But why would Viki add Backstreet Rookie after criticising it so harshly? And for good reason too!

Backstreet Rookie was swept up in controversy for showing sexually suggestive material including a scene in which an underage student approaches an adult for cigarettes and ends up kissing him, a scene involving sex workers, a camera angle sweeping up from bottom of high school students dancing at karaoke, an explicit scene of a webtoon author taking a shower, a room with a nude female portrait, and a scene in which an author made moaning noises while drawing an explicit webtoon that emphasized a woman’s body.

This is what Viki’s own news and gossip website soompi reported on one of the most controversial Kdrama ever.

A year and 6,384 civil complaints later, Viki has decided to add it to its lineup. Why? I just don’t understand. The content hasn’t changed. It’s just as offensive as it was last year.




Maybe because, Ji Chang Wook, & Kim YooJung is in it :woman_facepalming:t5:
Ji Chang-Wook on Asian Wiki
Dal Sik’s character


Well, for one for the cast, and they might think the global community can take it. I think it is as simple as this, and you never know, maybe it was not as expensive. What do we know?


@lutra @leerla73
I think you’re both right, thank you.


Gosh, the number of Viki K-dramas of various kinds featuring muscular, near-naked men has been pretty large and steady (no pun intended) the entire time I’ve been a member.

And female “fan service” featuring high school students in mini-skirts, especially in the person of girl gang members . . . that’s pretty regularly been a feature of Viki K-dramas of various kinds as well.

Nude portraits? A fat virgin webtoon designer trying to figure out what his boss means by erotic? A webtoon emphasizing a woman’s body that is so tame compared to real hentai that it looks like a scribble in a school notebook?

I wonder just how many truly suggestive, fan-service-y, six-pack-in-the-shower K-dramas in Viki’s collection people had to ignore in order to think Backstreet Rookie was a threat of some kind?

Compared to, I don’t know . . . Coffee Prince? Goblin? Doom? Many, many historical dramas? All the music videos of all the K-pop boy bands EVER? All the music videos of all the K-pop girl bands EVER?

In a side by side comparison, Back Street Rookie seems in bad taste only because it’s so DUMB.

If Ji Chang Wook was trying to fulfill some contractual obligation that got interrupted by COVID-19, or if the writers got sick, too, or if his sole motivation was to pay off some outstanding debt in a hurry, that could easily explain why Back Street Rookie is so shallow and cheesy.

But it doesn’t explain why there are NO lawsuits pending regarding many other Viki assets that are MUCH MORE sexually suggestive and demeaning to women.


Actually, one of the most suggestive dramas of this year was none other than a fantasy saeguk Mr. Queen. The amount hidden innuendos in there was astonishing. Even the poster itself features a hangul version of the Playboy magazine.

I’m now reading reviews on MDL fo Backstreet Rookie. The bottom line is that the first episodes are there to shock the audience into prejudice towards the main characters, while the rest of the drama allows the audience to truly get to know the characters and why they made mistakes they did.

Personally, I love a good I-was-wrong-but-now-I’m-a-decent-person story.


I can’t disagree with you on that. But I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say I’m not into those six-pack-in-the-shower scenes. I’m weak like that. :sweat_smile:

But in this case, I think it has to do with the fact that the main character is a minor, still in middle school actually, yet she’s into an older guy. They even kiss. The complaint is that minors are being sexualised. In fact, there are are several complaints… 6,384 to be exact… :grimacing:


You hit the nail right on the spot. What a horrible DUMB drama. I was so angry to see two wonderful actor/actress wasting their time in this crappy story. What was more incredible the way his mother screamed at him like she was some kind of wild animal. The Ending? I have never seen such a crappy ending in k drama history.



I didn’t know she was considered a minor. How old is she? I have seen her in so many dramas for 8 years now, and (imo) she has to be at least 18 or 19 years old.
I thought he was 27 and he’s 34 yrs old. What a baby face he has.


I was curious about this too. In real life she is 21, but I don’t know how old her character is supposed to be, as I have not seen the drama. The ages that are considered ‘minor’ and ‘adult’ are different in Korea than where I am in the U.S. Also, I believe the grade and school demarcations are completely different from the U.S. too. Here, middle school kids are aged 11 to 14, but I don’t know what the age range is for middle school in Korea, I just know it’s different. My point being, this might come into play as @lutra stated:

Lord knows the amount of sexualization of young people in American TV (where I am). You’d be hard pressed to find high school dramas where the leads aren’t making out all over the place or even engaging in sexual activity. So they may feel like some global audiences will be more accepting.


