Dramafever Shuts Down Abruptly After 9 Years of Mainstreaming K-drama Watching

For the last few years I’ve felt an end of an era is coming premonition, as domestic ratings for K-dramas kept on falling 6 years straight and the original K-drama fanatics during the early Hallyu era all dissipated as excitement seemed to slack. But the international viewers seemingly grew as K-dramas mainstreamed due to the official licensing at streaming sites starting with the progenitor Dramafever and its fan cousin Viki. Later on the broader platforms Hulu and Netflix also added K-dramas to its catalog and it seemed the world outside of Asian countries started watching addicting K-dramas.

Sadly a slice of that pie got smaller today with the abrupt and complete shutdown of OG K-drama streaming site Dramafever, which was launched in 2009, sold to Softbank, and then sold to Warner Bros. WB announced the shutdown immediately along with plans to integrate all its catalog of streaming shows into a new HBO-anchored streaming site, which probably means K-dramas and other dramas carried by Dramafever will end up there. I’m still sad that the OG DF site is gone just like that, and with it a slice of history I lived through alongside. Current subscribers of DF will get a refund on their subscription but not a patch for the wistfulness of longing for an era that has passed.

I started watching K-dramas before Dramafever arrived to offer officially licensed and subtitled shows, and back then the drama watching crew was tight knit and everyone knew all the major fans and sites.

As of today I truly miss so many gathering places and friends who have moved on:

Dramabeans insightful recaps
Girlfriday’s witty recaps
Kaedejun and Gummimochi with their DF scoops
Thundie with her warmth like a den mama
Daheefanel with her critical eye
Langdon813 my unni
The Incomparable Mr. X
OG OT girls like Sere and Kender and of course the man of the drama house Samsooki
and countless more funny/charming/interesting drama kindred spirits that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Thank you DF and everyone who loved and continues to love K-dramas. What are your Dramafever and/or greater K-drama memories?


Dramafever Shuts Down Abruptly After 9 Years of Mainstreaming K-drama Watching — 110 Comments

  1. WITH S2!!!!!! The greatest subbers ever. I remember Coolsmurf on Youtube really brought me down the variety rabbit hole with his videos of Xman way way way back

    • I miss WITH S2 so much. Their link is still on my favorite Bookmarks list.
      With Dramafever gone now means another source with good subtitles gone.

  2. I miss the old dramabeans website when it was a genuine discussion forum. Now it feels a bit commercialised and according to reviewers everything they watch is amazing and positive. Not being critically honest takes away from genuine reviewing so this is regrettable. In an effort to be civil and prevent fan wars, real reviewing and discussion is stunted. I stopped reading that site for a couple years now.
    I also remember mysoju 10 years ago, not sure if it was totally legal but it was the only site I knew back then! Plus no one knew what kdrama/kpop was then so it was a niche hobby to share with close friends. Now its all over the place, I saw BTS on a billbord on the outerskirts of london the other day! How times have changed.

    • Dramabeans is hopeless.
      If you read through the comments and now they set up some fan walls for the beanies, you can smell the hypocrisy from miles ahead. There’s no honest discussion, everyone sounding so fake civilized. The only dramas they care to criticize are those dramas featuring Lee Jun Ki whereas worshipping of staple faves like Yoo Yeon Seok, Park Bo Gum, Son Ye Jin and Seo Hyun Jin (just naming a few) is OTT among the beanies.

      • Has is ever occurred to you that the people there might just be genuinely civilized and capable of mature dialogue without resorting to the ad hominem and petty drama that is so endemic to this particular community of fans? From what I noticed a lot of the active users there aren’t exactly youngsters anymore so it makes sense for them to act in a more civilized manner. People there actually mind their own business, whereas here you have others criticizing them for being civil.

        I noticed some people here really love picking on DB, and while I agree it is not as great of a community as it used to be, it sure is still miles better than reading 125 comments about Lee Jong Seok’s face or endless stupid fan wars. But whatever keep you entertained, I guess.

      • I totally agree with @Blue and @Adi! Dramabeans is still the best drama recap site. I enjoy reading the comments too. They make me laugh and at the same time thought provoking. I may not always agree but the diversity in views makes it interesting. At least they’re intelligent, mature, encouraging and they don’t criticize how a person looks. I also do not understand the Dramabeans bashing on this site. KP and DB are not competing against each other.

      • I am with @alexa on this one.Dramabeans was my go-to place for everything kdrama(recaps, news and commentary) but these days I just for casting news and even that I can just read soompi and get what I need to know so I rarely visit there.The quality of their drama recaps decreased.I liked it when Girlfriday and Javabeans were the main recappers.The comment section is meh these days.I will always prefer raw honesty and constructive criticism than empty praises just to avoid roughing some feathers.The worst part is they like to pretend or deceive themselves that they are neutral but the audience there clearly have their favourites but dont want to admit.

      • Echoing with @Alexa, the comment section in DB is hopeless. There is no end to their goo-goo-ga-ga from the few commentors who dominate that section. Oh yes, there are fan wars too, @Blue – maybe you have not read enough. For drama recaps, GB and JB were the best but they rarely write recaps now. Among the newer recappers, I like LollyPip. DB is no longer my go-to site for reading entertainment, as most articles have lost insight and sound too commercialized. This playground continues to be enjoyable despite those few people who keep changing usernames and interfere with the joy of commenting of others (you know who you are) 🙂

      • @candycane I think I have read plenty in the 10 years I have silently followed the site. There are disagreements, of course, and once in a blue moon you’ll have the occasional disruptive and hostile basher, but all in all it’s a very peaceful and civilized community. I am not a fan of the fangirling that goes on in the feed and the recaps are nowhere near as good as before, but I still feel the DB hate on this site seems bitter and unwarranted. No one there actually calls out other sites and their users like it happens here and everyone minds their own business. If you feel the commenters are too vanilla and easily pleased, that’s your opinion, but I don’t think that makes them “hypocrites” or “hopeless”. You can uphold your style of conversation here without bashing other people is all I am saying.

