I started watching dramas about a year or so ago. I started with J-dramas because I wanted to see the live action version of mangas. THEN, I discovered Kdramas, and things never became the same. As of early 2017, I have now become addicted to C-dramas. To be honest, I judged. Severely. First of all, they are just not as popular. Second, to me, Chinese just didn't sound as "pretty" and all the idioms made it harder to understand, subs aside. Third, the dubbing was kind of irritating. And finally, the censorship screenings gave my judgmental, ethnocentric mind a "big brother is watching" vibe. But then I tried watching Love O2O and the rest history. Really, what C-dramas do right, they do SO right. Lesson learned: don't judge.
I tend to rate dramas subjectively rather than objectively. A bad drama that entertains me will usually get a higher rating than a good drama that bores me (I know exactly how mature that makes me sound LOL).
Opinion on Dramas:
To me, the female lead is one the most important things in a drama. Good or bad, for me, a drama with a good female lead + bad plot > bad female lead + good plot. Thus, I am always looking for dramas with strong female leads.
But then I kind of wondered, what does a strong female lead even mean? It's too vague of a term, and if I really think about it, it's actually hard NOT to classify most female leads (FL) as strong. In reality, anyone who has harsh life circumstances (major money problems, death of a loved one, being bullied, etc.) but is still able to remain bright, positive and pure-hearted, helping everyone in need and seeing the best in everyone? Err, the first thing I would think is
"wow, she's so strong. I wish I could be like that." And, I don't think physically weak = weak or head-strong = strong (a quiet, delicate FL can be just as "strong" as a loud, athletic one).
So, then, I realized the problem wasn't so much the FL herself, but what the drama DID with her. It's not that she is not capable, it's that the drama doesn't let her be.
It goes back to the concept of "Men Act, Woman Are" by John Berger. His main point was this: men look and woman are looked at. Men can do things, but women can only react. Men are in on the action, saving the day, finding the missing clue, solving the mystery while women are on the sidelines, sitting and waiting, or worse, oblivious to it all.
This was like my AHA moment. My problem with dramas were like this. I'm a complete sucker for gushy, romantic dramas with devoted, protective male leads. But one can't be protective if there is nothing to protect, no? Enter the female, who is put into a dilemma, and well, she can't save herself; otherwise, how else can you make the male lead so cool and heroic?
Here began my new objective: finding dramas that don't fall into this trap. More than finding dramas with "strong female leads", finding dramas that give the FL a chance to be strong. A drama where she is in on the action just as much as the male leads, or she has her a separate set of problems, unrelated to him, that she solves on her own. Or honestly, any drama that doesn't bring the male lead up at the expense of putting the FL down.