We have come a long way from traditional television. I don’t consume TV in its traditional sense anymore. I stream anytime, anywhere on Netflix. But I would like to take you back to my traditional experience of television, where for a short period between the time I learned how to walk until my grandma decided to give up her old TV, I was the remote.
A lot has happened since Television Iran (TVI) was established in 1958 but the biggest, to this date, is the 79 Islamic Revolution of Iran which hit a reset button on TVI and turned it into Seda va Sima-ye Jomhouri-e Eslami-ye Iran (Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran).
Long story short. TV content went from this:
The screen-shots are to demonstrate the TV my parents grew up with vs mine.
The extreme censorship and the low quality of the new government’s programs made the television really dull, but global TV came to the rescue! There were a few shows aired from different countries that we would follow as a family, like Pezeshke Dehkade – direct translation: Doctor of the village – (DR.Quinn 1993) made in USA and Parastaran –direct translation: Nurses – (All Saints 1998) made in AUS but there was one that became so popular, EVERYONE was talking about it!
Jumong was a South Korean Drama series produced by MBC Korea in 2006 that instantly got everyone hooked In Iran.
The series is a fictional demonstration of Jumong, founder of the kingdom of Goguryeo. It had something for everyone! It was a story about honor, sacrifice, and love! The younger generation (Everyone in my school) fell in love with the actor Song Il-gook and followed the romance, some watched it for the history some for the battles and some for the beautiful story and setting as a whole.
Fun fact: The series became so popular in Iran that the LG company, which has a branch in Iran, invited Song Il Gook (the leading actor) to visit Iran for three days!
While it might not be visible at a first glance the Korean and Iranian culture has many things in common. Family and respect are two of the main reasons we find watching Korean TV so appealing. Iranian culture is similarly family oriented: We seek for our elder’s permission and we are always in each other’s lives. Whether we seek a general opinion or just wisdom it’s the family we go back to and the respect to our elders is visually and verbally present in our daily interactions.
Another reason we should consider for this Korean TV show to have found its way into Iran is the conservative nature of the time the story has taken place in which reflects on the dress code. The television of Iran (Voice and Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran) has to abide by the rules of the Islamic republic at all times and to make that happen, there is a lot of censorship which a lot of time makes it difficult to make sense out of what is happening. This show, however, did not have much to be censored, therefore we got to watch the whole story and not have to make sense out of the scenes which were just cropped out!
A good read: