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.Source: mydramalist.com
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’ and Lah 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?