Dear kfangurl: What do you think of idol actors?

Bubblebathdaisies writes:

Dear kfangurl,

(This is a long intro, so skip it if you wish) Hello! I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for a really long time, since I was thirteen and I just made this account to comment! I’m sixteen now, and I feel like I’ve grown up with your blog- you introduced me to dramas and k-pop, and I still read your older articles when I feel down, it’s like comfort food for me. So thank you for that!

The question I have is: What do you think of idol actors? I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels like a lot more idols are starring in dramas nowadays, and they may not always be good at acting. The general consensus among some of my other drama-watching friends is that idol actors take away jobs from better-trained rookie actors, and some think it’s unfair that they get to use a drama as an acting class. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a gray area, since there’s plenty of perfectly well-trained and decently popular actors who can’t reeeallly act that well, but also it kind of ruins the drama for me if the lead cannot act well (fourteen year old me wasn’t that bothered about acting skills so much as ~swoon~ factor and watched The Great Seducer on repeat, but I watched it last week and had to skip a big big chunk of the scenes because the acting was…not the greatest) What do you think?

(But I think we all know idols are going to keep getting casted anyways, lol. They’re far too popular to miss out on for profit-related purposes, and some of them are really really good!)

Annie writes:

Would be interesting to read your thoughts on idols turned actors/actresses.

Gulp. Are we.. really going to talk about this..? 😅

Dear Bubblebathdaisies and Annie,

I’ll be honest; I’m a little nervous talking about this topic, because, 1, I know very little about kpop, since I’m way more into dramas than kpop, and 2, I know enough about kpop to understand that kpop fans tend to be extremely protective of their idols, and I’m wary that I’ll end up upsetting people with what I have to say, and inadvertently start a war or something. Eep. 😬

So that’s my caveat in writing this post: I don’t know kpop and I certainly don’t know everything, and also, these are mostly just my personal opinions, so please take everything I say with an appropriate helping of salt. 😅

Everyone, as always, if you have other information, perspectives or insights to share, please tell us about it in the comments!

WHY ARE SO MANY IDOLS ACTING IN DRAMAS?

The way I see it, the kpop-drama crossover, where idols take on roles in dramas, is a mutually beneficial arrangement, where both sides stand to gain more fans.

There are drama fans – like me – who don’t follow kpop much, and the only real exposure we have to idols, is through the dramas that we watch. So if an idol manages to make a positive impression in a drama, there’d likely be a good number of fans who like them enough to explore other things that they’ve done – thus leading them to the idols’ kpop portfolio.

Excellent case in point: 2011’s Dream High (which is where this post’s screenshots come from), which featured a good number of idols in its cast, and which featured a good amount of singing and dancing.

I personally know of people who were never into kpop – that is, until they watched Dream High, after which they became full-on kpop fans. That’s a very successful crossover, no?

On the other side of things, kpop fans are generally a very loyal bunch, and they are likely to support their idols in every endeavor their idol undertakes, which, of course, includes acting projects. As a result, networks find the idea of idols on their cast appealing, because the idols’ fanbase will surely help to bolster ratings and therefore earnings.

WHY ARE SO MANY IDOLS GETTING LEAD ROLES IN DRAMAS?

I’ve talked about this in a bit more detail  in my post on supporting actors, and I’ll mention it again more briefly here, since it’s relevant.

I think that the main factors that influence who gets cast as the lead in a drama, are, in order of importance:

1. Popularity

2. Looks

3. Screen presence

4. Acting ability

Even though we as drama fans might feel that acting ability should be the most important factor in casting a drama’s lead, this is, unfortunately, not the case. Networks are most concerned with the profitability of the drama, so an actor’s popularity – whether it’s driven by their looks, their acting ability, or their existence as a kpop idol – is of utmost importance, because a popular actor is likely to bring his or her fans to the ratings table.

A skilled actor who doesn’t have a large fan base may well be passed over, for an idol who’s inexperienced in the acting arena, because it’s expected that the idol’s fanbase will surely help to bolster ratings. And ratings, as we’ve talked about, is where the money’s at. It’s what advertisers care about, and ad revenue is a big source of income for the networks.

Certainly, this doesn’t mean that only idols get starring roles, since there are lots of non-idol actors who are very popular as well.

I think it’s also important to note that not all idols begin acting in starring roles. There are idols who choose to make their acting debuts in supporting roles too, which is often a much more forgiving place to start.

THE IDOLS I’VE EXPERIENCED IN DRAMAS

..This brings me to my next point, which is, from what I’ve seen, even though idol actors as a category have a bit of a bad rap among drama fans, there’s a wide range of talent and ability among the idol actors.

Some are talented actors (and among them, there are those whose actual dream is to act), while some are perfectly decent, given the right role. On the other end of the scale, though, there are admittedly some who, in my cautious opinion, ought to stick with their idol day jobs.

