Direk Joey Reyes shares thoughts on why K-Dramas are so addicting

Contrary to director Erik Matti’s comment that drew negative criticism and appearance on Korean media, director Joey Reyes shared that he eventually “gave in to Netflix and the KDrama.”

In his effort to keep his “sanity or not think about how this Third World War”, the renowned filmmaker narrated how he crashlanded (pun intended) watching Crash Landing on You followed by Pinocchio in his personal blog, Choking on My Adobo.

His curiosity piqued and eventually led him to post a survey on Twitter with the question, “Just wondering because I want to know your thoughts:  WHAT MAKES KOREANOVELAS SUCH FAVORITES FOR FILIPINOS? What makes them DIFFERENT?”


Floored at the overwhelming response, the director threw one question after the other, compiling the responses and his observations into a series of posts beginning with Day 28: ECQ.

We encourage everyone to read directly from his blog. Meanwhile, here are some of his noteworthy observations (in spite of his limited drama references):

“The approach or style of narratives of KDramas is not over-the-top dramatic: they are light, warm, innocent when romantic — fast-paced, cutting edge and suspenseful when dealing with crime and mystery.”

KDramas dramatize through tenderness… You are fed an emotional scene but then it is cut right at the time when you know exactly how to react to that moment — followed by, strangely but effectively, a light moment involving comedic elements.

“The stories are straightforward, narrated to the point with no excess and redundancy.”

In other words, the writing of KDramas are … how can I put this in a politically-correct way? — on point, studied, blueprinted, rendered with precision andnever resulting to redundancy of plot points, wholeness in the arcs of character development … but most important, capable of engrossing the audience without taking them for a route devoid of direction just to stretch the story.

“All the KDramas have limited runs.  Others may be shown in stretches but the average is from sixteen (16) to twenty (20) one hour telecast episodes.  They are not ratings-dependent to determine the length of broadcast life.”

This means that the writers have control over where the story will go and how it will get there.  The plot is pre-determined, mapped out then elaborated into subplots from beginning to end even before the day of the pilot telecast.

“The scripts are so well-written.  More important, the plots vary.  There is an assortment of genres to choose from and even if they are dealing with things we have heard and seen before, Koreans make them sound and look new.”

KDramas are what they are meant to be: materials that are meant to make you cry but never in your face to the extent of going over the top or squeezing a scene dry in order to bring about emotional impact.  There is still a certain restraint in the way scenes are written — so that (here is the clincher) the impact of a sequence is achieved not through words alone but what is visualized in its execution.  And that makes great writing.

“KDramas may use the same stereotypes or templates in the way they create and design characters but they are never diminished to the two-dimensional or the cliche.”

What is also quite ingenious about the Korean series is that by the end of the pilot episode (the first installment of the entire series), you know the problem in the entire narrative.  You know the core and crux of the material.  Although the plot may diversify or branch out into subplots you know the journey that is to be undertaken by your lead.

In the end, the blockbuster director expressed his newfound appreciation of the genre and “that there is a whole world out there to analyze even from the burden of quarantine and the imperative of social distance.”

Director Joey Reyes is famous for his movies such as Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Batang PX, and Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo.

Cheska De Ocampo
Always up and about, Cheska was once asked if she always meets different people every single day. Well – not always – but almost because it is part of her job description and because she is actively involved in church. Having the opportunity to join KStreetManila, she combines two of her loves – writing and Korean culture. During her downtime (which somehow rarely happens), she is either scrolling through Twitter, writing for her blog, trying to be fit, reading a good book, or appreciating beauty and fashion.

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