Recently I’ve been exposed to an entirely new genre on television. K-Dramas apparently have been around a while, but I’d never heard of these Korean TV series until recently when my writer friends, Charlotte Hunter and Ruth Owen, clued me in. Now I am utterly addicted to this mesmerizing form of entertainment. These shows are made in South Korea with subtitles in different languages.
While the series may be contemporary or historical, I prefer the period dramas. There’s a whole list of them on Netflix. At the recommendation of my friends, I started with The King’s Affection. Oh, my. It had every trope I loved! And so do most of them. If you enjoy these recurrent themes, you should give these shows a chance: Person in disguise, hidden identity, twins, amnesia, royalty, court intrigue, secret baby, forbidden love, swordfights, murder and betrayal. These stories have it all. Moreover, many episodes end in a cliffhanger that compels you to keep watching.
At the heart of each one that I’ve seen so far is a classic romance. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl clash but are attracted to each other. We see them falling in love and gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes. Then the Big Black Moment follows where all seems lost and you wonder how these two will ever be together. The resolution and happy-ever-after ending come just like in a Hallmark movie, albeit after 16 to 20 episodes.
I’ve only seen three of these series so far. Because they’re so addicting, I need to get caught up on my other shows in between. It’s fun to figure out the types of characters in these period dramas that take place in the Joseon Dynasty. Here are some commonalities that I’ve noticed in the three series I have seen to date.
Common Recurrent Characters
Aristocrats or Royalty in the lead roles
Evil First Minister
Ambitious Stepmother as the Queen
Friends who are the Comic Relief characters
A secondary character who is in love with the hero/heroine who loves someone else
An assassin who serves the bad guys
Evil henchmen and loyal royalists
The King’s Affection – When her twin brother is murdered, his sister steps in to assume his identity as crown prince. Her situation is complicated when she’s attracted to her tutor who thinks she’s a boy. Meanwhile, she tracks down her brother’s killer who is still at large.
100 Days My Prince – The crown prince is injured in an assassination attempt. He wakes up with no memory of his identity and in a strange home. The heroine’s father has restored him to health and claims he is their daughter’s fiancé. As his own loyal followers search for his whereabouts, so does the traitor who wants him dead. Meanwhile, the heroine is guarding a secret of her own that could put her in peril if exposed.
My Sassy Girl – This is a classic romance with a snippy princess attracted to a handsome tutor. He rescues the princess from a drunken bout and ends up falling for her. Danger surrounds them as the person responsible for her mother’s dethronement ten years ago is making a grab for power.
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Put K-Dramas or Korean period dramas into your search window and see what you get. These series may be available on other channels besides Netflix.
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