Long-term dramas

Hi :blush:

I am rather new to the kdrama world but am a huge fan regardless. What I want to know is if there are any long term running kdramas? Something like the American soapies?

If you like shows with many episodes and sometimes sequels I’d suggest Chinese dramas. They are often longer (many have 40-60 episodes, some 70-90).


K-dramas come in

  • miniseries format (16 episodes, sometimes extended to 20 or 22)
  • weekend family dramas (50 episodes, they last for 6 months)
  • dailies (100 episodes). We almost never get those on Viki. It would be hard to find volunteer teams willing to commit to them.

As has been already said, Chinese dramas are much longer (most often unnecessarily so)

1 Like

Thanks, I don’t really enjoy cdramas, have tried to start several but never got involved. I was just wondering, since I have never been to Korea what the tv landscape was like.

Yes Chinese dramas tend to be long, And I don’t think as you have said “Most often unnecessarily so.”
Being that Chinese is the oldest Asian culture, their dramas is sometime base on history or fantasy with a touch of their myths. I think personally some Chinese dramas can not just be done in a short quick fashion of episodes, there is an art to Storytelling. For example “Eternal Love” would have fell short if done in very short episodes leaving the viewers with questions not answer. I love the way Chinese give you a complete story and not a quick thank you bye.

Yes I am a lover of Chinese dramas even more so than Korean dramas, because sometime Korean dramas are ( to be clear not all ) can be quickly done with short episodes and leave you hanging in thin air. But there are exceptions like “Monster” a Korean drama with 50 episodes the cast was excellent ,and many more like “Money Flower” with episodes of 24 which was needed to end the story. That’s what good about ViKI they give you a good selection. So everyone can decide if they are willing to go for the long haul of a drama or short. Also Congratulation ! On being selected for an interview. :slight_smile: :+1:


You’re right, there are some - many - like that. After watching more than 200 k-dramas I can confidently tell you that those that leave you hanging in thin air are not so because of the “short” length (16 or 20 hours is not short, unless it’s a whole family saga!) but because of bad writing. They often drag and drag with unnecessary scenes and flashbacks and then at the very end of the last episode - pop! they resolve everything in the last two minutes, leaving lots of questions unanswered. And yes, unfortunately there are many of them like this. Including “W” which for the first half had gone up on the list of my all-time favourites and towards the end fell down hard. And “Hwayugi”, which was very good up to a certain point but then went downhill as well. But it’s not the fault of the format. They are badly done, that’s all.
This is so frequent that I think maybe ending everything quickly might be a “trope”, something Korean writers and producers think is cool, for some mysterious reason, since although we international users always protest about it, they keep doing it. Is it that the home audience likes it, just as the hateful “they met as children” and “time gap” tropes? Otherwise it’s not understandable why they keep doing those things and ruining some otherwise perfectly good dramas.

What I said about Chinese dramas is something I noticed in the ones I watched. They know they have lots of episodes so they comfortably drag the scenes without bothering to offer crisp and tight editing. A bit like something that happens with American series. In American TV-shows they often show a scene between two characters and then one of them calls his/her friend on the telephone and tells the friend what was said in the scene we just watched - with all the details!
Or maybe they seem too long because of the childish screenplays, stilted acting and blank expressions. Although there are some who are better than the rest, I have yet to see a Chinese actor who captivated me with his or her interpretation and made me say “Oh, I will search all his works and try to watch them”.


My Only One was 100 episodes long, 30-40 min each. I got to ep. 55 and then started watching something else, only because I got distracted (and also the antagonists were getting on my nerves, which means the actors were doing their job well :smile: ).
Father is Strange is also a long drama, 50 ep I believe, although I haven’t watched it. It’s on my watchlist.
Six Flying Dragons is a long drama, 50 ep, a highly-recommended saeguk drama that I actually haven’t seen yet.
There are also variety shows. There is “Running Man” and “Master in the House.” As far as I know, they have been airing for a long time now. Oh, there is also “We got Married” which is where celebrities are paired together and have to complete a challenge. It has four seasons and was running from 2008-2017.

What bothers me is when there is a flashback scene for something said only one or two episodes ago. I understand if there is a flashback to maybe the first episode or second, but the previous one? My creative writing professor gave me some advice about writing: trust the reader. A writer doesn’t need to and shouldn’t feed the reader with a silver spoon. The reader is smart enough to figure out the details and fill them in without having the writer drag on and on with them. I think the same can be applied to story-telling in dramas and movies. Some movies I watch over and over again because the storytelling is fantastic–others, it’s like “I’ve seen one, I’ve seen them all.”
Another thing is the drawn-out staring scenes where the actors are staring at each other without doing or saying anything for two minutes straight (of course I’m exaggerating).

