Hello, fellow drama watchers! How is everyone doing? It's been a while since I last wrote an article, but if I have to be honest, I was way too lazy. I have a lot of article ideas, but I lack the motivation to write them. I'm struggling because of my own laziness, yelp.
You know, I've been watching dramas for more than three years already. And, believe me, or not, it took me about two years to pick a favourite genre. I've always liked some specific genres. However, I did not have a favourite... until I watched The Crowned Clown in 2019. I had never liked historical dramas, I had never looked for them, and I used to think that they are just not my cup of tea. But The Crowned Clown changed my opinion drastically. I thought ''Oh, so historical dramas are actually not that bad?''. And since then, I started watching more sageuks, and it eventually became my favourite genre.
But if I have to be honest, watching historical shows is... fatiguing. There are so many things that make me struggle, and I believe that's how it is for a lot of people too. So that's why I'm writing this article - to share my own struggles while watching historical dramas. And I'm sure some of you will relate to them too.
When you get emotionally attached to a character...
But they end up dying, and you feel betrayed and outraged.
Sounds fun, right? Hahahahah. Yeah, unfortunately, it happens to me all the time.
I don't even know what I'm doing wrong. How do I always pick the wrong characters as my favourite? Historical dramas usually have a lot of characters, but I end up falling for the most miserable one all the time. They either get brutally killed, kill themselves, or be mistreated by everyone, including the writer of the drama.
And after the death of my endearing character, I promise myself not to fall for any characters anymore, especially in historical dramas. Just don't get emotionally attached to any characters, girl, is it that hard?
Yeah, it's actually hard. I always end up having a favourite character, and they surprisingly always end up dying. Kudos to me and my good life choices. *silently cries after writing this*
When you've finally decided to watch that long historical drama, and you're lowkey looking forward to it... but then it takes ages for the plot to picks up and the introduction is horribly long... and then you start questioning your life decisions... Do I really have to get through this?
So this is one thing that I have noticed. It usually needs more time for the story to pick up when it comes to historical dramas. And the situation is even worse if we are talking about a longer drama. And there's a high possibility that you'd want to give up on watching when you don't see any progression of the story.
Slow starts are annoying, yes, but sometimes, they are unavoidable and necessary. Even my two favourite historical dramas Six Flying Dragons and Joy of Life had a slow start, but when the story finally picked up, they bloomed and ended up being flawless.
But then, in some cases, a slow start leads to slow development and an overall slow pace. There's the popular drama Mr. Sunshine, which, even if it has an amazing script and phenomenal directing, was extremely slow and it felt like the story never picked up. Or no, it actually did -- in the last four episodes. And then there's also the not so popular drama called Warrior Baek Dong Soo which maintains a slow pace throughout all 29 episodes. Not gonna lie, it was a struggle to finish it. It had its great moments, though.
The never-ending palace politics... And you can't even escape from them.
If the plot of the historical drama that you're watching is centered around the palace (which is the case most of the time), then there's a huge chance that you'll encounter some old or not so old men with long beards who will often fight for power and argue who's smarter. That's how it is.
Unfortunately, palace politics are ''essential'', and you can't avoid them. What do I think? I think there are shows which don't need to focus so much on palace politics. Personally, they bore me to death. That's when the fast-forward button becomes your best friend.
There are cases in which the palace politics are important though. And in some rare cases, they are actually intriguing.
When you're watching a Chinese historical drama and everything looks amazing and cool... but then they introduce a huge amount of supporting characters and then there's you who doesn't even know the main characters' names. And you don't even understand what's going on.
I admit that I have seen only a few Chinese historical dramas, and I'm currently trying to watch more.
However, I struggle with them so much. They are long most of the time, they are extremely slow-paced, and they have so many characters. They are a big struggle overall. It's just hard to get into them, especially for a newbie like me.
The Untamed was my first Chinese historical drama, and back then, I started watching it because, literally, everyone was obsessing over it. I thought it would be fun watching it, but... I remember watching like 10 episodes, but I still had no idea what's going on lol. The story got a bit clearer around episode 20. Until then, I was awkwardly staring at the screen, admiring Xiao Zhan's beauty but not having a clue what the hell is happening in front of me. And there were so many characters. And the main leads had like three names? Are Lan Zhan and Lan Wang Ji the same person? Why are they the same person? I had no idea back then haha. And I still have this problem with Chinese dramas, too many characters, and a confusing plot. I will eventually get used to them, I guess... I hope.
I will wrap up this short article here. I have a lot more struggles while watching historical dramas, but maybe I will leave them for a second part of the article.
Even though I have some struggles, I strongly believe watching historical dramas and movies is totally worth it. It's certainly a unique genre, and I think more people should give it a chance. You just need to find the right drama for you. I used to dislike historical dramas; now it's my favourite genre. The more you watch, the more you get into it and appreciate its beauty.
Thank you so much for reading this article! I will be glad to hear if you can relate to my struggles, what you think of the historical genre and what's your favourite historical drama! =)
I don't own any of the images/gifs — credit to the respective owners.