    • @sana , me too i remember mysoju, dramagaru,… 10 years ago i was one of the few who watched kdramas , people around me didn’t know that Sk had an Entertainment industry !!! Used to Watch all the dramas ( only a few were available ) . Probably the reason why i’m still found of actors as Kim Sun Ah, Kim hee Sun, Yoon Eun hye, Moon Geun Young,Jang nara, Lee Dong Gun, Jae hee, Ji Sung, chae Rim, So ji sub, Park shin Hye, … Sad.

    • I was following Javabeans (before it became dramabeans) when she was a wordpress site, starting with Dal Ja’s spring and Goong S. Then I saw the changes .. and meanwhile I lost interest since Girlfriday and Javabeans are no longer actively recapping.

      How the time flies.

      • Does anyone know “why” jb and gf are gone? I feel like they just slowly disappeared off the site and there really wasn’t any sort of explanation.

      • I have not been reading Asian drama recap/new sites recently so have not been kept up-to-date.

        Whatever happened to Javabeans and Girlfriday?

    • Haai, i also saved by mysoju, eventhough it was ilegal. In the old days, k-ent isn’t well known and now it’s easy to find k-drama fan and fanwars among k-pop fans ?

    • Dramabeans and positive comments don’t go together. That’s a toxic website. The reason I don’t go there for few years now. Too many opinionated & too unreasonable hare comments. Those toxic comments are nowhere near as critical or intelligent…

      comments as such:
      “story has too many holes” comments just because they don’t understand… the writing is bad comment… geez….. writers have their own.. just because the story didn’t go according to what you want does not mean it’s bad writing…

      “direction was a mess” —- just because the flow of the drama didn’t go with what you want, it does not mean it was a mess.. it could be as viewer you are very shortsighted

      “bad remake or adaptation— because it didn’t go exactly with the original… hey since when art is about copy and paste…

      And other cringey “critical comments” -not-

      • Hmmmm….Toxic? Which site are you talking about? We have to be careful with our words.

        Let’s not be over critical. We’re just mourning the loss of Dramafever.

      • So basically, “too opinionated” = they dared to have opinions that you disagree with? Or criticise dramas that you liked? Because I can’t tell otherwise why you keep using the word “opinionated” like it’s a bad thing.

        Meanwhile the other commenter has issues with dramabeans because people are “fake civilised”….. ie just plain civilised with each other.

        It can’t be both ways, but if db pisses both sides off equally then I think they are doing a good job. At least the commenters there aren’t usually as nasty and toxic as the way some people on here can get.

      • #MistyEyes : Well can’t expect every person aim to look at drama/movie for art and look at it critically. Most of the time it’s for entertainment first, art later. So we will expecting alot of audiences will makes statement of what makes drama work for them before value that drama critically. So that’s why just reading a review just as a reference and don’t trust their view 100%.

    • I really don’t see why there is so much hate for Dramabeans. It’s still one of the top and best places for recaps and civil discussion. Very rarely is there a heated argument and drama.

      Is it so hard to believe that people can discuss dramas without name calling? There are many discussions and differing opinions and most people respect all the opinions. Seems to me you all are just bitter because there is a relatively safe and civilized place to have drama discussions.

      • Yeah it’s not my style of discussion but you can tell the people on there really do love dramas. And the tone of recaps+comments there is generally civilised, even on recaps like Moon Lovers where it was very clear that the commenters were frustrated with various aspects of the drama, they were not attacking each other over that.

        I like the liveliness of Koala comments but I do think the tone of the main blog will always be reflected in its comments.

    • I also liked the old Dramabeans website with just the discussion forum. I don’t go there anymore. Koala is my main source. Please Koala, don’t chance your style!

  3. This is a truly heartfelt post by you koala. I started watching dramas in 2011 but I joined the community pretty later that is why I am unfamiliar with a lot of people you have listed. But once you are part of that community it is very difficult to let go. I hope you keep up your blog for the longest time.

  4. No wonder!!! Thank you for letting us know. I tried to watch but it kept shutting down. Thought my internet was fried. Oh well. It was great while it lasted.

  5. Dramabeans is great for recaps and after that I’m done. I’m following ‘The Guest’. I don’t read the comments because they’re long winded and sometimes go off tangent so yep. They’re very selective in what they choose to recap on too but I guess it’s their choice. However what gets me is that they diversified and had this online shop which I thought was very novel of them but it’s no longer in operation and Okay I’ll be honest I was tempted to buy something off there. I’m too embarrassed to write what it was.

  6. I was sort of “in at the creation” of Dramafever. I was a member of a drama forum that no longer exists and we were among the first to get the word and join Dramafever. I knew something was up yesterday when I saw a notice at the site that further episodes of “Ruyi” were “delayed.” It’s all very sad. Not panicking yet, relying on Viki, YouTube, and a site that shall be nameless lest it be taken down for rogue activity.

