Hmm, hate to love, celebrity, reality tv show, cohabitation. Okay, this sounds right up my alley. I’ve been searching for a good Korean romantic comedy, tried Oh My Ladylord, True Beauty and more but just couldn’t get past the first couple of episodes or so. So I Married an Anti-Fan (2021) is based on a webtoon and stars Choi Soo Young (Run On), and Choi Tae Joon (Missing 9). This romantic comedy airs on various channels starting on April 30, 2021, and should be English subbed on Viki, Amazon Prime and elsewhere.
Synopsis: Hoo Joon is a top star while Geun Young is a magazine reporter. For a potential news article, Geun Young decides to attend an opening ceremony for a club. There, she witnesses top star Hoo Joon’s violent behavior and she also vomits on him by accident. This leads to Geun Young losing her job. Believing that Hoo Joon was behind her firing, she decides to get him back by demonstrating in front of Hoo Joons management office. Slowly, she begins to receive media coverage on her demonstration and soon becomes famous as an anti-fan. A PD approaches Geun Young about participating in a reality TV show which revolves around the idea of a top star and their anti-fan living together. Being unemployed, she decides to accept the offer. Meanwhile, Hoo Joon is offered the same reality TV show and accepts to try to improve his image. Hoo Joon and Geun Young try to give each other a hard time on the reality show, but soon start to fall for one another. (Source: MyDramaList) ~~Adapted from the Korean novel of the same name, which was made into a webtoon.
Been lovin’ me some mutant, apocalyptic survival dramas ever since watching 2020’s fantastic Sweet Home, and this kdrama seems like it might be a worthy entrant to the genre. Dark Hole (2021) is an action, mystery thriller drama starring Kim Ok Bin (Children of a Lesser God), and Lee Joon Hyuk (Stranger 2) as they fight to survive against mutants. This thriller airs on OCN starting April 30, 2021 two days a week and should be English subbed on Viki and elsewhere.
Synopsis: About a group of survivors who have to fight for their lives against mutants that are created when humans breathe mysterious dark smoke from a sinkhole. Lee Hwa Sun is a police detective in the Seoul regional investigation unit. Lee Hwa Sun’s life is turned upside down when she receives a phone call from her husband’s murderer, telling her to come to “Mujishi.” However, the people in Mujishi have been transformed into monsters after breathing in a mysterious dark smoke. Lee Hwa Sun must not only fight to survive but also battle her fear in order to capture her husband’s murderer. Yoo Tae Han is a native of Mujishi and a wreck car driver. He has a carefree personality and likes to joke around, but he has a strong sense of justice. He quit being a police officer due to a scandal caused by a misunderstanding, but he is proud of his days in the force. When he meets Lee Hwa Sun in the chaos of Mujishi, he devotes his life to saving others from danger. (Sources: Naver, Soompi)
Wow! Intense. Riveting. The teaser for the new JTBC show,Undercover (2021) really hooked me. Ji Jin Hee, from 2019’s Misty, plays the undercover hubby married to Kim Hyun Joo‘s character (WATCHER). Both actors starred together inI Have a Lover (2015), so this will be a reunion for them. The thriller kdrama is directed by Song Hyun Wook, a favorite of mine (The Beauty Inside, Marriage, Not Dating). It starts airing April 23, 2021 two days a week on jTBC, and hopefully someone will English sub it.
Synopsis: “Undercover” depicts the story of Han Jung Hyun, who has been hiding his identity for a long time, and Choi Yeon Soo, a human rights lawyer who becomes the first head of the Senior Civil Servant Corruption Investigations Unit to fight for justice. A fierce battle begins to protect love and justice from the huge forces that dominate and shake the country for profit. The drama expects to dig into the reality of power and closely follow the story of human multifacetedness hidden in it and discuss what is right and wrong.
Ji Jin Hee’s character Han Jung Hyun is an agent at the Agency for National Security Planning who has been hiding his identity for a long time. He’s known for his extraordinary quickness and boldness, and during his top-secret mission, he falls in love with Choi Yeon Soo and eventually marries her. However, his secret life gets caught up in an uncontrollable whirlwind when his wife becomes nominated for a post at the Senior Civil Servant Corruption Investigations Unit.
Kim Hyun Joo’s character Choi Yeon Soo is a human rights lawyer who has lived for justice and truth. In recognition of her lifelong beliefs and abilities, she becomes nominated as the first head of the Senior Civil Servant Corruption Investigations Unit. Little does she know that her new position will force her to face a shocking truth. (Source: Soompi) ~~ A remake of the BBC One television series of the same name.
