It was actually about three years back that we was brought to the thought of region-free DVD playback, a virtually necessary condition for readers of DVD Beaver. As a result, an entire world of Asian film which had been heretofore unknown in my opinion or out of my reach exposed. I had already absorbed decades of Kurosawa and, recently, a smattering of classic Hong Kong gangster and fantasy films by using our local Hong Kong Film Festival. Of Korean films, I knew nothing. But over the next few months, with my new and surprisingly cheap multi-region DVD player, I used to be immersed in beautiful DVD editions of Oldboy, Peppermint Candy, Memories of Murder, Sisily 2Km, Taegukgi, In to the Mirror, Oasis and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – with lots more following close on the heels. This was a completely new world of cutting edge cinema in my opinion.
Several 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 the drama had just finished a six month’s run as the most famous Korean television series ever, and this the latest English subtitles by YA-Entertainment were quite readable. “Maybe you’ll as if it, maybe not.” He knew my tastes pretty well at that time, but the idea of a television series, not to mention one manufactured 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 became a mystery. How could this be, I puzzled? I wasn’t everything that totally hooked on American TV. West Wing, Sopranos, Buffy – sure. Maybe I had pan-tastes, however i still thought of myself as discriminating. So, that which was the attraction – one could even say, compulsion that persists to this day? Throughout the last year or two I actually have watched, faithfully, eight complete series, in historical and contemporary settings – each one of these averaging 20 hours – and I’m halfway into Jumong, which can be over 80 hour long episodes! Exactly what is my problem!
Though you will find obvious similarities to Western primetime dramas, cable and even daytime soaps, Korean primetime television dramas – that they commonly call “miniseries” as the West already possessed a handy, if not altogether accurate term – certainly are a unique art form. They can be structured like our miniseries in they may have a pre-ordained beginning, middle and end. While a lot longer than our miniseries – including the episodes certainly are a whole hour long, not counting commercials, that are usually front loaded prior to the episode begins – they are doing not carry on for five, six or seven seasons, like Alias or Star Trek: Voyager, or for generations, such as the Times of Our Everyday Life. The nearest thing we need to Korean dramas could very well be virtually any season of 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 really good at it through the years, especially because the early 1990s when the government eased its censorship about content, which often got their creative juices going.
Korean dramas were jump-began in 1991 with the hugely successful Eyes of Dawn, set involving the Japanese invasion of WWII along with the Korean War in the early 1950s. In 1995 the highly acclaimed series, The Sandglass, managed to make it clear with an audience outside the country that Korea was certainly onto something. The Sandglass deftly and intelligently melded the world of organized crime as well as the ever-present love story against the backdrop of the items was then recent Korean political history, especially the events of 1980 called the Gwang-ju Democratization Movement along with the government’s crushing military response (think: Tienamin Square.) But it really wasn’t until 2002, with Yoon Suk-Ho’s Winter Sonata, that what we now call the “Korean Wave” really took off. Winter Sonata rapidly swept over Asia like atsunami, soon landing in Hawaii and then the Mainland, where Korean dramas already enjoyed a modest, but loyal following.
Right about then, Tom Larsen, who had previously worked for YesAsia.com, started his company in San Bruno, California: YA-Entertainment (not to be mistaken for YesAsia) to distribute the ideal Korean dramas with proper English subtitles in America. To the end, YAE (as Tom wants to call his company) secured the necessary licenses to accomplish simply that with all the major Korean networks. I spent a number of hours with Tom a couple weeks ago talking about our mutual interest. Larsen had first gone to Korea for just two years being a volunteer, then came to the States to complete college where he naturally, but gradually, worked his distance to a Korean Language degree at Brigham Young. He came upon his fascination with Korean dramas accidentally when one his professors used a then current weekly series to aid his students study Korean. An unexpected unwanted effect was that he and his awesome schoolmates became totally hooked on the drama itself. Larsen has since made several trips to Korea for extended stays. I’ll come back to how YAE works shortly, however I would like to try a minimum of to respond to the question: Why Korean Dramas?
Area of the answer, I do believe, is in the unique strengths of those shows: Purity, Sincerity, Passion. Probably the hallmark of Korean dramas (and, at some level, in several with their feature films) is a relative purity of character. Each character’s psychology and motivation is apparent, clean, archetypical. This is simply not to say they are certainly 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 a lot more convincing as soon as the core self is just not interested in fulfilling the needs of this or that producer, sponsor or target age range or subculture.
Korea is actually a damaged and split country, as well as many more whose borders are drawn by powers apart from themselves, invaded and colonized many times within the centuries. Koreans are, therefore, acutely understanding of questions of divided loyalties. Korean dramas often explore the conflict between your modern and the traditional – in the historical series. Conflicts of obligations are frequently the prime motivation while focusing for that dramatic narrative, often expressed in generational terms within the family. There is 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 tv shows: Korean TV dramas have simpler, yet compelling story lines, and natural, sympathetic acting of characters we could believe in.
Possibly the most arresting feature of your acting is the passion that may be delivered to performance. There’s the best value of heartfelt angst which, viewed away from context, can strike the unsuspecting Westerner as somewhat laughable. But also in context, such expressions of emotion are powerful and interesting, strikinmg on the heart from the conflict. Korean actors and audiences, old or young, unlike our own, are immersed with their country’s political context and their history. The emotional connection actors make for the characters they portray has a degree of truth that may be projected instantly, without having the conventional distance we appear to require from the west.
