The Much Too Long Intro
When I collected data from blogs large and small for my drama ratings, the one constant became the consensus of Answer Me 1997. I didn’t find a single negative review, and of the 30+ dramas I’ve seen it had the highest averaged rating with 9.3 (out of 10). So it comes as no surprise that a drama that was so universally loved from the international community would be adapted for other audiences, yet I remain conflicted with the prospect. According to deadline, Fox is very interested in bringing the Answer Me franchise stateside, honing in on the year 1999 and all that NSync/Brittany Spears/Backstreet Boys craziness that occurred. On one hand, I’ve literally had the exact same thought when watching AM 97′. The BB VS N’Sync wars were raging during my elementary school years (of which I was always a N’Sync and JC girl), and so eerily paralleled the H.O.T.-Sechs Kies battles that occurred I even wondered if American music producers saw the Korean b-boy shenanigans and produced such fan wars here (cause I’m nothing if not a conspiracy theorist).
Yet as much as I would love to have that rush of nostalgia bring me back to my old CD collection, bus-ride debates, and pop culture references I would understand in full. I remain traumatized by the prospect. Answer Me was a show that nailed its casting, from its stars (Seo in Guk and Jung Eun-Ji being one my favorite drama couples ever) to the teenage ensemble, to the parents (ditto for Song Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa), in ways I’ve only seen one other show replicate (NBC’s Friday Night Lights). But really the tone was the most important. Not that it can’t be done (Freaks and Geeks, FNL, and Skins come to mind, though perhaps more serious), but when the people adapting AM are most well known for creating the 3rd Step-Up movie, its hard to tell if this is gonna become more about fad-ish pop music instead of its fully-rendered characters. All this is a precursor and inspiration for this weeks Top 5, because if a global audience can fall in love with a drama steeped in 15 year old Korean pop-culture, then adapting it for American audiences should prove resonant at least for those Americans aged 20-30?? But because I’ve already talked about AM at length , it will not be included in this list. Mostly I will speak to American television as that’s what I know, but most of these choices seem universal for any TV market. Also, it seems historical dramas and standard rom-coms wouldn’t really work due to the lack of Joseon eras and over-abundance of multiple season shows. What’s more interesting (and provides more options) are shows Korean television should adapt, a future top 5 I shall be working on shortly. But without further delay, here is number 5!