Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sageuk slump

   By sageuk I mean also to include daeha. It may be only my biased view but lately there is a significant slump in period drama production and those that are made, somehow fail to deliver. Last year there was only Mushin that made me stick with it all through 50+ episodes. I also watched Queen Insu, but since the show reminded unsubbed, I probably lost lot of it in the course.

   I and few other people I know are period dramas fans. As for me, I prefer usual sageuk/daeha, without any supernatural twists-on-the-twists, because the only thing that twists while watching those are the panties. Some may say: whoa, lady, last year had a handful of sageuks, why you're whining? That's true and untrue at the same time. 

The King's Dream - about great character, Kim Chunchu but somehow I managed to get throught first 10 eps and this ill-fated drama didn't click with me. As for gorgeous Shilla period it's pretty blank and without any spark. Maybe they took Tangs' words seriously? And it's just a flower without the scent?
Gaksital - it's hard to call it a sageuk, it's rather a period drama. Except for the broom and her belated death, I enjoyed that tremendously. Up until Minami died.
The Moon That Embarasses... erhm... Embraces The Sun - one of the most overrated sageuks ever. Lukewarm at best, badly acted (in older actors' case) with forgettable OST. Did nothing to me.
Arang and the Magistrate - hell, (omen nomen!) I enjoyed that tremendously, but somehow it never felt like a real sageuk.
Dr. Jin - let's just close down the curtain of silence on that, OK?
Faith - again, I didn't feel like watching sageuk.
Queen In-hyeon's Man - same case as Faith.
Jeon Wuchi - have no idea what kind of drama was that, but I knew what to expect - based on book dealing with Taoist wizard afterall.
The Great Seer - still need to pick this up where I left, but something bugs me there.
Horse Doctor - so far seen only 5 eps. as for daeha, it's nothing so I won't comment.

   I mentioned Queen Insu and Mushin. Two daeha feeling like the real thing. So in theory, there was quite a few dramas with settings in "the past". But except for two or three, I couldn't feel like watching sageuk. I don't like fantasy elements in my sageuks/daeha. What's so alluring for me in period dramas is the fact they speak volumes about different issues, they include politics, social problems, history, emotions and they blend it in a gripping journey. In some cases, they have even more freedom of expression than modern dramas. They can disguise universal problems in Joseon garb and throw what seems to be one-dimentional story, but after some time, one can't stop but noticing many other layers. 
That's why SKKS succeeded so much. Drama was basing on probability and universal problems only clad in 18th century clothes. We had politics, dirty secrets, friendship, hope, love, betrayal, values, humanity - actually I'm not going to write yet another review of this gem of a series.

   I like period dramas that have politics and social problems in them. I liked 8 Days of Jengjo's Assassination, Chuno, Daemang etc. Sadly, almost all 2012 sageuks (with Gaksital as an exception to some point) relied on "supernatural" elements and they didn't quite mix. If you want supernatural - make another season of Hometown Legends and I'll be grateful or maybe continue Joseon X Files (just a suggestion^^) but not put some half-baked nonsense in a drama that pretends to deal with serious problems. I know it might be only my personal beef with latest period dramas, but finally after giving some thoughts to this fact, I managed to pinpoint this bugging me thorn.

I demand normal daeha and sageuk this year, because I miss it!!