiarity to western audiences.
These songs are a bop. They feature fun, uplifting beats and catchy tunes that get stuck in your mind. K-pop songs have also got a good sprinkling of English words that attract audiences.
A lot of K-pop fans have been drawn to watching K-dramas just because their favorite songs are featured in it.
Crushworthy, Handsome Cast
Who watches Korean dramas? A lot of young boys and girls. And typically they love to see the handsome actors and gorgeous actresses in these shows.
Korean beauty is another popular part of South Korean culture. So it’s not surprising that all the cast members of these shows look like perfect human beings.
The most popular actresses have fantastic skin with no pores in sight. And not to mention the fabulously stylish wardrobe. Even the “poor”, girl-next-doors in these dramas are dressed to the nines!
A lot of teenage girls crush on the Korean actors too. I mean who wouldn’t want to watch a show with Park Seo Jun or Lee Min-Ho in it?
Along with Korean dramas, Korean fashion is becoming more popular too. A lot of teenagers look up to their favorite K-drama actors for outfit ideas and style tips.
If you look at any Korean show, you’ll find the women dressed in the most beautiful gowns, dresses, and other accessories. These characters in these dramas have the most coveted wardrobes ever!
The “makeover” scene is another common trope used in many K-dramas. A simple, homely teenage girl is often shown to transform into a glamorous version of herself using stylish outfits. A little fantasy that is very attractive to a lot of teenage girls watching these shows.
Korean dramas offer a unique perspective on Korean culture. The storylines, clothes, behaviour, and complexities shown in these shows makes you wonder how close is a Korean drama to real Korean life.
There is also a surge of historical dramas on Netflix today depicting real-life events with (more than) an added touch of drama. So it’s like studying about a new culture and their history without getting bored.
For those interested in travel, history, and getting to know different cultures, K-dramas are a fantastic way to immerse themselves in the customs and lifestyles of another country.
Ask any K-drama fan in the west and they’ll tell you that Korean people take their shoes off in their homes, about the finger heart trend, and several other unique traditions. All of this knowledge comes from Korean dramas!
Stories from a new country and culture come with their own myths, traditions, cliches, and fables. So viewers are exposed to several different and refreshing plotlines.
Take the popular K-drama Goblin for example. It is about a centuries-old goblin trying to rid himself of his immortality by finding his bride. Not your everyday CW or ABC fare!
There are mermaids, virgin ghost possessions, crime-solving sleuths who can “see” smells and other weird and wacky story lines. So you won’t ever really get bored.
The thing that works for Korean dramas is they have very fantastical storylines. So a lot of people view it as a form of escapism from the reality of their daily lives.
There’s several cliched romantic plotlines too. But these are presented in such a sweet and endearing way that you’ll root for the characters despite the plot being very predictable.
Another thing that makes Korean drama popular is the high-production quality. Several of their shows look like a high-budget original Netflix series.
Squeaky Clean Romance
If you’ve ever had the awkward experience of your mom or dad walk in on you watching a movie with a love scene in it, you’ll know why some people appreciate the G-rating on Korean dramas.
There is hardly any violence, gore, swearing, or in-your-face sexuality in these shows. Even the romantic stories take several episodes to make the protagonists kiss. And a chaste one at that!
If there are any bedroom scenes as such they are shot very tastefully and artistically. K-dramas are more suggestive than open about these things. Some people might even find them a tad conservative.
But the tween-friendly content opens up these Korean shows to a wider audience. A lot of 13-17 year olds can consume this content without getting grounded by their parents.
Why Korean drama is popular?
Korean dramas are becoming more and more popular in America and worldwide. There are several reasons why a Korean drama is popular. It can be the actor, the plot, the music, or simply that a wider audience has now access to a Korean drama due to Netflix and other popular streaming services. These addicting shows are also popular with teenage K-pop fans.
What is the number 1 Korean drama?
There are several Korean dramas that have the number one position for so long. Some of favorite and best-rated Korean dramas include:
- The World of the Married
- Itaewon Class
- Crash Landing on You
- Boys Over Flowers
Why are Korean dramas so addicting?
Korean dramas are set up in a way to make the audience feel connected to the protagonists of the show. They feel close to the characters and every trial and tribulation faced by these characters seem personal to a lot of viewers.
The shows often end each episode with a cliffhanger. So you feel psychologically compelled to watch the next episode to find out what happens.
And as a lot of romantic shows follow this slow-burn, cliffhanger format, you’ll find that the reward is that much sweeter.
So when the couple in Korean drama kiss for the first time halfway through the show, you find it much more satisfying than an actual love scene in a western drama.
Why are korean dramas so conservative?
Korean dramas are really conservative as South Korean society is still very conservative as a whole. Couples engaging in PDA or being sexually active before marriage is seen as taboo and this reflects in the K-dramas shows as well.
You’ll often find that holding hands or kissing is used as a way to show affection instead. Koreans aren’t a very touchy-touchy culture either. So even other innocent forms of physical affection like hugging can seem awkward to watch on screen.
There are several other aspects of Korean culture and society that you can see while watching K-dramas. The respect awarded to older people, the focus on competitive exams, and the pressure to look beautiful and well-groomed all the time.
Some K-dramas like Sky Castle have even parodied these norms of Korean society in their storylines.
With fantastic production values, unique plotlines, and drool-worthy actors, Korean dramas have captivated the fascination of a large audience. These dramas bring a breath of fresh air and diversity to western shows.
But if we are going to give one simple reason why K-dramas are so addicting, we would go with.. They are simply that good!