I recently started watching K-dramas. I had always planned to, but never really found the time and couldn’t put effort into finding a site that I could watch them on. Luckily for me, Netflix expanded its collection of K-dramas and I was able to finally watch some (conveniently) on my tv or iPad. I’ve only watched four K-dramas to date (excluding Squid Game), but I plan to watch more and have found happiness in finding an entire new format full of shows and adaptations of some manhwas that I have read before. It’s really amazing what we can find and love by just exploring a bit outside of the shows we already watch, yet some people stubbornly refuse to watch any new genres or shows/formats outside of their comfort zone, which is honestly just sad.
To restrict yourself from an entire genre or format just because you don’t want to watch anything new causes you to miss out on a lot of amazing media and content due to pure ignorance. Things like avoiding international films (which could stem from xenophobia but I won’t dive into that here) or animated shows, or not reading books purely out of predetermined connotations is not only ridiculous, but also saddening that so many people buy into the fact that these types of media are ‘unworthy of their attention’.
Now, to remove any bias, I will admit that I am one of these people (partially). As anyone who’s read some of my previous articles will realize, I am a huge fan of the horror genre and I find it incredibly hard to find other stories that suit my taste or interest me. Even when I do explore new formats or shows (such as the aforementioned K-dramas I recently got into), I still stick to titles that are mainly horror or thriller (or at least have horror elements). However, despite this I do make an active attempt to try other genres (that aren’t romance - which is the only thing I try to avoid entirely).
I enjoy animated cartoons -- whether they be for adults or children, anime and international films and while yes, most of these do tend to have some horror aspect to them, I do also enjoy dramas, the occasional comedy, coming of age films, superhero movies, experimental shorts and the non-genre conforming films that usually get nominated for Oscars. Despite my extreme bias to one particular genre, I do try to watch things outside of my comfort zone just for a breath of fresh air, and the chance that I might find something that I really like.
I didn’t expect to like K-dramas as much as I did, but once I found some in the genres I preferred, I ended up really enjoying them. The same thing happened when my older sister introduced me to anime when I was little, which I’m now a big fan of. Finding new formats of stories, whether it be graphic novels, manga, webtoons, animations, music, podcasts, experimental work or video games, is always exciting to me. I enjoy finding new stories to experience and take on any recommendations I can find, regardless of their format.
Now, getting back to my point on romance -- the only genre I actively avoid. Romance, being the antithesis of horror, has never proven to interest me and I don’t think I’ll suddenly start enjoying it any time soon. In fact, if you asked me outside of a professional setting, I’d tell you that I hate romance. However, this doesn’t mean I will never watch anything with romance in it. If that was my strict policy, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy and support films like The Half of It. On watching the trailer for it, I thought it was a typical romance plot that would offer nothing new to me, but when I finally watched it, I realized it was so much more than I could’ve ever expected from a romantic film.
It was such a beautiful, well shot and important film to see, and it’s definitely one of the best films I’ve ever watched. Now imagine if I chose to never see this film just because of my preconceived notion that all romantic films are boring. It’d be such a loss for me, from the point of view of a creator, a person of colour, and a film enthusiast, and for what? Closing yourself from new genres and formats of media isn’t worth what you’ll lose out on.
Everytime I hear someone say that they won’t watch a show because it’s animated, I think of Bojack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie and Steven Universe which are all great shows that are somehow seen as ‘devalued’ just because they're animated. When people scoff at foreign films because of the subtitles (despite several dubbed options being available), think of every video game as just having a mindless and violent plots or anime as just being for weirdos obsessed with Japanese culture, they’re devaluing a community of workers who spent hours putting details and effort into their projects to tell a story to the world - a story that some people might not never give the time of day because it’s not a typical Western ‘Hollywood’ ideal.
I’m not trying to say that you should like all genres, as I certainly don’t enjoy all forms of media. Instead, I’m trying to encourage you to try new things. There are some very bad entries to every genre and media format, and likewise every genre and media format has its best offerings that can completely change your perspective on how you once viewed them. No genre is a monolith for everything it contains. Everyday there are new people doing their best to subvert genre tropes and redefine how we as a society view our entertainment. It wouldn’t hurt to give them a chance.
There are so many things outside of the genres you currently watch (or read) waiting to be explored. There are so many things that you’re yet to find and yet to love. If you just put aside your biases and the things other people are telling you, and experience something for yourself, you can find out that maybe you do like podcasts. Maybe kpop actually does sound good. Maybe you should watch more video game playthroughs, or buy one yourself. All it takes is one step; make the choice for yourself, and find a new genre to love. Don’t be unreasonably stubborn. At the end of the day, you’re only limiting yourself.
is a Canadian-Jamaican student, slowly making her way through the writing world. She aims to not only write, but be impactful and play her part in making the world a less judgemental and more accepting place for people everywhere.