What We’re Watching This November From Korea

Big Bang "Made" There are so many options out there when it comes to television shows and movies to watch that sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming to figure out exactly what you should be watching this November. But don’t worry, KultScene has you covered. Check out a few of these great Korean dramas and Korean movies that we’ve enjoyed this month, including an exclusive documentary from BIGBANG’s recent MADE tour via DramaFever and a dramedy about a bunch of friends starting a rickshaw business from Viki.

“Riders: Catch Tomorrow”

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a good story about people going for their dreams, and that’s exactly what “Riders” offers us in the 12 episode series. Starring Kim Dong Wook, Lee Chung Ah, and Choi Yeo Jin, the show is about Kim’s character who decides he’s bored of working in a corporate company and starts a business pedaling people around in rickshaws. The story is about people discovering happiness and romance while dealing with the struggles of everyday issues. With a lot of jokes, “Riders: Catch Tomorrow” is making us smile and cry right after one another. This is an exclusive to Viki, so make sure to take a few minutes and fall in love.

Also on KultScene: Here’s Why The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About K-Drama Fans


As someone who attended one of BIGBANG’s stop in New Jersey, I can’t say enough how everyone needs to go watch this documentary. It’s DramaFever’s first original production and brings BIGBANG’s recently ended tour to viewers around the world. If you didn’t get a chance to see them while they were traveling the world, don’t worry, here’s your chance. The documentary will feature moments from BIGBANG’s most recent North American tour, and include both concert performances and behind the scenes. It just went live today, so definitely sit down, grab your VIP light, and start jamming out right now!

“Reply 1988”

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t even started watching this and I know it’s amazing, mostly because other KultScene staff members have said so. That and the fact that the other “Reply” series were absolutely amazing. This time, the retro drama brings us back to 1988 and stars Girl’s Day’s Hyeri as the lead female and Ryu Jun Yeol and Go Kyung Pyo as the main male leads. Everyone’s favorite “Reply” parents Sung Dong Il and Lee Il Hwa are back, playing Hyeri’s parents as we get the 1988 version of a bunch of young people struggling with changes in the world. And try to figure out who Hyeri will get married to, of course!

Also on KultScene: 6 K-Things To Watch This October: Big Bang, ‘Answer Me,’ INFINITE, Lee Min Ki & More [UPDATED]

“Oh My Venus”

So Ji Sub and Shin Min Ah star in this upcoming drama that I’m super excited about. The two are stalwart actors, and are acting as a personal trainer who falls in love with his client. It’s sure to be sweet, cute, and develop some emotional curves in there that will make you be unable to tear your eyes away from the screen. It doesn’t start airing until next week, but if you’re interested in “Oh My Venus,” let us know in the comments what you’re excited to see!

”Sassy Go Go”

Jung Eun Ji of APink (and “Reply 1997”) stars as the go-getter dancer who is one of the worst in her year at a prestigious Seoul high school. Lee Won Keun is the top of their year, and the two clash in this fun drama after two school clubs are forced to combine, bringing the top students together with the less educationally inclinced students. With all the lightheartedness of the typical high school drama, “Sassy Go Go” also deals with depression and suicide that accompanies the high stress to succeed.

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The Fans Behind The Viki Subtitles [Interview]

Pinocchio k drama korean viki eng sub english subtitles

If you’re a big fan of Korean dramas, you likely know about Viki, the user-based website where you can watch many of those K-dramas. But did you know that every show on Viki is subtitled by volunteers around the globe who work together to bring you the shows you love?

Earlier this month, Viki celebrated 1 billion words translated by fans with the hashtag #1BillionWords. To commemorate this occasion, we spoke to two of Viki’s top subtitlers. User Bjonhsonwon has worked on more than 99,000 subtitles and 200,000 segments on Viki since joining the community in 2009. Joysprite, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer who joined Viki in 2014, but she already has subtitled more than 72,000 lines in dramas.

1. Viki is a community-based video platform where you, the subtitlers, take on the role without any monetary incentive. How did you find your way into this world?

Bjohnsonwon: I have a strong love for Asian drama. While living in Hong Kong, I really enjoyed watching any Korean drama that was aired on local TV as well as the TVB dramas. Not being a native speaker of either Chinese or Korean, dramas were a great way to pick up some of the languages. I searched on the internet for different titles of Korean dramas I was interested in and came across Viki at the time. It was a great find. I spent my first couple of years on Viki as an observer thinking I didn’t have anything to offer as a contributor. Then I noticed segmenting. It seemed to be something I could see myself doing and enjoying so I randomly picked a CM [Channel Manager] and asked what to do to learn segmenting. Thankfully, the CM was very helpful and patient. He set me up on a fan channel to practice segmenting and subtitling where I could go at my own pace. I loved it right away and enjoyed the challenge.

