K-dramas, at least in the previous decade can be defined as slotted in the ‘pre Goblin’ era and a ‘post Goblin’ era! The classic K-drama revolves around Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), a military general from the Goryeo Dynasty who has been cursed with immortality for committing the treacherous crime of killing soldiers in his tenure as a military general. The only way to put an end to his immortality is the Goblin’s bride, whose aid in pulling out the sword will end his painful immortality. Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) summons the Goblin by chance and their tragic fates intertwine, revealing deep-rooted relations of the past between them.
The drama not only became a darling with the masses but over the years, has achieved cult-like status amongst K-drama fans! Not only did the critically acclaimed drama dominate the rating chart, but it led to a sudden surge in the popularity of ‘fantasy’ themed K-dramas! In the same year, we had Lee Min Ho and Jun Ji Hyun starrer ‘Legend Of The Blue Sea’, Lee Jong Suk and Han Hyo Joo’s ‘W: Two Worlds’ and of course the multi-starrer ‘Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Goryeo’ amongst others.
However, five years down the line, there is an over-crowding of dramas in the ‘fantasy’ space and the passionate K-drama fan in me is not exactly happy with this development! I, for once am a fan of fantasy-themed K-dramas and have loved watching some amazing dramas in the genre as well. It also helps that Korean makers ace this genre so beautifully and have given us some wonderful gems in the form of ‘Hotel Del Luna’, ‘The Master’s Sun’, ‘Chicago Typewriter’, ‘My Love From The Star’, ‘A Korean Odyssey’ to name a few fan-favourites amongst the best. But now, it seems like every second drama up for release has a ‘fantastical’ element to it, dealing with grim reapers, goblins, gumihos or some kind of ghosts! It is almost as if audiences are waiting for that plot twist to happen!
What started as an interesting ‘novel’ K-drama genre has now become almost unimaginative due to over-exposure and over-usage! It is only enjoyable now if used creatively and innovatively. ’18 Again’, where the protagonist goes back to his younger self to win over the love of his life or ‘Signal’, where a team of detectives rely upon an old two-way radio to solve blood-curdling criminal cases or ‘The Uncanny Counter’ which has been meted out some fresh treatment from its makers, making it a crowd-favourite.
There isn’t a problem with the genre in itself, but what it needs is some serious reinvention with story-telling and presentation, perhaps the next decade offers us another classic in the genre. *Fingers Crossed*
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ALSO READ: Goblin: The Lonely God review: Good actors, good storyline but a CRINGEY romance
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