Why are more and more Americans falling under the sudsy spell of South Korean dramas? One theory: These shows tend to come in self-contained 16- to 20-episode seasons, making them easily digestible. Another: If you don’t speak Korean, watching one demands your full attention (subtitles!), meaning you get sucked in that much more quickly.
And then there are the dramas themselves — endearingly theatrical and kooky, with a sweetness that can be tough to find in grittier American fare. “Their portrayal of love is a little more PG,” says Jacqueline Sia, senior content manager of massive international TV library DramaFever. “Korean dramas can spend 16 episodes getting to the point where the leads kiss.”