Joysprite: I was looking for a new drama to watch, one that was light and fun, and I found “A Witch’s Romance” online. The only place to watch it was Viki. I enjoyed the show and was intrigued by the fact that all the subtitles were created by Viki volunteers. The subscription program was very reasonable, too. As I continued to watch dramas on Viki, I investigated editing, which is my forte, and I started my first volunteer editing on “Marriage, Not Dating.” Since that time, my edited drama list has grown really long.

2. What keeps you motivated to continue subbing show after show?

Bjohnsonwon: I never get tired of working on projects on Viki. There is a variety of shows now and quite a range of things contributors can do from subtitling, segmenting, managing, or even page design. Over the years of working with different people on Viki, I’ve got to know a lot of good friends. Being able to work with them and getting to know new friends is a great motivator — not to mention knowing that I can say I had a part in bringing the subtitles of some great shows to others who wouldn’t have the chance to see them in their own language. Additionally, using subtitles also allows people with hearing conditions to follow the program and understand what’s happening. Alongside the subtitles, there is now a range of specialized technology, such as these tv ears digital hearing aids that can be connected to the TV, making it easier for people with these isolating disabilities to feel included. A lot of hard of hearing people do enjoy to listen to the audio at the same time as reading the subtitles, so by using both of these techniques, more people are now able to watch and understand programs that they wouldn’t have previously been able to.

Joysprite: The fact that there are always more new dramas waiting to be subbed, edited, and released keeps me moving forward. I watch as I edit, which is quite handy—two birds, one stone.

3. How does it work when you’re subbing videos? What are some challenges you face as individuals?

Bjohnsonwon: I mainly work on live dramas as a segmenter. We’re the first to get to work on the drama once it’s uploaded. We go through and decide where subtitle boxes should go and make sure they’re timed well and a good length so they can be read easily by the viewers once subtitled. As a segmenter, one of the biggest challenges is deciding where to make a cut when the speaker is talking rapidly and it’s hard to make out where there might be a break. Another difficult place is when there’s a lot of noise in the background or many people talking at once. These are challenging places to decide what would be important to translate and include so the viewer can know what’s going on. After the segmenting is complete, the episode is then opened up for the English subtitlers to work their magic. And I really do think it’s magic. To be able to translate and keep the meaning as close as possible to the original is a very special talent. We have some excellent volunteer translators that have my deep admiration.

Joysprite: When I go in to edit an episode of a drama or variety show, I start by checking to make sure everything is close to 100 percent complete, then I post in Team Discussion that I’m about to do an English edit and I post again when I’m done. The challenge I face as an editor is getting the word order sorted for English viewers without losing the charm of the language itself. One of the compliments I’ve heard about Viki regularly is that we tend to keep things like family titles like oppa (“older brother” for a woman) and ajussi, (“older man”) and many of the subtitlers and translation editors are good about adding editors notes that explain idioms and references to stories or events. It makes watching a Viki subbed and edited drama more culturally enriching. I love it.

Also on KultScene: 5 Korean Actors Who Can Carry A Tune Better Than K-Pop Idols

4. Each show on Viki has a sub team with a comical or pun-based title. How do these teams work? Who picks their name?

Bjohnsonwon: Choosing a name can be a fun part of starting up a new team. Every team tries to come up with something catchy or descriptive to call themselves. Often the CM will ask team members and even followers of the channel to give suggestions. These are compiled and then voted on to see what was the most popular choice. There has been some really creative names.

5. What are easiest/hardest types of shows to work with? Have there any been any near, or actual, disasters?

Bjohnsonwon:The easiest shows for me to work on are melodramas. They’re usually straight forward and spoken in modern language so [ they are] easy to follow. The hardest to work with is reality shows. These are really challenging. There’s so much going on at once with several people talking at once and words flashing on the screen, all needing to be subtitled. But there’s only room for so much at a time. It can be very challenging to decide what to include that will give the viewer the most information possible without being overwhelming.