So this Chinese drama has a lot going on, hidden identities, fake brides, etc., but I like the cast. She Is The One (2021) stars Tim Pei (Miss Truth) as the groom and Li Nuo (Su Yu (2020)) as the fake bride. The screenwriter is Chuan Tian (Your Highness (2017)) and Chen Shi Yi directed 2020’s Love in Time, which Li Nuo had a supporting role in. The drama already started airing April 19, 2021 and will air 3 days a week. This is a Youku production, should have 24 episodes, and you can find episodes already English subbed on youtube.
Synopsis: The bridegroom who concealed his identity and the fake bride who replaced her elder sister. After a variety of experiences on the emotional road of marriage first and then love, the two got caught in the emotional game of cat and mouse. Will they choose to stay together for a lifetime? (Source: Baidu)
This upcoming marriage Japanese dorama calledRikokatsu (2021) gained my attention because of the older than usual cast in these marriage dramas. Nagayama Eita, who starred in another troubled marriage drama Saikou no Rikon, plays the hubby and Kitagawa Keiko (Tantei no Tantei ) is his not so adoring wife. Both actors are well known, and I’ve watched them both and look forward to watching them again in this dorama. It starts airing April 16, 2021 on TBS, and a subbing group will English sub it.
Synopsis: Mizuguchi Saki is an outstanding fashion magazine editor who grew up in a modern and liberal family. She meets Obara Koichi who is the ace of the Air Rescue Wing of the Air Self Defence Force. He grew up in a strict military family and is the classic straight-laced guy.
Although Saki and Koichi are polar opposites, the two of them quickly get married without dating, believing that they would start a happy life as newly weds after a lavish wedding ceremony. However, as they begin living together in the same house, their differences in lifestyles and values result in differences in opinions and huge fights. Saki and Koichi soon decide to get a divorce.
But the couple have difficulty breaking the news of their decision to their families, colleagues and friends who celebrated their marriage and looked forward to the future. They thus start activities behind the scenes to prepare for their divorce. (Source: jdramas.wordpress.com)
Hmm, mysteries, ghosts, romance, comedy, real estate? This kdrama has a little bit of everything, lol. Korean drama Sell Your Haunted House (2021) is a supernatural drama that teams up an exorcist with a conman. It stars Jang Na Ra (The Last Empress (2018)), and Jung Yong Hwa (probably best known for his role in 2009’s You’re Beautiful) and should have 16 episodes. The drama starts airing April 14, 2021 on Wednesday and Thursday on KBS2 and can be seen on Kocowa and Viki.
Synopsis: Ji Ah, a woman who has inherited exorcism abilities from her mother, is the owner of Daebak Realty, a company that specializes in selling haunted houses. Ji Ah looks perfect and is also brilliant, but her hot temper makes her fists fly before her words. One day, Ji Ah encounters a conman named In Beom who specializes in exorcism fraud. Late at night when Daebak Realty operates, In Beom visits Ji Ah to make an offer. He suggests that they team up to exclusively sell houses that are haunted by vengeful spirits and lingering ghosts. Can the two get along well and deal with house prices, ghosts, and their sorrowful stories? (Source: Viki)
Sell Your Haunted House (2021) looks interesting, like the teaser and posters. But the writing team of three people have limited experience apparently, although the director Park Jin Suk did work on School 2017 among other projects. Good premise, will the execution of it be flawed?
You know how you watch one drama, really like it, so you try to find similar dramas to it? Yep, that’s me in a nutshell. So I’ve been on a thriller/mystery kick since February really, and thus I don’t really have much to write about since I do try to focus mostly on lakorns and there’s really not a lot of lakorns in that genre. So I found myself at a loss of things to write about. I mean, there are still lakorns I need to finish, but… the heart wants what the heart wants and now I want to watch mystery/detective/thriller dramas.
So I’ve decided to do another deep dive into lakorns. If you didn’t catch my first dives, I looked into lakorns here (in particular romance) and here I took a deep dive into the world of slap and kiss lakorns. But what does that mean, a deep dive? Well, it means looking into lakorns as a genre and finding statistical evidence to either prove or disprove common assumptions/questions about them.
So I’ve had several assumptions and I wanted to see if my deep dive into lakorns supported them or not. These are some of the assumptions and questions I have about mystery/thriller genre.
Are there many detective lakorns, ones set in a police station that is? What about mystery or thriller lakorns?
What percentage of mystery lakorns are there overall?
How does that compare to other countries?
Has this genre grown or decreased in recent years?
