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TV Goes Nostalgic

2006/02/20 | 722 views | Permalink | Source

Actress Han Eun-jung, in KBS drama, "Seoul 1945", dresses in the attires of post-Liberation Korea. /Courtesy of KBS

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

These days, there are an increasing number of television dramas that provoke nostalgia of older generations, featuring stories of 30 to 50 years ago.

SBS' "Love and Ambition" is a remake of MBC's 1987 hit drama of the same title. "Love and Ambition" is a drama that takes place from the 1960s to the 1990s, focusing on the dramatic story of one family.

The hero Tae-joon, a student at a prestigious university, is the only hope of her mother, the breadwinner of the family who runs a mill. Tragically enough, one day, Tae-joon's jobless father, an eyesore of the family, is found dead at a fishing place. When it turns out that it is a revenge killing by Dong-chul, who envies Mi-ja, a lover of Tae-joon, all the family's tragedy begins.

"When it comes to a remake version of hit dramas, you have to be careful about making every detail. As the story deals with the past, you have to be careful not to make the whole drama old-fashioned. It is important to recreate it in a modern context", said Kwak Yeong-beom, a producer of the drama.

"Middle-aged viewers of the drama who experienced the real period can always question its reality and fans of the original version can always make comparisons between the two, which should be always be taken into account", said Kwak- Young-bom, a producer of the drama.

Renowned drama writer Kim Soo-hyeon(I) and a producer Kwak Yeong-bom, makers of the original version, have again teamed up after 20 years for a remake version. Riding on the trend, Kim's 1988 TV drama "Sand Castle" and a 1992 film "Snow Flower" will also be remade.

Another nostalgic drama is KBS' "Seoul 1945". It takes place in a chaotic period right after Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

The story evolves around a love rivalry between Sok-kyoung, who is a renowned pianist and a daughter of a rich pro-Japanese politician, and Hae-kyong, a head-strong servant over Woon-hyuk, whose ambition to become a lawyer gets thwarted due to his political ideology.

"The time period following Korea's liberation from Japan was filled with passion and voluntary sacrifice by so many youths who were determined to open a new age of the nation. It was the most heart-broken and tearful period of all ages, said Jeong Yeong-cheol, a producer of the drama.

"Regardless of what political ideologies they believed in, what they all wanted in common was a country of freedom and equality. Through youth characters from different social positions who represented the age, we would like to show the passionate lives they led".

"The drama is appealing because rather than focusing on political ideologies of that period, it features a dramatic love story and conflicts between different characters", said Lim Hyo-sun, 51, a fan of the drama.

EBS' "We're Still Chestnut Buds" also captures the 1960s student movement under dictatorship. Other TV programs aiming at provoking nostalgia of older generations include KBS' "Old TV", which started last October. The program introduces a cultural trend from the 1960s to 1970s with black-and-white films from that time.

Experts say that the emergence of nostalgia-provoking dramas is owed to the ageing of TV's main viewers. According to AGB Nielsen Media Research, while viewers over 50 are getting more and more attracted to TV, those in their 20s are parting from TV. While female viewers over 50 accounted for 7.9 percent of all viewers in 1992, it increased to 18.8 percent in 2006. The portion of male viewers of the same age increased from 4.8 percent to 11. 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the portion of female viewers in their 20s decreased from 13.4 percent to 9.5 percent. The portion of male viewers also decreased from 7.0 percent to 3.7 percent. "Since young viewers, centering on women in their 20s, have been distancing themselves from watching TV, middle-aged people have emerged as important TV viewers", said an official from AGB.

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