Joysprite: Romantic comedies are the easiest. They seem to have simpler vocabulary that is of a lighter nature. Medical, legal, and scientific dramas are much harder because of the terminology. Historical dramas are also challenging because of archaic terminology and keeping track of dozens of historical characters.

7. How does it feel to know that you personally are helping fans from around the world view their favorite shows?

Bjohnsonwon: It’s a wonderful feeling to know that, as a team member, I’m having an active part in making a drama available to others all around the world. I’m still in awe when I think about how many languages a drama can get translated into and how many people will be able to now understand the dialogue. The first live drama I worked on, I kept looking at the number of followers growing everyday and seeing it grow by thousands. I took a lot of pride in knowing I had a small part in making that happen.

Joysprite: I feel very excited and happy that my efforts, along with those of the rest of the team, to produce a quality English project make it possible for translations to be made in many languages and allow people from all over the world to enjoy shows that they might never be able to enjoy otherwise. The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller, which I think brings us all closer together.

8. What are some of the difficulties when translating?

Joysprite: From an editor’s point of view, the biggest issue in translating is skill level with the original language and English. If you have excellent skill in hearing our own language, but your English isn’t good enough to fully express what you hear, it can limit your subbing a bit. On the other side, you can have excellent English, but if your skill in the original language isn’t high enough you can make mistakes that create confusion. This is why translation editors who are fully fluent in both languages are golden. Not all shows have a translation editor, but I guarantee they make big difference, especially in the harder dramas like medical, legal, and historical.

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9. Do you have any memorable moments from subbing?

Joysprite: Whenever I think of the most fun I had working on a drama I always think of “Pinocchio.” Sometimes a team comes together and just gels, and the “Pinocchio” team was like that. Everyone showed up to do their jobs, made sure they followed the rules outlined in Team Notes, and rocked the segmenting, subtitling, and editing. From upload to release was almost always under 24 hours, and often 16 hours or less. The viewers were a lucky bunch indeed, as they got near instant gratification every week.

10. As Viki moves to create its own content, what role will the community of subtitlers play?

Bjohnsonwon: I’m excited to see Viki growing with more and more content available. There’s so much out there now from so many more countries than just Korea. There’s even dramas and movies from South America and Europe, not just Asia. I’m really excited to see there are now licensed dramas from Hong Kong’s TVB. TVB dramas are very hard to find, but now available on Viki. I don’t know what the future holds for Viki and its many Qualified Contributors, but the one thing that makes me keep wanting to come back to Viki is I feel a part of a family here and that I have a place where I can make a difference and feel my contribution matters.

Joysprite: Viki creating it’s own [drama] is a very exciting step forward. The best part is that, within the Viki community, there is a huge pool of knowledge and expertise with the potential to generate new and innovative ideas and assist with project development. And of course, I have no doubt that once the content is created the segmenters, subtitlers, and editors will come. It’s the Viki way.

What’s your favorite K-drama? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

‘Dramaworld’ Will Be A Love Letter To K-Drama Fans, Says Viki’s CEO [Interview]

Dramaworld on Viki
Do you dream of landing a role in your favorite drama? So does Viki.

Many fans of Korean dramas know what makes them so loveable. The hand grabs, the open-eyed kisses, the manipulation by family members, the out of this world action, the romance, the friendship, the history, the magic, the drama, the laughter, the tears… There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. And now Viki, the website that brings you so many subbed dramas and Korean television shows, is ready to launch its first original web series, Viki’s very own “love letter” to drama fans.

Dramaworld”” is about a 20-year-old college student who is obsessed with Korean dramas and watches every drama featuring her favorite leading magic. Through some magic, she finds herself sucked into favorite drama.

“Dramaworld” stars Sean Dulake(“Jejungwon” and “Athena: Goddess Of War”,) Liv Hewson, and Justin Chon (Twilight.) Korean drama stars, including Super Junior’s Choi Siwon and Han Ji Min, will make cameos throughout the 10-episode web-series.

We interviewed Tammy H. Nam, the CEO of Viki, about the drama.

Can you please tell our readers a bit about “Dramaworld”?
The Dramaworld press release has a lot of background, but essentially, we decided to produce/invest in this production because we really wanted to create a show specifically for global fans of Asian dramas. Most of the shows we have on the site are produced for the local market, whether that’s Korea, Japan, China, U.S or whatever. Increasingly, viewers’ tastes are skewing global and the typical formats, storylines, even languages are being thrown out the window. Dramaworld is a perfect example of that.

