I guess I shouldn’t really let half formed opinions loose as they may end up as springboards for someone else’s post. 🙂 It’s a great post with perfectly valid points and in it’s turn made me mull a little more on this topic.
The cynic in me is saying that TV in general is getting dumbed down everywhere. Entertainment is business and the reason for business is to make a profit, preferably with as little cost as possible. Quality takes time and effort, which in turn usually costs more. So why ‘waste’ good money on that when you get better returns with aiming at the lowest common denominator. Why else would there be so many reality shows everywhere? Oh, I’m not claiming that everything in TV was brilliant in the ‘good ole days’ (or has to be brilliant even now) but at least there was an effort to produce more shows that needed more than the attention span of a gnat and brainpower of a plankton. Of course, one could claim that it’s the audience tastes that have changed but I’m not entirely buying that. Isn’t it just one more convenient excuse?
Now, I started watching kdramas by accident at a time I was thoroughly bored and slightly disgusted with what western tv was offering. I loved the limited length of dramas and at the time they felt so deliciously different from what I was used to. Of course, when enough time had passed I realised that kdramas, and dramas in general, have more in common with western shows than I originaly surmised. After all, the themes are pretty much universal. It’s the execution that differs and gives asian dramas the distinct flavour they have, both in good and in bad.
It was in late 2013, after a year of being constantly disappointed with the offerings, that I posed myself a queston “Was the writing in kdramas always this bad? I clearly remember a time I loved what I was seeing and the stories held me totally captivated. Was I just blinded by the ‘new and shiny’ so as not to see the failings?” and came off with ‘don’t think so’ and ‘yup, it’s a factor’. *g* I still think that writing in kdramas has gone downhill. I’ve only seen a small percentige of all the kdramas that aired before ‘my time’ but even with that I feel there is ‘something’ missing in many of the shows in recent years. For the most part at the core of even the most basic, pedestrian plot was a genuine effort to tell a compelling story. Never mind all the stupid attached to it for whatever reason, one could get past that. I’m not averse to watching silly fluff every once in a while, but I’d prefer it to be well made silly fluff. There’s a difference. No need to re-invent the wheel either or use cheep gimmics in order to look fresh or original. Just plain good storytelling, as simple as that.
The production values these days are much better and with the higher picture quality dramas look a lot grander. Unfortunately the bling tends to mask the fact that if you look under the hood, half the engine often seems to be missing. If the shiny surface is all you need, fair enough. It’s just that I want more, an actual story that goes somewhere and has a proper trajectory, has characters worth rooting for, captivates me, gives me food for thought (if it’s one of those shows) or even makes me laugh my head off. And why shouldn’t I? Is wishing for better scripts something I shouldn’t do? Does it make me a pretentious git? You tell me…