I also have a hard time watching C dramas unless the storyline and actors are ‘fresh’ or at least have a different aspect to the usual ‘eternal love’ issue or ‘revenge story.’ I started watching Listening Snow Tower and reached ep. 22 before giving it up. The leads were too stoic for me, although the rest of the storyline was interesting and the swordfights were pretty cool. I finished a Cdrama just a few days ago called “I Am a Pet at a Dali Temple” (I watched it in YT on Spanish subtitles) that was only 22 ep. long, and although the main male lead didn’t have too much expression, the female lead made up for that. I was quite pleased with the shorter drama length because I felt that that specific story didn’t need to be dragged out. However, there were some plot holes and maybe the demise of certain characters could have been explained better, but for a quick Cdrama, I was pleased. The longest drama I’ve seen is 75 ep. from Tribes and Empires. At first, the length was daunting, but then the storyline, characters, actors, cinematography, and costumes just had me hooked. Of course the ending was chopped, but from what I researched, there were originally 80 ep, but the budget of the broadcasting company didn’t allow the filmmakers to air the last 5 ep, so the ending is awful. However, the actors, especially Zhou Yiwei, were fantastic. Sure, the drama did drag, but the actors were the saving grace there.

I know the feeling. I watch Kdramas with my favorite actors in them, such as Choi Jin Hyuk, Ji Soo, Uee and Park Bo Young. I do like watching Dilraba Dilmurat in dramas though, but I won’t watch all of her dramas and movies because I’m not a big fan of Chinese dramas.

There are some great Cdramas though. Everyone has a preference and that’s a good thing. Imagine if everyone only liked American dramas–what about the Kdramas or Cdramas or even Turkish dramas? I like that there is a type or style for just about anyone.

Unfortunately Viki, for the last two years (since the creation of Kocowa), has had a problem securing k-dramas, so the balance has started to lean overwhelmingly towards Chinese ones. Korean reality shows and vlogs don’t interest me in the least and Japanese dramas (which I also often like, when they don’t have these tragic endings) are just a trickle.
Funnily enough, the only Chinese drama which held my interest until the very end was a… school drama, A Love So beautiful. Sort of inspired from Mischievous Kiss, but much better. Very well-made.
Modern-day rom coms are awful. I tried the one with the robot boyfriend (ugh!!!), the one with the merman boyfriend (nice merman costume, though!) which for some reason I watched until the needlessly crappy ending, “I cannot hug you” (the one with the vampire girlfriend and the clean-freak boyfriend - couldn’t go further than 2 episodes), My Little Princess (only one episode for this one), what else? Oh, I recently tried the one inspired by “W”, with the author entering his own webtoon. Oh dear oh dear. The main leads are not that bad but the screenplay… Hearing that period dramas are better, I started Scarlet Heart, which I dropped after 11 episodes. And a few films, one worse than the other. At this point, if I try again, I can be safely be labeled a masochist.

1 Like

Some Chinese dramas are short, too (like 20 episodes) but then the story is mostly typical for short dramas and not that different to dramas from other countries that are also short.

Chinese dramas are often based on novels. Everyone who has ever seen a typical Western novel into movie/series adaption will know, that it lacks… a lot.
Chinese dramas give a story & characters, including side characters, the room to develop. It is more like a visual novel than that what people may define as series (usually the viewer of Chinese dramas knows the thoughts of the main figures in a similar way like the reader of a novel would know. That is something I rarely to never see in dramas of other countries).
Think about that: Games of Thrones needs around 9! years to show ~62 episodes while a Chinese drama, based on a novel, gives you ~40-60 at once, without endless waiting. Same goes for shows that aren’t novel based. You get 10-20 episodes and then you have to wait 1-2 years for the next season.

In my opinion the way the Chinese dramas are made is much better than the Western novel adaptions.

Another thing that really bothers me are all the cancelled US (and sometimes also European) shows. Also the cancelled new seasons for unfinished European shows just because the USA makes a silly remake that doesn’t keep the spirit of the origin show (but when they do a remake the European show has no chance for a new season even when the story was unfinished).
This attitude would have continued to much more Western shows I like but thanks to Netflix a few are rescued now because Netflix buys the licenses and produces new seasons by its own so the viewers get either a continued storyline or at least a proper ending and not a cut off in the middle of the story.

So for me it is relaxing to start watching a Chinese drama because I know it has enough episodes to tell the whole story and I don’t need to fear that an interesting story would be cancelled in the middle of it.

Daily life stories with so many episodes may be boring but that’s usually not the genre I’m watching and for fantasy & historical many episodes are ideal and some kind of alternate for the cool (Western) series I watched in the past that don’t exist anymore (I mean that such kind of series aren’t made anymore so I still miss them. They also had lots of episodes, sometimes around 200 over 7 years or so and they weren’t daily soaps but stories with often interesting aspects/thoughts and sometimes also social critics in it).


