Here is a rundown of some of my viewing habits/bias which is probably for my own sake but might give insight into some of my rankings, but in all likelihood its the narcissist in me who needs to be seen.
- Characters >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Plot – It’s why Mad Men is my favorite show even with episode descriptions like “A computer comes to the agency while Peggy receives a flower delivery.” Or why I find dramas with mixed receptions like Flower Boy Next Door or Pasta intriguing long after others have deemed them “boring”. As long as the characters are interesting and well rounded, I will never require any long standing mysteries, parents or second leads used as plot devices, or makjang elements to shake things up.
- That said, though I prefer my characters realistic and 3 dimensional, I don’t really have a similar issue with sci-fi or gimmick elements that become plot devices instead of being thoroughly integrated into the story. For instance, some of Secret Garden’s complaints (similarly You Who Came from the Stars) dealt with how the body switching/sci-fi element was wishy washy, and never fully explained. I liked that it was used to further character development, provided ample comic fodder, and was used enough to add tension and stakes, but not so much as to get annoying or for the audience to lost track of the whose who. Basically it all comes back to characters. (for an English example, I much prefer the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who, compared to the Moffat reign, as one featured a delightful cast of recurring players, while the ladder had a series of convoluted plots.)
- Did someone say comic fodder? One thing that is necessary in my TV and can go from an average plotted show into chamazingness territory is having a funny bone embedded into the shows DNA. The King of Dramas and History of the Salaryman are two of my favorite dramas, and I can easily say both shows had several flaws, missteps, and plot holes. The single characteristic that kept me throughly entertained was that both were “mother father” hilarious. I recall History did an especially good job of adding humor throughout an episode, no matter how sad or dark things became for our heros (See it’s A Weekend at Bernie’s style elevator ride). Breaking Bad‘s pitch black comedic sensibilities were the only things that kept me going during the darkest hours of that depressing show.
- Can’t be too long – self explanatory but I’ve never watched a drama longer than 28 episodes. So many dramas, so little time.
- Other kinds of dramas I’m not crazily into – the revenge and/or serial killer thriller, ANY medical show (E.R. did me in when I was 12), the traditional sageuk (though I still need to watch one..), and your standard melo.
- Things I totes adore! – slice of life dramas(Coffee Prince, Friday Night Lights) genre hydrid hodepodge (think I Can Hear Your Voice or Chuck), sci-fi or supernatural premises, subverting gender dynamics, biracial characters (mixed babies represent!), bromances, shows not set in Seoul, NYC or LA, and of course romantic intrigue!
- Interestingly enough, when I choose a drama, its not based on the actors but heavily weighs on the plot description, trailers, and other people’s opinion. This definitely varies from movies where even if Matt Damon is rocking a fat suit, I’d still buy that ticket. Guess its really the difference of having a dynamic actor make a 2 hour film watchable vs. suffering through 20 hours of So Ji-Sub trying to convince the audience (and himself) that his love for Ha Ji-Won is worth it (I wish I never wanted to know What Happened in Bali). That said, if a drama has two actors I like, it has a much better shot at me watching it even if the description seems average (por exemplo -the two Gongs in Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy).
- Now disregard everything I just wrote. I mean all rules are made to be broken right? none of these are rules but “It’s more like guidelines anyway.” Another of my favorite shows is Nine Times Travels as it’s possibly the most tightly plotted (and best use of time travel) show in recent memory.
Any show that does right by its acting, writing and directing will be good, and with that surely controversial statement those are my 8
simple rules for dating viewing biases, yay lists!