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QUESTION ABOUT LENGTH OF JDRAMAS

Discuss Japanese drama series here.
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spokeydokey00
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QUESTION ABOUT LENGTH OF JDRAMAS

Post by spokeydokey00 » Jul 16th, '07, 03:39

just curious...why are Jdramas 9-12 eps for an entire season? here in the US season are around 22-24 eps. just wondering.

Lockewinter
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Post by Lockewinter » Jul 16th, '07, 05:20

Actually, they aren't all that way. Taiga and asadora (means morning drama) dramas, as well as the other NHK or NHK-like dramas, are really quite a bit longer than that.

But for "regular" dramas, it actually didn't used to be that way. There were a lot of dramas with longer running times, but as the years have passed, its gotten more regular, in much the same way anime has.

In fact, the two share the same organization, in that the year is broken into four seasons corresponding to the actual seasons, so even when dramas go or went on for more than a 13-week season, they are thought of as more than one season. The Japanese television industry has no incentive to make an America-like broadcasting schedule because 1) the Japanese school year is all year long, so you don't have such a broad decrease in TV watching in the summer and 2) the rainy season at the beginning of summer and the typhoon season at the end can actually force more viewers (though with more pesky typhoon warning text getting in the way of the broadcast ;).

For dramas, I think producers are more conversative since viewership is overall somewhat down since the 90s. The best way to view it, I think, is viewing the "sequel" dramas as the second seasons of earlier dramas, so stuff like Kuitan, Gokusen, Jikou Keisatsu and Hanadan are actually much longer dramas, but whether they get played in full depends on how well they do in the beginning. Before when dramas could be much longer, they might put a lot of risk in a long drama and it ended up it getting unpleasant ratings, so it might be cancelled. These days, you don't hear about cancellations (I haven't heard of one in a while).

There are still some regular dramas that are planned to be longer from the start, such as The White Tower, for instance.

Personally, I like it. The newer dramas are hardly less in-depth because of it and in some ways much tighter, pacing-wise. There's also a lot more variety than there was before. I don't you ever would have seen shows like Sexy Voice and Robo 15 years ago.

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groink
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Post by groink » Jul 16th, '07, 05:47

U.S. dramas work the following way.

1. There's really no "end" to any drama. Instead, two things can happen. 1. They can be canceled mid-way (ex: Jericho), so you really have no ending. 2. It can end if the network or cast is bored with the show.

2. Americans love their characters so much, they don't want the show to end. And most of the time they never do end.

3. The reason they have 24 episodes a season is that they re-run the episodes during prime-time. So that makes it 48 weeks. The other four weeks is spent on specials. In Japan, re-runs are aired during non-prime-time, such as in the weekday afternoons.

4. Using a Japanese term, most American dramas are basically tanpatsu, meaning each episode stands by itself. Between s1 ep1 of Law & Order and s10 ep24, you really haven't missed anything in-between. You can even mix up the order of the episodes and you still won't lose any pace with the storyline. Whereas Japanese dramas are serialized or renzoku, much like American daytime soaps.

5. Hollywood actually started the "trendy" drama format the Japanese are credited for creating in the late 1980s. In the 1970s, CBS created a serialized, weekly prime-drama called Dallas. It was followed up with several others, such as Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, and several others. ABC copied the serialized format with Dynasty and several others. However, the serialized format lost its power by the mid-1980s. FOX TV tried returning the format by using it to introduce younger viewers to serialized dramas, such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. Other minor TV networks like The WB and UPN tried this with Dawson's Creek, among others. In a way, the direction with serialized dramas in Hollywood is VERY similar to the Japanese using Johnny's and manga-oriented storylines.

--- groink

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spokeydokey00
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Post by spokeydokey00 » Jul 16th, '07, 05:49

thanks Lockewinter! It's funny because yesterday my friend was talking about a commercial she saw on TV. She asked me, "You haven't seen it?" I told her I don't watch TV because it's summer. There is nothing good on. I told her the only "tv" i watch is Jdramas. I do think it is cool that there are new quality shows on all year. In the US it'll just be reruns and reality shows in the summer.

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Post by spokeydokey00 » Jul 16th, '07, 05:55

groink wrote: 3. The reason they have 24 episodes a season is that they re-run the episodes during prime-time. So that makes it 48 weeks. The other four weeks is spent on specials. In Japan, re-runs are aired during non-prime-time, such as in the weekday afternoons.

--- groink
cool..didn't know that about jdramas.
groink wrote: 4. Using a Japanese term, most American dramas are basically tanpatsu, meaning each episode stands by itself. Between s1 ep1 of Law & Order and s10 ep24, you really haven't missed anything in-between. You can even mix up the order of the episodes and you still won't lose any pace with the storyline. Whereas Japanese dramas are serialized or renzoku, much like American daytime soaps.

--- groink
I couldn't get into Heros (a show in the US) because it was renzoku. Everyone I knew was talking about it but i missed the first few eps so I just figured I will wait until the DVD comes out.

