Deep Dive Into Lakorns: Mystery/Thriller

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.

OTHER COUNTRIES

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.

Police Jub Kamoi (1996) Two cops chase a psychotic criminal, who escaped from prison. – This synopsis reminds me of many other cop shows like The Good Detective (2020), which started me on my recent craving for detective 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).

More Mystery/Thrillers?

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?

Tuesday’s Teaser: Borderless (2021)

There’s a rather intriguing upcoming mystery Japanese dorama coming soon called Borderless (2021). I really love the mood and lighting in the teaser and the whole aesthetics of the dorama and even the cover poster. With 4 separate stories that are somehow connected to each other, this is very much a girl centered drama, look at this main cast list: Morita Hikaru, Hayakawa Seira, Watanabe Risa, Hamagishi Hiyori, Endo Sakura, and Saito Kyoko. The dorama starts airing March 7, 2021 on dTV, and hopefully someone will English sub it.

Source: ひかりTV’s YT channel

Synopsis: Nao, a high school girl living a self-proclaimed “normal” life, is one day approached by her mysterious classmate Kiri in the school library. Kiri invites Nao to come with her to visit a scene of a murder in Kiri’s neighborhood which she’s using as inspiration to write a novel.

Meanwhile, sisters Baeru and Kei, witness their father being beaten by someone on their mountain cottage. The sister flee, only to be chased by the attacker.

Kotone, works at a coffee shop run by her father, after failing the entrance exam for music college. She works with her childhood friend Kazushi, and the atmosphere iw pleasant. Her younger sister Kanon, is worried about Kotone, but spends her days devoted to her band.

A mysterious girl stands on her balcony in the rain. What is beyond the gate that looks at? These four stories will intersect, as the boundaries between each girl gradually become borderless… ~~ Adapted from the novel “Borderless” by Tetsuya Honda

(Source: mydramalist.com)

There’s a long trailer here as well.

Source: modelpress’s YT channel

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: Talay Luang (2021)

I’ve already posted about Talay Luang or It All Begins at the Sea (2021) (which is such a generic name, I’m gonna keep calling it Talay Luang. But this time, the teaser is out and we have an airing date, January 26, 2021. This Channel 7 lakorn stars Mik Thongraya (Jark Sadtroo Soo Hua Jai) and Sammy Cowell (Lhong Ngao Jun (2019). I like both actors and look forward to this pairing. I think Thippy and Muse will be English subbing this lakorn.

Source: Channel 7’s yt

Synopsis: A strange man with amnesia appears on an island; there he meets Moya, begins to fall in love and starts building her an island resort. Against the warnings of her best friend, Moya starts to fall in love with him too. However just as their love blooms, a pregnant woman arrives claiming the man is her husband. She takes him back. So Moya tries to forget him, but he returns with memories intact as a player. (Source:thaidramatic_update)

(Courtesy: mydramalist.com)

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: Awaken (2020)

More suspense on the way with kdrama Awaken (2020) coming soon. Kdrama Awaken (2020) starts November 30, 2020 on tvN channel and airs two days a week on Monday and Tuesday. The story revolves around cops who look into a mysterious incident that occurred 28 years ago. Namgoong Min (Doctor Prisoner) takes the lead here, along with Lee Chung Ah, Kim Seol Hyun and Yoon Sun Woo. Hopefully, someone will English sub this!

Source: tvN drama’s yt channel

Synopsis: About a series of mysterious incidents that are connected to an incident that took place in a village 28 years ago. Do Jung Woo is a capable and legendary team leader of a special task force at the National Police Agency. He has messy hair, a constant slouch, and sucks on a lollipop all day like a kid, but he has a mysterious secret behind his sly exterior.

Gong Hye Won is a passionate police officer who does not let anything get in her way. Behind her pretty face is a hot temper that won’t cool down unless she says what she needs to say. She is one of the strongest and best fighters on her team, and can drink the others under the table, but she also has a surprisingly clumsy side. Jamie is a detective on loan from the FBI. She was adopted as a child with almost no memories of her life before, but she returns to Korea to solve the serial killer case that is related to those lost memories from 28 years ago. (Source: Soompi)

(Source: mydramalist.com

There is a solid team behind the cameras as well as in front of them. The director is Jo Soo Won who also directed Doctor John, Thirty But Seventeen and the mega popular I Hear Your Voice. The screenwriter, Shin Yoo Dam, wrote only two dramas before, High-end Crush and Go Ho’s Starry Night and neither of those were mysteries, but still a good team. I also like Namgoong Min’s new look, he’s a great actor and very versatile.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

What’s Next – Talay Luang (2020)?

