Family-Centrism in Korean TV Remakes and Adaptations of Anglophone Narratives Open Access

Shin, Grace (Spring 2022)

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Remakes are not a new phenomenon for South Korean television. Though South Korea began remaking shows with American and British TV game and competition shows, it has become more common for producers and broadcasting companies to remake Anglophone stories into Korean dramas. In the process of transculturally remaking or adapting Anglophone narratives, producers incorporate elements that are characteristic of Korean dramas to make the story more familiar and acceptable to Korean audiences. One such element is the inclusion of family-centric themes that show the values of Korean society, including familial sacrifice and filial piety among others. Korean dramas also change details of the original plots to better emulate the family-related struggles individuals face in Korean society, allowing the Korean audience to empathize with the characters and stories more easily. These specific qualities of Korean dramas caused me to ask the questions, “Why do Korean dramas highlight or add family-centric plots and themes when remaking Anglophone television dramas or movies? And what does the inclusion of these specific themes indicate about Korean society?” Through this study, I will be answering these questions and examining the different ways these family-centric changes and additions are expressed through a textual analysis of three Korean dramas of three different genres based on Anglophone movies or TV shows: 18 Again, Life on Mars, and The World of the Married.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One: Background of Korean Dramas 2

Remakes in Korea 3

Korean Drama Remakes 7

History of Korean Dramas 10

Effect of Hallyu and Korean Dramas 13

The Spread of Korean Dramas Through Online Streaming 15

Image of Korea 18

Defining elements of Korean dramas 20

Reasons for the Popularity of Korean Dramas 21

Chapter Two: Defining Family in Korea 23

Purpose and Value of Family 23

Marriage 25

Childbirth 28

Gender Roles 31

Intergenerational Ties 36

Divorce (Remarriage & Cohabitation) 47

Chapter Three: Textual Analysis 52

Crime/Police Procedural: Life on Mars & Life on Mars 52

Background 53

Overall Changes 55

Family-Centric Changes 60

Romantic Comedy: 17 Again & 18 Again 73

Background 74

Overall Changes 76

Family-Centric Changes 81

Melodrama: Doctor Foster & The World of the Married 95

Background 95

Overall Changes 99

Family-Centric Changes 101

Chapter Four: Conclusion 115

Bibliography 121

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