Viki’s “Dramaworld” Shows Some Promise

Dramaworld is Viki’s latest foray into creating original content.  It’s a 10-episode web series scheduled to premiere on Viki on April 17th. Here’s our previous article about it.

Spoiler alert… majority of which are in the trailer.

Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson) is a 20-year-old college student who works at her father’s sandwich shop. Or rather, a 20-year-old college student who obsesses about Korean dramas when she’s supposed to be working. If she isn’t sneakily catching up on her dramas during work hours, she’s gabbing about it to uninterested customers.

Why is she so obsessed with them? Because unlike her own life, it’s exciting and there’s romance between “the leading man and the girl that no one ever looked at before.”

And you guessed it – she’s an average girl who usually goes unnoticed.

What I appreciate is that unlike in Korean dramas, they actually cast a girl-next-door type instead of giving a supermodel-looking woman crazy hair and fake zits to make her more “average.”

Image credit: Viki/Soompi

Claire’s current obsession is “Taste of Love,” a drama set in a restaurant with the usual cliche storyline of a rich man, Joon Park (Sean Dulake), poor girl, Seo Yeon (Bae Noo Ri), and evil second lead female. One day, while freaking out over a scene, some shenanigans with her smartphone magically transports her into that drama. Oh my!

What did I think of the first two episodes?

The episodes are in the 10-15 minute range and these two primarily introduced the characters and set up the story.

Majority of the pilot provides background on Claire and I have to stay that some of it fell flat. Perhaps it’s a case of comedy styles varying by culture and not finding things that I might laugh at in a Korean drama funny in an American context.  Or perhaps a scene I would expect in a Korean drama seeming out of place on an American show. However, it got good and quite funny when she got to Dramaworld. We even get a cute explanation for how she can communicate in this world despite not speaking Korean.

Her reaction to her new surroundings is quite entertaining and realistic as long you accept that this is a comedy and it’s literal escapism for her.

She meets someone else like her – Seth – who explains that they are facilitators or as I’d rather call them, “Drama godmothers” who help push the lead characters in the right direction i.e. into each other’s arms. I imagine that they are responsible for making the characters slip into accidental kisses and sabotaging the second lead’s evil plans.

His introduction was quite fun till he got into too much exposition and my eyes started to glaze over. At some point, I thought I was watching a documentary. I think what this show struggles with is introducing the concepts which begs the question: Who is the target audience? Viewers like you and I don’t need as much explanation because we already “get it.” We are already well-versed in Korean drama cliches.

And while it makes good business sense to cast as wide a net as possible, I wonder if non-fans would even watch this show. How can you enjoy a parody (and I use this word loosely as it celebrates rather than lampoons) when you aren’t familiar with the original work?

Regardless, the drama shines best with her in the tongue-in-cheek “Taste of love” and it’ll be interesting to see how she shakes things up. In addition, there are cameos! So far, I already recognized three older actors which was quite fun.

Episode 2 sets up Claire’s new job as the facilitator who will help the poor female lead end up with her prince.  My question is: Will this unfold like a Kdrama? If so, I fully expect Claire to fall in love with Joon Park and begin to struggle with her job because she wants to keep him for herself! And Seth to be the second lead who’s in unrequited love with her. I actually like Seth, I have to say, and think the actor (Justin Chon) is the best the drama has.

Image credit: Viki

Will Claire fall in love with Joon Park? Will he fall for her or do what’s right and fall for his cute employee, Seo Yeon? Will Claire return to her humdrum life? With or without Seth?

I don’t know the frequency at which the episodes will be released but I hope that if they aren’t all made available on April 17th, we at least get more than one a week because while I might have considered ditching the show after the pilot episode, the second one showed promise and I am now looking forward to more.


  • Ivoire says:

    Hi! And thank you for this. So you had an early sample of the first two episodes? Good for you 🙂

    I’m in the minority in that, even though I watch kdramas, I always welcome explanations, and I don’t always get it when others do. It sometimes takes me longer to understand certain things. I will have to see the episodes (come Sunday), however I think I might welcome the explanations 🙂

  • Ivoire says:

    I just watched it. Thank you for the reminder. Col park, who is in Descendants of the Sun is in Dramaworld.
    The first two episodes were interesting. Am curious about the rest of the drama, to see where they go with this.

  • Frankie says:

    Dramaworld had it’s up and downs but, overall I like the idea of blending American and Korean story conventions. I don’t know if you guys have seen it but, there’s a Youtube show that’s also k-drama inspired like Dramaworld but plays more like a regular kdrama. It’s called Lenny Falls in Love ( and it’s about a woman who starts tutoring a Hallyu star (who also happens to be her bias) how to cook. It’s kinda like Pasta/Pinocchio/She Was Pretty so, if you like any of those shows then I highly recommend it.

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