Mik Thongraya has already had 2 lakorns come out in 2020, the newly airing Jark Sadtroo Soo Hua Jai (which is being subbed by Neko and Muse) and Sapai Import (subbed by Muse), but there’s always room for one more, right? Talay Luang (2020) is an upcoming Channel 7 lakorn starring Mik Thongraya and Sammy Cowell (Lhong Ngao Jun (2019). I like both actors and look forward to this pairing. No word yet on who will sub this, but both actors have their fan groups, so I’m hopeful it will be English subbed.

Synopsis: A strange man with amnesia appears on an island; there he meets Moya, begins to fall in love and starts building her an island resort. Against the warnings of her best friend, Moya starts to fall in love with him too. However just as their love blooms, a pregnant woman arrives claiming the man is her husband. She takes him back. So Moya tries to forget him, but he returns with memories intact as a player. (Source:thaidramatic_update)

(Courtesy: mydramalist.com)

I was wondering whether this is a new pairing, but apparently Sammy Cowell and Mik Thongraya have been in two series together, Paragit Ruk Series and The Fire Series, but they weren’t a couple in either one. This seems like it could be a remake of Prince Turns to Frog (2005), where a man with amnesia falls for a girl, but no, a Thailand remake of that drama is already in the works at GMM called Rak Woon Wai Jao Chai Kob (2020) so this may just be an original story. Regardless, I do like this type of story, so I’m looking forward to when it airs.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

What’s Next? Daily Dramas – PHoenix 2020

I’ve not really watched a daily drama in full, but I thought I’ll talk a little about Korean daily dramas and in specific, a new one that caught my attention, Phoenix 2020. It stars Hong Soo Ah (Love to the End) and Lee Jae Woo (Sweet Enemy) in a story about second chances as a couple reunites after 10 years apart. This daily drama started airing already on October 26, 2020 on SBS so it probably will be English subbed.

Daily dramas in Korea usually are 30 min long and run every weekday, from Monday to Friday. They are often 100-120 episodes or longer and they usually are night time dramas. These dramas often feature families, revenge, melodrama and even makjang, super craziness. Ugly Alert (2013) is one example of a highly rated and recommended daily drama to start with.

Synopsis: Belonging to the wealthiest class and as the daughter of an influential chaebol family in Korea, Ji Eun grew up with everything. When she meets Se Hoon, who comes from an underprivileged family, he treats her like no other, and she falls in love with him. Although Ji Eun’s family opposes their relationship, they get married. However, due to reoccurring conflicts, Ji Eun and Se Hoon become exhausted and end their marriage.

Ten years later, fate ironically reverses their lives. Se Hoon, who is now a successful man, buys Ji Eun’s house out of revenge. But when he stands in front of her as Willian Jang, he only wants to help her. Nonetheless, there is Mi Ran, with whom he is in a serious relationship with, and next to Ji Eun is her new love, Jung Min, who is devoted to her. This drama is the 2020 version of the intertwined fates of four people’s love. (Source: KOCOWA)

(Source: HanCinema)

Phoenix 2020 is the latest daily drama to hit the airwaves. Based on a 2004 26 episode titular kdrama by the same writer, Lee Yoo Jin, who also wrote the highly rated Missing Noir M (2015) and Team Bulldog: Off-duty Investigation (2020). It would be interesting if she took suspense and thriller elements and added them to the daily drama format (outside of the, finding the person who did ??? so I can get revenge on them), as that’s not normally present in daily dramas.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: Search (2020)

I’ve been in the mood to watch more suspense/mystery/thriller dramas and Search (2020) looks to be right up my alley. Kdrama Search (2020) starts October 17, 2020 on OCN channel and should have 10 episodes a hour each. This is a survival story that pits
Jang Dong Yoon
(The Tale of Nokdu) and Krystal (Player (2018)) against creatures. Hopefully, someone will English sub this!

