K-Drama ‘The Glory’ Popular in China Despite Unavailability of Netflix

Featuring Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, the newly released second season of ‘The Glory’ has received an impressive score of 9.2/10 on the Chinese review platform Douban

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11:45 AM HKT, Thu March 16, 2023 2 mins read

Netflix’s TV show The Glory Part 2 is the talk of the town in China, captivating viewers with its gripping plot and polished production.

The Glory series follows a survivor of high school bullying who seeks revenge on her former tormentors after climbing the social ladder from a factory worker to a primary school teacher.

The first season of the K-drama, written by Kim Eun-sook and directed by Ahn Gil-ho, first premiered on Netflix in December 2022, while the second season was released on March 10, 2023. Each season has eight episodes.

Even though Netflix is not legally available in China, fans have found ways to access the show and are raving about it online, with some calling it one of the year’s best dramas.

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The main cast of The Glory making an appearance at a promotional event

The show has become a viral sensation in China, with multiple hashtags related to the second season trending on social media platforms such as Weibo.

The Glory Part 2 has received an impressive score of 9.2/10 on the Chinese review platform Douban, and the hashtag for the new season had garnered 1.47 billion views on Weibo at the time of writing. Viewers are eagerly discussing the plot and sharing memes, pictures, and clips of their favorite characters and scenes.

The Glory is hands down the best K-drama in recent years! I’m absolutely obsessed with it!” gushed one fan on Weibo.

Another cheered, “It’s a great drama! The two seasons together form a compelling and satisfying story.”

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A fanmade meme of the five bullies circulating online. Image via Weibo

Song Hye-kyo, who plays the bullying survivor in the show, is one of the most well-known Korean actresses in China, having gained popularity through leading roles in romantic dramas such as Autumn in My Heart (2000), Full House (2004), and Descendants of the Sun (2016).

Descendants of the Sun, which Kim Eun-sook also wrote, was a global mega-hit and later became available on Netflix due to its popularity.

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A poster of Song Hye-kyo in The Glory

Her success in China is evident from her appearance in numerous Chinese works, including Wong Kar-wai’s 2013 film The Grandmaster, a martial arts drama that also features Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

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Song Hye-kyo in The Grandmaster

In the past few decades, South Korea has witnessed a surge in public accusations of school bullying and violence, with TV shows like Who Are You: School 2015 and The King of Pigs (2022) shedding light on the issue.

Similarly, in China, incidents of school bullying have been on the rise, particularly in rural areas, prompting the central government to issue guidelines aimed at preventing such behavior.

The Glory’s virality has also sparked discussions about school bullying, with some netizens coming forward with allegations against the show’s director, Ahn Gil Ho. According to Koreaboo, he bullied a few middle schoolers while studying in a high school in the Philippines in 1996 because they teased his then-girlfriend.

On March 13, Ahn admitted that he had bullied others in high school and apologized for his past behavior.

This real-life bullying episode involving Ahn has also been trending in China, thanks to the program’s popularity.

Some netizens have criticized Ahn’s actions, with one commenting, “No matter what the reason is, a perpetrator is a perpetrator.” Another questioned, “So that’s how you made a school bullying show so realistic?”

All images via IMDb unless otherwise stated

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