Another thing I’ve really enjoyed about Asian shows is the nonlinear storytelling. (I noticed a bit of nonlinear storytelling in the Chinese shows I watched, too.) It was a little confusing at first, but once I got the hang of it, I really enjoyed it.
In both my undergrad and my graduate programs, I studied hypertext narratives as a form of storytelling. I even wrote a few nonlinear stories using various new media applications at the time. There is so much you can do with nonlinear storytelling. Nonlinear storytelling does not always work well in a linear format such as a novel or a print book.
I honestly don’t know how the directors and editors of these Korean shows manage to make these nonlinear shows. The way they juxtapose scenes from different points of time with different characters is brilliant. I can’t imagine what goes on in their heads to be able to put those pieces together and to picture it and then to translate that to the screen. It’s amazing.