K-dramas have got us all in a chokehold. Korean actors’ fan meetings here are always fully booked, more people are now following Korean food trends, and some K-dramas have even gotten their own Pinoy adaption. It’s no wonder why some can’t help but compare them to our Pinoy teleseryes. Whether you watch K-dramas or not, there’s no denying that Pinoy teleseryes could learn a thing or two from them.
Fewer episodes (because less is more)
Local teleseryes usually have hundreds of episodes. Ang Probinsyano (2015 – present), the country’s longest-running series, currently has over 1,600 episodes. That’s crazy. On the other hand, K-dramas usually only have 12 to 16 episodes — making them extra binge-able. In contrast, most Pinoy teleseryes tend to run for too long to the point that the storyline doesn’t make sense anymore.
How many times have we seen Cardo Dalisay in a life-and-death situation? Viewers have probably lost count. K-dramas thrive because they actually have a coherent story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Viewers know they aren’t running in circles after every episode. Of course, we can’t expect drastic changes overnight, but maybe doing a little experiment on the viewing habits of Filipinos can help give some fresh perspectives.
Well thought-out storylines
South Korean creators aren’t afraid to shed light on various issues like teenage pregnancy, bullying, mental health, and gender inequality. Despite having only an average of 12 to 16 episodes, K-dramas rarely leave fans disappointed or puzzled once the series wraps up. Everything flows smoothly, with no unnecessary flashbacks or introduction of new characters to lengthen the plot.
Part of the K-drama charm is characters that would make you swoon, laugh, or rave mad. It doesn’t matter if they’re the star of the show or just a supporting character because K-drama creatives know how to create magic. What’s more, the characters aren’t one-note — they always have something unique or special about them that makes you empathize with their struggles and triumphs.
No love teams
Love teams have been in Philippine showbiz for god knows how long. While the love team formula has brought some remarkable movies and teleseryes to our screens, seeing the same actors together can get boring. It’s tough to break away from this culture, but not impossible.
K-dramas have been mixing up pairings for years, and they’re not afraid to take risks with under-the-radar actors. Imagine if there were no “network wars,” and artists from different TV stations could freely work together more often? That would be the dream! It’s a disservice to Filipino viewers to release TV shows that are too reliant on the fanbase of actors to make it ’til the end.
Let’s face it, most Pinoy teleseryes are predictable. Sometimes, the trailer alone bares everything you need to know about the show before officially watching it. K-dramas have mastered the art of shocking viewers — just take a look at shows like Sky Castle, Vincenzo, The Penthouse, and It’s Okay That’s Love, to name a few, for your reference. If Pinoy TV shows could depart from overused twists like hidden DNA results or the supposed dead villain is actually alive, we’d have teleseryes that are worth watching.
One factor that plays a huge role in the Korean wave is the South Korean government’s support for the arts. While we can’t expect local TV networks to shell out multi-millions for a series (Arthdal Chronicles, one of the most expensive K-dramas ever produced, had an estimated production cost of $41,000,000!!), it would be nice to see more investment in our Pinoy teleseryes.
Okay, original soundtracks may seem superficial to some, but it’s one of the most crucial elements in a K-drama series. Once the OST plays while the protagonists share a kilig-filled moment, it’s TV perfection!
In the case of Pinoy teleseryes, though, OSTs tend to sound the same, or use old, overplayed songs. Many times, a song gets revived for the nth time to be used in an upcoming series. The country has many talented music producers, composers, artists, and songwriters, and it’s high time we let them showcase our rich music culture.
A wide variety of genres
Whether you’re an avid fan of action, fantasy, romance, or thriller genres, you can enjoy them all in the K-drama realm. Unlike Pinoy teleseryes that are typically centered on romance and love triangles, K-dramas aren’t scared to explore other themes like Kill Me, Heal Me that tackle dissociative identity disorder, or Navillera, a story about a 70-year-old man who’s pursuing his ballet dreams.
Because of this diversity, you won’t run out of series to binge-watch! South Korean creatives also know how to maneuver mature themes without making them offensive or uncomfortable to watch.