  7. This is really sad 🙁
    Another site to be missed.
    I do miss subs from WITHS2 and Gods of the East Subs (GOESS).
    I remember the time when we had to wait for a week or two for good quality subs.
    That was the time before dramafever or viki – when mysoju was the site all Kdrama fans would visit to watch subbed dramas.
    Dramabeans and Koalasplayground have always been my go to sites for recaps when subs were not available.
    I’ve seen a lot of changes with how the beanies (Dramabeans) do their recaps in the last years and I really miss recaps done by dramabeans and girlfriday.
    But I’m glad that Koalasplayground has remained the same over the years – I hope things around here don’t change.
    PS.. I usually just lurk around the site – but I had to post this to say thank you! Thank you for fueling my Asian addiction all these years 🙂

    • Not really. Koalasplayground has changed too. There used to be drama recaps here but I guess it can’t compete with DB. I’m fine with KP as it is now. Just news.

    • No, koalasplayground is not the same. In the past, I can open many tabs to binge reading their articles, now it just forbidden 🙁

    • As a former part of GOESS, thank you for your comment 🙂 those years of TVXQ and K-dramas were the best with the Hong Sisters zippy wittiness or even the sweeping sageuks.

  8. I have never forgiven them for forcibly removing the best (fan)subs ever made for Answer Me 1997 and replacing with their less-than-stellar subs. And in the early days, stealing from fan subs and tearing them down from the other sites.

    That said, it’s the end of an era.

    • You should rewatch R1997 after the subs were edited and song lyrics added. I remember how incensed I was with DF during the R1997 days. And DF causing all those streaming sites to go. Have no good memories of the aggressive business tactics from its original owners.

      R1997 taught me a lot more swearing and I was so impressed that it had over 180 songs. I am still in love with how good the songs were and how appropriate to the scenes.

      I miss my knowing all the old online names- mysoju,aja aja, WITHs2, Mr X and hunting and finding episodes. Waiting for the torrents. I wondered what happened to all those uploaders and subbers.

      In terms of Kdrama years I haven’t been on that long but boy was it an experience immersing myself in it. Life moves on. It is too dangerous to comment on your blog these days. People are so catty and bitchy and intolerant. There is no fun in joining a discussion. DB is not as fun but the comments are thoughtful and half the time well thought out. Don’t understand why the bashing is going on.

      Life has moved on. I have learnt enough Korean to get by without subs if need to. So don’t whine as much. And the more I learn the more I appreciate a good recap. And good subbing.

      Farewell to those days.

  9. I’ve stopped watching kdramas 2 years ago maybe? Just nothing interesting scriptwise, basic production and new uncharismatic actors. Hard for the business model when the only product you sell sucks… Quite sure they will be other sites going belly up.

    • Did you even read the whole post? DF shirting dkwn was not because of an issue of a decline in profit or interest that led to its shutdown. If it was, Netflix would have no interest in throwing more money than ever at kdramas.

  10. Dramafever was a shitty site to begin with. Didn’t work outside of America, many dramas were not available in other regions, commenting system sucked etc. DF was not original and lost to many of its competitors. WB did the right thing by shutting down DF and integrating its contents as part of their own streaming site. The popularity of Korean dramas fluctuates, is reliable on few star writers and few charismatic actors. Chinese market is vital too, but Chinese drama production is developing rapidly so kdramas need to come up with new ideas.

    • Sad to see DF go, but I have to admit even as a paying subscriber, I wasn’t watching it that much in the last year or two. The quality of Kdramas’ storytelling is not like it used to be. No more epics like Dae Jang Geum, Dong Yi, Jumong, etc. and lately there are too many remakes which aren’t as good and I’ve already seen the originals. So, the story isn’t as interesting when you know what’s going to happen. Also, I’ve gotten tired of the same medicore idol actors and actresses that keep getting roles despite of having no talent. I think with all these factors, the interest in Kdramas will drop. And now that DF is gone, outta sight, outta mind. If Kdramas ever goes back to what it used to be, maybe I’ll gain interest again.

  11. Oh wow, this news brought me out of lurking! I got into kdramas circa 2005, long before people were streaming – it was all torrents, megaupload and occasional YouTube ep.

    I remember everyone you mentioned and now feel old.

    (I don’t really watch kdramas any more – for whatever reason they don’t grab me any more but just might rewatch an oldie now in nostalgia.)

    Oh and clubbox! Haha how can I forget trying to navigate clubbox to get an ep despite reading zero Korean!

    • Same! Honestly after Megaupload, Mysoju and the other torrent sites shut down, it hasn’t been the same for me. I know that with the streaming sites, dramas were supposed to become mainstream but it only got harder to watch the older dramas that I wanted to.

      Man, your shout out hit me with a wave of nostalgia. I had almost every site you listed bookmarked. I wonder, is the hallyu wave waning then? Anyways, just wanted to thank the staff at DF who worked with the site over the years. And to WITHS2 who somewhat lived on in DF. They were simply the best and with them gone, it wasn’t always easy to find quality subs.

    • Dangermousie, I have long meant to write to thank you for introducing me to kdramas. I used to follow Regina (Queen of Thorns, IIRC) on Livejournal. One day, I clicked on her Friends feed and saw all these posts from you, among others. Unfortunately, yours were full of large screen grabs and could in no way be remotely interpreted as work-related even from across the room, so I would scroll frantically past your posts until one day you put something up about Bollywood, in which I had a passing interest, having seen a few films and visited India while my sister was living there.

      So I watched a bunch of shows you recommended (Fanaa, Jodha-Akbar, Veer-Zaara!!!) and discovered I could trust your judgment implicitly, so much did our tastes align. So I scoured the interwebs to find just about every South Indian film or drama you recommended and then realized I needed to bite the bullet and check out these Korean dramas you were praising. My first was City Hunter, followed by The Princess’s Man, and I haven’t looked back since!

      So I thank you from the bottom of my heart, dearest of Dangermousies, for introducing me to this thing that I enjoy so much and which has broadened my horizons. I am eternally grateful!!

      • @TooeleFats. Oh wow, thank you!!! I haven’t been on LJ in years (though I am still on tumblr, binging on Turkish shows of all things) but it’s so nice to read someone enjoyed my ramblings!

  12. This is hardly surprising. With massive streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon taking over, it will become increasingly difficult for niche distributors to compete for licensing deals. Sad, but the way the world works.

  13. I’m also saddened by this. Really does feel like the end of an era but also understandable. Not the first of its kind to go but Dramafever will always hold a special place in my heart. Yes, I remember Mysoju! Ahh the sweet memories of bygone years. If you ever leave, Koala, please give us an advance heads up so we can all have a nostalgic farewell in style

  14. I think that’s about 10 years now that i enjoy reading your posts Koala, thanks from France. I’d wish to have a “french koala” to be able to post to my content. BISOUS.

  15. Very sad. Heirs was the last drama DramaFever invested in and I haven’t really seen any since? So, it’s inevitable they will shut down. This news comes at the same time that Netflix said they gained 7 million viewers worldwide in the last quarter so they’re doing well and I hear they are investing lots of money to produce their originals. WB seems to have invested in LSG and Suzy’s new drama so I guess they will be broadcasting it. It’s all about big successful companies swallowing up small ones.

  16. I’ve been a drama fan for over 10 years so I do remember the good old days.

    A huge part of the reason I barely watch dramas anymore is the lack of honest discussion and all the good sites closing down.

    Also, it’s getting harder and harder to find subbed Jdramas.

  17. All good things end. I started watching dramas around 2006. Can’t remember how I discovered them. Was there at the DramaFever inception. Loved mysoju and was so sad when they shut down.

    I rarely watch a Kdrama these days. I’m reading recaps for The Guest over at Dramabeans and that’s about it. I agree with everyone else that Dramabeans has gone way downhill in the last years.

    Once in a while I’ll watch a drama or a movie but, not much anymore.

    • DB got bought by the same guy who owns BeautyTap (kbeauty store) that’s why there are always ads for it at the top of the page. I think GF and DB also lost their passion and deep interest for kdramas but still wanted to make some money on a site they worked hard on for years. The story you hear is different but they are supposedly still hustling behind the scenes while the recaps quality continue their rapid decline in quality. Ah well, it’s life, things change and all good things must come to an end.

      • Thanks for posting about DB. I didn’t know what happened. Since I hardly watch any Kdramas anymore, I don’t go over to the site. What I’ve seen doesn’t interest me anymore.

        The work it takes to watch and recap besides keeping up and writing articles for a blog must have been monumental. I started to get the impression it was much more of a chore than a pleasure.
        Such is life.

  18. I discovered K-dramas on Netflix but quickly discovered Dramafever so I do thank them for giving me an avenue of legal and safe drama watching. I also eventually subscribed to Viki. In the Variety article, it notes that the $800,000 for a drama got bumped up to 1,000,000 per drama no doubt due to increased competition from more streaming sites. Whether Warner goes ahead and starts their own site and throws in all their Asian content there as well as originally planned, one can only hope.

    I do think that doing this mid-dramas was tacky and not well done as it leaves fans hanging with no legal avenues around to finish up. Having said that, a huge thanks to the original guys who started DF who saw the potential and took a chance on promoting Asian dramas.

    • DF got a lot a flake when they first started and flagging contents of sites like dramabeans and got into spat with MisterX from dramatic-eye (I forgot what was his original blog site that was without a paywall). For stealing subs from some fansub group, and providing crappy in-house subs. However, they have matured throughout the years and did provide a legal platform for international viewers to enjoy dramas.

      • It was vault of doom :). I really miss Mister X’ insightful views in dramas. You may not always agree with him, but it is always a good read.

  19. Is it the end of Hallyu wave? or are they still reigning over the Asian dramas? I remember how Taiwanese dramas were so popular back then until the Korean ones took over. I think it was in the late ’90s. Which asian dramas are more popular right now? Is it Chinese’? I also see more peole watching Thai lakorns. If they play their cards right, they can be the next one to get more viewers. Probably in the years to come.

    • I actually think it’s a good thing for Korean dramas to be officially screened on American sites like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and now most likely HBO who are major players worldwide and who produce their own shows.
      It’s certainly more exposure for Korean actors and a real shot at being nominated in American awards.
      They will also be known by the American audience and gain International recognition. I see it as a new winning era for Korean dramas and actors.

  20. Hi ockoala, its been a long, long time since I posted but I had to after this post. Really brings out the nostalgia of the very good days gone by when you mention all our fav sub sites WithS2 etc and all our virtual friends, samsooki, Langdon813, cingdoc, beloved thundie (I hope and pray she is well now), semi-fly, MrX et al. Sorry, my memory fails me to mention others.

