I recently finished the South Korean TV series Memories of the Alhambra. While I enjoyed it very much, it did leave me feeling a bit unsatisfied. It has led me to believe that South Korean drama needs to end with a bit of ambiguity and/or tragedy.
By tragedy I mean the lightest touch. The sadness at the end is merely the result of the overall journey, the main romantic characters already having discovered each other a few episodes from the end and their bliss and joy, though short lived, is complete.
I hesitate to use the word ‘formulaic’ because that’s one of the reasons I’ve gone off American TV but it would appear, from my very small sample of four South Korean programmes, it is so. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that. At least you know where you are and feel you can trust the show to take you somewhere safe.
In order to watch something completely different, I’ve switched to Germany for a police drama called Dogs of Berlin. OMG, what a difference. And I have no idea where it’s going.
The thing I really love about Netflix is the possibility of watching different cultural norms. From the lightness of Japan to the black comedy of France, from the thrilling yet laugh packed series of Spain to the gritty realism of Nordic noir. It’s a glimpse into the everyday of so many different nationalities. I feel sad for people who have only one culture to feed off.
Dogs of Berlin is violent, evil, graphic and full of unlikeable characters (though, weirdly, Grimmer, the main character, while not particularly nice, is very much likeable). It is also compelling and beautifully made. Mind you, it could easily put people off ever thinking of going to Berlin.
The one thing that all of the TV shows I watch share is the ability to distract me from the endless kilometres I pedal at the gym. And what more could anyone truly ask?
Except maybe for some snowdrops in the park.