What does Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an American series that ran from 1997-2003 have in common with Orange Marmalade, a Korean drama that ran a total of 12 episodes 2015? Quite a lot, actually.
Both are shows about vampires. They feature a female protagonist supported by strong ensemble cast. Both are about high school students, and get into the angst and trauma of contemporary school life. Yet important parts of the story unfold centuries in the past. Music sets the tone of each show, and neither would be the same without its focus on live performance.
But here’s the big difference: in Orange Marmalade, the protagonist doesn’t kill vampires, she is a vampire.
Pretty KPop star, Kim Seol Hyun, makes a very sympathetic vampire. Like Angel from BtVS, she doesn’t want to hurt humans. In fact, she’s falling in love with one. Unlike Angel, Seol Hyun’s character is not alone. In Orange Marmalade vampires are an oppressed minority who hide their identities to avoid persecution by anxious humans. People are nervous coexisting with vampires, who are stronger, faster, and healthier, who drink blood, and can be kick ass fighters when they choose.
Although Orange Marmalade and BtVS were created a world away from each other, over a decade apart, and the audience comes to sympathize with different sides of the conflict, the two shows hold common ground when it comes to theme. Vampire, human, Korean, American- the characters in both these dramas struggle to break out of isolation and form close attachments. Facing up to life’s problems, whether evil vampire attacks or school bullying, is possible only so long as a close band of friends can form and stick together.