10 Controversial K-Dramas That Had Critics Up in Arms
There's always room for debate.
What are the essentials that make a show perfect? And how fair is it to evaluate them using the same standards and criteria?
Well, some rules always apply, such as plot and acting. Then you can go deeper into the analysis and maybe come up with something else.
But what does it mean when some people say the drama was near perfect and others say it's not even worth watching? These ten K-dramas ended up in this exact situation.
1. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
This is a period K-drama with time travel elements and romance that revolves around a modern day young woman who woke up in the body of a teenage girl Hae Soo of the ruling Wang family at the beginning of the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea. Her journey of adjusting to her new life is full of different events that are fun to watch.
While most viewers and critics admired the series for its accuracy and soundtrack, the rest felt terrible for the drama because they thought IU did a bad job portraying Hae Soo. Many critics also didn't like the heavy use of product placement and the lack of attention to the historical shenanigans that were very popular during the time period of this K-drama.
2. King the Land
This new K-drama, which was only released this summer, has already caused a lot of controversy. The romantic comedy is about tough love between a spoiled wealthy male lead and a young and ambitious female employee at one of his companies. Many viewers and critics mentioned that the story might be a little clichéd, but it still is intriguing and captivating enough.
However some people found the casting decisions inappropriate because the Indian actor was cast as an Arab prince with rather questionable life choices.
3. Little Women
Some critics have said that the show is a darker version of Louisa May Alcott's original novel, and we agree. The somewhat sinister K-drama revolves around three sisters who grew up together in poverty but went on to lead very different lives. Critics have also said that all the characters are written with so much personality detail that it's impressive. However, the show has also been criticized for its plot holes and many uneventful sequences.
4. It's Okay to Not Be Okay (2020)
It's not often that a romance and a psychological thriller mix in one series, but It's Okay to Not Be Okay manages to give us a plot that has both. The unusual story revolves around a troubled young girl who works as a children's book author and is obsessed with a psychiatric ward nurse who thinks about nothing but his older brother. Many viewers liked the show for its uncommon plot decision and focus on mental health issues. However, a large number of critics found the drama too graphic in its sexual scenes.
5. The King: Eternal Monarch
Another South Korean fantasy drama that includes all the essential plot devices of the genre, such as parallel universes and time travel scenes. The drama features bloody political intrigue and a storyline in which the king falls in love with a "common girl." The series became a worldwide success, but South Korean media pointed out that the historical events were too controversial and the parallel worlds too complicated.
6. Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
It may seem strange that one of the world's most popular K-dramas would end up on a list like this, but well, you can't escape fate. The iconic drama about a nearly thousand-year-old guardian of souls was highly praised and claimed to be one of the best South Korean dramas ever, but it also got a little bit of hate.
What angered fans the most was the blatant product placement, but even worse, according to critics, was the fact that the fantasy world simply erases limitations in any relationship, to the detriment of real life.
7. Backstreet Rookie
Backstreet Rookie is a rom-com that focuses on the lives of its quirky main characters, Saet-byul and Dae-hyun, the manager and the regular employee of a convenience store. Many viewers have pointed out that their story is so compelling that it's easy to fall in love and root for them.
However, there were many viewers who found the romance between them to be downright disturbing and sexually suggestive. Considering that the female lead was supposed to be underage, the controversy was actually justified.
8. Twenty-Five Twenty-One
Another time travel K-drama, but with a more complicated twist. The series follows five characters in two timelines, 1998 and 2021, and has been praised for its feel-good, retro vibe. Some people said the drama had a soul-breaking and healing effect on them. Others, however, weren't so amazed by the show and considered it an unrealistic story with major plot holes.
The controversy surrounding this drama continues to this day. The series follows a young woman named Eun Yeong-ro who one day finds a college student Lim Soo-ho lying on the street, and instead of calling the police or an ambulance, she decides to take him to her dorm room and hide him there.
Well, there was a lot of admiration for the show's twists, but at the same time, the rest of the viewers almost took the female lead's decisions personally and accused the writers of falsifying the pro-democracy movement in the country.
Encounter may seem to be a life-saving drama for many viewers. The story centers on a middle-aged divorced woman who was forced to marry the son of a wealthy businessman, only to end up alone and unhappy. However, one of the employees at her hotel seems to be very fond of her and falls in love with this woman later.
Eventually they started dating, but they couldn't be together freely because they were afraid of what people would say. And in real life, people did say mean things about their love because of the huge age difference between them. Some critics also mentioned that the characters themselves seemed one-dimensional.
Keywords: Controversial Kdramas | Dramas | Korea | Korean dramas | Drama series