Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Faith" Vs. "Time Slip Dr. Jin": There's Enough DeLoreans For Everybody!

Faith and Doctor Jin

Can you hear that? Shhh... Be quiet... Can you hear the sound of bullshit going back and forth? Yes, this is what often happens with Korean entertainment. Companies suing each other for "stealing" things that the whole friggin' world has been "stealing" and re-using everywhere around us. Also, companies suing people who dare change who they work with if the shit hits the fan and they no longer want to be slaves.

Korean entertainment is no picnic. I've talked about this before, although I did not focus on one issue only. What happens behind the scenes is probably more vile and dirty and corrupted than we can imagine. But Koreans have this interesting trait about them (Greeks do too). They seem to think they can bullshit their way into and out of everything. Everyone is pretending and silly arguments circulate like the flu.

"Time Slip Dr. Jin" is based on the Japanese manga "Jin" and it is about a modern day doctor who gets catapulted into the past, when medicine and technology were still very young and/or non-existent. "Faith" had the same idea for the main plot.

To make a long story short, "Time Slip Dr. Jin" sued "Faith" for stealing its plot and got sued back, with a company's claim that the writer for "Time Slip Dr. Jin" broke his contract to work with them. Details and who exactly sued whom can be found here. That is not the issue that I'm talking about in this post.

What I want to talk about is the absurdity of this whole fight. A fight which could very well be done to get some attention to both series, by the way, but that's the ultimate conspiracy scenario (although a very common one).

Didn't Do It!

For one thing, I remember "Faith" having the time traveling doc as part of the plot way in its early stages, when Kang Ji Hwan was still cast as the lead. Here is a very nice video showing how the soul of the modern day doctor turned into a butterfly and traveled back in time. This is the footage that was shot when Kang Ji Hwan was part of it and it had the English title of "The Great Doctor". From what I see, "Faith" would have been a great series about a doctor who travels back in time and has supernatural powers. So, if this is somehow similar to "Jin", shouldn't the mangaka or their company sue "Faith" if they used a bit too much of their plot? Why does the Korean series "Time Slip Dr. Jin" do that instead, when "Faith" clearly featured this idea first?

Oh Look! Modern Times!
I am not the brightest of people, but the trailer clearly showed soul-swapping and time travel.

But let's say I'm wrong here. Let's say "Faith" did decide to use the same idea for a plot after the other series had. Exactly why is it plagiarism? Were there actual parts being stolen or do these people claim the same type of idea should be used by one production alone? If that was the norm, Hollywood would not exist. Books would not exist. No artistic work would exist. Because guess what; most of those are inspired by and similar to other works. They are even adapted from other mediums.

So my question here is, why? No need to go far for another example of two similar stories. "Rooftop Prince" and "Queen In Hyun's Man" could sue each other too. Hell, plots about killing queens (ok, one was the Crown Princess), guy traveling from Joseon to modern day Seoul, same genre. Clearly, they wanted to compete and they are doing just that. So, why the big deal about something that always happens anyway (which can also produce very different and good shows)?

Queen In Hyun's Rooftop Prince
Two very different series, showing how a same basic idea does not mean an exact copy.

Do you know what this says about the production which does the suing? "We're not confident enough about our own work so we try to eliminate the (possibly better) competition". That is what you let people think (people who do think, that is) when you take such unnecessary measures against another similar production.

The same happens when you counter-sue based on such a crazy argument as "The writer was ours first!". If he stole the work he was obligated to give to your company through contract, sue him for that. Why sue the other production for using the writer who left your company on his own and did not even steal that piece of work the lawsuit happens over from you? Although I would understand if the "Faith" producers (which I am guessing are behind the counter-lawsuit) are a little pissed with all the obstacles in their way by now. They've had a lot. I feel sorry for the creative people in these situations and the productions and agencies are not helping.

My point here is, such pathetic fights are not fooling anyone. All they do is show how spiteful, self-absorbed and insecure the Korean drama industry and its people are. If you put half the effort you do when sabotaging each other into actually writing good stories and taking care of your productions and talented staff and cast, Korean series would be a much more beautiful thing.

In other words, grow a damn vagina and fight fair and with your skills. Because when people compete fairly and try their best, they give us, the audience, even better results. You do still remember we are the ones you are doing all these things for, right? Well, the talented people who work for you do. You do get shit loads of money from them, so get over your greediness and stop whining because you don't want to spend a bit more on making unique works or giving some talented people more opportunities.

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