Korean Wave

Hidden gem K-dramas snubbed back home but noticed worldwide

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Hidden gem K-dramas snubbed back home but noticed worldwide
Seo Ye-ji portrays Ko Mun-yeong, a popular but antisocial children’s author who falls for Moon Gang-tae (played by Kim Soo-hyun in his first series after mandatory military service), a caregiver at a psychiatric ward.
Photos courtesy of Netflix

MANILA, Philippines — It may come as a surprise that some of the K-dramas that have become household names among Filipinos were not as well-received back home in South Korea.

Overshadowed in terms of audience share or just generally underrated, these Koreanovelas escaped the public eye locally but become well-loved hits by international viewers. 

And rightly so! 

'Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo'

This coming-of-age sports series starring Lee Sung-Kyung and Nam Joo-Hyuk received generally favorable reviews but consistently brought in the lowest ratings in its timeslot.

Its rival "Legend of the Blue Sea," starring powerhouse cast Jun Ji-Hyun and Lee Min-Ho, raked in more viewers, maintaining first place in its slot throughout its run.

Fortunately, “Weightlifting Fairy” was able to pull its own weight and find success overseas. This includes the Philippines where a Tagalog-dubbed version was shown.

'It’s Okay to Not Be Okay'

The romance drama, starring Kim Soo-Hyun and Seo Ye-ji, that doubled as a mental health conversation didn’t draw as much local buzz compared to other tvN series like “Crash Landing on You.”

It was also criticized and penalized for scenes deemed sexually inappropriate by members of the Korean audience.

Fans elsewhere thought it was just okay to not be okay and acclaimed the series, which reflected in its performance as one of the most popular programs on Netflix during its run.

'The King: Eternal Monarch'

"The King" was up against high expectations: It's Lee Min-Ho's comeback drama since fulfilling his military duties, and it's a return of acclaimed writer Kim Eun-Sook and actress Kim Go-Eun as a tandem from "Guardian: The Lonely and Great God" or locally known as "The Goblin."

Registering a strong start with its premiere ratings, the show's domestic viewership, however, tanked for the most part and was deemed a flop by Korean viewers.

The show also suffered its fair share of controversies, including historical inaccuracy and distracting product placement.

Regardless, “The King” kept its throne as one of the most-watched series as well as number one K-drama on Netflix at the time of its release.

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