[EDITORIALS]‘Age of Heroes’ nearing an end?There is talk that the MBC-TV network will end its weekly drama “Age of Heroes” sooner than planned. The drama, which hit the airwaves last July, deals with the rapid rise of the nation’s economy in the decades after the Korean War by focusing on the lives and careers of former President Park Chung Hee and the founders of the Hyundai and Samsung business groups.
According to an article, the network has asked the writer to wrap up the drama by the end of February. The network says in response that it has not given the writer a deadline, and all that it meant was for the writer to work harder to achieve better ratings. The network added that it has not scheduled a replacement for “Age of Heroes.”
Korean dramas often come to an early end for a variety of reasons, mainly because all episodes are not produced before the start of a serial. So it is not unusual for a network to announce an early wrap-up. Nevertheless, our senses are more attuned in the case of “Age of Heroes,” because it deals with the sensitive issue of the social and political environment of 1970s Korea.
The writer is said to have received pressure from a political heavyweight to “be careful” in writing the drama. As for the broadcasts themselves, the polling agency TNS Media Korea showed that the show’s ratings began at 19.6 percent and climbed as high as 25.9 percent, but later stalled around 13 percent.
As they started to climb again to around 15 to 17 percent with the start of Part II in November, it seems out of place to talk of ending the drama because of low ratings. That is why we cannot but question whether there was outside pressure.
The network should clarify the reason for its move to bring an early end to “Age of Heroes.” Let us hope the reason is not political pressure, but if it is, the network should say who exercised that pressure when and how. Also, the writer must name the political bigwig, so as to not to feed countless rumors.
Drama is drama. A writer should be able to reinterpret or recreate a real-life figure for dramatic purposes, as long as it does not conflict with the network’s social function and responsibilities.