American remakes of your favourite K-dramas… surely that’s an oxymoron, right?

12 Sep

It’s been reported that an American production company has brought the rights to The Devil and Resurrection and intends to make the American remake of these K-dramas. Granted we haven’t watched either of these dramas and have no idea whether it will translate well but it got us thinking about the major differences between K-dramas and their American counterparts and we came to the conclusion that the prospect of adapting a K-drama to suit American audiences would undoubtedly take out the Korean-ness from the drama and what are you left with is..?  Just a script.

So we were thinking about standard musts in K-dramas that would either be no big deal or just get completely lost in translation if remade to suit American audiences:

K-drama romance:

Although we bitch and moan about it- a K-drama is not a K-drama without:

1. A wrist grab

2. A startled hug

3. A frozen Kiss- you know the one; the one you’re usually cringing at- the camera spins around as the OTP stand there frozen on the spot- lips firmly shut and definitely not moving. Hahahah


So unrealistic but utterly Korean- American response: No chance, although the list above happens over say 16 episodes- this will all possibly happen in the first 15 minutes of the first episode of an American show- let’s be honest here; although the relationships between K-drama couples tend to be on the unrealistic and dramatic side, we wouldn’t have it any other way.   

OTPs and Love Rivals:

K-dramas always have an OTP and a couple of Love rivals- it’s a must and feels rather strange if you don’t have that poor LR hovering around in the background pining for the leading lady/man. Regardless of genre all K-dramas have a OTP- that couple that often hate each other and then quickly fall in love suffering evil mothers, LRs and obsessive lunatics that have it in for them- this OTP are destined for only each other and you know that by the end of it all, they would have overcome great heart ache and cried an outrageous amount of tears to finally get their happy ending.


American response- okay they usually have ten zillion seasons and the leading lady or man will have multiple partners along the way- some that are in the moment romances but then some are real contenders with marriages and divorces scattered through the seasons. It’s really rare to come across any shows at the moment where you have a fixed OTP.  When we thought about it, only Alias’s Sydney and Vaughn came to mind but then again that show had many factors that transfer well- it’s all about the OTP and family. Also Friends’ Ross and Rachel (people loved this OTP but seriously we swear they were apart longer they were together- we personally would have preferred it if Rachel got together with Joey.) – However both shows finished ages ago. So we guess we made our point.


In all K-dramas family is everything; doesn’t matter if they’re all crazy, gamblers that happen to sell your property while you’re away studying in America (of course!) or constantly harassing you to get married. They’re your family and you’re stuck with them through the good and bad time, which is one of the reasons why we love K-dramas- we completely relate. Coming from a large, slightly eccentric bunch- we wouldn’t trade them in for the world and because we love and respect them, plus we’re (usually) dutiful and listen to what our parents have to say- just like most K-dramas.


American television has really lost the essence of family in recent years, which is sad- why do family’s in American dramas have to be so damn ‘real’ and yes, miserable? We get it- the definition of family has changed over the years but still… it would be nice to see more family’s that actually love each other despite all the crap in their life. Take Veronica Mar’s family- real in the sense that it’s a broken family but never do you doubt that Veronica and her dad love each other. Or our favourite Walker clan from Brothers and Sisters– totally insane and dysfunctional but just a great depiction of a large family that really love each other even when they want to kill each other (usually at the dining table!) We want more families like the Mars and Walkers on American T.V- so in this case having a more Korean influence in regards to presenting families would actually be really great and it may actually change people attitudes to how they ought to treat their families… you never know or is that strictly wishful thinking on our part?

K-drama stereotype/ traditions:

Things you find in K-dramas that mean zilch if converted to the American audience:

The importance of marriage– You’re an old maid if you’re unmarried past the age of 30. You’re constantly harassed by your mother who has a constant headache just thinking about the fact that you’re still unmarried considering that her friend’s daughter already has two children and is the same age as you- oh the shame of it all! Hahah.


Get married, don’t get married, same goes for divorce- it really is no big deal anywhere outside of Asia. It’s just the way it is now.

-Everyone in K-dramas always have really low immune systems- If a lead happens to be caught in the rain for literally a minute- they will DEFINITELY get sick the next day- it’s just the way it is. Totally outrageous but 90% of the time the lead’s OTP will be on hand to nurse them back to health. So we don’t mind one bit- it makes for the sweetest OTP moments in a drama.

-The dreaded nose bleed- All poor leading ladies will undoubtedly get the dreaded nose bleed- it means 2 things:

A. They have worked too hard B. They have cancer – sometimes both.

The list could go on but seriously K-dramas are loved for not only the writing and acting but also for everything that makes it quintessentially a K-drama; culture, humour, even the food and hello a K-drama without a Soju drinking session in those make shift stalls really isn’t the same.

So do we think American remakes could work? You never know it may be great… but will we love it as much as the original? No chance! Nothing beats a good K-drama at its best- simple a that.


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