tvN Sat-Sun Drama Bulgasal Ends Underwhelming Run this Sunday and Leaves K-netizens Confused and Offended by the Decision to Subtitle Lee Joon’s Dialogue at a Pivotal Ending Scene

I don’t know what brain trust at tvN post-production decided this was a good idea, but on the positive side it may have inadvertently gotten more publicity for this underwhelming and comparatively low rated drama. This Sunday was the final episode of Bulgasal which plenty has been written about how it was so expensive to make and the reception as ideal, so aside from how satisfying the ending was in wrapping up the story it instead left K-ent and K-netizens buzzing solely about the bizarre and never before seen on TV decision to subtitle Lee Joon‘s dialogue in a final scene. Aside from that being genuinely insulting for the actor, netizens are saying he enunciated perfectly and this scene did not need subtitles whatsoever. *Headdesk* One of the key markers of good acting from K-netizens is the ability to enunciate words clearly when speaking dialogue, since K-ent does not dub like Mainland China and doesn’t have the dual languages influencing the accent such as in Taiwan with both Mandarin and Taiwanese. So the decision to dub Lee Joon is unprecedented (as far as I remember) and just so wild I can’t wait to hear what tvN has to say about this decision.



tvN Sat-Sun Drama Bulgasal Ends Underwhelming Run this Sunday and Leaves K-netizens Confused and Offended by the Decision to Subtitle Lee Joon’s Dialogue at a Pivotal Ending Scene — 39 Comments

  1. Interesting that is their main complaint?

    I like this fantasy elements of the drama about karma. If I learn anything at all from this drama, “Don’t go cursing others that you felt wrong you, you aren’t so innocent either.” It’s much better than continuously recycling drama w/ the same theme. Obviously there were many route and focus that the story should have lean toward, but what story doesn’t have regrets. I know that Koalas doesn’t care much about the leads’ acting but I find them fitting for this role.

  2. When I go to a certain forum, there’re a lot of people, particularly Americans who branch out to watch K-dramas after Squid Games, who said that this is amazing, the best dramas that they’ve ever seen. I don’t know why but I feel insulted for other older dramas (10-20 years) which are objectively better than this. Just because it’s recent. Well, different taste and preference. Can’t judge it. Maybe it matches western preference.

    • It’s the effect of being new to kdramas, it happens to basically almost every new drama watcher. Almost every they watch is the best thing ever because so many things are new to them in Korean dramas. Whereas those of us who have watched for years know the tropes, we have higher standards based on watching alot of kdramas, it’s normal.

      I actually noticed on a Reddit community some posters were picking up on how kdrama plots are stretched out over a lot of episodes with notable filler so some people are already picking up on the flaws.

    • Not all of us ? my netflix list is mainly Asian dramas/movies,my sister is always saying you need to watch power etc. And I’m like but I have 1 episode left of bulgasal.I love binge watching then cry when it’s over like when word of honor was over ?. also I love the ones about dynasties the wars love and betrayal ? I did finally watch squid game and enjoyed it!!

    • American TV is just crap anymore. Lazy writing. Going to locations that are cheap to film but don’t match the story setting. Arrogant actors. Forcing characters that don’t fit because they are checking off diversity boxes, and worst of all, the CONSTANT underlying political messaging when we’re trying to get away from that. Says a lot that an average show for you we find really good.

      • The weird thing to me is Americans seeming to demand that Korean dramas must have the same point of view as Americans.

        Like I saw someone on a dramab*ns call that new Disney+ kdrama, Police Academy, “copaganda”. Which was ???? Korean cops are not the same as American ones, they aren’t going around shooting unarmed civilians with a different skin colour so why is a Korean drama about Korean cops “copaganda”? It’s so weird to me.

  3. That was the oddest thing ever really, it was perplexing and made me wonder why they did that… The drama is written by The Guest and while the mood is similar I find that The Guest was much more tightly woven and better packaged? Dunno how to explain it better, but I went from really excited about it to more watching it out of habit. I started liking it more when it the characters came together as a big family (that was cute and endearing). The more I watched it though the more I feel the Lee Jin Wook was miscast as the male lead, he couldn’t really elevate the character more and it was needed. I felt the others were more than fine in character, I was even fine with Kwon Nara even if I felt Gong Seung-Yeon was more charismatic. I did like that final twist/message that was pointed out in previous comment but I feel the drama should have taken another way to get there and hint more at the main theme earlier. I’m not sure but I just felt something was missing all along. Apart from the great start it went downhill pretty quickly and picked up for a bit there but then went out with a whimper. There was so much more the story could have done with the characters and the story, I felt the story really underused Gong Seung-Yeon’s character. I kept waiting for her to find out about her past and take action but throughout the whole drama she was just side character with no character development… that was so disappointing. Maybe what the drama lacked was being a character driven show, which The Guest totally was. Things just kept happening and even in the end, I couldn’t really understand what truly drove the villain. The story didn’t even properly explain the ending/epilogue with the male lead so that happy ending just felt meh. Throughout the whole drama there was so much potential and somehow the show just bypassed them and made it seem long and pretty boring. What a waste.

