*This post is spoiler-free for both dramas.*
Quick caveat: I use the word “simple” several times in this post (and in the title, of course), so allow me to define it by the standards with which I am using it. By “simple,” I mean “not complicated.” I am not inferring, by any means, that these dramas are of poor quality, writing or otherwise. Quite the opposite, in fact. No, “simple” is good. And I’ll tell you why.
Ultimately, Move To Heaven and Navillera are simple stories with straightforward plots. There are no forbidden loves or birth secrets, no intricately interwoven webs of deception or melodramatic tales of a rags-to-riches protagonist. In fact, neither drama even has romance as a main plotline. Yet, I adored both dramas immensely. And I’m not the only one — tons of viewers globally are freaking loving them. Naturally, this got me thinking: why are these modest stories garnering so much worldwide attention?
Allow me to clarify that I’m not asking “Why?” because I don’t think they deserve praise or recognition — on the contrary, I think both dramas deserve all the attention they’re getting and more. Rather, I’m questioning their success in light of our current world. Cynicism aside, I think it’s undeniable that so many things in this world are complex — and I think media in general strives to meet those attention-grabbing standards with the likes of intersecting timelines, criminal masterminds, serial killers, melodrama, etc. The louder, crazier, more twisted and colorful, the better. And while all of these things have their time and place in movies and on television (because believe me, I love a good crime/mystery drama as much as the next person), it’s just plain refreshing and renewing to watch something without all of that once in a while.
Let’s take a brief look at Move To Heaven; I was struck almost instantly by how incredibly predictable this drama is. Nearly nothing about it surprised or shocked me. I don’t say that to diss it, but as an observation that fascinated me because — despite the lack of shock and awe — I was absolutely hooked. Which, of course, caused me to wonder why I loved it so much. Hence, this post.
Same goes for Navillera. I wouldn’t call it predictable, as I just did with Move To Heaven. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. However, I found myself asking the same question because, when asked to describe the drama, I said, “It’s about a 70-year-old man who begins learning ballet…”. That’s it; that’s the bare bones. Now, I have issues with concision (read: I talk way too much), especially in regards to Asian dramas. (Hence, this blog, in all honesty.) So, the fact that I was able to give a short answer when asked what Navillera is about slightly astounded me. And, once again, I found myself wondering why I was so wholly invested in such a simple story.
I think I wrote this post for myself. I needed to figure out what it was about these stories that struck me to the core so unapologetically. The answer?
Move To Heaven and Navillera reminded me of the things in life that are truly meaningful: family, love, friendship. Human relationships. People growing, developing, failing, learning, and overcoming personal demons. People living life.
I don’t always need to watch murder mysteries or melodramas to feel invested. Once in a while, I may need to take a step back from all that and remember that sometimes the simple things in life are the most valuable, the most beautiful. Sometimes less is truly more.
As far as dramas go, Move To Heaven and Navillera can really ground you if you let them. They’ll also likely make you ugly-cry. At least, that’s what my friend said… .
As always, thank you for reading and happy drama-watching!
Currently watching: Mine, Law School
Next on my watch-list: Imitation
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Great post, Kayla! Loved the thoughtful insights.
Yes, to everything you said. 😀 I also liked both of these dramas a lot and more or less for the same reasons you did. I’ve never been a big fan of overly done makjang or melodrama and as much as I enjoy crime/mystery shows, anything with serial killers is almost an instant hard pass these days. Yup, less is more in many cases.
I’m glad we agree! These two dramas are gems. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and for taking the time to comment.