    And your paopeis must be all grown up by now. How time flies…

    But I am like @peeps who has a bad grudge about DF. They have been the cause of international kdrama fans in Asian countries who have no access to DF and such untold miseries when they played policemen and start shutting down one by one all the english sub sites including torrent sites. And all the hard work and sacrifices of all the subbers who did the subs for free in order to share one common passion. My sincere and upmost heartfelt thanks to everyone including you ockoala. All the best and please stay healthy and enjoy life.

    • Ah i wonder where’s Mr. X. Is he okay? His blog is closed and he also deleted his twitter acc. I haven’t watched anything in years but i miss his reviews and i forever be thankful to him for help me discover underrated gem called A Wife’s Credential.

      Also i hope thundie’s condition become better and better.

  21. Thanks so much for this post, Koala, taking us down the memory lane!

    All those names, bloggers, and sites are the very parts of my kdrama journey since 2005. I still have many of them in my bookmarks although they are no longer active, including Dangermousie who just commented above. This post is love and gold. Thank you, thank you.

  22. It’s not about Netflix as this site doesn’t have that many dramas to choose from. They didn’t earn any subscription from me because of that. I have the impression that there’s very low % of kdrama partrons in that website.

    Viki is a better choice than Netflix for kdrama viewing in my region. High rated or in demand dramas usually have local advertisements so viewers can watch free in the region. Then you have the option to get a premium membership for interrupted viewing.

    Then you VIU in most Asian countries. DF used to have many subscribers from Asian region thru vpn access. With the entry VIU… those vpn access were mostly gone.

    Lo and behold… the biggest risk for these legal streaming sites are mainly the illegal sites… dramacool and all it’s alter egos.. kissasian, dramabus, asiantv, taxiasian, dramanice and many more.

  23. Hi Koala, I’m your silent reader and this is probably the first time I left a comment here. This post jogs so many wistful memories. I’ve been a silent kdrama watcher since 2003 and I’ve been there during those struggling years of learning how to torrent and how to include sub (despite my limited IT knowledge), and then mysoju comes around and got me deep into the kdrama hole.

    It definitely feels like the end of an era. All the sites you mentioned were my go-to since years ago, and I’ve witnessed how they’ve changed. These days I only frequent your site and Dramabeans, but even dramabeans feels so much different now. I miss the regular recappers, girlfriday is missing for weeks now, the comments were dropping, and the newly created fan wall are now full of kpop idols and I assume, lots of new subscribers coz I hardly know the nicknames anymore. I’m still staying for memory’s sake, but I would not be surprised if one day they decided they would shut down the site too. It would be terribly sad if that day comes, but what happened to Dramafever feels like a premonition of what’s coming. I just hope we would get warnings beforehands.

    • That’s what I would like to know too…every once in a while I check up on her site just to see if she’s okay but no word.

      • Me too, I sometimes go to her site, hoping for an update. Just to see her winning the fight…

        I hope she is healthy and well…

  24. I’m so happy to see so many familiar names unlurking! @mystisith @dangermousie @simplesim @cahill and many more!

    I can’t believe I’m still watching K-dramas and even more crazy is that I’m still blogging! I think the latter keeps me doing the former otherwise I’d probably have stopped a year or two ago. But there are still interesting dramas worth watching but the excitement and fervor isn’t there anymore in the fandom. The sense of community is lost with the expansion of K-dramas to a greater reach.

    I miss all my old commenters and drama watching friends but alas life goes on. I’m sure many K-drama fans entered the fandom by moving on from another fandom world (US shows? Movie genres? Manga? Anime?) and the same cycle continues.

    What matters to me is staying true to what you enjoy and appreciating the takeaways from that experience. Hopefully I can give everyone a heads up when/if I stop blogging, I was sad that Javabeans and Girlfriday seemed to have just petered out as DB became commercialized. It would be such a epic comment party to wax nostalgic about the good ole days if they were to officially announce a retirement so everyone can thank them (esp. JB with her original wordpress site) for creating the OG drama gathering place.

    • Yep, life goes on, definitely. We got new hobbies (who said obsessions? ^^) and priorities. In a way, people moving on is healthy and I can’t really explain why I’m even following the kdrama news anymore. Bloggers are of course entitled to retire too if that becomes a chore. Everything is cyclical so who knows… A new Hallyu could catch us by surprise. C’est la vie.

    • i keep on watching dramas even if i don’t feel the same fervor. But i need my fix they helped me when i was suffering from depression in 2007. For that , Kdramas and this blog will always have a special place in me.

    • Dear dear ockoala and all the “veteran” chingus as @tambok puts it. I feel such a pang and bittersweet memories reading all these comments about the good old days! Yes, miss ole javabeans, GF, d-addicts etc

      Park Kyu group hugs everyone!!! JB and our ole “watering” hole. Lol

      I hope ockoala, that you will continue this blog and your love of kdrama/twdrama/cdrama/jdorama for a long time to come (but no pressure). I still visit here everyday and soompi. These are the 2 constants and connections I am still keeping. Million thanks to you and soomp!

      I have moved on from kdramas (to kvariety) past few years except the rare ones that still manage to draw me to watch the whole series eg Ms Hummurabi.

      Still enjoying 1N2D S3, I live Alone, Hyori B&B, 3MAD (all the series), You Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook, Law of the jungle etc

      Hope more of our friends will delurk and share news of how they are what they are up to.

    • Completely agree with the good old days when I had to HUNT to find dramas online. Chuno was almost the end of me. I found everyone back then and like eveyone got hooked on Dramabeans.

