[HanCinema's News] MBC Enjoys Improved Profile Thanks to "Big Mouth"
By William Schwartz | Published on
On August 13th, the legal thriller "Big Mouth" on MBC broke the 10% ratings mark for the first time, earning 10.8% ratings in its sixth episode. The strong performance suggests that MBC's current attempt to brand itself as a platform for more serious, professionally oriented dramas is showing effective results. This approach had also been seen with the predecessor of "Big Mouth" in its timeslot, the legal medical hybrid "Doctor Lawyer" starring So Ji-sub in the leading role.
Despite the silly, straightforward title, "Doctor Lawyer" enjoyed a fairly solid following throughout its run from June through July. "Doctor Lawyer" opened with ratings of 5.2% in its first episode on June 3rd, and ending with ratings of 7% of July 23rd. The improvement was a modest one, but the similarly genre-oriented "Big Mouth" maintained much of the audience of "Doctor Lawyer" with opening ratings of 6.2% on July 29th.
The change in branding by MBC coincides with Disney+ taking a similar direction in distribution. Disney+ licenses both "Doctor Lawyer" and "Big Mouth" overseas, although it does not provide streaming of the dramas in all international territories. While South Korean television dramas are most popularly known for romantic comedies, international K-drama fans have long been interested in more serious thrillers with intelligent leads attempting to outwith conspiracies.
"Big Mouth" was also a big escalation in star power relative to "Doctor Lawyer" with Lee Jong-suk and Yoona in leading roles. Both actors have strong romantic reputations, and in "Big Mouth" they play a husband and wife. But the dynamic is far more collaborative than cute, and represents an advancement in their perceived range much as it does the evolution of MBC. These combined attributes have led "Big Mouth" to be a hit both domestically and abroad.
While "Big Mouth" is the only major MBC drama on air right now, MBC is also experimenting with the mystery thriller "Hunted" that deals with a wild boar hunt. "Hunted" had ratings of 3.1% on August 1st down to 1.2% on August 8th. Despite the second week fall, there was noteworthy interest in the short drama's first week given the relatively weak publicity, suggesting past and potential future improvement. "Hunted" is available via KOCOWA (Americas).
Written by William Schwartz
"Big Mouth" is directed by Bae Hyun-jin, Oh Choong-hwan, written by Kim Ha-ram, and features Lee Jong-suk, Yoona, Kim Joo-hun, Yang Kyung-won, Kim Jung-hyun-I, Lee Yoo-joon. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2022/07/29~Now airing, Fri, Sat 21:50 on MBC.
Where to WatchPowered by
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.