South Korea does not have many disaster films, aside from works like "Haeundae" or "The Tower". The genre is usually expensive and perhaps not as appealing to local audiences as bigger productions from abroad. For drama, this genre has only been slightly touched upon in the past with series like 'At The End Of The World', which handled an infection, rather than a disastrous event. JTBC is taking another shot at this, with Korea's first true disaster drama, "D-Day".
"D-Day" is about the operation of DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistance Team) members and general rescue crew after a devastating earthquake hits Seoul.
SM and Cost
SM C&C is funding this drama and there are two ways to look at this. On one hand, there is good money put into it. On the other, SM dramas have not done well in the past, their casting choices have been criticized and they have clearly stated they aim to please the Chinese market. For a show as expensive as this one, making that money back will be a priority. This could very well keep the drama in a people-pleasing comfort zone.
In disaster works, surviving and keeping others alive is usually the only driving force necessary. However, dramas are usually packed with story, obstacles and goals for their characters. While the generic premise of "D-Day" allows its creators to pack as little or as much character drama as needed in it, the unique nature of said premise means that good directing and engaging situations are vital in keeping it from being boring.
The drama production system has been widely criticized, and we are now seeing a wave of shows being produced before their air, fully or partially. JTBC's own "Last" has been praised for its consistency and movie-like production, as well as good filming conditions. Pre-production is key to ensuring good pacing and stable quality throughout. "D-Day" being a new concept, its pre-production will surely have given its creators all they need to cope.
Creating a new type of series has probably been very challenging, but there is a saving grace to disaster works. Because the plot is mostly event- and crisis-driven, it is very easy to create suspense and audience investment without using complicated ideas and deep character development. It requires less complexity to write in a way that makes it entertaining.
"D-Day" is new territory for everyone. It is new for the drama industry, viewers and its creators. There are a lot of things which can go wrong and SM's failure to balance success and quality in the past is particularly worrying, but this show's genre gives it good potential for entertainment value. The cast looks capable, the promotional shots and videos look good and the series will hopefully be as good as it appears.
"D-Day" begins its run on September 18th and will air every Friday and Saturday at 20:30, on jTBC.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "D-Day""
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