  4. Someone like Jisoo should have been dubbed or shown subtitles and not Lee Joon who has had no complaints over his enunciation. lol

  5. This drama had so much potential with its first six episodes, but it kept dragging and was repetitive in the latter half. The supposed romance was not properly integrated, though I wonder if the writers envisioned it even working— maybe it was supposed to be something flat.

    Lee Jin Wook was really bland, and I am not sure if that’s his or the writing/direction fault. He could be emotive and he was better in previous leading roles (Nine, Voice 2), but he couldn’t add any flavor to an unspicy male lead. Kwon Nara was a bit green in scenes that needed intense emotion, but she embodied her character well. In comparison, the two second leads really did steal the show; being the more experienced actress, Gong Seungyeon was charismatic and held herself better, while Lee Joon put his whole Joon-ussy into this. It’s sad to see such effort wasted on a mediocre plot.

  6. Judging by the comments, it seems to be the common theme of big budget tvn dramas since last year. So much money, effort & potential being wasted. They have lost the midas touch.

  7. this was the type of drama that only needed 6-12 episodes Max, they got lost and didn’t know what they were doing because the backstory for them did not make sense for why they went on killing each other but ok lol and the 2nd leads/ supporting cast were much better than the leads

  8. This needed 10 episodes, they should have stretched the 600 year ago story more. The big reveal wasn’t evenly distributed and got rushed in the last episode. I liked the ending, I did. Lee Jin Wook and Nara were fine, its just they got sidetracked in writing in the middle portion. According to me personally, acting wasn’t issue, chemistry wasn’t issue but the biggest flaw in this drama is how indecisive it all looked. Some things were not explained well. Why was sang Un reincarnated as a twin being the biggest mystery. I enjoyed it and frankly many people did, it constantly was talked about and ranked every buzz chart in a good way in South Korea. Too bad, real time ratings were so low. The idol kid Woosoek was very good, very impressive debut for him. Lee Jun was breakout star in here….good luck to him. I will be waiting for his next project eagerly.

    • Me too. Seeing Lee Joon in a saguek is a new adventure. Jang Hyuk and Kang Hanna rounding up the dream cast, can’t wait. Post military, Lee Joon is a success story with his star going up and up. I also fervently pray to the drama gods to give Solomon Park his first ML role. Being fluent in Russian, Korean and learnt Mandarin for Lookism C-drama, he’s poised to be the next Hyun Bin if he has a very good acting coach. He reminds me of a young Aaron Kwok but with the added height.

      • Lomon’s uzbek-russo-sk connections bring all sorts of exciting future roles. He can be the younger brother of Yoo Teo who’s also fluent in Russian and German playing ethnic Koreans in Russia bordering NK. Preferably in some sort of epic Pachinko style prestige drama. Instead of HB, he can be the next LMH, lol.

  9. After watching the last episode, I wished this was made as a six episode drama. It had so much potential and what happened in the past was so much more interesting for me.

  10. By the end of the drama I could feel frustrated by the way it went…first two to four episode was tight after that it was montonous nothing new developed…all characters were doing the repetation…even the death of both lead character was not emotional…so many loopholes… disappointed

  11. That’s the trouble of tvn holding on to a rigid drama model. A drama doesn’t need to be 16/20 just cut them short like Netflix does. Snowdrop also suffers from this useless model. No wonder innovative writers are flocking to Netflix to showcase their dramas without being held hostage to provide mindless side plots, lame fillers or product placements to stretch them out to 16/20.

    • I really don’t understand the 16/20 episode rule. Although it’s shown on Netflix, it’s not an original Netflix produced drama. Is there some sort of a sacred contract that k-producers cannot break? Come hell or high water, there must be 16 episodes. Lol.

  12. I thought it sucked but Does Koala or the commenters ever like or praise any lower rated drama? No entertainment industry in the world can be solely defined by their mainstream shows and movies. Best works are usually found outside the mainstream. However, for Kdrama fans, antiquated Nielson ratings= the only measure of quality. I guarantee if this mess had better ratings, people would praise it to high heavens.

    • I liked it, was it flawless……hell no but this is the only place where people are predominantly negative about the drama. Plenty good comments on naver, this drama is not a master piece, it suffered due to length and writing but is in no way unwatchable. There are plenty shitty shows that has gotten high ratings but this isn’t low quality or bad drama getting low ratings. Its a medium level drama that started with a bang, meandered a lot and then ended run on a respectable note with decent ending.

      • Yeah I dropped it in the middle so maybe I am being too harsh, I’d take your word for it. But generally, it’s a pattern with Kdrama fans on Koala and Koala herself to measure every single project by ratings when Nielson is outdated. They’ll praise anything, no matter how terrible it is, if it gets ratings. One mid-level Netflix hit gets higher viewership than some of the biggest domestic television hits, they should understand that times have changed. More importantly, mainstream success isn’t the only thing that determines quality, especially in homogeneous countries with little taste for diversity. Streaming platforms have opened up the industry and older kdrama fans can’t seem to cope.