It sounds like “Dramaworld” is based on every K-drama fan’s fantasies. Were any other plots discussed?
The director/writer Chris Martin, who we’ve worked with in the past, came to us with the script. We pretty much didn’t have any recommended changes because our visions are aligned – he knows the audience very well. Even though he’s American, he’s traveled and worked extensively in Asia and knows specifically the Korean film industry and global fan base very well. His Korean is much better than mine!

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There’s a reason why international joint ventures rarely work out. Business cultures are extremely different from country to country. We had some initial bumps as well, mainly due to misunderstanding between parties, but it’s all good now. It’s certainly not easy, but we’re well positioned to make it successful – all the parties are bringing different strengths to the table and there’s mutual respect, especially since this is such a passion project for everyone involved.

Many Korean stars are being featured in cameos. Was there a lot of interest in Korea to see what could come out of a Korean-American drama?
Yes, there’s been an incredible amount of interest. We’re really excited to “reveal” who the new cameos are closer to the show. I think there’s a lot of curiosity about this format, the storyline, the platform. Everyone is very open to experimenting and also getting to know their international fan base better.

Web dramas have started to gain popularity in Korea, with many K-pop idols taking up roles. Was the popularity of web dramas taken into account when deciding to produce “Dramaworld”?
It’s easier to film for web because there’s so much more flexibility – you can do any timeframe, take more risks. That being said, the production team is awesome – they’re truly making this a TV broadcast-worthy show. While the intent was to make this a web series, if there’s interest from a TV broadcaster, we’d definitely be open to that.

How did you personally get involved in Viki and drama production?
I joined Viki in November 2011, a year after the company launched. While the company itself looks incredibly different now than it did then, the vision has never changes. We’ve always been “global TV powered by fans” and from a business model perspective, have been very much a global version of a Hulu, albeit with an amazing crowdsourced subtitling community. The drama production part is probably more a reflection of how this industry has changed – the lowered cost of production, many distribution options, more competition and need for differentiation. I hope this is one of many more interesting co-productions to come.

You described “Dramaworld” as a “love letter to drama fans.” Will “Dramaworld” feature many of the tropes that make dramas so enjoyable, such as love triangles, hand grabs, etc.?
Oh my gosh. That’s the fun part. You’ll have to watch to see how fun they are – if you’re a true K-Drama fan, you’ll recognize them immediately!

There have been other attempts at creating Korean-American dramas, such as the American remake of “Boys Over Flowers” and filming much of “The Heirs” in the United States. Do you see Korean dramas growing even larger in the American market?
Yes, but what I see happening is that companies like Viki will be taking the lead along with content partners and distributors, not Hollywood. It’s an industry that’s still a bit old fashioned in its thinking. It’s a brave new world. We want to help introduce many more millions of fans to Asian dramas in super fun ways.

How big of a market does Viki think there is to grow into of these type of hybrid Asia meets West dramas?
It’s hard to tell because I’ve never seen it done before. However, it will be done in a way that’s super approachable. My hope is that it introduces this new genre to many millions of new viewers who didn’t know what they were missing!

From the three main actors, only Sean Dulake has acted in Korean dramas. How will that affect “Dramaworld”?
Much of the cast is local, and the whole idea is a global mashup anyway. The tropes as you mentioned are written into the show itself, so the “Kdrama-ness” is the underlying theme.

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Liv Hewson is the star of the show, and playing the role of essentially every K-drama fangirl ever. What can we expect from her?
The casting director was very excited about Liv. She believes she’s a huge up-and-coming talent. I hope she becomes very successful and maybe we’ll have a part in helping make this happen.

Filming begins in late September, so how is the cast and crew preparing in the meantime?
I’m sure there’s a million things to do in preparation, but the filming is the fun part. I know the production team is on the ground with stage, rehearsals and everything else. They promised to share part of that process with the fans as well. Look forward to some fun videos from the cast and crew!

What is the most exciting thing about “Dramaworld,” that makes it different from every other Korean, or non-Korean, web series out there?
It’s a truly global mash-up, which I think reflects the international viewership of Viki and perhaps the future of viewers in general — no borders, either culture, language, country, ideas. We love that.

What can we look forward to seeing from Viki in the future? Are more original series down the road?
I hope so!

“Dramaworld” will premiere on Viki on April 17. 

What are you looking forward to the most about “Dramaworld”? What’s your dream drama plot to get sucked into? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear you thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.