There are lots of dramas I haven’t seen, and therefore, lots of idol actors whom I haven’t watched as well. So the following lists are only of idols whom I’ve personally seen in action on my screen. Also, these are just my current opinions and are therefore not cast in stone. I might change my mind about an idol actor yet!

Feel free to share your experiences and views of idol actors whom I may or may not have watched, in the comments below!

THE ONES I DIDN’T REALIZE WERE IDOLS

Yoon Eun Hye

Idol cred: Member of Baby Vox from 1999 to 2005.

My thoughts: I first watched her in my gateway drama, 2006’s Goong (aka Princess Hours), and so I had no idea that it was her drama debut, or that she’d been an idol prior. I thought she was great, with spot-on comic timing and excellent deep-reach ugly-crying scenes. And then I was blown away by how different she was in 2007’s Coffee Prince – so boyish and down-to-earth. This huge contrast convinced me that girl’s got talent. Pity that her recent drama picks haven’t been so great.

Jung Ryeo Won

Idol cred: Member of Chakra from 2000 to 2006.

My thoughts: I literally had no idea that Jung Ryeo Won had ever been an idol, until I started to write this post. I first saw her in 2005’s My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and hadn’t thought much of her acting, until her outing as foul-mouthed, spirited Baek Yeo Chi in 2012’s History Of A Salaryman completely changed my mind. I now think she’s pretty great; pity I haven’t loved any of her recent dramas. But there’s always next time!

Hwang Jung Eum

Idol cred: Member of Sugar from 2001 to 2004, after which she left to pursue a solo career. Her last non-drama-related single was released in 2009.

My thoughts: I had zero idea that Hwang Jung Eum was ever an idol, because I’ve only known her as an actress. I used to think of her as The Screechy One because of the weird regularity with which she’s directed to be screechy in her roles. But, I have enjoyed her in a lot of shows (the screechy tendencies usually only last for the first few episodes), and there wasn’t even a hint of screechy in her outing in this year’s Mystic Pop-up Bar. I count that as a good sign that the industry is acknowledging her growth as an actress. (I thought she was great in Mystic.)

Eric

Idol cred: Leader of Shinhwa, 1998-present.

My thoughts: It shows what a kpop noob I am, that I could watch Eric on my screen without first knowing that he’s leader of the iconic Shinhwa, heh. I know I did see him in 2004’s Phoenix but I only had eyes for Lee Seo Jin then, and Eric barely blipped on my radar, oops. I only really noticed Eric in 2014’s Discovery Of Love, and I was suitably melted into a puddle of spazz. I also really enjoyed him in 2016’s Another Oh Hae Young. I think Eric’s a very good actor, and I’d love for him to spend more time in Dramaland.

THE ONES I THINK HAVE ACTING TALENT

These are idols that have convinced me that they have actual acting talent vs. being solid in a role because the character suits them. These are the idols that I really wouldn’t mind seeing more of, in Dramaland.

Im Si Wan

Idol cred: Member of ZE:A and its sub-unit ZE:A-Five, 2010-present.

My thoughts: I’d apparently never noticed him in his cameos and smaller roles in shows like 2010’s Prosecutor Princess, 2012’s The Moon Embraces The Sun, and 2012’s The Equator Man. But he completely blew my socks off in his lead role in 2014’s Misaeng. His delivery was so raw, heartfelt and natural, that I wouldn’t have guessed he was an idol, if the promo materials hadn’t already announced it to the world. Really impressive. I also thought he was very good in 2017’s The King Loves, and I do count him as an actor to watch.

Ong Seong Wu

Idol cred: Member of Wanna One from 2017 to 2018, after which he’s continued with solo activities to the present.

My thoughts: He completely stole my heart as the quiet, awkward, reserved lead in 2019’s At Eighteen, displaying an acting range that I found both surprising and impressive. Because the character is so reserved and impassive a lot of the time, I’d thought that this was possibly one of those times when an actor could get by without emoting much. He proved me so wrong. He showed a great deal of nuance in his delivery, regularly showing lashings of raw emotion that hit me right in the heart. I thought his restrained delivery was excellent, and I’m planning to check out More Than Friends, just because I’m curious to see more from him.

Rain

Idol cred: Member of Fanclub from 1998 to 2000, after which he went solo.

My thoughts: I believe my introduction to Rain was in 2004’s Full House, which I didn’t love as much as everyone else. But I must’ve liked Rain quite well despite it, because I went on to check him out in 2003’s Sang Doo! Let’s Go To School, 2005’s A Love To Kill, and 2010’s The Fugitive: Plan B. I didn’t love any of those shows, but I do think that Rain’s got solid acting ability. His comic timing is good, he’s able to emote well and tugs at my heartstrings in crying scenes, and his flair for action is a nice bonus. I dropped out of 2016’s Come Back Mister, but not because of Rain’s performance; I thought he was one of Show’s plus points.

