Learning to drop a drama

When I was first introduced to kdramas, I was a completionist. If I started something, I kept with it all the way to the end. Sometimes it was because there was enough promise peeking through, like occasional glimpses of the sun on an overcast day, so I stuck with it in the hopes the show could prove itself worthy of my time. Other times I hate-watched, determined to experience every second of the show so I could definitively say why it had been utterly awful.

As I got more and more into dramas, I started to drop them. In the beginning, it was never intentional—usually a different, more engaging drama would start airing and the one I had been watching before would get put on the back burner. The less interesting drama would get pushed further and further back on my priority list until it fell off of it altogether. My old roommate and I would watch dramas together, so anything that didn’t catch the attention of at least one of us frequently suffered this fate.

When I started regularly blogging about kdrama, I thought it would be best to stick things out to the end. I couldn’t just drop a show in case someone was actually enjoying my commentary! How sad would I be if one of my favorite bloggers (oh, my ego) just stopped writing about a show I was enjoying? By writing about it, wasn’t I committing to see it through to the end to my followers/readers? That kind of thinking got me through some shows that I absolutely loathed. Thinking about some of them still makes me angry.

In the last two years or so, however, I’ve shifted my thinking. Drama-watching is now a hybrid between a hobby and freelance project. As a hobby, it means that I’ve got to enjoy what I’m doing. Even if I’m not in love with a show, watching it needs to be a net positive experience. (See The Flower in Prison, AKA the sageuk I will totally catch up on one of these days but probably not before it ends.) As a freelance project, writing commentary for the drama needs to be worth my actual time. That worth is nebulous right now, but it’s a murky calculation between frustration levels, whether or not I feel like I’m constantly repeating myself, and hit stats on posts.

If I would rather be taking on actual paying work instead of watching something, that’s my cue to bow out of a drama. Wasting my time on something I’m enjoying is just fine—wasting my time on something I hate (and don’t enjoy hating) and not getting paid for it, just seems to pointless. To date, I have dropped 50 dramas, including two during finale week because I just couldn’t be bothered anymore.

What about you? Why do you drop (or complete) dramas? How has that changed over the course of your drama watching? Do you ever circle back around to complete shows you never finished?

6 thoughts on “Learning to drop a drama

  1. Mary Beth says:

    I drop dramas for the same thing I drop anything else: ’cause I have things I’d much rather be doing. If my book or video game or cat is more interesting, the drama’s going away unwatched. (And fortunately for my curiosity, if I DO want to know how a drama ended, I can always read the recaps–that takes 5 minutes of my time instead of an hour!)

    • Audrey says:

      That’s a good way to look at it! (You cat is DEFINITELY more interesting sometimes.) Probably leaves you far less frustrated than I am, sometimes. XD And I am so grateful for recappers. I don’t use them as much to read the ending of a show that I dropped, but they’re generally pretty good at explaining things I didn’t understand the first time around.

  2. I’ve been watching dramas a loooong time, longer than I care to remember! And maybe it’s the OCD in me, but dropping dramas (the horror) was never an option. I just had to finish what I started, till recently that is…With so much RL stuff going on, I realised (albeit reluctantly) that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on stuff I didn’t enjoy. It’s really hard though and I’ve only dropped five so far. Even during a recent drama I found ridiculous, I still found myself FF’ing and trying to stick it out. I’m working on it and I’m sure I’ll get there…eventually

    • Audrey says:

      Ooooh, you’ve only ever dropped five? That’s impressive. I tried fast-forwarding for one drama (You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin!), but I kept getting paranoid that I would miss something important/something that would fix all the problems I was having. I had to just give up on that one.

  3. I have varying levels of liking a drama, so in terms of dramas dropped, I think I have a little less than you. But then, I’ve also watched way less dramas than you, especially in the last year or so (mostly because of work).

    Interested in a drama = will read recaps until I’m intrigued enough to watch (usually during eps 1-2 I can get hooked; I usually “drop” dramas if I don’t even find reading their recaps interesting anymore, e.g., Cinderella and the 4 Knights)—in fact, I find this an excellent way to figure out if I should attempt a drama in case it betrays me (e.g., Page Turner)

    OMG MUST WATCH = I’m interested from the teaser season and will live-watch from the beginning (W, IHYV, FBND, etc)

    Both Audrey and Gwynne know I love spoilers and how they generally don’t adversely affect my enjoyment of a drama. ^^

    • Audrey says:

      Oooh, I like the idea of checking out recaps first. Maybe I’ll do that about a drama I’m on the fence about starting.

      I’m wishy-washy on spoilers. If there’s something amazing coming up, DON’T TELL ME, but if there’s something awful, please tell me everything.

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