Judging a Drama by Its Cover

They say that you shouldn't form an opinion about dramas (or anything) from their appearance only. But I disagree! At least in my case, it is always the cover that attracts my attention first, then the title and then everything else. If a cover is unsightly or poorly done, I might even skip the drama altogether... and perhaps miss out on all the fun!

So...  do you see how important drama covers are? In this article, I'm going to discuss this topic and present my favorite posters/covers. So stay tuned!

☆ The Flashy & Breathtaking Covers ☆

Y4BQgx63_245869_c2x.jpg  W19kxkD3_4e3741_c2x.jpg  D3mkgqD1_14538d_c2x.jpg      The Princess Wei Young           The Empress of China                       The Four      

When it comes to extremely flashy covers, Chinese historical dramas are definitely the most famous. They also tend to release a series of accompanying posters for each character and a couple of additional covers for the drama itself, as flashy as the main cover of course. This practice is rarely seen in Japan; on the other hand, Korean dramas have started this trend, but it seems like nothing can top the Chinese ones (yet). 

71NQJlk4_c1c4e5_c2x.jpg  PLplGwEL_7de4c1_c2x.jpg  PLpn79D4_ea765e_f.jpg          Meteor Garden                    Ruler:Master of the Mask            Song of Phoenix  

It is interesting to note that most of the dramas with extremely gorgeous covers tend to belong to the historical genre. This can be contributed to the fact that all Asian countries have rich and complex cultures with outstanding costumes, landscapes, architecture etc.

E1VOxowL_695db2_c2x.jpg  PLpGgn61_1950b0_c2x.jpg  D457j6BL_fad2dc_c2x.jpg  Scholar Who Walks the Night     Fighter of the Destiny             The Super Royal Highness

It is completely normal for the human eye to get drawn in by beautiful things; so when you take a look at a fabulous drama cover, you start unconsciously associating its good visuals with the good direction and production of the drama itself. Of course, it is not always like that, but you get what I'm saying - a pretty cover can do wonders and attract many viewers.

91MVkgEL_4e96ee_f.jpg  71gjZRY4_cb7b88_f.jpg  W19wB0o3_c22c71_f.jpg   Princess of Lanling King     The Glory of Tang Dynasty       The Legend of Flying Daggers

The three covers above are not the main covers, they're simply promotional ones. However, I find them more beautiful.

mLnnREOL_c16fe0_c2x.jpg  M4PJ6vNL_c31141_c2x.jpg  W47QamAL_98554e_c2x.jpg        The Endless Love                            Dear Archimedes                       Hero's Dream

They look like movie posters, right?

Y4aAgv24_aac63e_c2x.jpg  jLl9pbb3_6ffc84_c2x.jpg  Y4BEn7m3_52d615_c2x.jpg The Legends of Monkey King        Princess Agents                             A Life Time Love


☆ The Simple & Pretty Covers ☆

577508197145698052_a999db14_f.jpg  81yeNX01_ffe24e_c2x.jpg  74K76xm4_13f0ff_c2x.jpg               Cruel Romance             Love Through a Millennium                Tao Hua Yuan  

Then we have the simple-yet-very-pretty-covers category. Dramas that belong to this category are mostly the romantic ones with lots of nostalgia or melodrama. The covers are usually in soft pastels that lure you in with a promise of good romance and heart-wrenching drama.

☆ The Simple yet Meaningful Covers ☆

81yWRnz3_6844a2_c2x.jpg  M4PxNyN4_4d6796_c2x.jpg  Y4BExK03_f1e461_c2x.jpg             Doctor Romantic                               13 Terrors                              Ouroboros

The simple yet meaningful covers are usually overlooked and you get to understand their wittiness only after having completed the drama. For example:

Doctor Romantic is cute but also hints at the possible relationship between the three main characters. Have they all dreamed of being doctors and what prompted them to choose that profession?

When you take a closer look at the 13 Terrors cover, you will notice that plots and clues from each case can be found in the picture. Very smart and creepy I must say.

I have always loved the faceless woman from the Ouroboros cover. Those who watched the drama know that she is the central pillar of the whole plot.

W19we6Q3_df3c23_c2x.jpg  Y4BQXEE3_6b4fb9_f.jpg  71NkyZWL_860f79_f.jpg            Cheese in the Trap                          Star April                                   Last Friends

There's nothing special about Cheese in the Trap, but I still love the abundance of cheeses on the table :) The promotional cover is great too, hinting at the "entrapment" the main female character goes through.

The Star April cover is not very meaningful, but I've always liked to believe that she is leaving the stage as if she's had enough of her life as a celebrity.

Last Friends is pretty easy because it is explained in the drama too: the fate is represented as a red thread; our fates get intertwined with the fates of other people and our actions affect the others, both in a positive and negative way.

☆ The Boring yet Favorite Covers ☆

O3oWY9r3_e4bb8c_c2x.jpg  12038725941434980_a89f53a5_c2x.jpg  PLpnKER4_59bce2_c2x.jpg           It Started with a Kiss                    Hana Yori Dango                           Sleepeeer Hit!

And finally, these are my personal favorites. I'm not a fan of the Itazura na Kiss franchise, but the cover of this Taiwanese remake left an impression on me. I like how they are showing Xian Qin being a busybody and moving around the cardboard characters - that's exactly what she always does - pressures others and interferes. 

Hana Yori Dango is simply iconic. I love the bright colors and the manga characters behind the actors. I've always loved it.

