A wave of actors flocking to general service channels (corporate owned channels) opening soon is causing quite the buzz in South Korea. Among them, are actors Hwang Jeong Min and Kim Hye Ja. There are a couple of translated articles on this over at Hancinema too.
And really, who can blame these people? As I wrote in my latest article for Hancinema, these kind of channels are more "ahead" than public television.
They can offer more variety, good pay and the lack of cruel filming schedules and conditions for the actors. They can also offer better quality works because of it. It's not surprising then, that a lot of those who have stayed away from television for a while are now starting to take some shy steps back. And fresh ones will follow.
For the viewers, this also means that content on these channels will not be as controlled by the government (unless the company is "friendly" with it). What that may mean?
No "controlled" kissing of a woman like you're 10 just so we won't "harm the children". No characters that make themselves miserable at 30+ because their mom and dad don't like the bride. Mom and dad being anything from mean to murderers and gangsters/murderers, who apparently have rights over the "kids" just because "our country should stick to its (dated) values and respect elders no matter what kind of a nutjob they are".
Also, no need for the lack of blood and too much violence. The "moral laws" that govern public television, along with the backwards thinking of old and conservative politicians do not hold any power over works on cable and general service channels.
I know this will not change everything and public channels will still be full of propaganda, like public channels are in my country and like I assume, in every country. But it is still a major step forward. At least people have more choice now.
I am really hoping this will be a step towards better quality dramas in South Korea, attracting more big-screen actors and offering a solution for those not willing to risk life and sanity for demanding and ruthless audiences. Think about all the wonderful film artists and what great work they could do in a good quality series.
The fact of the matter is, S.Korea has extremely talented film-makers and actors. A lot of them mop the floor with the best of the best of Hollywood. And a series is a medium that can tell so much more than a movie and so differently.
I am really hoping that this will be a successful start at a new kind of bigger and better television for South Korea. The mere thought of what kind of great dramas could come from such channels and what great film actors could do with such stories fills me with such excitement.
Best of luck to this new type of broadcasts and I am sure a lot of us will be watching and supporting very closely, if this does prove to be as good as it looks.
Translated Hancinema articles here:
Stars moving to general service channels, celebrity casting success
Hwang Jeong-min, Jeong Woo-seong 'screen stars'