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Post by mizune » Jul 16th, '07, 06:11

groink wrote: 5. Hollywood actually started the "trendy" drama format the Japanese are credited for creating in the late 1980s.
Don't know if it's true or not, but I read someplace years and years and years ago that the Japanese broadcasting networks actually modeled their prime-time drama format after the serial format used by British television at the time. e.g. Hour-long episodes that continue to build the story and are typically complete in 8-12 episodes, with 4 "seasons" in a year...

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Post by toyotaku » Jul 16th, '07, 06:20

mizune wrote:
groink wrote: 5. Hollywood actually started the "trendy" drama format the Japanese are credited for creating in the late 1980s.
Don't know if it's true or not, but I read someplace years and years and years ago that the Japanese broadcasting networks actually modeled their prime-time drama format after the serial format used by British television at the time. e.g. Hour-long episodes that continue to build the story and are typically complete in 8-12 episodes, with 4 "seasons" in a year...
From the first I started watching jdrama, it's seemed EXACTLY that... that the Japanese patterned after the British, especially NHK. Wonder if they really did.

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groink
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Post by groink » Jul 16th, '07, 07:15

mizune wrote:
groink wrote: 5. Hollywood actually started the "trendy" drama format the Japanese are credited for creating in the late 1980s.
Don't know if it's true or not, but I read someplace years and years and years ago that the Japanese broadcasting networks actually modeled their prime-time drama format after the serial format used by British television at the time. e.g. Hour-long episodes that continue to build the story and are typically complete in 8-12 episodes, with 4 "seasons" in a year...
I know this is true for NHK. Their entire business and programming structure is modeled after the BBC. I'm not sure about the other TV networks.

--- groink

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Post by Eziya Minamoto » Jul 16th, '07, 17:43

spokeydokey00 wrote:
groink wrote: 3. The reason they have 24 episodes a season is that they re-run the episodes during prime-time. So that makes it 48 weeks. The other four weeks is spent on specials. In Japan, re-runs are aired during non-prime-time, such as in the weekday afternoons.

--- groink
cool..didn't know that about jdramas.
groink wrote: 4. Using a Japanese term, most American dramas are basically tanpatsu, meaning each episode stands by itself. Between s1 ep1 of Law & Order and s10 ep24, you really haven't missed anything in-between. You can even mix up the order of the episodes and you still won't lose any pace with the storyline. Whereas Japanese dramas are serialized or renzoku, much like American daytime soaps.

--- groink
I couldn't get into Heros (a show in the US) because it was renzoku. Everyone I knew was talking about it but i missed the first few eps so I just figured I will wait until the DVD comes out.
If you want, you could watch Heroes on NBC.com, the site has all of the first season.

To make my post a bit relevant, I prefer watching Japanese drama because it doesn't drag on for many years and I can watch the whole series through with a minimal chance of getting bored with it.

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Post by goygakgoy » Jul 17th, '07, 01:23

I agree with others.

To me, 9-12 episodes for a drama makes sense. Enough to tell a great story and end it. I hate how American entertainment are stand alone episodes that just keeps going and going and going. I hate how it's so profit driven. Continue if they make money, stop if they don't. It hurts so bad when they cut your favorite dramas. I like how in j-doramas, once they make it, they end it. U feel good about it.

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Post by raven_frost » Jul 17th, '07, 02:14

goygakgoy wrote:I agree with others.

To me, 9-12 episodes for a drama makes sense. Enough to tell a great story and end it. I hate how American entertainment are stand alone episodes that just keeps going and going and going. I hate how it's so profit driven. Continue if they make money, stop if they don't. It hurts so bad when they cut your favorite dramas. I like how in j-doramas, once they make it, they end it. U feel good about it.
Couldn't agree more with what you've said!

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Post by groink » Jul 17th, '07, 04:43

goygakgoy wrote:I agree with others.

To me, 9-12 episodes for a drama makes sense. Enough to tell a great story and end it. I hate how American entertainment are stand alone episodes that just keeps going and going and going. I hate how it's so profit driven. Continue if they make money, stop if they don't. It hurts so bad when they cut your favorite dramas. I like how in j-doramas, once they make it, they end it. U feel good about it.
It really depends on what you believe is the cause... Seriously, I think endless dramas is what the American TV fans want. Say that we don't know any better, and it may be true. But still, it would take YEARS of experimentation to break the cycle and have all TV networks start sticking to a format similar to the Asian market.

To be quite honest, I think the 10-12 episode per renzoku is pretty bad for the Japanese artist's career, financially. It is pretty much a given that if an American artist gets a major part in an American drama, he's basically set for the entire life of the show (could be YEARS) unless he does something wrong, like go to prison or some other stupid thing like that.

Whereas for the Japanese artist, he must constantly look for work, which is probably why they prefer the talent agency system in Japan. Look at the top-paid Japanese artists... Most of the top-10 are established tarento with their own TV variety shows, which last FOREVER (SMAPxSMAP, MUSIC STATION, HEY! HEY! HEY! MUSIC CHAMP, etc.) So unless you've got your own variety show going for you, you're basically living gig-by-gig.

