If you had asked even a couple of months ago if I would be watching a Korean film of my own accord, I would have laughed in your face and thrown in a couple of insulting remarks on how they are absolutely lame. I like to think of myself as a mature person and yet I surprise myself when I realize all the things I have closed myself off to. So, I am really glad I opened myself up to this new culture and a whole new abundance of entertainment.
I used to avoid Korean TV shows and movies because of two reasons:
First is that there has been a recent surge in the popularity of Korean romance drama shows among Indian teens. I shouldn’t say this out loud, but yeah, I immediately labeled and stereotyped all Korean shows and movies as immature romantic stuff that is only suitable for teenagers and kids. I didn’t even want to try it.
Second reason for avoiding it for so long is because I am a minor Otaku who is a passionate fan of all things Japanese. And somehow, inside my weird head, everything seems like a competition. You can compare this to how fans unite for their favorites – Team Edward or Team Jacob, Britney or Christina, Backstreet Boys or NSYNC, and even DC or Marvel. That’s how I was behaving towards all things Korean because I was a huge Japanese fan!! Please don’t ask me why I created this illogical reasoning because I do not know it myself. But I am so glad I got my head out of my ass or I would have missed out on so many amazing things and such a beautiful culture.
It is not that I had never seen Korean movies before. I am pretty sure that I watched a couple of really scary Korean horror films back in college. But that was one of those mandatory things you do with your friends where you try to scare each other while watching the scariest film possible in the darkest of rooms.
My true introduction to Korean cinema was with Train to Busan, the zombie horror film. I wouldn’t call the film a masterpiece, but gosh-danggit, it was an absolute thriller and one hell of an experience. I will always be grateful that my husband picked that one when I told him that I was dying to watch a zombie film.
With Train to Busan, I was hooked. What really reeled me in was the show Stranger (also known as Forest of Secrets) on Netflix. The reason I decided to watch that show was the multi-talented actress – Bae Doona, whom I had previously seen in Cloud Atlas and Sense 8, both of which I immensely enjoyed. Stranger is one of those shows where you are mind-blown ten minutes into the show. Your first impression is that the whole set of the show and all the actors are so stylish. The first words out of my mouth while watching the show were that “It is better than any Hollywood crime show that I have ever seen”. Maybe that is an amateur’s point of view but it is what it is.
The first season of Stranger had 16 episodes, each one better than the last. It is one of those shows where you don’t know what to do with your life anymore once you’ve finished watching all the episodes. All you want to do next is find people to talk more about it. I surfed Reddit and other forums obsessively to find other fans. The next stage is where you immediately need a fix like a junkie so you start looking for similar shows. That’s how I found my other favorite Korean Crime show – Signal.
From what I’ve found on the internet so far, Stranger and Signal are like the top 2 shows ever!! I am hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a season 2 for both of these shows. If I go on writing about how much I love these shows, I will lose myself in long impassioned in-depth analyses of each and every episode (which might not be a bad idea for a blogger who is always out of ideas, now that I think about it).
Yesterday, I watched another Korean movie – The Accidental Detective and I think my next one might be Mother. I will write separate posts reviewing each of them (soon I hope).
Watch these shows and the movies if you have not yet seen them. Also, please let me know if there are more such shows that I have not yet discovered. Drop a comment below and make my day!