Synopsis: A survival story about a search party that battles against monstrous creatures. It will highlight the heartwarming bond between the members of the search party as they struggle to escape the demilitarized zone together. The story begins as a military dog handler who’s only a month away from his discharge date gets seconded to the search party and encounters a monster in the demilitarized zone. (Source: Soompi)

(Source: mydramalist.com

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: The School Nurse Files (2020)

Well, this drama looks to be full of quirky goodness! Fantasy drama The School Nurse Files (2020) is all about strange creatures and mysterious events. It stars Jung Yoo Mi (Live (2018)) and Nam Joo Hyuk (The Light in Your Eyes (2019)) as teachers who work together to protect a school. This is a Netflix Korean drama and airs September 25, 2020 and it should be English subbed.

Credit: NetflixKorea YT

Synopsis: An Eun Young is a new nurse teacher at school. She has a special ability to see jelly like monsters that are made from residue of human desire and she can also eradicate these jellies. She uses a toy knife and a BB gun to take out the jellies. She senses that a mysterious event takes place at her school. Hong In Pyo is a Chinese language teacher at the same school. Hong In Pyo has a special energy. In order to protect the students, An Eun Young and Hong In Pyo work together to eradicate these jellies. (Source: AsianWiki)

(Source: mydramalist.com)

The director is Lee Kyung Mi (The Truth Beneath) who is paired with a newbie screenwriter Chung Se Rang who is an award winning writer who wrote the book this is based on. This drama only airs once a week on Friday and has only six episodes, so it looks like a good candidate for a marathon watch after it concludes.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

Tuesday’s Teaser: Lies of Lies (2020)

September 4 is the airing date of what looks to be a very angsty kdrama, Lies of Lies, and this is definitely on my plan to watch list. This suspense melodrama stars Lee Yoo Ri (My Father is Strange (2017)) and Yeon Jung Hoon (Man to Man) and airs on Channel A.

Source: Channel A

Synopsis: Ji Eun-Soo (Lee Yu-Ri) is a daughter-in-law of a powerful chaebol family. She suddenly she becomes a murderer, who killed her husband. After she is released from prison, she tries to get her daughter back. She approaches Kang Ji-Min (Yeon Jeong-Hun), who has adopted her daughter. He is a cool as ice reporter. Ji Eun-Soo pretends to fall in love with him and attempts to marry him to become the stepmother of her daughter.

(Source: AsianWiki)

Lies of Lies looks like a hybrid version of the popular fan favorite kdrama Secret (2013) where the heroine also spent time in jail or maybe another Lee Yoo Ri drama, The Promise (2016) which was another melodrama about a woman out for revenge. It remains to be seen whether this will be English subbed or not.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

What’s Next? Missing: The Other Side

There are so many great thrillers coming out this year in kdrama land. Now we have another thriller that sounds thrilling 😁. Missing: The Other Side airs August 29, 2020 on OCN and it has a cast of 6 main characters: Go Soo, Heo Joon Ho, Seo Eun Soo, Ahn So Hee, Ha Joon and Song Geon Hee.

Synopsis: A village holds spirits of missing, deceased people. A search to find the missing bodies and discover the truth behind their disappearance occurs. Kim Wook is a smooth talker and a good-looking man. He commits fraud to make a living. One day, he happens to arrive at Duon Village, where the missing dead gather. He soon faces numerous mysteries. Jang Pan Seok is a mysterious figure. He secretly looks for missing people. He is the connection between Duon Village and the outside world. He becomes a fraud partner with Kim Wook and he solves cases.

Lee Jong Ah is Kim Wook’s supporter. She is a white hat hacker out to gain social justice. She works as a law-ranking public officer at a community center as her day job. Shin Joon Ho is an elite detective. One month prior to his wedding with Choi Yeo Na, his fiancé disappeared. To find her, he applies for the missing person squad. (Source: AsianWiki)

(Source: mydramalist.com)

There is definitely a fantasy element to this kdrama. The notion of a village comprised of the missing dead is a unique one, I can’t really think of an equivalent in dramaland. Maybe in Kingdom: Season 2, although it really was a village of zombies actually 😋. I’m interested to see what relationships the characters have with each other as this will probably contain no romance, but maybe some bromance or sismance?

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki