TV series and movies have proven to be powerful mediums to shape people’s lifestyles throughout generations. From the Hollywood-centric era of giant screens and mainstream TV supremacy, to the new era of Korean dominance among Southeast Asian internet users.
Recently, Google has released a captivating array of TV shows that reflect the eclectic preferences of viewers in Southeast Asian countries on Google’s Year in Search 2023. A notable fact has arisen: certain countries enjoy watching their own local television series, thereby offering a glimmer of hope for an impressive uptick in future expansion.
Cigarette Girl (Indonesia)
Indonesia’s entertainment industry has been abuzz with the country's latest TV series, namely Cigarette Girl, which subsequently became the most-searched TV show on Google in Indonesia. After its first release on November 2, 2023, this series soared to new heights, taking the Netflix podium as the 10th most watched non-English content on Netflix worldwide as it garnered 1.6 million views spanning from November 6–12, 2023.
This series, adapted from Ratih Kumala’s novel “Gadis Kretek”, boasts a stellar cast of top-notch Indonesian actors. It narrates the remarkable journey of love and self-discovery of a gifted woman cigarette artisan named Dasiyah, starring Dian Sastrowardoyo. This compelling narrative takes us back to the 1960s setting, where Dasiyah, or known as Jeng Yah, fearlessly challenged the deeply rooted conventions of Indonesia's male-dominated clove cigarette industry. With the widespread positive reviews, the highly acclaimed series later received an IMDb score of 8.3 out of 10.
Till the End of the Moon (China)
In Malaysia, this Chinese romantic fantasy drama series has grabbed mass attention, appearing as the top-searched TV show on Google. The series is based on the web novel "Hei Yue Guang Na Wen BE Ju Ben," authored by Teng Luo Wei Zhi. It first aired on April 6, 2023, and then went on to reach the top 10 TVs on Netflix Malaysia for five weeks and receive an 8.3/10 rating on IMDb.
An enchanting narrative unfolds in which the born immortal Li Susu, played by Bai Lu, is commissioned to travel 500 years into the past. The goal of this journey is to prevent the tragic death of a captive prince and his transformation into the Devil God, who later destroys four continents and three realms. She is married to Tantai Jin, starring Luo Yunxi, the hostage prince and future Devil God, and has vowed to kill him to prevent future slaughter. A new twist complicates her mission as she uncovers Tantai Jin's prior life and his ascent to power.
Duty After School (South Korea)
In the Philippines, this military sci-fi TV show quickly rose to the position of the number-one most-searched and popular Korean series. Lim Se-Mi, Lee Soon-Won, and Shin Hyun-Soo are among the famous Korean actors on the list of the cast. Taken from the popular webtoon “Banggwa Hoo Jeonjaenghwaldong" by Ha Il-Kwon, this action series has proven to turn heads.
The story brings the audience into a heart-thrilling experience of an unexpected alien invasion that swiftly overwhelms the formidable South Korean military. The government sent a shockwave mandate to the university and senior high school students to join the forces in a bid to bolster the Korean military. It first debuted on April 21, 2023, and according to IMDb, it scored 6.8/10.
The Glory (South Korea)
The Glory, a Korean drama series that has successfully captured worldwide attention, is the most-sought-after show in Singapore. A longstanding position in the top 10 non-English shows has remained for 19 weeks on the Netflix Singapore chart. Reputable scriptwriter Kim Eun Sook, known for hit K-dramas such as Descendants of the Sun (2016), The Heirs (2013), Mr. Sunshine (2018), and The King: Eternal Monarch (2020), penned this gripping tale of psychological thriller drama.
Relentless bullying brought a high school student to the point of dropping out of school. Overwhelmed by the torment she has endured, she plans to take revenge. The highly recognized Korean actor Song Hye Kyo casts the adult version of the high school student who has grown up as the homeroom teacher of the tormentor's son. She sets in motion a plan to exact her long-awaited vengeance. The ruthless plan for her revenge plot starts rolling out audaciously. This dark drama received a score of 8.1/10 on IMDb.
To the Moon and Back (Thailand)
This Thai romantic comedy drama has been the most-searched on Google and atop Netflix's Thai leader board for 11 weeks. Born into a family that hovers over their children, Doctor Purim, starring James Jirayu, decided to seclude him from his parents so he could pursue his secret passion. Matalada, played by Jarinporn Joonkiat, came as a new neighbor and abruptly disrupted his tranquil life.
She begins to suspect he is a murderer after stumbling upon the bloody, lifeless body of a baby in his kitchen. In a surprising twist, it is his secret hobby that eventually plays a pivotal role in how they go from strangers to lovers, amidst his parents plot for an arranged marriage with a minister's daughter. This heartwarming drama subsequently received an 8.8/10 on the IMDb score.
The House of No Man (Viet Nam)
The year 2023 has seen this Vietnamese movie rank the highest in Vietnam's entertainment Google search. The film depicts the tyrannical matriarch Mrs.Nu, played by Le Giang, as she manages her home the same way as her thriving crab noodle soup stall. Tensions are certain to arise when three different generations share a home under one roof.
Nhi, played by Uyen An, feels stifled by her mother's suffocating gaze and decides to elope with her carefree boyfriend. These young lovers quickly come to regret their decision due to their lack of preparation for the future. As the seasons of time tick away, these individuals gradually reconcile and find solace and understanding in their newfound connections with one another. This drama comedy movie later attained a 6.2/10 IMDb score.
Which television program featured above have you seen throughout this year?