In the second of four retrospective articles, we recall some of the entertainment stories that caught our eye in 2014.
Good year for:
- Popular TV drama My Love from the Star had an impact beyond its 21 episode span.
- The lead female character, played by Jeon Ji-hyun, managed to boost sales of trenchcoats in Korea, fried chicken in China and coral-coloured lipstick everywhere.
- The actor playing the male lead, Kim Soo-hyun, was voted man of the year in Hong Kong.
- The series prompted a low-budget copycat series in China, where it was discussed at government level
- The drama caused problems for the stars back in Korea when they appeared in TV commercials promoting a brand of Chinese mineral water named after Mt Baekdu .
- Crayon Pop, who supported Lady Gaga for some of her US concerts
- Nah Youn Sun, whose Blue Note gig with Ulf Wakenius was one of the top New York City Jazz Record performances of the year.
- Akdong Musician, who were named in Billboard’s list of hottest young talent
- IU, who was voted singer of the year
- YG Entertainment, the company behind Psy and Big Bang, when French luxury house LVMH invested $80m for the privilege of having G-Dragon dressed in Louis Vuitton. Big Bang released their own postage stamps too.
- Misaeng, which seems to be the TV drama that everyone is talking about.
- Samsung Electronics, who sponsored the big celebrity selfie at the Oscars
- Ssangyong Motors, after Lee Hyo-ri offered to endorse their new Tivoli crossover by dancing in a bikini or appearing in its commercial if the automaker hired back the workers it retrenched in 2009 to cut costs (HT Wongkon at the Marmot’s Hole)
- The Korean film industry: Roaring Currents became the best-selling Korean movie of all time and for the third year in a row domestic films drew in more than 100 million people at the box office.
- Koyote, whose name became known in the West following alleged plagiarism of their 2006 song “Happy Mode” by Meghan Trainor in her song “All About That Bass”
Bad year for:
- Girls Generation, who lost one of their nine members, Jessica, for her to pursue her fashion activities.
- MBLaq, who lost two members.
- Lee Byung-hun, who was blackmailed by two young women causing his young wife Lee Min-jung to move out.
- SM Entertainment,
- whose star factory was raided over tax evasion,
- who had legal troubles with their boy-band EXO, quite apart from the deparatures at Girls Generation and a temporary disbanding of f(x),
- and who thought that no-one would notice that they had required Mark Russell to airbrush the history of TVXQ in his book K-POP Now.
Mixed year for:
- Whose single MTBD had to be rewritten as it was accused of insulting Islam by using words from Sura 78, Verses 32-34 of the Koran
- Whose 2011 single “I am the Best” became the first K-pop track to top the Billboard Digital songs list since Gangnam Style after being featured in an advertisement for a Microsoft tablet computer
- Whose album “Crush” made Rolling Stone’s list of top 20 pop albums of 2014.
The Register (birth, marriages and deaths)
- To Seo Tae-ji and Lee Eun-sung, a son
Will they, won’t they?
- Rain’s baptism fed rumours that things were getting serious with actress Kim Tae-hee, a catholic
- Chinese actress Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) and Korean director Kim Tae-yong (Memento Mori, Late Autumn)
- Actress Lee Yoon-ji (TV drama The Wang Family) to a dentist she has known for a decade
- Koh Eun-bi and Kwon Ri-sae of the girl band Ladies’ Code, who died in a late night car crash.
- The father and grandparents of Super Junior member Lee Teuk, in a suspected murder and suicide case.
- Veteran actress Kim Ja-ok (Killer Butterfly, My Tutor Friend) died of cancer aged 63
- Singer-songwriter Shin Hae-chul, aged 46, of complications following surgery.
- Actress Kim Jin-ah, who most recently appeared in a minor role in Im Sang-soo’s Housemaid, died of cancer aged 51.