It was actually around three in the past which i was unveiled in the concept of region-free DVD playback, a nearly necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. For that reason, a complete realm of Asian film which was heretofore unknown for me or out from my reach showed. I needed already absorbed decades of Kurosawa and, recently, a smattering of classic Hong Kong gangster and fantasy films by means of our local Hong Kong Film Festival. Of Korean films, I knew nothing. But across the next few months, with my new and surprisingly cheap multi-region DVD player, I had been immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, Into the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on their heels. This is another realm of innovative cinema to me.
A few months into this adventure, a colleague lent me a copy of your first disc in the Korean television series, 韓劇dvd專賣店. He claimed that the drama had just finished a six month’s run as the most famous Korean television series ever, and therefore the latest English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll enjoy it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well at that time, but the idea of a tv series, let alone one created for Korean mainstream TV, was hardly a thing that lit the obligatory fire under me. After two episodes, I found myself hooked.
I understood my fascination with Korean cinema, but television! This was unknown. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t all of that hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I had pan-tastes, having said that i still considered myself as discriminating. So, that which was the attraction – one may even say, compulsion that persists to this day? Throughout the last year or two I have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – each one averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which can be over 80 hour long episodes! Precisely what is my problem!
Though there are actually obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and even daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – they will commonly call “miniseries” because the West already had a handy, or even altogether accurate term – certainly are a unique art. They may be structured like our miniseries in they may have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While considerably longer than our miniseries – even episodes really are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, that happen to be usually front loaded prior to the episode begins – they actually do not continue for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or perhaps for generations, just like the Events of Our Everyday Life. The nearest thing we need to Korean dramas could very well be any given season from the Wire. Primetime television in Korea is really only dramas and news. So Korea’s three very competitive networks (MBC, KBS and SBS) have gotten excellent at it over the years, especially ever since the early 1990s once the government eased its censorship about content, which got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-were only available in 1991 from the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set involving the Japanese invasion of WWII as well as the Korean War of the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to get clear with an audience beyond the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the realm of organized crime and the ever-present love story against the backdrop of the items was then recent Korean political history, in particular the events of 1980 called the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement along with the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But it wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that what we should now call the “Korean Wave” really took off. Winter Sonata rapidly swept over Asia like atsunami, soon landing in Hawaii and so the Mainland, where Korean dramas already experienced a modest, but loyal following.
Right about then, Tom Larsen, who had previously worked for YesAsia.com, started his own company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (not to be mistaken for YesAsia) to distribute the most effective Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in Canada And America. For this end, YAE (as Tom likes to call his company) secured the desired licenses to perform exactly that with each of the major Korean networks. I spent a couple of hours with Tom a couple weeks ago speaking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for just two years as a volunteer, then came to the States to finish college where he naturally, but gradually, worked his way into a Korean Language degree at Brigham Young. He came upon his curiosity about Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to help his students study Korean. An unexpected side effect was that he along with his schoolmates became totally hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for long stays. I’ll revisit how YAE works shortly, but first I wish to try at least to reply to the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Section of the answer, I believe, is in the unique strengths of such shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Maybe the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, to some degree, in numerous with their feature films) is a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is clear, clean, archetypical. This may not be to state they are not complex. Rather a character will not be made complicated arbitrarily. Psychological comprehension of the character, as expressed by his or her behavior, is – I judge – often more correctly manifest than what we see on American television series: Character complexity is far more convincing once the core self will not be concerned with fulfilling the requirements this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is really a damaged and split country, as are numerous others whose borders are drawn by powers besides themselves, invaded and colonized several times across the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely sensitive to questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between your modern and the traditional – even in the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are often the prime motivation and focus for that dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms within the family. There may be something very reassuring about these dramas. . . not from the 1950s happy ending sense, for indeed, there are few happy endings in Korean dramas. In comparison to American television shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we can believe in.
Probably the most arresting feature of the acting is the passion which is taken to performance. There’s a good deal of heartfelt angst which, viewed out from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. Nevertheless in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and interesting, strikinmg on the heart of your conflict. Korean actors and audiences, old or young, unlike our very own, are immersed inside their country’s political context along with their history. The emotional connection actors make towards the characters they portray has a degree of truth which is projected instantly, with no conventional distance we often require inside the west.