Lee Joon

Idol cred: Member of MBLAQ, from 2009 to 2014, after which he left the group to go solo.

My thoughts: Although Lee Joon’s been acting in some capacity since 2008, I’ve only seen / noticed him in 2017’s Father Is Strange. Even so, in that one single role, I thought he showed a very nice acting range. From vain and petulant, to awkward and discombobulated, to wistful and sad, I thought he did an equally good job of portraying it all. To me, it felt like he was inhabiting the skin of his character, which is very impressive indeed.

Choi Siwon

Idol cred: Member of Super Junior since 2005, and sub-group Super Junior-M since 2008.

My thoughts: Although my first impression of Siwon in 2010’s Oh! My Lady was on the shallow side (I thought he was handsome and very ripped *cough*), I was very impressed with his comic timing in 2012’s King Of Dramas. That made me sit up and take real notice of his acting ability. He then proceeded to rip my heart out as the lovelorn second lead in 2015’s She Was Pretty, where I suffered an acute case of Second Lead Syndrome, mostly due to how heartfelt, wistful and gentle Siwon made his character. I still think of his character fondly now – which goes to show how well he did.

IU

Idol cred: Debuted as a singer in 2008, got into songwriting in 2011, and still active in both today.

My thoughts: I found IU sweet and charming in 2011’s Dream High, but it was only in 2015’s Producer, where I started to have an inkling that she possibly had real acting talent. The pathos and depth that IU injected into her character, especially in Show’s later episodes, made me sit up and take notice. I wasn’t too impressed with her in 2016’s Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, but I realize that was probably more to do with the writing and directing than actor ability. I was suitably blown away by her outing in 2018’s My Mister, where she communicated so much, often without having to say much at all, and I now think she’s great.

D.O.

Idol cred: Member of EXO since 2012.

My thoughts: I honestly haven’t seen D.O. in a lot, but I’ve seen enough to conclude that he has a good amount of acting talent. His role in 2014’s It’s Okay It’s Love was on the small side, but it was pivotal, and he delivered some very complex and difficult emotions with what looked like effortless ease. Color me immediately impressed. I still haven’t gone back to finish 2015’s Hello Monster / I Remember You, but I saw enough of Show’s early episodes to now always think of D.O. as a potential serial killer when I see him onscreen – even in EXO vehicle EXO Next Door, ha. Talk about making an impression, heh.

Yoon Doo Joon

Idol cred: Leader of Beast since 2009; the group has since rebranded as Highlight, starting in 2016.

My thoughts: Doo Joon stole my heart as passionate foodie power blogger Goo Dae Young in 2014’s Let’s Eat, and then again in 2015’s Let’s Eat 2. I found him charming, disarming and quite swoony. And then, just when I was wondering whether I just liked him as Goo Dae Young, 2015’s Splash Splash Love came along, and quashed my concerns. Doo Joon was fantastic; so sweet and earnest while also being so regal, at the same time. Although I honestly couldn’t get into 2018’s Radio Romance, and I thought Let’s Eat 3 was pretty meh, I wish he’d spend more time in Dramaland.

Nana

Idol cred: Member of After School and Orange Caramel, 2009-2013.

My thoughts: I’d caught glimpses of Nana in 2016’s The Good Wife and 2019’s Kill It, both of which I didn’t finish (The Good Wife is very good; I just wasn’t in the mood), and Nana didn’t strike me as specially talented, from the little that I saw. However, seeing her in this year’s Into The Ring / Memorials (review to come, when I finish my watch!) has completely opened my eyes. She throws herself into the hammy and quirky scenes with no apparent vanity, and is just as adept when it comes to expressing difficult emotions. Altogether very good, I say.

UEE

Idol cred: Member of After School from 2009 to 2016.

My thoughts: I first noticed UEE as the spoiled manipulative actress in 2009’s You’re Beautiful. She was really good in that, in that she made her character the kind that you love to hate. I then found her very charming in 2011’s Ojakgyo Brothers, where she played a spoiled rich girl made good. It was only in 2016’s Marriage Contract, however, where I felt truly impressed by UEE’s acting skills. Her role in Marriage Contract required the delivery of a lot of complex and difficult emotions, and UEE nailed it all. I was very impressed. I didn’t much care for her 2018 drama My Husband Oh Jak Doo, but I consider that a fault of the writing and directing, rather than of her acting ability.

Seo In Guk

Idol cred: Debuted as a singer after winning talent reality show Superstar K in 2009.

