You can guess that I love Japanese dramas. I wouldn’t have a guide on this site of nearly 100, in addition to the many others I’ve seen but haven’t bothered to write about, unless I was enthusiastic about them. So every new season (which happens about 4 times a year) of J-dramas, I am filled with unparalleled excitement.
But then that unsettling, familiar feeling returns.
Watch new show A: detective drama
Watch new show B: crime drama
Watch new show C: crime mystery drama
Watch new show D: police comedy drama
Watch new show E: some special crime enforcement division drama
Watch Show F: crime forensics drama
Watch Show G: repeat
Now I don’t hate this genre.
Two of my all time favorites, Trick and 自惚れデカ, easily fall in this pattern. And I have enjoyed others. But it was because they were original, and didn’t follow the same tired formula.
In every new season of J-dramas, maybe about 20-30 new dramas come out. And I would guess that at least a third of them are some variation of detective dramas.
It wasn’t so bad originally. There have always been detective dramas. But it was with the same number of school dramas, medical dramas, illness dramas, yankee dramas, and workplace dramas.
But in recent years, the number has grown ridiculous and out of control.
I’m confused about the reason behind this trend. They are popular, I get that. Are they cheaper to produce? Guaranteed higher profit? What is it?!
Two of the main Japanese reasons I’ve read are that:
1. People like watching stories that are far removed from their daily uneventful lives, and
2. They are usually one episode – one case, allowing viewers to come in starting from any episode, or miss an episode along the way and be okay.
To me these can also be negatives. I like watching shows I can relate to, and I like the continuing story, otherwise I’m not tempted to watch the next episode.
It’s not just me as a foreigner either though.
I have plenty of Japanese friends who have gotten fed up lately with the endless stream they are forced to deal with.
But how about you? Do you love the detective dramas? Have a theory behind the nonstop onslaught of them? Want to complain together with me? Or leave some of your favorites in the comments to show where they really shine.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.