2013: Trends in Dramaland


Time for another installment in my year end reviews. Here are some of the trends that highlighted dramaland in 2013:


Last year’s time travel was this year’s sageuk. Right from the start of the season, sageuks aka historical dramas flooded the screens, each accompanying something different to offer: fantasy, gumihos, reimagining, biopic, fictional accounts, epic romance, thrills and suspense. Some were hits, some failed miserably. As you might have noticed by now, I’m not a sageuk lover and I skipped almost every show from this bundle except Gu Family Book but ended up in dropping it after it turned out to be disappointing.

Examples: Jang Ok Jung, Gu Family Book, Empress Ki, Sword And Flower, Fugitive Of Joseon, Goddess Of Fire.


Most of the actors take break in between dramas. They either relax, or shoot a film, or hold stage shows. 2013 saw an occurrence as rare as blue rose. It often happens that supporting actors work in multiple shows but this year, most of the main lead actors acted in not one but two shows!! It’s a bonus but one can get tired of them, if that’s possible. Either the stars became workaholic or they perfectly know to strike while the iron is hot!!

Examples: Park Shin Hye– Flower Boy Next Door & Heirs, Lee Jong Suk– School 2013 & I Hear Your Voice, Kim Woo Bin– School 2013 & Heirs, Joo Won– Level 7 Civil Servant & Good Doctor, IU– You’re The Best Lee Soon Shin & Pretty Man, Hwang Jung Eum– Incarnation Of Money & Secret, Kwon Sang Woo– Queen Of Ambition & Medical Top Team, Han Chae Young– Ad Genius Lee Tae Baek & Pretty Man, Park Ha Sun– Ad Genius Lee Tae Baek & Two Weeks.


Another hot topic for drama world was the ghost seers. Two dramas already showed heroines with the ability to see spirits, with Who Are You taking a melodramatic tone while Master’s Sun was dipped in comedy and swoony romance. A third show was about to start with Oh Ji Ho as detective with similar powers but got postponed for next year.

Examples: Master’s Sun, Who Are You.


What we always think when we love a drama to pieces?? That the actors end up dating in real life. It never happens except in a few cases that can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Gossip mill is always active with speculations regarding real life pairs but most of the cases are never confirmed. 2013 was filled with actors declaring openly their love. Some couples acted together in dramas/ movies and some didn’t. Most of them were a surprise!!

Examples: Rain & Kim Tae Hee, Moon Geun Young & Kim Bum, Jo In Sung & Kim Min Hee, Won Bin & Lee Na Young


There were number of shows that worked their plot in episodic format. Some did it seamlessly and others were too episodic in nature to get a satisfying main story.

Examples: Good Doctor, Dating Agency: Cyrano, Master’s Sun, Who Are You, I Hear Your Voice.


They sure know how to rope me into weekend drama habit! Many regular weekday mini-series actors starred in weekend dramas this year. As much as I love to watch them on my screen for more than 30 episodes, this year, I learned to stay away from weekenders as they tend to get draggy, boring with focus on unnecessary plots and characters.

Examples: Jo Jong Suk, IU, Jung Il Woo, UEE, Lee Ji Ah, Yun Jung Hoon, Lee Jung Jin.


I already covered this topic in a post. 2013 was special as viewers saw many of their favorite actors coming back to small screen after considerable gap. It is always an attractive feature for me at least.

Examples: Jo In Sung, Song Hye Kyo, Jeon Ji Hyun, Joo Jin Mo, Jung Kyung Ho, Kim Nam Gil, Jin Goo, Kim Ok Bin, Kim Hye Soo, Go Hyun Jung, Kim Jae Wook, Lee Dong Gun.


The year brought lots of good news with many actors tying the knot.

Examples: Lee Byung Hun & Lee Min Jung, Ji Sung & Lee Bo Young, Bae Soo Bin, Kim Jae Won.

7 thoughts on “2013: Trends in Dramaland

  1. kfangurl

    Ooh, great break-down of the drama & news trends this year, snow_white!! This HAS been the year of the saguek, although most of them didn’t have great reputations. Only Mandate of Heaven has a solid-ish reputation, and Empress Ki sounds promising so far, from what I’ve heard. Everything else seemed to tank big time, leaving behind seething viewers 😛 Not a great trend in the end, looks like!

    And, yay for the two-in-one, at least, for Woobie (duh, of course I’m happy for more Woobie!), and bestie Lee Jong Suk. Such a treat to see ’em both, and twice at that. And that’s not counting movies either. Woot!

    Also – year-end review?? My word, you start real early, snow_white! 😛

    1. snow_white Post author

      Yeah…have heard good things about Empress Ki…but 50 eps + sageuk is a combination I can never ever try 😉

      Yes….this year has been awesome for both KWB and LJS…two shows and movies…great for you 🙂

      LOL…actually this idea suddenly came up and I wrote the post before forgetting…and I thought of publishing it later….but then…it always happens that if I complete writing something, I can’t wait to post it…haha

  2. Indigo

    Already posting year end reviews? I haven’t even started writing mine, which I actually should because mine tend to be super long.

    2013 really was the year of romance for so many real-life celebrity couples. So many got married, and so many came public with their relationship. Of course, my favourite couple is Moon Geun Young and Kim Bum. They’re the only pairing that actually got me excited. Others just briefly suprised me.

    The ghost trend will definitely continue in 2014. Actually, I think the trend got started in 2012, with Arang and the Magistrate and Park Shin Hye’s TV-movie Don’t Worry I’m a Ghost.

    Yes, episodic format was also kind of a trend. Though I personally don’t prefer it that much, I think it worked quite well for the ghost dramas and for Cyrano.

    For some reason, I was not into sageuks this year. I tried Jang Ok Jung, but I got bored with it. And while I initially planned to try out Goddess of Fire, Sword and Flower, and Gu Family Book, I just never did. I don’t think I’m going to watch Empress Ki either. Or if I do, then maybe I’ll marathon it later.

    1. snow_white Post author

      LOL…actually it’s kind of year end review….the whole drama review post will come during the last few days of the year only 🙂
      The idea came to my mind and I wrote it…so .I thought of posting it when it was ready…..

      I know…sageuks have been mostly disappointing even when there was a deluge this year…

      Episodic format was perfectly handled in Master’s Sun and Cyrano..oh right…last year some shows had ghost theme but I didn’t watch them so couldn’t remember…

  3. miszdi

    We’re nearing the end of the year, but I think last year was better for kdramas Lots of really good stuff in 2012. I can only name a few in 2013 🙂

  4. Pingback: 2013: Year In Review | The Drama Corner

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