This year, K-dramas in general received the “silver screen” upgrade as there were many series which would be likened to an epic summer movie made with a big budget. The first K-drama to clearly receive such a treatment is easily Descendants of the Sun. The popular Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) series starring Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo was primarily filmed in Greece and had plenty of scenes filled with suspense, action, or both. Though not as suspenseful or action-packed as the previous K-drama mentioned, the series Moonlight Drawn by Clouds was another K-drama to receive such a treatment too. The other popular KBS series, starring Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung, had more colorful sets and props, a progressive story, and comedy made it one of the most popular period K-dramas to air this year.
However, the one K-drama to really show a huge “silver screen” upgrade pertaining to action sequences and camera tricks is easily The K2. The Total Variety Network (tvN) series starring Ji Chang Wook and Song Yoon Ah had some of the most well-choreographed car chases and fight scenes ever directed in a K-drama. Not to mention, the use of bullet time added a unique perspective for viewers too. Needless to say but all that was mentioned contributed to The K2 becoming one of the most expensive K-dramas ever made by tvN and just yesterday, said expensive K-drama concluded with a bang. The K2 did its part and delivered with high viewership, but it was not the end-all blockbuster series the media hyped it up to be.
Before detailing the viewership ratings and why it was not the blockbuster the media made it out to be, it is best to detail what happened in the penultimate episode and finale of The K2. It must be stressed the following will contain series spoilers. Anyone not wanting the plot to be spoiled should jump ahead to viewership ratings (first paragraph after the last image).
[WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!]
In the penultimate episode, Kim Je Ha (Ji Chang Wook) and JSS try to find a way to gain a tactical advantage over Park Gwan Soo (Kim Kap Soo), the presidential candidate opposing Jang Se Joon (Jo Sung Ha). Choi Yoo Jin (Song Yoon Ah) will use said advantage to assure her husband Se Joon becomes the next president of South Korea.
Unfortunately, Choi Yoo Jin’s brother Choi Sung Woo (Lee Jung Jin) has other plans and invades JSS Headquarters, which contains “Cloud Nine,” with Park Gwan Soo’s help in the finale. He also has a bomb which he will use as a bargaining chip for both “Cloud Nine” and the “tactical advantage” over Gwan Soo, a flash drive. Things become even more complicated when Gwan Soo kidnaps Go Anna (Yoona) and brings her to the JSS Headquarters. Jang Se Joon hears his daughter Anna is at the building and eventually gets to the building to save her.
There are numerous action and suspense scenes that happen afterwards, but the end-all for the series was the survivors (not saying who since it is part of a spoiler not worth spoiling despite this article being a spoiler on itself) trying to escape the bomb before it explodes followed by the aftermath from that incident in an epilogue of sorts. Needless to say, it was a more-than-decent way to wrap up the series with a bang.
In the end, there is a huge end-all series of events that results in high viewership for the episode as provided by both AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea. For the former, The K2 earned 5.467 percent viewership for the nation and 6.537 percent viewership for the Seoul National Capital Area. For the latter, they only registered a rating for the nation of 5.5 percent viewership. Take note that even though the finale registered a high viewership for a series airing on a Korean pay channel, it is technically average ratings compared to the series as a whole. The sixth and eighth episodes, for example, had far better viewership ratings.
Also, The K2 was not the “blockbuster” the media hyped it up to be. Numerous journalists and entertainment news sites hyped up the series hoping to bank on the growing popularity of Hallyu. Some of them even tried to pair it with Descendants of the Sun simply because certain plot points were similar. However, any seasoned K-drama fan knows that hype goes only so far. Producer, Uncontrollably Fond, and The Time We Were Not In Love were hyped and they delivered below expectations even with the fact the first series mentioned was popular. Also, The K2 is probably the third most-popular tvN series this year. Another Oh Hae Young and Reply 1988 did far better than it in terms of viewership.
To be frank, The K2 was a K-drama series that truly showed the growing rift between domestic Korean K-drama viewers and international K-drama viewers. The former loved the scenes featuring Kim Je Ha and Go Anna’s relationship more while the latter loved the action scenes more. So in a way, we can say The K2 was experimental in which tvN tried to find that compromising line to satisfy both domestic and international viewership. We can also say that they probably succeeded in finding said compromising line which means tvN can work on improving it on their next K-drama.
The K2 aired on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. KST on tvN. The highly-anticipated K-drama Goblin, starring Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun, will take its place. As for The K2, it can be viewed for free, with ads, exclusively on DramaFever, pending region for now. Since the series is over, The K2 might be aired on other streaming sites eventually.
[Featured Image by Total Variety Network (tvN)]