Such as the 2017推薦韓劇 in the 1940s, the characters in the Korean drama have a directness regarding their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, in addition to their righteousness, and so are fully devoted to the consequences. It’s hard to say if the writing in Korean dramas has anything such as the bite and grit of the 40s or 50s American film (given our reliance upon a translation, however well-intended) – I rather doubt it. Instead, specifically in the historical series, the actors wear their emotional link to their character on their own face as a sort of character mask. It’s one of several conventions of Korean drama that we can easily see clearly what another character cannot, though these are “straight away” – form of like a stage whisper.
I have got always been a supporter from the less-is-more school of drama. Not too I favor a blank stage in modern street clothes, but that too much detail can make an otherwise involved participant in a passive observer. Also, the greater number of detail, the more chance which i will occur by using an error that takes me out of your reality how the art director has so carefully constructed (like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in his pocket in Somewhere over time.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines use a short-term objective: to maintain the viewer interested till the next commercial. There is no long term objective.
A large plus is that the story lines of Korean dramas are, with not many exceptions, only as long as they should be, after which the series comes to a conclusion. It can not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the duration of a series based on the “television season” since it is from the U.S. K-dramas will not be mini-series. Typically, these are between 17-24 hour-long episodes, though some have over 50 episodes (e.g. Emperor from the Sea, Dae Jang Geum, and Jumong).
Korean actors are relatively unknown to American audiences. They are disarming, engaging and, despite their youth or pop status in Korea (as is often the case), are generally more skilled than American actors of a similar age. For it is the rule in Korea, as opposed to the exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. During these dramas, we Westerners have the advantages of learning people different from ourselves, often remarkably attractive, which contains an appeal within its own right.
Korean dramas use a resemblance to another dramatic form once familiar to us and currently in disrepute: the ” melodrama.” Wikipedia, describes “melodrama” as coming from the Greek word for song “melody”, put together with “drama”. Music is used to improve the emotional response or to suggest characters. There is a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and you will discover a happy ending. In melodrama there is certainly constructed a realm of heightened emotion, stock characters plus a hero who rights the disturbance towards the balance of excellent and evil within a universe with a clear moral division.
With the exception of the “happy ending” part plus an infinite flow of trials both for hero and heroine – usually, the second – this description isn’t thus far from the mark. But furthermore, the idea of the melodrama underscores another essential difference between Korean and Western drama, and that is certainly the role of music. Western television shows and, to a great extent, modern cinema makes use of music in the comparatively casual way. A United States TV series may have a signature theme that might or might not – usually not – get worked to the score like a show goes along. Most of the music will there be to aid the mood or provide additional energy towards the action sequences. Less than with Korean dramas – the location where the music is commonly used more like musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between them. The songs is deliberately and intensely passionate and might stand on its own. Almost every series has one or more song (not sung from a character) that appears during especially sensitive moments. The lyric is reflective and poetic. Many television soundtrack albums are hugely successful in Asia. The music for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are typical excellent examples.
The setting for the typical Korean drama could possibly be just about anywhere: home, office, or outdoors which may have the main benefit of familiar and less known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum launched a small working village and palace for that filming, which includes since be a popular tourist attraction. A series may be one or a combination of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. As the settings are frequently familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes and then make-up are often very not the same as Western shows. Some customs can be fascinating, although some exasperating, even just in contemporary settings – as for example, in Winter Sonata, exactly how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by relatives and buddies once she balks in her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can really connect with.
Korean TV dramas, like every other art, their very own share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, which can seem to be like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are employed to a quick pace. I would recommend not suppressing the inevitable giggle from some faux-respect, but recognize that this stuff feature the territory. My feeling: If you can appreciate Mozart, you should certainly appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone in Love claim that some of these conventions may have already begun to play themselves out.
Episodes get through to the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy from your master that was employed for the specific broadcast) where it is screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is asked to send another.) The Beta is downloaded in a lossless format to the pc plus a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky for the translator. Translation is performed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual that knows English, then a reverse. Our prime-resolution computer master will then be tweaked for contrast and color. When the translation is finalized, it is actually applied for the master, being careful to time the look of the subtitle with speech. Then this whole show is screened for even more improvements in picture and translation. A 2017推薦日劇 is constructed which contains all the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT is then delivered to factories in Korea or Hong Kong for the creation of the discs.
If the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, in many instances, the graphic quality is excellent, sometimes exceptional; and also the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is clear and dynamic, drawing the audience into the time and place, the story and also the characters. For folks who may have made the jump to light speed, we can easily be prepared to eventually new drama series in high-definition transfers from the not very distant future.