So listen, I know America has some awesome TV shows, but…the drama department is getting kind of stale. How many series with cliché high school romances or reboots of old shows do we need? If you’re tired of the same recycled plots, might I suggest turning your attention to Asian dramas? The shows are original, they include subtitles and they have universal themes that make it super easy to follow. From someone who has watched her fair share of Asian dramas, here are the top reasons to start watching.
- Compared to the plots in Western dramas, Asian dramas are refreshing, original and super addictive after one episode. For example, when is the last time you remember watching a show about a guy falling in love with a ghost? Or maybe a guy from 3,000 years ago not being able to die until he meets his soulmate? Or a mysterious tutor destroying a family’s bond by pitting them against each other? Go ahead, search Netflix for a Western show made like this; I’ll wait.
- All of the actors have perfect skin. Literally everyone is skin-care goals for now and when you’re 80 years old. If you’re someone who is completely fascinated with skin care, you’re going to really want to watch Asian dramas. As someone who has binge watched plenty of shows while doing a 10-step Korean skin-care routine, let me tell you this: Both are perfect for self-care, inside and out.
3. The entire show usually ends within one season, so there’s no worrying about whether or not your favorite show is going to be canceled or if you’ll have to wait forever for the next season. Only having to watch one season makes it super easy to binge and quickly find another show to fill the void. As an added bonus, you can also search for shows to base on your favorite Asian actor or singer.
4. Asian dramas are great if you’re learning an Asian language, especially Japanese or Korean. It can also help you learn about a culture different from your own. When I was completing my Japanese minor, I frequently had to watch Japanese dramas (my favorites were The Family Game (2013) and Binbō Danshi). Even if you’re unfamiliar with some cultural references mentioned in the shows, it’s pretty easy to pick up on what they mean. (Or they’ll literally explain or elude to the meaning.) Plus, you get entertainment while learning, so that’s a win-win.
5. Did I mention some of the dramas are recreated in multiple Asian countries? Some are even getting Western adaptations. *cough* Good Doctor *cough*. While I do know that American adaptations of Eastern entertainment are usually terrible, I assure you some of the dramas are 1,000 percent better than expected. Am I saying you should go watch Death Note on Netflix? No. Please don’t do that to yourself. But if you’re interested in Western adaptations, I highly recommend watching the originals first.
6. Watching the way Asian entertainment takes on familiar drama is like opening a new door. It’s not your traditional fast-paced series. The focus goes beyond main conflicts; character development and bonds are constantly being put at odds. I mean, can you imagine only having four months to live, trying to win a girl’s heart while struggling with the fact that your absentee dad is responsible for the girl’s father’s death and your love rival is your half-brother? The constant reveals make it so amazing to watch.
Desharra Alexander-Self is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Japanese. Some of the things she enjoys are Tumblr, Japanese/Korean media, video games, DIY beauty videos, free food and finding random things to be excited about (like sheep, mythology and Italian literature). You can follow her on social media under @Queen_Aelise.