Why Are Filipinos So Into Foreign Dramas?
“What makes a great CEO?”
“There’s no such thing. That’s as absurd as asking what makes a great politician. There’s no right answer to politics or management. Why look for answers that don’t exist? Instead of looking for answers, make choices. Whatever you choose, you will be criticized. You can’t make any decisions if you are afraid of criticisms. And if you can’t make decisions, you can’t be a CEO. What do you want to be, a good person or a CEO? Don’t be greedy, you can’t be both.”
Such powerful lines, isn’t it? But it’s not from an inspirational or leadership book. It’s from a drama I’ve watched recently. It’s entitled “Start Up”, a story about trying to reach a dream of starting up a business. Great watch! One of the reasons why I personally prefer foreign dramas to local ones is that I learn useful things from other perspectives albeit too dramatic at times.
My preference for non-local dramas is a preference shared by many. We do have great actors, talented writers and hardworking producers. But why are foreign dramas such as Korean, Chinese, Thai, Western series among others are watched by Filipinos instead of our own? A streaming site data proves it’s true.
Here’s my take;
- Repetitive plot
Even a famous director expressed what most Filipinos’ lament about; the lack of substance in the story and the lack of creativity. Most dramas revolve around
- revenge/conflict between siblings or family members regarding birthright and money,
- babies switched at hospitals resulting to main character becoming poor then earning her rightful place in her rich family,
- main character having amnesia,
- other woman/love affair where the husband ditches his wife then the wife becomes extremely pretty before taking revenge, and
- poorly conceptualized/executed fantasy stories of a poor character turning into a superhero for having a good heart (cinematography and effects need improvement, too).
Even the dialogues are too dramatic; cringe-worthy at best. It always involves the ‘underdog, from rags to riches’ story. A lot of heavy drama and crying scenes unlike the foreign counterparts where they deal with realistic and relevant subjects.
2. Predictable Ending
These recurring and common plots lack the twists and turns that make viewers anticipate the next episode. They don’t stimulate the brain so much as to what could happen next. Dramas watched on local channels almost all have happy endings. It’s like watching the first 2 to three episodes already gives away what the ending would be. No thrill.
In addition, the dialogues are always dramatic or cheesy/over-the-top, something that you could never see nor hear in real life.
3. Different title, same faces.
Although there is no scarcity of great actors and actresses in the country, already famous figures top bill the projects to ensure ratings especially with major networks. It is because there is the so-called ‘Network war’, networks fighting for higher ratings. Networks are very particular about their rivalry and which one have the bigger viewership, hence, they don’t often take risks on giving out roles to new faces in the industry. Fresh faces or newbies are usually just found in reality or supporting roles.
4. Forced twists and the tiring, recurring events for the sake of longevity
As long as the drama still has average or satisfactory rating, they milk it dry. It doesn’t matter if the storyline doesn’t make sense anymore. They can invite other big names in the industry for cameo or short-lived character just to add few more episodes as long as they retain the main character. It doesn’t even matter how many times the lead actor dies and comes back to life. As long as there are still a decent number of viewers, the protagonist comes back richer or prettier or more handsome and is getting revenge no matter what.
To make it short, commercial value precedes quality and sense. Still not enough reason? These mainstream media and network think that the Filipinos are still as naïve and simpleminded as they think they were when they had no other choice but to watch what’s made available to them. They forgot that with the development and technology, more choices are presented and it allows us to improve our tastes and expectations. Hopefully, the local industry would realize and take action to live up to expectations and refine their craft to be at par with their foreign counterparts. It is never too late. We are waiting for it to happen. It would be a true bliss watching the actors rather than reading subtitles trying to catch the actors’ faces. Until then, let me just enjoy while trying to understand what little Korean words I know.