Korean Drama Trend 2018

Can you name the drama titles based on these memorable merchandises?
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As we are getting nearer and nearer to the end of 2018, we may take a look back to those Korean dramas we have watched this whole year. But before we all get to excited and start to shout our favorite title out, CJ found some trends (or things that must exist) in Korean dramas lately. When back hugs may be a little too old fashioned now, apparently people in “Dramaland” found new things they love in common no matter what the genre are. Here they are..

  1. One way or another, there’s always a “good” reason to live together

Following the success of contract marriage trend, now Korean dramas try to spice things up by making our supposedly innocent leads have no other choice than living together. From a chaebol who wants to keep his robot near, a man with prosopagnosia feels the need to sleep together with a woman who changes into different body once in a month, to a crown prince who has to marry the oldest spinster. Yes, every story leads to that scenario.

When you are a chaebol who needs a robot but the researchers group has no place to stay? just offer them to stay in your house!
I’m so curious about you, let’s sleep together!

2. This stuffed doll or other symbolic jewelry

Some older dramas may already use this tactic, but current dramas (especially those of Rom-com genre) are not missing it for one bit possibly to add more income from the merchandise selling or simply to promote its sponsors even more. When jewelries like specially designed necklace/earrings are still the most popular items, some dramas choose stuffed doll or even keychain, hat, and many other more.

Just look at these rabbits from 100 Days My Prince!
Can you name the drama titles based on these memorable merchandises?

3. Promoting specific tourism spot

While older dramas not specifically promoting one tourism spot, current dramas tend to do so. They use tourism spots as part of the drama, whether as the main lead’s mansion, favorite dating spot, or simply a place they often visit. Hence we may see special mention of the tourism spot as part of sponsors. And, some of these spots seem to actively promoting through Korean drama as we could see them in several dramas. Some of the popular and most seen tourism spots are (drama titles are limited to 2018 dramas):

  • The Garden of Morning Calm: Jugglers, I’m not a Robot, Lovely Horribly, Your House Helper
A beautiful park for beautiful scenes..
  • Forest of Wisdom Library: I’m not a Robot, Hwayugi, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
Who could resist the combination of a good company and book heaven?
  • Incheon International Airport: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Where Stars Land, The Beauty Inside, Encounter
Never knew before that public space like an airport can be very romantic and full of meanings
  • Seogang Bridge: Suits, Rich Man, Devilish Joy, The Third Charm, Are You Human?
Another public space that feels so different and beautiful in Korean dramas

4. That absurdly friendly and savage right hand man

Okay, this may be nothing new since we get to see cute secretary since “Secret Garden” era. But we have to say that the relation between the superior and his/her right-hand man, whether a secretary, eunuch or a palace worker is getting closer and closer. At times we might wonder who is the real boss here, and honestly we wouldn’t mind to work as a secretary if we could treat our boss like that.

5. Fierce heroine

When older dramas love to make the heroine in a helpless state and she tends to be really kind, girly and forgiving, current dramas love to have fiercer heroines who can stand up for herself. This heroine may thrives at work, behave rudely or messy or outspoken, or even makes the male lead scared of her at times. And honestly, we love this kind of heroine more because it makes more sense in a way.

Preach Sister..!!

6. Our main leads come with heavy “baggage”

Main leads in latest dramas tend to have dark pasts that shaping them into their current selves. The past mostly very traumatic and causing the main leads to have weird personality or various (rare) diseases. Remember how Lee Young Joon (What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?) cannot touch or be touched by women due to his traumatic childhood? Or how Kim Min Kyu (I’m Not a Robot) has a human allergy due to painful betrayals he faced when he was a child? Or how Lee Yeol (100 Days My Prince) becomes really cold and easily feels uncomfortable to his surroundings after loosing both his mother and first love at the same time? Or how Gong Woo Jin (Still 17) decided to be cold, alone and care not about others?

7. Adorable younger version of main leads

Okay, child actors are already “happening” in the past as we have Park Shin Hye (Stairway to Heaven), Moon Geun Young (Autumn In My Heart), and of course all the rising child actors from “Moon Embracing the Sun”. But if we look more intently into current trend, almost every drama is using childhood story – mostly to support our point above – and thus having adorable child actors whose cuteness and acting skills are not less than their older version.

Awww,,,Can they be any cuter?

8. Minimalist-Scandinavian style houses

There used to be a trend where Korean drama loved to use manor-like-houses especially for chaebol. There was also the time where hanok (traditional Korean house) seemed to be the trend. Then, there was the time where rooftop house is a must in a Korean drama. Now, whether it’s a chaebol or even a frugal part-timer, they would have a minimalist-scandinavian style house with pastel or simply black-white colors.

And Kim Mi So’s house from “What’s Wrong Secretary Kim”..

Can you think of any other trends?

See our 2018 K-drama reviews here:

K-Drama Review: What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?

My ID is Gangnam Beauty Korean Drama Review

The Beauty Inside 2018 Korean Drama Review

K-Drama Review: Suits (Korea)

I Am Not a Robot Korean Drama Review

Still 17 (Thirty But Seventeen) K-Drama Review

K-Drama Review: Hwayugi – A Korean Odyssey (2017)

100 Days My My Prince Korean Drama Review