For the latter half of 2016, light-hearted romantic comedies dominated Korean television. To truly understand just how big said light-hearted romcoms were during that span of time, all one has to do is list the majority of K-dramas that were considered romcoms. Fantastic, Uncontrollably Fond, My Wife's Having an Affair this Week, Shopping King Louis, Jealousy Incarnate, Moonlight Over Clouds, and Weightlifting Kim Bok Joo are all considered such.
The Orion Cinema Network (OCN) changed all that by leading the way with their edgy melodramatic thriller Voice. For those who don't know, the K-drama starring Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na is notorious for its depictions of violence and shock aversion in which are necessary for the K-drama's story to be authentic as it is based off of true events. Though K-drama fans, especially those in South Korea, were initially flabbergasted, it kept them on the edge of their seats, resulting in the highest viewership ratings OCN has enjoyed with any K-drama.
However, Voice's depictions of violence and shock aversion proved to be too much for certain K-drama viewers (probably those who happen to stumble on the K-drama late in the series) resulting in it being reviewed for censorship. Despite this, Voice still dominated in viewership.
One of the reasons K-drama fans believe viewership did not drop after censorship review is that OCN did not bend backwards to it. Instead of changing their direction, they changed the age rating to a mature rating. Now that Voice has concluded, its producing director has come forward and opened up about its new mature rating and how it compares to violence in real life.
During an interview on March 13, just one day after Voice concluded airing, producing director Kim Hong Sun was interviewed on the K-drama, specifically its success, what he thought about the cast and crew, and the like, as reported by Soompi. However, the big topic talked about during the interview was the age rating.
"We debated for a long time between a 15+ and 19+ rating. But we were worried that if we portrayed violence only symbolically, it might end up looking like a caricature. We chose to depict violence honestly and realistically. Real life is more violent and cruel than TV. We tried to depict as accurately as possible the real experiences of people who have gone through these things."
Kim Hong Sun also credits the rest of the cast and crew for delivering such a great K-drama. Since the beginning, they kept it honest too.
"Along with Jang Hyuk and Lee Ha Na, the supporting actors and the actors who play the attackers and victims all came into this drama with one mind. They wanted to give an honest portrayal of real-life incidents. They had that responsibility in mind when they were acting."
As shown in the images provided in this article, depictions of violence and shock aversion was far more graphic than anything usually seen in K-dramas, even on Korean cable channels. Since such was very rare to non-existent in K-dramas, the cast and crew struggled to deliver a worthwhile product. For example, Lee Ha Na talked about how it was stressful to be in a burlap sack and buried alive for one scene especially since the sack was too small for her frame.
Thankfully, the Voice cast and crew were able to deliver a phenomenal K-drama as it concluded with the highest viewership ratings for OCN as recorded by TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea. Nationwide viewership averaged at 3.8 percent for the former and 4.357 percent for the latter. AGB Nielsen Korea also recorded the Seoul National Capital Area average too at 4.368 percent.
Nevertheless, congratulations to Voice and OCN on delivering such an amazing K-drama many fans enjoyed watching. Let's hope that the next K-drama taking its place Tunnel is just as good or even better. As for K-drama fans who are now interested in checking out why Voice was so good, it can be viewed in its entirety on DramaFever, Viki, and OnDemandKorea depending on region.
[Featured Image by the Orion Cinema Network (OCN)]