Sleepeeer Hit! is one of my favorite Asian dramas and the cover is probably the most boring cover ever! I mean, it looks as if it took only 10 minutes for someone to finish it in Photoshop! I've always wondered in anger "couldn't they think of something else?!" And I must admit, the cover was the reason why I avoided the drama like it was the plague. Luckily, the positive reviews changed my mind.

The Conclusion

Visually beautiful covers will always attract more viewers... and the more viewers, the more popular the drama gets.

However, that does not mean that the quality of a drama should be judged by how beautiful or boring its cover is. 

My belief is, if you read positive comments or the plot intrigues you, even if the cover puts you off - give that drama a chance. You never know, perhaps you will fall in love with it just as I did with Sleepeeer Hit! :)

Which drama covers are your favorites?

Thanks for reading! xxx

Comments (35)

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  • Reply
    Wednes Jun 8, 2017 - edited

    This is totally me. You all should go browse documentary films because they have the best covers, and you'll end up adding 100+ items to your Plan to Watch list like I did yesterday. (But in the end I removed them all and bookmarked them instead because my Plan to Watch list was about to explode.) Great article <3

  • Reply
    tattylovestofly Jun 2, 2017

    Back to my rant about the god awful cover of Golden Chicken xD

  • Reply
    MareSoares May 31, 2017

    It was a great article!
    I still have to chose my favorite. Hmm for now, I think the cover of "Reverse" of this season is very interesting :)

  • Reply
    kurenai May 31, 2017

    i like your article it is unique and different than other articles
    my favorite drama cover is bridal mask cover because it is really mysterious

  • Reply
    kez May 30, 2017

    Wow. My eyes are pleased. I love all the covers in this article!! <3

  • Reply
    lily_b May 30, 2017 - edited

    I love some Chinese dramas and I've been disappointed by others. I'm still going to take a closer look on the ones you've showed here because they are SO gorgeous so it makes me wish the dramas are wonderful enough to match them. :) Most of the time, though, the way the cover looks don't push me away from watching a drama. Sometimes, though, a good cover pulls me in. :)

  • Reply
    chante May 30, 2017

    I missed out watching some good dramas when they were airing because of the cover image. Then I happen to see a clip about it on YouTube or read something about it, then its like oh I need to check it out. When it's unknown actors then from the title, cover or synopsis if I don't like 2 out the 3 I won't have any plans to watch it.

  • Reply
    Rouzmary May 29, 2017 - edited


    Those 4 are usually what brings me in to watch a drama. Or a rare sometime it's a music video of the drama someone's made that I've seen on youtube, those also manage to lure me in, but I'd still check the 4 before I start watching it ^^

    But you're right, the pretty covers pull me in - either gorgeous pretty like those of Chinese historicals or simple pretty like those with romance, however those like Cheese in the trap, Itazura Na Kiss, It Stasted with a Kiss and Sleepeeer Hit? NO way, those make me avoid the dramas like they're the plague *shudders*

    Aside from the pretty covers (of all variety) I also like those who have a meaning or connection with the drama's plot, not necessary anything secretive that gets revealed, but more like symbolic ;)

  • Reply
    Lucy May 29, 2017 - edited

    I like suspense and mystery so much that sometimes I just want to tear the poster apart when it reveals so much about the story. But at the same time, I don't like simple and boring covers either. For example, you are the second person to talk positively about Sleepeeer Hit! yet every time I see the cover I feel discouraged. I don't feel like giving it a try any sooner.

    • Reply
      Ceki May 29, 2017

      Exactly, the cover is terrible! lol But give it a try, the drama is amazing! If you love manga in general, that is.

  • Reply
    FoxyLadyArtist May 29, 2017

    I do actually pay attention to the covers, it makes me want to read the synopses and judge by those two-factors if I wish to watch this.
    Also I will have a look at sleepeeer Hit! now. ;)

  • Reply
    minhsuga May 28, 2017

    I actually don't pay much attention to the covers. I judge dramas by synopses I find on the web, and pretty strictly too.

  • Reply
    All_In May 28, 2017

    I usually determine which drama I want to watch based on a story synopsis and occasionally on a favorite actor. I enjoy the covers, but I agree it is totally hit and miss. Joseon Gunman has beautiful covers, and the Korean audience liked it but most international fans didn't take to it though I actually liked it more than most because I liked the history involved. Then there can be simple covers like with Fantastic and it can be such a pleasant surprise. I wonder if a cover can be a problem like in Saimdang where viewers seemed surprised there was so much modern story when most of the covers had been historical ( and they were beautiful).

  • Reply
    amourexdile May 28, 2017

    I look at them when I am skimming through the list of upcoming dramas. I don't really pay attention to the actual content of the poster so much as I do the mood. I like darker shows so I look for posters with a dark mood. Then I read the synopsis to see if the show sounds interesting.

  • Reply
    Gulsen May 28, 2017

    Covers are important to me.!
    One of the best covers for the show: Shopping King Louis, I Hear Your Voice,Descendants of the Sun...

  • Reply
    blackswindler May 28, 2017

    Chinese dramas always have the most beautiful covers and at the same time they are the most boring shows (it's my personal opinion so you might disagree). Korean dramas' covers are also beautiful but also they are more modest - I would say they are more classy (both covers and dramas). So to sum up, having better content, korean dramas don't need to bombard a viewer with a visual splendour like chinese movies do.

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