Experimenting and taking risks is not typical behavior for the Korean drama industry. KBS2 has been making great, even if not very successful efforts in diversity and its new Friday and now also Saturday timeslot is one example. Taking things one step further, "Producers" uses a powerhouse cast and production team to create a possible mix of formats between variety and drama.
The series depicts the work done in the entertainment branch of a broadcasting company, with characters such as the titular producers as well as performers, writers and others working hard to create popular shows.
Experimenting vs. Expectations
Other shows have featured the behind the scenes happenings of entertainment before, but the original announcements about the episode number and type of this hint at a variety-drama hybrid. Audiences, however, have expectations. Especially with such popular participants. So will this really attempt something new or will the temptation to turn it into a standard money maker win?
Reliance on Star Power
The inevitable always has to be asked with famous stars abroad. Will they really focus on story or just rely on the star power to appeal? The promotional material is already quite uninspired, confusing and bland and aside from creating hype for the cast, it does not really do much in terms of enticing viewers. The worst case scenario here is that the production team's wishes for something different will clash with popular demand or old habits and create a show without a clear identity.
While the expectations it raises are always worrisome in a medium eager for popularity over all else, the cast is nothing short of well-rounded and great. IU and Kim Soo-hyun are both very popular actors audiences have already accepted through their works while Gong Hyo-jin and Cha Tae-hyun are versatile and respected artists with experience and great careers. There is a good balance here and the members in the main, but also supporting cast are ones who can deliver.
Experienced Production Team
Writer Park Ji-eun is responsible for the mega-hit 'My Love from the Star', so a lot is expected here. The main PDs, Pyo Min-soo and Seo Soo-min have both worked on a number of shows in their respective formats as well. This is an established team where each member has very known and even some very well received works in their past. Experience or even past successes will not automatically make this a quality work, but trust is important when it comes to creators.
Promotional issues are common for Korean drama and so what is shown is rarely a great indication of future quality. The industry is no doubt thirsty for financial success, especially given the declining ratings in the last couple of years. Despite those worries, seeing popular creators and stations willing to try new things is encouraging. A lot can be learned through trial and error, but "Producers" can hopefully show more of what has been learned than what still needs to be.
"Producers" begins its run on May 15th and will air every Friday and Saturday at 21:15, on KBS2.
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] "Producers""
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