Quality programs create their own niche
“The success of these new dramas is dependent on how well they incorporate Korean elements into their plots,” said Lee Eun-gyu, the main producer for “H.I.T”
He went on to say that the new Korean dramas do not lack quality compared to their American counterparts. “Although in some cases, the American dramas [mentioned above] have richer, more complex plots, in reality if ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘CSI’ were to air on Korean network television, they would pull a rating of less than 10 percent,” he said. “Korean viewers want to see ‘Koreanized’ dramas.”
Lee went on to say that “for these new dramas to succeed, the professions [of these new characters] need to also be clearly illustrated.” Viewers have higher standards than in the past, so characters and their careers need to be realistic, he said. He admits this results from sufficient funding and extra effort on the part of networks.
For example, compared to the 20 or so actors needed per episode in a regular melodrama, “H.I.T” requires 40. To write the script for “Air City,” four writers interviewed over 200 airport personnel over a two-year stretch. Lee Seon-hui, the lead writer for “H.I.T” said: “In this day and age, dramas need to inject reality and professionalism while retaining a ‘Korean uniqueness.’ If this is adequately achieved, Korean dramas can compete in the same realm as larger scale Hollywood productions.”