What I hate about Western shows like Downton Abbey etc. is that they air for a couple of months, say from October to December, and then you have to wait a whole year for next September-October to see the continuation. By then, you have completely forgotten who the characters are and what’s their story! I was lucky to jump onto the Downton Abbey wagon when five seasons were already released, and I binge-watched them, but then I never got to watch the sixth and last one, even when it became available, because I had forgotten about everything and had lost interest.
It’s been years I say to myself “Oh, I have to finish watching that one”, but I never get to do it because it would probably involve re-watching episodes of the previous seasons or search for synopses online. What a bother…

1 Like

I know that feeling. I also have some series that I “should” watch or continue watching to know the whole story with all seasons but sometimes I just can’t force myself to do it. Recently the third season of a series is released and I couldn’t really remember the second season and somehow lost the connection to it (storyline & characters) so I’m not sure if I will watch it even though I originally liked the story.

1 Like

I would not even go there, unless you are familiar with some of the Chinese writers, directors and actors and their works, they do offer crisp and tight editing. There is nothing about their works that often happen in American series.You have to understand the culture and Dynasties Periods, Chinese having blank expressions when acting sometime is because they as a people are more “reserved and calm” when excited or disappointed. In ancient or traditional times Chinese people who wanted to be noble men should show neither joy or anger.

Chinese respondents express emotions primarily through “eyes”, so naturally it would be present in their dramas. Knowing these small details about Chinese actors, their expressions are not blank it’s the “eyes” that hold the tales. We all know that from culture to culture we respond to emotions differently.
There are some great Chinese Actors and Actresses who are well known for their acting skills. One up and coming Chinese Actor is Vin Zhang Binbin ( Main player in “I Will Never Let You Go” ) and “The King’s Women” here on VIKI.

Now when it comes to my Koreans actors my number one hand up is Jang Hyuk and Ji Sung :+1: we all have our likes and dislikes I do like Korean dramas but I have to be honest and say Chinese Historical or Fantasy are my cup of tea. I try to understand both cultures I am surrounded here in California by both. : )


That’s always fascinating and something I like most about them. The eyes of Western actors are mostly empty, they don’t look like the emotion they’re playing but with Chinese actors they look as if they’re really feeling what the character feels.

It’s nice that they kept this aspect also in modern/new series. I saw it in their movies long time before the internet existed and even the young/er actors/actresses play like that.

I once saw one of my favourite actors who was usually playing “the good guy” in a “bad guy” role and it was really scary… they way he looked at the other figures…(and that wasn’t a fantasy or historical movie, it played somwhere in early or middle 19xx).


This works only if it’s a good actor. Then the scene seems full of interest. But two bad actors just blankly staring at each other with completely empty eyes… yawn…

1 Like

Lol We can agree to disagree, I think you miss the whole point to understand a people culture it take more than just watching a drama. You have to actually be in their company or present personally to know how Chinese people express their emotions. Because it is really totally different than America or Europe expression of emotions.

Most Asian including Korean, Japanese ways of expression are different just as their language is, what may mean something in English can have more than one meaning in the Asian language. I personally spend many years learning Chinese Mandarin. But yet did not fully understand until I engage myself with the people and their culture. I think ( not sure ) you are more tune into more Korean dramas than Chinese.

Yes there is also bad acting skills there as well, and dramas that seem to follow the same pattern of storytelling This work both way with Chinese and Korean, yet there is a bit of a different. For example Koreans historical dramas always seem to be center around the “Joseon Dynasty” but Chinese Dynasties are the oldest Asian, therefore they have more history for storytelling to work with.

But I do enjoy watching both culture dramas. Some Actors are A- List and some are not and yes the “Eyes” have it. Have you ever had someone stare at you or flirt with you or roll their eyes at you without saying a word ? But yet you understood the message he or she was giving you. Anyway I really enjoy communicating with you irmar it was fun, and guess what you and I did not act out the part. :wink:


Yes I totally agree with what you said in your statement about Western actors, this is something that most people don’t take the time to understand and learn that Chinese express their emotions through their “eyes” Most Asians culture are that way. And to expect any Asian actors to express emotions as the Americans or Europeans do in acting is missing the essence of real skills. :smile:

1 Like

Talking about different cultures & localisation, this video is interesting. Of course it’s something different if it is a real actor movie or an animation but sometimes it seems people do forget that local films are produced for local areas in first place and just when it’s something that the production studios want to sell world-wide they do some changes.

If you watch Netflix international originals you’ll see that they also keep the local flavour even when it’s “their own” show.

I don’t really care for Koreans regular TV dramas, some follow the same patterns. It like a TV soap opera. The rooms are usually set up within their homes the same way. The stories mostly is about poor girls love rich boys and families is against it. Yes I use to watch them all and quickly found out it’s the same patterns that occur with Koreans TV drama.

Now all of the Chinese TV dramas that I have watch was always good and with great storytelling that kept you waiting for the next episodes. But to be a bit clear “some” Koreans TV drama was actually made ready for a movie with more substance not just a boy love girl and family against it. Some made it here on VIKI to follow. All and all it depend on your own personal taste to watch a Chinese dramas there are two things to be ready for.

  1. The long episodes- Chinese directors and writers love a complete story. No cut and dry and bye.
  2. The ending may not always end like a fairy tales it’s can be a good or bad ending meaning sad.
1 Like