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Korean drama (Hangul: ; RR: hanguk deurama) or K-drama refers to televised dramas

in Korean language, made in South Korea, mostly in a miniseries format, with distinctive features
that set it apart from regular Western television series or soap operas. Korean dramas can be set in
contemporary times or in historical settings, the Korean word for the latter being sageuk ().
Different genres apply to these two types, from romantic comedies and action series to
fusion science fiction dramas.
South Korea started to broadcast television series in the 1960s, today's mini deurama format of 12
24 episodes started in the 1990s, transforming traditional historical series to this format, as well,
creating the notion of "fusion sageuks". Korean dramas are usually shot within a very tight schedule,
often a few hours before actual broadcast, screenplays are flexible and may change anytime during
production, depending on viewers' feedback, putting actors in a difficult position. Production
companies often have financial issues.
Korean dramas are popular worldwide, partially due to the spread of the Korean wave, with
streaming services that offer multiple language subtitles. Some of the most famous dramas have
been broadcast via traditional television channels, as well, for example Dae Jang Geum (2003) was
sold to 91 countries.
Korean dramas are usually helmed by one director and written by one screenwriter, thus having a
distinct directing style and language, unlike American television series, where often several directors
and writers work together.[3] Series are likely to have only one season, with 1224 episodes.
Historical series (sageuk[4]) may be longer, with 50 to 200 episodes, but they also run for only one
The broadcast time for flagship dramas is 22:00 to 23:00, with episodes on two consecutive nights:
Mondays and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and weekends. Different dramas appear on
each of the nationwide networks, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Korean Broadcasting
System (KBS), Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and on the cable channels, Joongang
Tongyang Broadcasting Company (jTBC), Channel A,tvN, and Orion Cinema Network (OCN).
The 19:00 to 20:00 evening time slot is usually for daily dramas that run from Monday through
Friday. Dramas in these slots are in the telenovellaformat, rarely running over 200 episodes. Unlike
the American soap operas, these daily dramas are not also scheduled during the day-time. Instead,
the day-time schedule often includes reruns of the flagship dramas. The night-time dailies can
achieve very high ratings. For example, the evening series Temptation of a Wife peaked at 40.6%,
according to TNS Korea.[5]

Sageuk series
Traditional historical series tend to be long, very detailed and may likely contain archaic language,
covering wars, concentrating on kings, famous military leaders or political intrigues. These series are

mostly favoured by older people. At the beginning of the 2000s "fusion sageuk" was introduced,
where colorful historical backgrounds were combined with modern drama making techniques,
occasionally mixing the plot with fantasy, romance, action or science fiction, attracting younger
generations. Famous fusion sageuks include Hur Jun, Damo, Hwang Jini, Dong Yi, Dae Jang
Geum,Tamra Island, Chuno or Moon Embracing the Sun.[4][6]

Contemporary series[edit]
Series set in contemporary times usually run for one season, for 1224 episodes of 60 minutes.
They are often centered on a love story, with family ties and relationships being in the focus.
Characters are mostly idealised, with Korean male protagonists described as handsome, intelligent,
emotional, ready to love one woman for a lifetime. This has also been a contributing factor to the
popularity of Korean dramas among women, as the image of Korean men became different from that
of other Asian men.[3][7][8][9]
The daily dramas are also usually set in contemporary times, describing a family conflict or family
relationships, centered on Korean women, who sacrifice themselves for family happiness.[10]
Most popular contemporary dramas include Winter Sonata, My Lovely Sam Soon, The 1st Shop of
Coffee Prince, Full House, Boys Over Flowers, Iris,Secret Garden and My Love From the Star.[11][12]