      I love what you mentioned about Javabeans and Girlfriday going on ahead and announcing their retirement from the site so that we can celebrate them. They have all but disappeared completely so the site feels more like a Soompi Forum with recaps.

      This is not a knock on them though, they have earned their retirement! Dramabeans is still amazing with the community that is involved, and this community will continue on with GF and JB fully behind the scenes. But I would really like to take a moment and just congratulate them on what they did for the international Kdrama community.

    • I never watched any dramas on Dramafever as they weren’t available in my region but I read the articles which were entertaining. Finding out that the site has closed down though was sad and brought back memories from mysoju days, from when Dramabeans and Girlfriday wrote recaps and the website actually had interesting content to read instead of the mainstream recaps and info it currently has which makes it just another K-drama website amongst many…
      The reality is the fandom has expanded and became mainstream as the K-stories seem to follow that same path with seemingly recycled storylines, leading the international fans migration towards Chinese dramas & Thai Lakorns, new, different and non-mainstream.
      Life goes on…

    • Did Koala just invite us all to her mansion for a party?

      When? Where? Should I bring Shin, LSG, YSY, YSH, JWS, Ji Sung, the Hand Towel? All of the above? I can dream, right?

      • You’re always welcome to partay at my crib, jomo! 🙂 But requirement to bring the Hand Towel. For….er….wiping needs. Yeah, that.

      • Holy crap it’s jomo! Don’t mean to be a weirdo but I remember you because I loved your blog and witty, clever writing style. A lot of your posts always brought a smile to my face 🙂

  25. That’s sad. I generally liked Dramafever subs better, they had a more even quality to them, whereas sites like Viki can vary a lot from drama to drama. Netflix subs are alright, but Netflix has that annoying tendency of blurring out random stuff or muting background music because of copyright issues in older series, so it’s not the best site to watch dramas.
    I still visit Dramabeans, but I do miss Javabeans and Girlfriday being around more either recapping or with random articles, they were always interesting to read or listen in their podcasts. They don’t really do a lot of that anymore.

    • Netflix subs can be seriously lacking, plus they have a bad habit of not translating honorifics. It leads to situations like a character’s name (and part of the husband hunt) being spoiled in Reply 1994 because they put the real name in the subs twenty minutes before it’s revealed onscreen.

      On one hand I’m glad to have dramas on Netflix but on the other, it’s sad to see how things change.

  26. Oh this is a nostalgic trip down memory lane. So many familiar names, I started out with anime, getting subbed episodes in irc, then moving on to dramas with combining torrents with soft subs. When Dramafever started it felt nice to get the dramas legally.

    The sheer amount of entertainment available really makes it hard nowadays to create memorable content while I am sure the licensing cost is much higher than before.

  27. It caught me by surprise too and I was wondering why I wasn’t able to start the app. Thanks for this post and it does remind me of the good old days with binge watching Kdramas and all the fun and temporary escape from our daily grinds. Not to mention the sometimes rabid and racy and yet intelligent “discussions” we had on certain shower scenes or the “abs” or our favorite actors (or actresses). It was all good time.

    I am also very disappointed at how Dramabeans has gone down over the years. I used to open the page first thing after I turn on the computer, at work 😉 But the hosts had become arrogant and a bit of full of themselves even before the quality recaps stopped and all the trash comment war began. This is my regular Kdrama news site now, along with Joanne and Kakashi’s “Problematic” site.

    Despite the quality and popularity issues with the Kdramas in recent years, for me it still provides the escapism I need and the fantasy of a different and interesting culture, and of course the camaraderie of fans and the nostalgia.

  28. Awww, this is so sad! I can’t believe it! Your list brought a wash of nostalgia flooding over me. Hard to believe it’s been almost a decade since I dipped my toe into the kdrama world!

  29. Yeahh lifes goes on. The excitement is not there anymore. I think part of the think is the new generation of hallyu star is no longer charismatic enough? But 2016 is still has so many fandom. And for me personally the passion I feel watching korean drama is not there anymore.

    I still watch the drama but not as fanatics to comment or gushing about it anymore like before

  30. I am a veteran kdrama viewer as well. I lurked on all the websites and blogs listed. I lost interest in American shows in the early 2000s and kdramas were my refuge. Now, it is the opposite, but it was a fun ride. I started streaming with AZN tv and remember those days when “buffering” was a part of the watching experience. I had good fandom experience here. I especially enjoyed “Lie to Me” and “Tamra, The Island” fandoms. The days when I enjoyed reading different recaps here and on dramabeans were really fun. The kdrama bloggers did many labors of love to make my drama watching experience very memorable.

  31. Noooooooooooooooooo. This is bad. No wonder that I could not log into my account on my phone. I paid for a year. I loved dramafever.

  32. I started watching in August 2010. Playful Kiss was my first drama. I found it on Hulu when it was still a free site. That lead me to Dramabeans and off the adventure went. I still watch Korean dramas, but not as many as I used to. I watch a hodge-podge of Asian dramas now: Japanese, Korean, Chinese mostly Mandarin, and Thai. I tried Philippine dramas but they are very strict with copyright and are taken down fast. I mostly watch everything RAW and only go back for subs if was really interesting. Skip-watching is the norm. I understand some of each of the languages, enough to be able to watch it. But don’t ask me to speak any of them, because there is no one to practice on.
    I don’t comment much because I don’t have the time. I’m getting older and can no longer marathon all night and work all day. I developed some health issues, nothing major, just enough to make life changes.
    It sure was nice to see some old familiar names today. I often wonder how everyone has been.