I haven’t watched even the whole first episode, but she was a minor for less than 15 minutes before ‘3 years later’ happened. Don’t get me wrong, I found that scene absurd and very inappropriate, but it appears like she’s no longer a minor when they meet again.

Edit - Ok, he says she’s 22, which puts her as 21 internationally, which means she was probably 18 & in 12th grade when she kissed him, it still has the eew factor but not as bad as if she was 16. So far though I’m not much liking the drama even though I really like the actors.


I feel like I’m drifting a little from the main topic of this thread, so I’ll summarize:


I haven’t watched American TV (other than Hallmark) in a couple years - ever since I discovered Asian dramas. I know as a child/teenager/young adult, I always felt a little disillusioned with shows geared toward my age group because it was nearly impossible to find characters who represented me and the path I had chosen for myself in terms of morality and sexuality. And I don’t mean to take the conversation down that personal road, but I just wanted to point out that I felt like those characters were unicorns, and it’s part of the reason I’m drawn to Asian dramas. The characters in school dramas are often much more representative of my personal school days.


I usually watch other genres but I remember seeing Backstreet Rookie on Netflix last year when the show was on air. I watched the first episode and that was it. I didn’t realize there was some controversy about this show at the time. Thanks for sharing the article on Soompi. It appears the one issue was, the show maker turned a 19+ rated webtoon into a 15+ kdrama. I don’t know if the controversy would have gone away if 1) the production kept the show a 19+ rated when it was broadcasted in Korea or 2) if Viki rated it “M” or “R” instead of the current “PG13”.


My main gripe is that first they criticise it, and then they license it. Just as others have said, I think it was really cheap, so they just threw it in the pile with all the other low-budget stuff.

I so miss the curated days of DramaFever


Your quote above is close to the drama, Doctors here on Viki. Exception is, it’s High School. I loved the story, the actors, and actresses in it, also their OSTs! :seedling: Mint!


@adrianmorales Observant, as always. :sunglasses::coffee:

I remember this drama was swept up in controversy back then when it was on-air. As a JCW fan, I was waiting for him to appear on the air, but couldn’t watch pass the first episode, and eventually dropped it.

When I saw it on Viki’s landing page lately, and right at the top in peak prominence, I did wonder about the rationale behind that. I guess streaming entertainment has become extremely competitive, and so it is perhaps becoming more and more about shock and awe these days. :open_mouth::scream:

@misswillowinlove Some good points there. Some K-dramas seem to be getting bolder and bolder, as if the literal K-wave is getting out of control, or perhaps trying to override in greater intensity the other film-making meccas of Hollywood (which I deem already decadent and getting worse) and Bollywood (which I don’t know much about). :roll_eyes::roll_eyes:


In Europe 18 is the legal age of an adult. Kissing (and groping) someone much older than you doesn’t represent much of a problem at that age.

That’s a very fair point. But here I wouldn’t criticise Viki for getting the licence, as much as I would criticise Soompi (and other websites) for artificially making a controversy where one should not be made.


Well if you want to bother about the age of the female lead and the age gap between the main actors, then look what Viki got in the J-drama corner, I think it is much worse, but that might be another topic.


One thing I’ve noticed: Soompi isn’t very heavily integrated with Viki/just made for promotions for Viki. They write about everything because I think it’s one of the most trusted Korean entertainments news sites. They report about every show and whatever controversies/awards they get/ So many of the dramas they report on or promote aren’t even on Viki. Some of their writers are just fangirls and not reporters.

You can check through the site to verify what I’m saying. I’ve relied on Soompi for information ever since I got into Korean entertainment. They write about everything. Soompi’s article writers don’t seem to have any connection to Viki’s licensing. Viki licenses whatever, Soompi writes about whatever. If they really were so invested in promoting Viki, they would have written about the jdramas/TW dramas here or some more news about cdramas. They usually just keep everything Korean, I’ve seen only a few articles recommending cdramas and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any on jdramas.


Oh Yeah, I noticed that Viki has added a bunch of Jdramas. Eh, they all range from the super weird/funny – see You’re my Pet – to the super twisted/depressing – see Scum’s Wish – but if that’s your thing… Happy viewing! I want to watch them too, not the depressing ones, though. :clapper: :sweat_smile: