British public service broadcaster BBC focused on the global craze of Netflix’s series <Squid Game> along with other Korean dramas.
On October 16 (local time), BBC introduced, “Korean drama addiction is on the rise. So far, 111 million Netflix users have watched Squid Game, which made it become the most popular series ever on Netflix.” They continued, “Squid Game’s breakthrough popularity marks the latest wave in a Korean culture tsunami that’s built throughout the West in recent years.” In addition, they also mentioned K-pop’s BTS and Blackpink as well as Parasite and Minari – the movies which won Academy Awards in America.
Besides, the newspaper called “Korean drama” as “K-drama” and emphasized, “The K-drama takeover is far from the overnight sensation it may first seem. K-dramas have been popular in Asia for decades.” Then, BBC added that K-dramas challenged Japanese culture with 20% of viewers in Japan watching 2003 drama <Winter Sonata>.
“K-drama, a great refuge in the pandemic era”
BBC analyzed the key factor for K-drama’s popularity, “Increasing liberalisation throughout the country in the 90s saw huge amounts of money poured into the entertainment industry. As Japan battled economic decline and China rose, South Korean culture pounced – offering TV that was both more relatable than US shows and morally palatable to Beijing.”
They pointed out, “Global interest grew as streaming services like Netflix made it possible for viewers to legally watch Korean content online with English subtitles, opening K-dramas up to a new audience over the past decade.” BBC also said, “The COVID-19 pandemic happened, and with the Western entertainment industry shuttered down, K-drama fever truly hit.” After that, they introduced that viewing of Korean content across Asia increased fourfold in 2020 compared with 2019.
London-based writer and K-drama fanatic Taylor-Dior Rumble shared, “Most popular K-dramas are typically ultra stylised, glossy and quite removed from reality, which is why they’re such a great form of escapism.” She continued her analysis, “After such a bleak few years, people are gravitating more towards heart-warming forms of entertainment.”
Then she explained, “There’s practically no nudity or sex in K-dramas, so this means a lot of their shows hold family-friendly appeal that is easily accepted in various cultures. They also reflect global social stress, including the gap between the rich and the poor.”
<Crash Landing on You>, <Vincenzo>… BBC’s recommendation list
BBC gave a suggestion, “If you are addicted to Squid Game, now watch other K-dramas.” The newspaper recommended <Crash Landing on You> for fans of romance dramas, “A love story full of intrigue, political subtext and cute humour that crosses the divide between North and South Korea.”
Next, they talked about <Vincenzo> starring Song Joong-ki as a gangster series, “Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong-ki) is a lawyer and consigliere for the Italian mafia. After returning to his homeland of Korea, he takes on a corrupt CEO and his henchmen and a flurry of other bad guys, as well as sticking up for local business; dealing justice on both sides of the law.”
Regarding <The Heirs>, BBC aroused viewers’ interest, “Love triangles and drama that would make even American actors blush. Storylines the Kardashians could only dream of.” Additionally, they introduced Netflix’s series <Kingdom> as a historical zombie drama, and <Oh My Ghost> as a sexy ghost story.