It has been almost a decade now since the Asian drama (particularly the Korean drama) started to bloom in the Philippine television and up until now still captivates millions of viewers in the country.
The emergence of Asian dramas in the Philippines actually begun in the early 2000. Different networks here in the country were started to introduce some Asian drama series to their viewers. Probably they were experimenting if it would be ‘click’ to most of the Filipinos. Consequently, it does. Though hardly leaved a mark to the viewers, a series, when ended was followed by another. Then, there goes the surge.
The surging of Asian drama in the country became even more pronounced when a group of 4 fine handsome young men from Taiwan dominated not only the Philippine television but the hearts of the Filipinos in 2003. The ‘F4′ via their series ‘Meteor Garden’ brought the Filipino viewers into a different kind of dimension in terms of television series. It was a hit at that time when still the Filipino melo-dramas were predominantly showing in the television.
Filipinos, mostly teens and young adults were fascinated by the exciting story and characters of the series. For them, it was a breath of fresh air. It tickled their senses. And, It would be safe to assume that Filipinos at that time might be fed up with the same heavy Filipino drama presented to them by the networks. Certainly, that Asian drama series has created a big impact on the Philippine television as well as on the contemporary culture of the country. The kind of culture we are subconsciously practicing up until now, patronizing Asian drama series.
After the successful entry of Taiwanese drama in the Philippine television, the GMA network became the pioneer in televising Korean drama series in the country by introducing “Miss Bright Girl’, then shortly after that, it was followed by ‘Full House’. The latter series caught much attention from the Filipino audiences. It was even topped the ratings on the primetime television beating its Filipino drama competitor.
Then, it was in the middle of that decade when the same network unfolded another Korean drama series. Dae Jang Geum was a huge hit in Korea. Believing that it would likely be the same case here in the country, the network proceeds to telecast it. This particular drama is quite so different to any other Asian series in terms of setting (epic story of a woman who became the first and only lady doctor of a king and was set during colonial period). The network must be uncertain at that time if Filipinos might actually like it. After all, who would have care then for a history based drama series originated from other country? Filipinos were not used to it. But then again, surprisingly it became a hit with its story as a mere selling point to the viewers.
Since then, Korean drama series never failed to avail a spot on Philippine television, and it still does until now. Numerous Korean series were shown in the country e.g. Jumong, Full House, Endless Love, Princess Hours to name a few and they were successfully embraced by Filipino viewers. It’s probably unstoppable now.
I myself was hooked by the surging of Korean drama in the country. I would not be ashamed to disclose that I have a collection of their drama. And I have probably watched a handful of Korean drama series varying from different genres (action, romance, comedy, history-based). What I like about their drama is that every other series has a different, unique and exciting story. And silly it may sound, but it leaves a certain unexplained happiness and inspiration. As for me, these qualities could barely seen on Filipino drama, unfortunately.
Of course, these bunch of high quality, brilliant and uniquely formed Korean drama stories should be credited to their creative and cerebral writers. I couldn’t understand why our writers which I genuinely believe are more creative and imaginative, couldn’t come up with a story that would equate or better surpassed the quality of stories made by the Korean writers.
What could be possibly lacking? Why are we so behind in creating a quality and highly anticipated television drama? To whom we should put this discontent.
For what I have been noticed, most of the Filipino drama series nowadays has been derived completely from the Korean drama. There, you had Kim Sam Soon played by Regine Velasquez, Johnny of Endless Love which was portrayed by Dingdong Dantes, and the revival of My Girl which starred Kim and Gerard. All of these brought injustices to their Korean counterparts. I had never wasted a minute to rather watch these recycled Korean dramas simply because I am rooting after the story and not on the artists.
Another would be, the trending of Filipino drama these days are focusing more on fantasy rather than on reality based. This kind of drama could only be a child-friendly show. Nothing else. It doesn’t cover the rest of the viewers like those who are indulge in reality of life. Though it teaches valuable lesson to children, I believe there are other ways -in a form of a more realistic drama- which would probably a learnsome to the viewers as a whole.
Furthermore, I am not certain if it is only me who notices that we have the same lead actors and actresses acting in every other drama in our television. You could rarely seen a new face or a new talent that has starred in a major role. In our country, If you haven’t achieved the parameter of a stardom, you don’t have the right to get a major role in a drama series. I believe that we have more effective, young, fresh and good looking talents here than in Korea. The television networks should have given them a chance, at least.
So while Korean writers are serving us different kind of brilliant stories, the Filipino writers are trying to recycle past television series and bringing up the same old love stories we are used to.
However, it is never too late for the Filipino scriptwriters to work outside their comfort zone. They should not limit themselves in doing on what has been only satisfying to the viewers. I know they can do better. Try searching and experimenting new stories that may be suited to the interest of the Filipino audience. Try to be innovative and at the same time, realistic. On the other hand, the television networks should be the prime catalyst to generate a change in the trend of drama series in the country. It all depends on them. They should take a risk to show us a different kind of drama and introduces us to new, competitive and effective talents. And finally, the viewers should never stop demanding for a new story. Never.
The Filipino viewers deserve nothing but only the best.