    • HOLY SCHMOLY! Look what the closing of DF brought back into the interwebs!
      How the heck are you?!

      The pull of dramas – getting up early to watch before work, or staying up late waiting for a recap to drop, not to mention downloading RAWs and watching with only a hint of what was going on, or worse with computer translated subs that completely confused me – all has faded into very wonderful memories.

      Was it the dilution of talent across too many networks? Too many shows? Is it that the Kdrama creative folks continued on with fading formulas while the rest of the world turned to new ideas and new formats? Maybe it is just that they are in a growing stage trying to figure out how to convert their machine from live shooting to successful pre-produced dramas. And how to be profitable without shoving PPL into the viewers faces.

      I certainly have not watching TV. I watch every streaming site out there – just can’t find anything new in Kdrama land that keeps me more than one or two episodes.

      What a time it was!! K2Hearts! Rich Man Poor Woman! Even freaking Big, which I loved.
      if I ever have time, I want to go back and read all the crazy stuff we wrote in the fever of our shared addiction…

      • Jomo!

        I’m good. How are you????

        Yes, thinking back to our escapades on the Open Thread. So much fun!
        I remember we broke records for the most comments made at the time. We used to watch dramas and movies all together, the OT group, and comment on the thread live. That was before VIKI created their live comments option.

  33. An end to an era indeed.But frankly speaking am not surprised.I had no real attachment to Dramafever though because I felt that they didnt have a very good eye for dramas to sub compared to viki.I remember cringing to their blog entries too especially when they were spazzing too much about Lee Min Ho.It felt like a fangirl page than a drama page.

    I will be sad when soompi shuts down though.Its my go to page for k-entertainment news(I prefer it over allkpop) and i generally like the drama forums too.

  34. I’m sad about Dramafever because it started the year I got into K-dramas. I watched my first full length drama on Dramafever (The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry). Even with the advent of all these other platforms to watch dramas, I still preferred DF. When I look back on it, it doesn’t seem that surprising with the only a few dramas that they were getting and so many other sites. It feels like the end of an era, not just with DF, but as you said with the OG peeps and sites. I still visit Thundie’s Prattle and several others a couple of times a year just to see if MAYBE they’ve posted and I just missed it. I’m glad you’re still here and Dramabeans though it has definitely shifted in the past couple of years. People have their issues with it, but without it then I’d really feel like there is no sense of community.

  35. I started watching kdramas when I clicked on a recommendation on Hulu of all places. I was hooked after that, but didn’t really start participating in the drama community until later. Dramabeans was the first recap site I found. While I rarely use it anymore as the tone and content has changed- it’s all about the most popular or trendy dramas now- I will be forever thankful for the many older recaps that took the time to explain the hidden jokes or cultural references that flew over this foreigners head. I first learned about speech levels, what different terms of address mean, and how important they could be to the context of the drama from them. I only recognized a few of the names mentioned, most notably WITHS2 and mysoju. I actually miss the old fan subs. You could tell how much effort and time a good subber put into a drama. I especially miss the notes translators used to put in explaining what something meant or why a pattern of speech meant what it did. My obsession over kdrama has cooled over the years, and I watch more dramas from other Asian countries now. Which is why this site and FB are really the only places I get my news from so I will definitely miss you, Ms. Koala, if/when you retire.

  36. This walk down memory lane is bittersweet for me. So many bloggers and commenters that I miss. Softy’s effusive love for a drama (like Can You Hear My Heart? and Ojakkyo Brothers) deepened my love and enriched my experience greatly. I’ll always be gratfeul to samsooki for doing the City Hall recaps belatedly. Here at KP, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Protect the Boss, and Rich Man, Poor Man were especially memorable rides. I miss sweet gummimochi, who disappeared with our beloved Heads, hjkomo, whose comments often reflected my own thoughts, kender and her insights into living in Korea, jomo and her lascivious humor… the list goes on and on. But most of all, I miss thundie. I’m so glad her site is still up because it’s full of treasures.

    I definitely miss the good ol’ days, but there’s lots of goodness to be found in this new era, too. Certainly way more dramas to choose from, and some are excellent. IMO, My Ajusshi, Mother, and Wise Prison Living are all top-notch. I miss JB and GF’s recaps and podcasts, but DB is still a great place to share drama love.

    Thank you so much, Koala, for all the blood, sweat, tears and hours upon hours that you’ve poured into this site. It’s remarkable that you’ve been able to to sustain this with all of the other demands on your time. It’s a real gift to us– the dramaverse wouldn’t be the same without you.

