While most of the national network’s schedule started on Sept. 22 and some folks watched the Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox (KTTV), which received 6.9 million viewers the lowest ratings ever recorded, compared to 10.2 last year; while others saw earlier premiere’s on cable and on-demand services.
One of those shows is on Netflix titled Vagabond which was uploaded this past Friday and Saturday(Sept. 20 & 21); the Korean show is produced by Celltrion Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television for SBS in South Korea and the aforementioned Netflix worldwide.
The program is considered a spy/action thriller; it cost 25 billion won (over 20 million US dollars) to produce the show, which was filmed in Portugal, Morocco and South Korea.
The pilot introduces us to Cha Dal-gun(Lee) who’s nephew dies in a mysterious plane crash that kills everyone on board.
Go Hae-ri(Suzy) is a covert National Intelligence Service agent(Korean version of the CIA) who becomes involved with Dal-Gun following the plane crash after meeting him at the airport for conference for compensation for the families of the plane crash as she is working as an intern(under-cover) at the Korean Embassy in Morocco.
Following an incident at the airport with a man who Dal-Gun saw in a video recording that his nephew recorded before the plane left South Korea.
It begins to emerge that the plane crash was not an accident as first thought but an act of terrorism by a major defense contractor in South Korea that is bidding for a contract with the Korean government.
This show marks a TV comeback for South Korean actress/singer Bae Suzy who’s last program was While You Were Sleeping produced by the same network SBS in the fall of 2017.
It also stars Lee Seung-gi who co-starred with Suzy back 2013 in the popular Korean historical fantasy drama Gu Family Book.
Also in a lead role is Shin Sung-rok who has recently finished roles in popular dramas Perfume and The Last Empress which aired on KBS(Korean Broadcast System) and SBS(Seoul Broadcast System) respectfully.
The program has received a lot of attention in the United States as the millennial generation has in recent years started to take more interest in Asian based dramas from South Korea, Taiwan and China to name a few, instead of the current programming on the US television networks.
The recent K-Con convention that was gathered at the Staples Center last month attracted more than 100,000 fans with interest not only in Korean Dramas but K-Pop and Anime.
According to a recent article in the LA Times it describes “just how diverse the fan base is: mostly young, but rife with every race, sexuality and gender expression” in the United States.
While its hard to say when American audiences became interested in Korean Dramas some say it started in 2016 with Descendants of the Sun, which not only aired online via on-demand services such as Netflix and Viki(another on-demand provider that provides Asian dramas and movies worldwide) but also on local broadcast channel KBS/KXLA with high ratings.
Others say it was The Heirs, the first Korean Drama to be co-produced by American-owed Warner Media(formally Drama-fever before AT&T, which owns Warner Media, shut the service down in November 2018) and Korean Hwa&Dam Pictures in 2013 online and on KSCI/SBS.
That show was not only produced but was also filmed partially in Southern California at Santa Monica’s beach and other locations throughout Southern California. In my opinion, if you are looking for something that will keep you in suspense and love a good mystery then Vagabond is for you, it’s a spy/thriller with a touch of romance that is very familiar in Korean Dramas. Please note however that this show is broadcast in Korean and you will have to enable English subtitles. Two 70-minute episodes will be added each Friday and Saturday on Netflix following their broadcast in South Korea until Nov. 9 as the show was pre-produced earlier this year. Happy Watching!