And even the long-running renzoku like Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari, Mito Komon, Hagure Keiji Junjoha, among others still beat out many of the 10-12 episode trendy dramas in the ratings. It's just that JDorama.com's candy-coated ratings topic doesn't show you the entire picture, which is why I see to it personally that DramaWiki shows the ratings for ALL the renzoku. So although 10-12 eps are preferred by the fans, it does not mean it will do well in the ratings. And in many cases, the never-ending and the 22+ episode dramas do very well.

IMHO, the Japanese TV fans want familiarity with their favorite characters - just like the American TV fans.

--- groink

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Post by pnoytecknix » Jul 17th, '07, 04:48

^yeah, i agree also. often times its like sad or whatever when a good series ends, but at least theres closure in the story, like a really long movie. whereas american shows could go on forever and you wouldnt really notice if it stopped because of the tanpatsu format...

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Post by spokeydokey00 » Jul 17th, '07, 06:42

but what is cool about a 9-12 ep story arc is that the actors and actresses have plenty of chances to play different types of characters in different dramas. They have a better chance of showing their range and acting ability depending on what type of drama they choose or get picked for. I'm hoping for Sawajiri Erika to play a not so serious type of drama. I'm wondering if she can pull off a light hearted humor.

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Post by Toritorisan » Jul 17th, '07, 07:09

spokeydokey00 wrote:but what is cool about a 9-12 ep story arc is that the actors and actresses have plenty of chances to play different types of characters in different dramas. They have a better chance of showing their range and acting ability depending on what type of drama they choose or get picked for. I'm hoping for Sawajiri Erika to play a not so serious type of drama. I'm wondering if she can pull off a light hearted humor.
I totally agree, this is one of the reasons I like Japanese dramas because I like to watch my favorite actors and actresses play different roles. Especially ones that are more of a challenge and they haven't done before.

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Post by goygakgoy » Jul 21st, '07, 01:58

I totally agree with you 100%. The problem I have is that if a show is good, but don't get enough ratings, they cut the show like it's nothing. I don't really know how Japanese entertainment is overall, but it's definitely a great idea to follow America's format, as well for America to be more like Japan. What I want is for the entertainment industry to at least give a damn and end a show properly.
groink wrote:
goygakgoy wrote:I agree with others.

To me, 9-12 episodes for a drama makes sense. Enough to tell a great story and end it. I hate how American entertainment are stand alone episodes that just keeps going and going and going. I hate how it's so profit driven. Continue if they make money, stop if they don't. It hurts so bad when they cut your favorite dramas. I like how in j-doramas, once they make it, they end it. U feel good about it.
It really depends on what you believe is the cause... Seriously, I think endless dramas is what the American TV fans want. Say that we don't know any better, and it may be true. But still, it would take YEARS of experimentation to break the cycle and have all TV networks start sticking to a format similar to the Asian market.

To be quite honest, I think the 10-12 episode per renzoku is pretty bad for the Japanese artist's career, financially. It is pretty much a given that if an American artist gets a major part in an American drama, he's basically set for the entire life of the show (could be YEARS) unless he does something wrong, like go to prison or some other stupid thing like that.

Whereas for the Japanese artist, he must constantly look for work, which is probably why they prefer the talent agency system in Japan. Look at the top-paid Japanese artists... Most of the top-10 are established tarento with their own TV variety shows, which last FOREVER (SMAPxSMAP, MUSIC STATION, HEY! HEY! HEY! MUSIC CHAMP, etc.) So unless you've got your own variety show going for you, you're basically living gig-by-gig.

And even the long-running renzoku like Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari, Mito Komon, Hagure Keiji Junjoha, among others still beat out many of the 10-12 episode trendy dramas in the ratings. It's just that JDorama.com's candy-coated ratings topic doesn't show you the entire picture, which is why I see to it personally that DramaWiki shows the ratings for ALL the renzoku. So although 10-12 eps are preferred by the fans, it does not mean it will do well in the ratings. And in many cases, the never-ending and the 22+ episode dramas do very well.

IMHO, the Japanese TV fans want familiarity with their favorite characters - just like the American TV fans.

--- groink

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Post by BabiiBue92 » Jul 21st, '07, 06:26

I love the fact that the Dramas are only 9-12 epi, I actually watch the whole drama not gettin bored or skippin parts! I'm never in a hurry to finish the JDramas(Cause its NOt long at all) like I am with the KDrams and tdramas

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Post by rikimaru1 » Jul 21st, '07, 06:58

This is turning into a really interesting discussion thread...


I agree with both spokeydokey00 and groink about how the Japanese system affects the employment of the actors...

On one hand, you get to play different types of characters, and you only need one big breakout role to increase your popularity. A lot of the idols/talents aren't only actors, so short-term projects could benefit them by promoting their music or modelling careers.

In America, you could be on a show for a very long time and get job security....but once the show ends, you could end up type-casted for a really long time. Remember Doogie Howser, M.D.?

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Post by RPGonline2 » Jul 21st, '07, 20:03

What do you mean? My mother (40 Years Old) has been watching All My Children, and General Hospital since like the 70's! They were even around before she was born.

THATS what I call a LOOOONG Drama. It would be nice if an Asian Drama (Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean ETC) could be longer then just 20 episodes or 10... :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :salut:

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