Methodology: I’ve found that you can get slightly different numbers based on how you sort when you search so I decided to just use the results that I got when I sorted by release date. This data is what I got when I wrote this post, so it may differ if you try to get the same results later on. And English subbed lakorns are more likely to have better and more accurate tags then non subbed lakorns, and the same thing is true of newer lakorns vs. older lakorns, so please keep in mind this is by no means completely accurate and true, but hopefully it is accurate enough to let us derive some assumptions from the data.
112 lakorns were classified as mystery/thriller genre. 11 lakorns were classified as ‘detective’ and 27 lakorns were also ‘investigation.’ Naturally, a lot of the lakorns are classified as more than one genre. Voice 2019 for example, genres are listed as mystery, thriller, detective and investigation. But I suspect there are many more lakorns that have cops/detectives in them and should feature one of those four genres, but because they’ve not been subbed, and/or there is no synopsis, the lakorns are just classified under ‘action.’
Take for example this 2017 lakorn, Diamond Eyes (2017) starring Chahkrit Yamnam. (Isn’t this a wonderful poster?)
Diamond Eyes (2017) synopsis: The series follows Police Captain Petch Phumthai’s story. He was attacked and lost his left eye. Luckily, someone donated an eye, but to his surprise, it was a special eye that can see ghosts. He uses it to solve police investigations and prove cases.
Only ‘action,’ ‘horror’, and ‘crime’ are listed as genres, but ‘investigation’ genre definitely fits and ‘mystery’ or ‘thriller’ as well probably. And of course, that’s not the only example. Just a casual look at the 480 lakorns that are listed under the ‘action’ genre reveal that Mue Prab Khao Saan Sek (2020) should be classified as ‘detective’ andLah Dup Tawan (2016) could also have more genres added as well. All of this is just to say that while these numbers are not accurate, hopefully they can still help us get some idea of what the mystery/etc. genres look like in lakornland.
Of the 11 detective lakorns, two are remakes of Korean dramas, lol. There’s a reason for that. Korea has some great dramas, in fact 58 ‘detective’ dramas according to mydramalist. But Japan far exceeds that number with 270 ‘detective’ doramas, and much to my surprise, China isn’t far behind, 130 dramas.
If we search for ‘thriller,’ there are 77 Chinese dramas, 94 Japanese doramas and 173 Korean dramas. If we include ‘mystery,’ well, those numbers go up even more. But going back to the ‘detective’ genre, Korea has detective dramas from 1989. Japan has them from 1957?!!!!! Daiyaru 110-ban was supposed to be inspired by US tv show Dragnet, and had 364 episodes! 😲 China had shows starting in the late 1990’s. When we compare that to Thailand, they started detective shows around that time too, the late 1990’s to early 2000. So compared to Korea and Japan definitely, Thailand was a little late in introducing ‘detective’ shows, look at this cop show from 1996,Police Jub Kamoi (1996).
So is there a growth in mystery/thrillers/detective genre in Thailand? My first guess would be yes there is, with the more cable/digital channels like True4u, GMM25 and so on, there are more opportunities to have more diverse programming since there are more channels to watch from.
But let’s look at the actual data. Going back to that small number of 11 ‘detective’ lakorns, 4 of them (2 are Korean remakes) are from 2019, The Seer, Bangkok Vampire, Tunnel, and Voice. Out of 110 lakorns, 10 of them came from 2020, 7 from 2019, 11 from 2018. If we looked back at 2010, only 1 lakorn counted as a mystery, Leum Prai Lai Ruk which seems too low since 2009 has 4 lakorns, 2008 has 4 as well and 2007 has 2. What does this mean? There does seem to be an increase in the mystery genre, so hurray!
What I’m Watching/Watched
So it all started with The Good Detective (2020), which I started in 2020, but really got into in February 2021. I loved the bromance between the leads and how the characters grew stronger, even if some of the female leads got on my last nerve. After that, I looked for more detective dramas and hit upon 365: Repeat the Year, oh my gosh. Twist upon twist, with likeable characters, this drama went by so fast for me, so of course I looked for more.
Looking to Netlfix for convenience’s sake, I found Voice 2 (2018) which I enjoyed, but spoiler alert, it ends on a cliffhanger really. You have to watch the sequel. Which, wasn’t on Netflix. So instead, I saw they had Thailand Voice (2019) and now I’m currently watching that. I’m also watching and loving Memorist (2020). I really like the leads’ focus on their work, and how much they care about other people. I encourage people to check them out if they’re in the mood for something different, give it a chance!
What are some other questions you think we should address?