Such as the 韓劇dvd of the 1940s, the characters in a Korean drama use a directness about their greed, their desires, their weaknesses, and their righteousness, and therefore are fully committed to the outcomes. It’s difficult to say in case the writing in Korean dramas has anything just like 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 connection to their character on their own face as a sort of character mask. It’s one of several conventions of Korean drama that we will see clearly what another character cannot, though they may be “right there” – form of just like a stage whisper.
I have got always been a supporter from the less-is-more school of drama. Not really that I enjoy a blank stage in modern street clothes, but that too much detail can turn an otherwise involved participant into a passive observer. Also, the greater detail, the greater number of chance that I can happen on an error which takes me from the reality the art director has so carefully constructed (like the 1979 penny that Chris Reeves finds in his pocket in Somewhere with time.) Graphic presentations with sensational story lines use a short-term objective: to hold the viewer interested until the next commercial. There is no long-term objective.
A big plus would be that the story lines of Korean dramas are, with not many exceptions, only as long as they must be, after which the series goes to a stop. It can not persist with contrived excuses to re-invent its characters. Nor is the length of a series based on the “television season” because it is inside the United states K-dramas are certainly not mini-series. Typically, they are between 17-24 / 7-long episodes, though some have 50 plus episodes (e.g. Emperor in the Sea, Dae Jang Geum, and Jumong).
Korean actors are relatively unknown to American audiences. They may be disarming, engaging and, despite their youth or pop status in Korea (as is often the case), are in most cases more skilled than American actors of your similar age. For it is the rule in Korea, as opposed to the exception, that high profile actors do both television and film. Over these dramas, we Westerners have the advantages of getting to know people not the same as ourselves, often remarkably attractive, which contains an appeal in the own right.
Korean dramas have got a resemblance to another dramatic form once familiar to us and currently in disrepute: the ” melodrama.” Wikipedia, describes “melodrama” as from the Greek word for song “melody”, coupled with “drama”. Music is commonly used to boost the emotional response or even to suggest characters. There exists a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and there exists a happy ending. In melodrama there is certainly constructed a arena of heightened emotion, stock characters plus a hero who rights the disturbance to the balance of good and evil inside a universe with a clear moral division.
Aside from the “happy ending” part as well as an infinite source 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 some great extent, modern cinema uses music inside a comparatively casual way. A United States TV series may have a signature theme that might or might not – not often – get worked into the score as a show goes along. Many of the music can there be to aid the atmosphere or provide additional energy to the action sequences. Less than with Korean dramas – where music can be used much more like musical theatre, even opera. Certain themes represent specific characters or relationships between them. The music is deliberately and intensely passionate and might stand naturally. Virtually every series has one or more song (not sung with a character) that appears during especially sensitive moments. The lyric is reflective and poetic. Many television soundtrack albums are hugely successful in Asia. The songs for Winter Sonata, Seo Dong Yo, Palace and Jumong are typical excellent examples.
The setting for the typical Korean drama could be just about anywhere: home, office, or outdoors that have the main benefit of familiar and fewer known locations. The producers of Dae Jang Geum made a small working village and palace for that filming, which has since become a popular tourist attraction. A series might be one or a combination of familiar genres: romances, comedies, political or crime thrillers or historical dramas. While the settings tend to be familiar, the traditions and, often, the costumes making-up can be extremely not the same as Western shows. Some customs may be fascinating, while some exasperating, even just in contemporary settings – regarding example, during winter Sonata, just how the female lead character, Yujin, is ostracized by family and friends once she balks on her engagement, a predicament that Korean audiences can definitely correspond with.
Korean TV dramas, like all other art, have their own share of conventions: chance meetings, instant flashback replays, highly fantasized love stories, chance meetings, character masks, chance meetings, all of these can seem to be like unnecessary time-stoppers to Americans who are utilized to a speedy pace. I would recommend not suppressing the inevitable giggle out of some faux-respect, but realize that these things have the territory. My feeling: When you can appreciate Mozart, you should be able to appreciate the pace and conventionality of Dae Jang Geum. More recent adult dramas like Alone in Love suggest that a few of these conventions could possibly have already started to play themselves out.
Episodes reach the YAE office in San Bruno on Digital Beta (a 1:1 copy through the master that was useful for the exact broadcast) where it is actually screened for possible imperfections (whereby, the network is required to send another.) The Beta is downloaded in the lossless format to the pc along with a low-resolution copy is 25dexjpky on the translator. Translation is completed in stages: first a Korean-speaking individual that knows English, then your reverse. The top-resolution computer master is then tweaked for contrast and color. When the translation is finalized, it is entered into the master, taking good care to time the appearance of the subtitle with speech. Then a whole show is screened for even more improvements in picture and translation. A 2017推薦日劇 is constructed which has every one of the menu instructions and completed picture and subtitles. The DLT will then be sent to factories in Korea or Hong Kong for your manufacture of the discs.
Regardless of if the picture is formatted in 4:3 or 16:9, typically, the graphic quality is very good, sometimes exceptional; and also the audio (music, dialogue and foley) is apparent and dynamic, drawing the target audience into the some time and place, the history and the characters. For individuals that have made the jump to light speed, we can easily anticipate to eventually new drama series in hd transfers within the not too distant future.