My fascination with Bollywood is close to satiation, so I've been hunting for new cinematic delicacies.
Luckily, Kaigou, the author of the cry havoc blog gave me a very compelling pitch on the subject of Asian TV drama. I've had virtually no contact with that genre of programming, mainly because it is not at all easy to get your hands on it. The best option seems to be downloading bittorrents (un-distributed foreign content is one of those areas where copyright law gets a little fuzzy) with fan-produced subtitles (the subtitles are timed to match the more popular bittorent rips).
Fantasy and science fiction doesn't have the same representation as romantic dramas (a genre that doesn't interest me much, although I want to check out "Dr. Champ" a romantic drama about a doctor at the Korean olympic training facility), but Kaigou recommended a Korean drama officially titled "Special Investigation Report" but almost universally cited as "Joseon X-Files."
It takes place during Korea's Joseon period, a long stretch of self-governing bureaucracy, specifically in this case the early 17th century. You can tell it's the Joseon period because most of the characters wear the semi-transparent "gat" hats.
The X-files comparison is hard to avoid. There are two investigators, one with a mysterious past, the other filled with skepticism, who must investigate bizarre events at the behest of covert government forces. There's even a "smoking man" character who smokes an insanely long pipe.
But there's some nice Korean flare to the stories. For instance, the premiere episode has a local governor reporting mysterious lights in the sky. The report gets him arrested because the emperor's authority comes from the heavens and heavenly omens are seen as intent to foment rebellion.
I've seen about half the series so far, and sure there's some rough spots in the production. It's shot on harsh video and the live-sound is clunky at times. The locations, whether a remote village or the emperial capital, all seem to be the same eight or nine buildings. But it's not bad. The stories are imaginative and the characters compelling. Definitely worth the time for a serious science fiction fan to hunt down. If nothing else it's better than two of the three Stargate TV series.