  37. Wow! reading the comments really brought me back through memory lane as I have been watching Asian Dramas since the mysoju, d-addicts…etc. era… 10+ years!!!
    I remember what got me started.. I looking for pictures for a project for school one day and came across the poster for the Taiwanese version of “It Started with a Kiss” and checking it out of curiosity as my father had lived in Taiwan when he was younger and I had grown up watching Asian movies (Never English dubbed, it was an insult to the culture the movie was from in his words).
    I ended up binge watching the whole series and cried by eyes out as the story characters related to me like no story every had. After that I was hooked.
    That chance encounter with dramas ended up saving my family. My mother was bedridden and severely depressed at the time, which didn’t help my fathers mood as well. At the time I remember being scared as we would discuss suicide often and I spend hours everyday persuading her otherwise.
    After watching that first drama, I knew I had found something great. I remember spending the next few years on my hands and knees, begging my mother to at least watch a single episode with me. She finally did and it saved her. You may think that is rather melodramatic of my to say. But when you go from begging someone not to commit suicide to watch them becoming happy and hopeful again just from watching Asian Dramas and the stories they tell…it is a miracle.
    My mother is better now and is no longer bedridden, but my parents still watch Asian Dramas. Though they tend to prefer the Chinese and Taiwanese shows better as they speak the language, but we watch from almost all cultures in our family. In fact, I always know I am home and all is well when I walk in the house to see them watching some Asian drama. In fact, we really don’t watch American TV at all because the stories tend to be too dark for us. But I can safely say that we will be Asian Drama watchers till the end.
    Though with DramaFever shutting down, it is upsetting that they would do so in such a poor fashion (what a way to alienate potential customers)…but my family is not that much upset as we still have a grudge from when they were ruthlessly shutting sites down…so we tended to avoid them.
    All in all, my belief is that while the demographic of fans that follow and watch Dramas has changed in the past 10+ years, I do feel that the passion is still there. And thus we will still find ways to get our content. 🙂

  38. Re: My personal experience with DramaFever. I worked for DramaFever as a free lance cartoonist from 2013 to 2016. At first, it was a warm, familial, comfortable place. I made friends with my editors, and other coworkers. It was my first online job and I asked a lot of questions and got much help filling out my monthly pay forms. Once, before going on an extended vacation I sent 14 toon strips to an co-editor who published them for me so there wouldn’t be a break in my serial cartoon. My editor sent me holiday cards and small gifts. It was fun. Then in 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. When it became evident that I couldn’t publish two toons a week my editor told me to take some time off. He said when I felt better I could come back and resume posting. Luckily (and thankfully) I did get better. And in 2016 I resumed cartooning. However, my co-editor was gone. (No explanation.) I had published maybe 7 toons when I got an abrupt email informing me I was fired. I contacted my editor and he told me Warner Bros. had bought them out. He said he would like to help me, but he didn’t know if he was going to keep his job. I was hurt and upset at how DramaFever treated me (after they were bought out.) I realize a free lance cartoonist has no guarantee of a job, but I was never given a reason why I was fired. I feel sorry for the good people I knew there who lost jobs and all the subscribers who lost money. But DramaFever treated me horribly

  39. Koala Unni, I’m late to this party but also wanted to pop in and say that kdrama and withs2 have been such a big part of my life for the past 10+ years too. I’ve met so many wonderful people, like you. I know that it’ll never be what it was before with the small close-knit community but I hope that KDrama will continue to bring people together. I miss you lots. Let’s get together soon. *hugs and kisses* ???

  40. So many great memories reading these comments and seeing names of so many people I’ve missed. My drama watching has been quite sporadic over the last couple of years but I still dip my toes into the pond every now and again! I will never forget those first heady days of finding so many kindred spirits in the new (to me) world of Kdramas. I had a long love/hate relationship with DramaFever but admit it was nice knowing they were always there whenever I needed a good drama fix. I’ll miss that easy access. But I also remember the torrent days (oh, how I miss WITHS2 and all of my subbing friends, especially my beloved X) and how much more dramas meant to me back then, probably because we had to work so hard to get them. I’m very glad some of those kindred spirits turned into lifelong RL friends, especially our beloved ockoala! ❤️

  41. Hi So sad to hear about DF shutting down. I was so surprised when the notice on their website came out. Aside from Youtube, is there any website I can watch KDrama? Dramafire is gone too. Please help … Tks

  42. So sad that Dramafever is gone. I started out on Dramafever with my first ever show, Boys over Flowers and I will really miss it. 🙁

  43. I remember WITH S2, d-addicts, clubbox, darksmurfsub and the lengths I went to search for obscure dramas and the wait for subs. Now Korean dramas are easier to find subbed but Japanese dramas are still a bit hard. Dramabeans was practically my homepage after Coffee Prince and I used to read some recaps on Koala as well. I think I got my korean news from Popseoul and Seoulbeats back then. When mysoju closed down, I thought my life was over as Dramafever and Viki were not available in my country. Funny how life turns out… My dream used to be to attend KCON (bahahahaha!) and my non-kdrama-loving friends thought that I had the weirdest priorities! Not much of a commenter but I lurked a lot and recognized some of the usual commenters above! Thanks for the fond memories!

  44. I always thought of DramaFever as the DeathStar.
    Shutting down sites left and right, destroying any competitors.

    So there is not love lost for me. The closing of Dramafever has stirred discussion about the changing landscape of the kdrama scene. I recently felt that the last year of dramas were bad {except for quite recently}
    I had not been to my usual blog sites for over a year, pc issues, and was stunned at the change in Dramabeans website. It seemed as if the lights were on but no one was home. Reading the comments on this page helped explain what happened.

    So very happy Koalas Playground still exists!

    I, so very much, enjoyed the sense of community that came from all of us watching each episode of the latest “hot” drama and racing to share our thoughts with each other. That shared experiance made the drama more than a tv show, it became a benchmark in our collective memories.

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to remember!

  45. Dropping Dramafever was for WB a calculating way of trying to compete with Netflix. A few other major studios are getting ready to do the same thing. Including Disney, Paramount etc. It was never about the content or the subscribers, it all about the money. I know I will not be streaming WB new channel especially because of the way they simply dropped DF without no warning. I did find other streaming sites on the internet and on Roku. I also hope Viki continues to pick up the void.

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