2011 has made me ponder my relationship with K-drama. Why do I spend so much time watching? Why do I expend so much energy writing about it?
I’m in a contemplative mood at the end of 2011. Not because it has been a great year in k-drama for me, but because it’s been the worst year since I started watching in 2008. This is probably due to my taste shifting and my becoming somewhat more demanding of my k-dramas, but perhaps it’s also the case that 2011 really hasn’t been a vintage year. It was not altogether hopeless; there were enough wins to keep me from abandoning k-drama altogether. But it seems beyond doubt that for me the flush of k-drama first love, when anything might be forgiven, is long over.
This year has been a wild ride in k-dramaland. From the excesses of Secret Garden fandom to little shows popping up on new cable channels, it’s been interesting to say the least.
I made a list and checked it twice, and I was struck by the number of shows that I had watched at least part of and then bleached from my brain. Admittedly a couple of them ended in January, so I was thinking of them as last year’s shows, but still, that there is a whole lot of drama.
I have been known to whine about shows which are not realistic. But when I tune into a three-episode cable tv show about a girl assassin, I’m not really looking for realism. No siree. What I am looking for is badass. And Girl K (or Killer K) is BADASS.
An action thriller has to be, above all else, exciting. Realism isn’t really the point. But the story still needs to be grounded in some kind of reality. We’ve all watched the action movie with explosions galore, but were left quite unmoved because (a) the story was stupid, (b) we didn’t care about the characters, who were stupid, (c) the non-stop action was loud and dramatic, but unrealistic to the point of mind-numbing, or (d) all of the above. An action thriller needs to balance compelling action (for which, hang realism) and engagement (for which, bring realistic human interest).