The Decline of Fictional Historical Drama Series: Insights From ‘Our Blooming Youth’, ‘Joseon Lawyer’ and More

historical drama 2023
historical drama 2023
Credit: tvN, MBC, SBS

Fictional historical dramas, which were once popular among audiences, have been receiving disappointing ratings recently.

For example, tvN’s Our Blooming Youth, which depicts the love story of a cursed crown prince and a genius girl suspected of killing her family, struggled to maintain an average viewership rating of 3 percent throughout its run.

Although the drama received attention for casting Park Hyung Sik as the lead, it only managed to surpass a 4.9 percent rating on its final episode.

Similarly, MBC’s Joseon Lawyer premiered with a rating of 2.8 percent, despite telling a unique story about a lawyer in the Joseon dynasty and featuring rising stars like Woo Do Hwan, Cha Hak Yeon, and Bona of WJSN. The drama is currently lagging behind its weekend drama competitors, as its predecessor Kokdu: Season of Deity concluded with a rating of 1.6 percent.

SBS’ The Secret Romantic Guesthouse is also struggling to surpass a 3 percent rating. The drama targets younger viewers by combining romance and mystery elements centered around Shin Ye Eun along with Ryeoun, Kang Hoon and Jung Gun Joo.

The underwhelming response to fictional historical dramas has raised concerns that the waning interest in the genre may be a key factor contributing to the poor ratings.

In an effort to address this, production companies are now shifting their focus towards traditional historical dramas, like The Goryeo-Khitan War, in hopes of attracting more viewers.

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