My addiction (a healthy one) to Asian Television/Movies began during the 2007/8 writers’ strike. In search of something new, I began watching classic British films on youtube.com. Listed beside the film parts were some Asian selections that came with English subtitles. After trying one, I got interested in viewing more.
After doing a search by specific titles, I came across websites that had links to Asian TV/movies. I most enjoyed the Japanese shows and even started reading the Manga that some of the shows were based on. There are also a number of websites that have the comic series and Amazon/E-Bay started to sell some of my favorite titles(like Nana). I am not much a fan of Chinese shows ( from Taiwan, Hong Kong or Mainland China)because of the female voices which I think are dubbed and the quickness of the dialog that was too fast to follow along with the subtitles. I also found some of the (South) Korean programs quite entertaining.
Most of the TV dramas run for a number of episodes before the series ends. Occasionally, a series continues for a new season and some have specials that follow but most come to a conclusion after one run. Some of the new seasons have different characters. At first, many of the sites had no commercials but some of those sites (like mysoju.com) are no longer available. Now, even Hulu.com has Korean dramas available. Korean shows are usually longer with 16 to 20 episodes while the Japanese shows are shorter with about 9 to 12 episodes. Many of the Korean shows are “melodramas” but this has been changing. The Korean movies are very inventive and some are so good that they have been redone for an American audience. One example of this is the South Korean film, “II Mare” which was remade into “The Lake House.” A number of Japanese dramas have been remade by South Korea. The Japanese drama “Antique” was remade by the Koreans into a movie also named “Antique Bakery.” The Manga series of the same name is also worth reading.
Many of the Korean Dramas and movies have common elements (i.e. putting hands in a partner’s pocket, kneeling and bowing to apologize, a pouring rain scene funerals scenes, and characters being carried on someone’s back after getting drunk or sick), handsome leading men and women (usually under 40) while the Japanese shows are more reflective of the Japanese society with a realistic looking cast. Of course, the Japanese leading men and women are usually gorgeous and under 40 but there are usually many other characters that are more reflective of the real Japanese society. The oldest actors/actresses also seem to be in many of the series. There are few fat people (though this is changing) and the actors/actresses that come from outside of Asian seem to come from the same “pool” playing different bit parts in all the dramas.
There are many shows with similar themes about family, food, schools, hospitals, crime, and gangsters. And, then there are the historical themed dramas which I don’t usual watch. The movies are much different than the TV dramas and in many ways resemble the western style with more action, violence and sex. Some of the horror and science fiction shows are quite scary.
I have checked many of the things being portrayed online to see how realistic the dramas are to the real culture. I have some interesting things about South Korea and Japan. There has been a lot of changes in both countries and the TV/Movies reflect many of these changes.
Some of the dramas and TV shows I have enjoyed are the following:
II Mare (Korean Movie)
Antique Bakery (Korean Movie)
A Love to Kill (Korean Drama)
Attic Cat (Korean Drama)
Oohlala Couple (Korean Drama that is really funny)
Gourmet (Korean Drama)
Pasta (Korean Drama)
Antique (Japanese Drama)
Anego (Japanese Drama)
Abarenbo Mama (Japanese Drama)
Around 40 (Japanese Drama)
Remote (Japanese Drama)
Nana (Japanese Movie)
Absolute Boyfriend (Japanese Drama)
Asunaro hakusho (Japanese Drama)
At Home Dad (Japanese Drama)
Atami no Sousakan (Japanese Drama)
Ataru (Japanese Drama)
Baby and Me (Korean Movie)
Bartender (Japanese Drama)
Bitter Sugar (Japanese Drama)
Bloody Monday and Season 2 (Japanese Drama)
Blue Bird (Japanese Drama)
Boss and Boss 2 (Japanese Drama)
Brother Beat (Japanese Drama)
Change (Japanese Drama)
Coffee Prince (Korean Drama)
Fashion King (Korean Drama)
I’m a Cyborg but That’s Ok (Korean Movie)
Iryu Team Medical Dragon, 2 and 3 (Japanese Drama)
Death Note, Death Note 2 and 3(Japanese Movies)
Densha Otoko (Japanese Movie and Drama)
Freeter, Ie o Kau (Japanese Drama)