How Did South Korean TV Shows and Movies Take Over the World?

Hollywood, which has made a name for itself in both the TV and film industry, has had a significant rival in recent years. Although its history dates back to the 90s, we are talking about the Korean cinema, which has made a big leap forward since 2020. We are talking about South Korean TV series and films, also known as K-Dramas, which have made a big breakthrough, especially thanks to online streaming platforms. In particular, the Squid Game series, which was released on Netflix in 2021, led to the recognition of Korean cinema worldwide, just like K-Pop music groups such as BTS.

So, what did Korean TV series and films do to conquer the world? At this point, two key names appear, one for TV series and one for films. We cannot see the popularity of Korean cinema through a single sector. At this point, the best thing that South Korea has done is to promote its own culture to the world in a stable manner. The term “Hallyu,” meaning the Korean wave, was given when Korean TV series became popular in Southeast Asian countries and China. The first popular TV series was “What Is Love,” which was released in 1997. In 1999, the movie “Shiri” became famous throughout Asia for its action scenes and introduced Korean cinema to the world. The Hallyu effect, also known as the Korean wave, continued to rise, especially with K-Dramas and K-Pop, in the 2000s. With music groups like BTS, which have millions of fans worldwide, and iconic South Korean directors like Bong Joon Ho, Korean culture continued to rise as a whole. Even food and skincare products advertised in TV series and films with this popularity increased sales worldwide. These projects, which reflect South Korean culture well, promote tourism and have a positive impact on the economy.

South Korea is a country that is rising with TV series and films and has a particularly young fan base. One of the biggest factors behind this is music groups. What was the most famous event of 2012? If we were to ask, which answer would you give? The year 2012 was the year when PSY’s “Gangnam Style” song went viral. This song won the Guinness World Record as the most-watched video on YouTube. In 2020, BTS, which was nominated for a Grammy, revealed the extent to which K-Pop music had come with millions of fans worldwide. All these breakthroughs increased people’s impact on Korean culture.

South Korean cinema has been on an upward trajectory for the past 25 years. Two productions that have propelled this trajectory upwards in recent years are “Parasite,” which was released in 2019 and won four Academy Awards, including Best Film. It was also the first non-English language film to achieve this feat. In addition to this breakthrough in cinema, Netflix’s support for South Korean cinema in recent years has also continued to grow. Productions such as “The Handmaiden” and “Sweet Home” made a splash worldwide, but the real explosion came with “Squid Game.” “Squid Game” achieved unprecedented success on Netflix and became the most popular series on the platform of all time. This success led to the recognition of South Korean cinema worldwide and gained significant momentum. Today, TV series and films produced in South Korea continue to be funded by many platforms, especially Netflix. We expect to see many more productions from this region in the coming years.

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