Top Preferred Genre “The Heyday of ‘Melodrama’ is Back”

"Melodrama" has become a popular genre on the small screen. In particular, romantic comedies that add a touch of "humor" and offer comfortable entertainment are receiving enthusiastic responses

From “Queen of Tears” to “Lovely Runner“, a series of popular melodramas have captivated viewers both domestically and internationally, becoming the top choice for many actors.

tvN’s drama “Queen of Tears”, which ended late last month, received immense love, ranking first in tvN’s all-time drama viewership ratings. The story of the third-generation chaebol heiress Hong Hae-in (played by Kim Ji-won) and Baek Hyun-woo (played by Kim Soo-hyun), the son of farmers from Yongdu-ri, appealed to a wide range of viewers. It evoked a sense of poignancy through Hong Hae-in’s terminal illness, while the comic antics of the Queens Group family added to its success.

queen of tears

The baton has been passed to “Lovely Runner”. This drama has garnered a syndromic level of popularity, particularly among viewers aged 20 to 49. “Lovely Runner” follows Ryu Seon-jae (Byeon Woo-seok), a famous idol who passed away under suspicious circumstances, purportedly by suicide, and Im Sol (Kim Hye-yoon), a fervent fan thrown into a serious crisis by his death. The latter is inadvertently given the chance to go back to the past to save Seon-jae and herself. The solid narrative, combined with the fantasy element of “time slip”, has captivated young viewers. The drama has ranked first across all channels for 6 consecutive weeks in the 2049 male and female viewership ratings.

There have been numerous requests to hold a concert for Eclipse, the group Ryu Seon-jae belongs to in the drama. Offline events like “pop-up store” and “group viewing” have also been organized, indicating the drama’s fervent popularity. According to the global OTT Rakuten Viki, the tvN Monday-Tuesday drama has maintained its number one position in 130 countries even 6 weeks after its premiere, capturing the hearts of international viewers as well.

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KBS2’s Monday-Tuesday drama “Dare to Love Me” and JTBC’s “Frankly Speaking”, which are currently airing, are also delightful romance dramas. Additionally, tvN’s “Potato Research Center” and TV Chosun’s “DNA Lover” are other romantic comedies set to be broadcast soon. Serious melodramas like the fantasy romance “The Atypical Family” and the adult melodrama “The Midnight Romance in Hagwon” are also receiving positive reviews from viewers.

While OTT platforms continue to offer genre dramas with heavy themes and strong messages, the small screen favors melodramas that are rooted in reality and provide light-hearted, immersive experiences. Once, TV platforms also aimed to deliver serious messages through well-made genre dramas. Now, they are adopting smart strategies that align with the characteristics of each platform.

lovely runner

Moreover, the well-established “K-Romance” fandom overseas is boosting the popularity of melodramas. Works like MBC’s “A Good Day to Be a Dog” starring Cha Eun-woo and ENA’s “Moon in the Day” starring Kim Young-dae garnered significant international interest and secured distribution deals in various countries despite low domestic ratings.

Naturally, actors’ preferences are also shifting in this direction. Byeon Woo-seok, who shone in “Lovely Runner”, is set to meet his international fans through his first Asia tour fan meeting following the drama’s conclusion, propelling him to Hallyu star status. Meanwhile, Kang Tae-oh and Lee Tae-hwan are preparing to return with “Potato Research Center” and “DNA Lover”, respectively, after their military discharge, indicating the growing interest of actor agencies in romantic comedies. As Korean content increasingly targets the global market, capturing the hearts of international fandoms has become crucial, elevating the status of romantic comedies.

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