2020 was an unusual yr and with the finish in sight it would seem like the proper time to see if any strange trends shaped Korean dramas. A several tendencies stand out alongside more substantial generation budgets, extra intercontinental interest in k-media and a lot more dramas airing on a host of at any time-increasing streaming platforms these kinds of as Netflix, iQIYI and Wavve. 

Storyline developments that stand out are a surplus of serial killer dramas, with mass murderers highlighted in at minimum 10 dramas this yr additionally a lot more dramas featuring powerful assertive feminine characters and a collection of dramas that replicate shifting views on social conventions.

Serial killers ended up highlighted in Notify Me What You Noticed, starring Jang Hyuk No one Understands, starring Kim Website positioning-hyung Born All over again with Jang Ki-young and Lee Soo-hyuk, The Match Towards Zero with Ok Taecyeon and Lee Yeon-hee, Psychopath Diary with Yoon Shi-yoon and Park Sung-hoon, Memorist, starring Yoo Seung-ho Lacking: The Other Side, starring Ko Soo Flower of Evil, featuring Lee Jun-ki and Moon Chae-received Stranger with Bae Doona and Cho Seung-woo and The Superior Detective, starring Son Hyun-joo and Jang Seung-jo.

Why was this year a great year for fictional serial killers—from the comical Psychopath Diary to the killer enjoy story in Flower of Evil? The prevalence could mirror current information tales. In Sept. 2019, with the assistance of DNA, the South Korean law enforcement eventually recognized the serious existence serial killer who murdered 10 women among 1986 and 1991. Regarded as Korea’s initially serial murder scenario, it was also the case that influenced Bong Joon-ho’s film Reminiscences of Murder. The case was ultimately place to rest in 2019, but the terror the reminiscences induced echoed on the smaller display in different 2020 storylines.

The second interesting 2020 k-drama trend was powerful female figures, a trend that has accelerated over the previous couple of a long time, with feminine figures currently being bodily more robust and skillfully additional effective than the Cinderella feminine potential customers of previous decades. Every year much less feminine k-drama characters need—or want—to be rescued by the male Prince Charming lead. Some of this year’s k-drama heroines had been not only strong solitary-minded ladies but pretty identified in their pursuit of the adult men they desired, such as Kim Da-mi’s character in Itaewon Class. A handful of of 2020’s woman people could be considered—by usually conservative k-drama standards— to be sexually assertive.

In Backstreet Rookie, Kim Yoo-jung doggedly pursued her benefit shop manager, performed by Ji Chang-wook. The drama produced some on the internet controversy when Kim, enjoying a significant faculty pupil, questioned Ji’s more mature character for a cigarette and then kissed him. In Hyena Kim Hye-soo’s scrappy law firm character starts the drama by seducing Ju Ji-hoon’s character so she can steal his techniques. Then she dumps him. Website positioning Ye-ji’s character in It is All right Not To Be Alright is so sexually intense that her attentions make Kim Soo-hyun’s character uncomfortable. Her pursuit of the male character was described as sexual harassment on social media and at the very least 50 official grievances ended up submitted with Korea’s Communications Benchmarks Fee. 

Harassment was explored in a few dramas. The sexual harassment that models can confront was touched on in Record of Youth, when university and office harassment were showcased in the storylines of Itaewon Class, Mystic Pop Up Bar and Extracurricular.

This year’s dramas also mirrored shifting perspectives on social conventions. In Oh My Little one, Jang Nara’s character gives up on the prospect of relationship and seeks a sperm donation so she can be a solitary mom. Her quest exposes her to ridicule but also changes perceptions about sperm donation and one motherhood in her instant environment. A handful of feminine people dismiss marriage altogether. Concerning singlehandedly increasing her daughter and conserving a movie business, Music Ji-hyo’s character in Was It Like has no curiosity in courting, even though Hwang Jung-eum’s character in Men Are Adult males is decided never to marry. Such people reflect a existing reality in which additional younger Korean gals determine not to marry or even date. 

LGBTQ difficulties also surfaced in a lot more k-dramas this 12 months. Most notably, Lee Joo-young played a transgender character who transitions and is accepted for it in Itaewon Course. Homosexual characters ended up highlighted in Sweet Munchies, My Unfamiliar Loved ones and Document of Youth, while the internet sequence Exactly where Your Eyes Linger focused on a homosexual romance.

Many of the dramas that explored social issues or featured controversial characters had been not produced by Korea’s terrestrial Television set stations but alternatively by streaming platforms with an eye toward an increasingly intercontinental viewers. Despite the controversy often produced by these socially reducing-edge plots, Korean dramas carry on to concentrate on the standard themes that make them these kinds of an efficient type of entertainment—the worth of acquiring justice, having humility and defying hurdles to uncover appreciate.