Once upon a time, in a land that’s not so far away and only about 2 years ago, I was the newest entrant into dramaland. I had just consumed Goblin in a record amount of time, setting aside things like household chores and sleep. The question inevitably came to my mind: “What am I going to watch next??” I floundered. I stumbled. I watched things better left unwatched. Then I found drama-watching communities and EVERYTHING changed (KMUSE: We Fangirls ruined her) .
In those heady early days, I chose whatever I wanted. As we all know, though, choosing dramas with no guidance means that sometimes you get sucked into a huge time-waster. And what early drama-watcher has learned the four-hour rule yet? I hadn’t, and I’m a compulsive finisher.
I got over that. Not soon enough, but I got over it.
But my tales of drama-watching woe are not the point of this post, I promise. Instead, I present to you:
HOW TO CHOOSE A DRAMA
First, you must determine what you’re in the mood for. This is best done by asking yourself the following questions.
- Do I need a good laugh?
- Do I need a good cry?
- Do I want to engage my brain and pick up on tiny clues?
- Do I want something that doesn’t require anything of me?
- Am I okay with an ambiguous ending?
- How much main lead stupidity am I willing to endure?
- Do I really, REALLY need a romance?
- Do I want to watch a bunch of coworkers/palace inhabitants work together?
- Do I want to watch a bunch of coworkers/palace inhabitants scheme against each other?
- Am I in the mood for a coming-of-age story?
- Am I in the mood to watching people my own age and their struggles?
- Do I have an adequate amount of chocolate to get me through the emotional parts?
- KMUSE: Or the most important question……which one has the hottest guy in the drama poster?
Oh yeah, it’s a long list. But every question is VITALLY important.
Until it isn’t, and you can’t decide because there are too many options and they all sound good! (KMUSE: Who needs sleep? Just watch all the dramas!)
That’s when you turn to your second option — peer pressure.
That’s not how you spell “get a little help from your friends.”
If you’re not part of a close-knit drama watching community, get involved in one now! I highly recommend Facebook pages for that one. And then you’ll find great people who can steer your drama watching in more positive directions. They can tell you things like “Avoid Wild Romance unless you really, REALLY love Lee Dong Wook.” Y’know, little helpful nudges to send your drama watching in the right direction.
Conversely, they will also “encourage” you to watch really brilliant dramas like The Last Empress or The Crowned Clown (KMUSE: These dramas are a gift to mankind and need to be watched ASAP). Usually that encouragement comes in a form similar to this:
Your third option is to pick an actor or an actress or a writer you like and try one of their dramas. That’s what I did and that’s how Wild Romance happened. (KMUSE: This is actually how I first started my kaddictions. Can anyone say Hello Lee Min Ho?)
Seriously, use the other two methods first. Preferably together. Sometimes, letting your friends twist your arm isn’t such a bad thing. (KMUSE: The real #1 rule–Kbesties know best.)
What about you, drama fans? How do you choose your next drama? Tell me in the comments below.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a drama to watch. Until next time, I remain–
Karie the Maknae (& KMUSE, who came to hijack her drama-watching life and this post)
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi
10 thoughts on “What Should I Watch Next? The Maknae’s Tale of Abundant Options and Peer Pressure”
Amen, sisters. Sleep can be over rated (at times!) but k-drama watching works better with a few suggestions. Facebook groups, blogs, podcasts and the almighty MyDramaList Community have really made my drama watching progress much more smoothly. Just today, I heard two different podcasters swoon over the “Hat Scene” in Sungkyunkwan Scandal and now, I definitely will have to rewatch it at a more leisurely pace.
S SCANDAL!!! I still need to watch that.
I was a compulsive finisher at first, because I wanted to get a lot under my belt. I did this with JDramas and Chinese/Taiwanese as well as KDramas, but those lost steam much quicker.
Then I got the bright idea of watching EVERYTHING a particular actor/actress that I liked had done. This led to me watching all of Rain’s stuff (and all of A Love to Kill, sadly), all of Jung Il Woo, Lee Min Ho, Bae Doo Na, Kim Bum, Kim Hyun Joong (not a long list there), Shin Min Ah, Eric Mun, Joo Won & So Ji Sub. Except I balked at It Happened in Bali. I decided that maybe I didn’t need to watch that…
I had a moment when I really loved the long weekend makjangs, until I realized fully half of them had endings that made me want to throw my TV out the window.
Now? I watch stuff with my main guys in them (Ji Chang Wook – ANYTHING, don’t care. Seo In Guk. Yoo Ah In. So Ji Sub. There are others :d) I watch things that seem interesting. I watch crime/mystery cause that’s what I’ve always loved. Fantasy as well. SF although not too many KDramas do that.
AND I have no problems anymore dropping things after 4 or 6 episodes if it’s boring or downright stupid (although, again, there are actors where I will watch to the bitter end not matter WHAT :D)
Lee Je Hoon and Chae Soo Bin are the ONLY reasons I stuck with Where Stars Land till the bitter end.
It sounds like we’ve had similar journeys. I wonder if every newbie watcher goes through the same process?
I look for reviews online if I want to watch something that’s older (I’m not a huge fan of watching airing dramas. I have this hyperfocus thing, and it can make it almost painful to switch between stories or pause the story in spots not of my own choosing). That’s how I found this blog, actually! I love the five reasons to watch for that 🙂 The Fangirl Verdict is good for that too. We have different tastes, but she gives reviews that let you see if you would like them despite her distaste for all things comedy 😀
For airing dramas, mostly it’s if it catches my eye in the poster or description. I didn’t watch Ever Night for ages because the poster is so blah and the characters looked too too too young. So that’s not the best way. It’s also the case that so many dramas have horrible descriptions (like, hello, don’t tell us the 4th act setting and conflict as a description of the series. Tell us the premise! PREMISE!!!! I’m looking at you, Viki description for Ashes of Love! —which, watch but avoid the description!). I’ll start an airing drama before it’s over if I hear things about it that make me think I’ll love it.
I have discovered of myself that many of my most loved dramas have absurd premises (My Love from the Star; Secret Garden; Beating Again), so sometimes I look for something that sounds ridiculous but interesting.
And pretties. I’m a sucker for the pretty posters.
PRETTIES FOREVER. I’ve learned not to read Kocowa’s episode descriptions — they give away FAAAAR too much.
All sound advice! I learned quick that mood plays a huge deal in our drama choices. I’m currently watching dramas that I avoided the first time around. Most of the time my intuition’s right and it turns out it wasn’t the drama for me. I like being part of drama groups. But I also learned whenever I see a drama that’s overhyped everywhere chances are I won’t like it. It’s a coin toss. I love to watch dramas when it’s my favorite actor/actress too. Sometimes I love an actor yet they’re in dramas I have no interest in seeing. It’s infuriating.
I also love the crime/mystery genre and certain fantasy. Thumbs up for making it to the 4-6 eps. and drop level. I tend to give it the good 3-4 eps. try now. But I’ve also dropped dramas with just a few eps. left. One day you may also reach the plateau where even if it’s your favorite actor, you will drop the drama if you don’t like it. LOL.
Mood is HUGE! I have a couple of dramas on my list that I will get back to when I’m in the right place. And yes, someday I will drop bad dramas with a good actor. TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.
How i choose a drama:
1. It’s my favorite actor’s drama
2. The story isn’t mainstream or atleast has something’s different. It could be the storyline or setting or the character.
3. It’s a fantasy drama
4. It’s a comedy drama. I mean atleast 90% comedy like Waikiki or Chief Kim
5. Different and unique kdramas.
Excellent guidelines for sure. Sounds like you know exactly what you like!