  13. I am sorry for others who approved of Gong Seung Yeon’s performance that stole the show, but for me Kwon Nara did really well and showed her potential. I liked hee soft acting and believeble performance while crying. Maybe I’m fed up with badass cliche female leads. I am looking foreard her future projects

    • GSY is definitely a good actress but she did not stole the show. To say that is so ignorant and obviously bias. The character was only a karma for the leading man and she did great Ep 1. From ep2 to the end, the character was basically kept in house arrest. Same thing with the detective, the Son, and the fortune teller. They were useless to the storyline (this was the mistake of the writer).

    • I was critical of Kwon Nara in the beginning but by the end I thought she did a good job with a thankless role. Her character had the worst writing and was just a plot device for the ML’s growth. Gong Seung-yeon did not get enough airtime to steal anything, unfortunately. I think she has charisma but was terribly underutilized.

  14. When studio dragon published articles that this one is going to be the next cloy, i was excited because of their confidence abt its success. Even when the first episode premiered at a solid 6pc+ ratings, made me think this is going to be huge. Sadly, after a few episodes it lost its steam and couldn’t pick up . Over all an okayish drama which i won’t rewatch. The final episode was underwhelming

  15. I also wanted to speak about some shippers or 2nd female lead’s fans who try to downgrade the female lead so bad. After watching their performance, I am pretty sure I wasn’t annoyed by Kwon Nara’s acting as others said. She gave decent performance even I got so emotional in the episode because of her strong acting and genuine crying scene. For me, she and Gong Seung Yeon were not so different in terms of acting. Maybe GSY won Blue dragon award and experienced actress which I agree with, however, due to this it’s not fair to take the female lead’s performance for granted. I hope I won’t get attacked by her fans to express my honest opinion

  16. I enjoyed this show very much, particularly the last episode where you got to see all the characters interact in their previous incarnations. I only have 2 gripes:-

    first the relationship between the two leads seemed a bit stiff & distant at times. However, bearing in mind that Lee Jin Wook played a monster who had been shunned as a human, witnessed the deaths of his family and had lived isolated and alone for 600 years, maybe it is to be expected that his character would seem remote, distant and emotionally cut off from the rest of the characters.

    The second gripe is the relationship between the two Bulgasals. It was pretty obvious that Lee Joon’s Bulgasal looked up to and admired (maybe even ‘loved’) Lee Jin Wook as Bulgasal as much as he hated Kwon Nara as Bulgasal and her reincarnation as Min Sang-Woon. But I don’t think the reveal of their past relationships in the last episode went far enough to explain the depth of his love for one character and likewise, his hatred of the other. And, for me, this was a big let down as the emotional investment shown by Lee Joon in his relationships between the two main leads was a driving force of the show.

    However, as I said previously, I really looked forward to watching Bulgasal every weekend and feel quite lost now it’s finished.

  17. American TV is just crap anymore. Lazy writing. Going to locations that are cheap to film but don’t match the story setting. Arrogant actors. Forcing characters that don’t fit because they are checking off diversity boxes, and worst of all, the CONSTANT underlying political messaging when we’re trying to get away from that. Says a lot that an average show for you we find really good.

  18. I thought Bulgasal had the potential to be great and had a fantastic beginning but the writing just wasn’t strong enough.

    That is pretty weird that they subtitled Lee Joon’s dialogue. I know some complained that they couldn’t understand him in the scenes where his character turned old but that was because they fiddled with his voice. There was nothing like that done here.

    • Actually korean fans in dc are complaining of his diction and enunciation since the beginning of his appearance. They also point out how his fans are overrating him on his acting when he was just mediocre as dcgall fans claim. This has become a hot topic in that site for weeks now.

      • you’re lying, lee jin wook’s fans. Most like his performance and praised his good diction. He mostly whispered in the drama but nevertheless it still can be heard clearly

  19. Actually korean fans in dc are complaining of his diction and enunciation since the beginning of his appearance. They also point out how his fans are overrating him on his acting when he was just mediocre as dcgall fans claim. This has become a hot topic in that site for weeks now.

    • dc gall is full of lee jinwook shitty fans who even make sexual harassment joke to lee joon, even other fans of other actors sympathise with lee joon because of the treatment he gets from jealous fans of the lead. Lee joon’s diction and enunciation is being praised a lot especially in The Silent Sea where the sound system is a lot better and they didn’t fiddled with his voice like in Bulgasal. Lee joon’s scene even got edited out to compensate for the lead couple’s more screentimes.

  20. I was honestly hoping that Hwal and Sang-Un would remain as Bulgasal- I felt that would have been different and unexpected, am I the only one who thought this??

  21. Well, I loved Bulgasal. It was a long time since I liked a drama so much. It had its shortcomings and the ending was a bit rushed, but all in all, it was good: original, romantic, mysterious…I was glued to the screen and the romance was strange and intense. The cinematography was gorgeous and the actors beautiful and well cast for their roles. I’ve never liked Lee Jin Wook in anything, but I like him in this. This is how good it is, in my view. I would recommend it for people that like fantasy, vampire stories and romance…they won’t be disappointed.

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