My thoughts: Because I hadn’t especially noticed Seo In Guk in 2012’s Love Rain, he felt quite new to me in 2012’s Answer Me, 1997, where he played our male lead. I was pretty impressed with his performance, which felt natural and raw. Since then, he’s gone on to do quite a variety of roles, ranging from comedic (like 2014’s High School King) to dark (like 2018’s The Smile Has Left Your Eyes). While I prefer him in more serious roles, I can’t deny that he’s equally skilled at the comedy too.

Jinyoung

Idol cred: Member of Got7 since 2014.

My thoughts: Although Jinyoung’s been acting since 2012, I only really first noticed him in 2019’s He Is Psychometric, of which I watched a couple of episodes and thought he was very endearing and adorkable. More recently, I saw him in action in 2020’s When My Love Blooms, where I felt pretty impressed with the range that he showed. From his character’s carefree happier moments, to his more painful heartbreaking moments, I found Jinyoung believable and engaging, and that’s convinced me that Jinyoung’s capable of more, on the acting front.

Changmin

Idol cred: Member of TVXQ, 2003-present.

My thoughts: I’ve only really seen Changmin in 2015’s Scholar Who Walks The Night, where he plays Crown Prince Lee Yoon. However, I found his delivery engaging, and I thought he did well with Lee Yoon’s complex feelings, particularly around the death of his father. That’s no small deal, especially for a relatively new actor, and I was pretty impressed.

Yook Sung Jae

Idol cred: Member of BtoB since 2012.

My thoughts: I’d technically seen Yook Sung Jae on my screen in 2014’s Answer Me 1994 and Plus Nine Boys, but I only really noticed him properly in 2015’s Who Are You: School 2015, where he made a strong impression as the lovelorn second male lead. What stood out to me was how real his heartbreak and angst felt, and my impression of him as an actor rose by quite a few notches right away. I also enjoyed him very much in 2020’s Mystic Pop-up Bar, where he does a really nice job showcasing a wide range of emotions – from the lonely isolation of a boy who’s never had a real family, to the awkward, tentative thrill of a young man falling in love for the first time – while remaining winsome and down-to-earth.

Park Hyung Sik

Idol cred: Member of ZE:A and sub-group ZE:A-Five, 2010-present.

My thoughts: I have to confess that even though Park Hyung Sik blipped on my radar in 2013’s Nine and Heirs, it wasn’t until 2015’s High Society that he caught my attention properly. Show wasn’t great, but he and his second leading lady managed to lift the entire show with their sparky chemistry. I also liked Park Hyung Sik’s delivery of his character; he made him roguishly charming, with flecks of pathos. Really nice. I didn’t manage to get through 2016’s Hwarang, but I was completely smitten with Park Hyung Sik’s turn in 2017’s Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, where I found him absolutely sweet and swoony. Importantly, I also really liked him in 2018’s Suits, where he made his character feel completely different; he came across as so young and innocent compared to his character in SWDBS. I was suitably impressed.

Lee Jun Ho

Idol cred: Member of 2PM, 2008-present.

My thoughts: I actually think that Junho did an admirably solid job in 2018’s Just Between Lovers, which was quite a serious, difficult role, given Show’s theme of PTSD. Sadly, I didn’t find him as engaging in 2018’s Greasy Melo, which I ended up dropping (not because of him per se; I just didn’t take to Show very much). But his outing in Just Between Lovers is enough to convince me that he’s got a nice amount of acting talent.

THE ONES I’VE ENJOYED IN SPECIFIC ROLES

These are the idol actors that I’ve enjoyed in specific roles, mostly because I think those roles work with their strengths &/or are suited to their personalities. Some of these idols may be more talented actors than I’m aware of, so I might change my mind about them, as I continue to see them in more roles.

Cha Eun Woo

Idol cred: Member of Astro, 2016-present.

My thoughts: From what I’ve seen of Cha Eun Woo in 2018’s My ID is Gangnam Beauty and 2019’s Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung, I conclude that he does best in roles which allow him to be rather reticent and aloof. I liked him better in Gangnam Beauty, probably because that role required less heavy lifting from him. More was required of him in Rookie Historian, and his greenness showed. That said, I do think he’s improving, since I thought he did better in the latter half of Rookie Historian, so he might have his acting breakthrough yet.

Kwon Na Ra

Idol cred: Member of Hello Venus, 2012-2019.

My thoughts: I first saw Kwon Na Ra in 2017’s Suspicious Partner, where I didn’t like her petulant, entitled character much at all, and so I didn’t take much notice of her. I thought she showed more range in 2020’s Itaewon Class, where she plays a more complex character. I consistently found her character interesting in Itaewon Class, even though I couldn’t decide whether I liked her. That’s pretty impressive. I’m putting Kwon Na Ra in this category, though, because so far I’ve mostly seen her play rather selfish and unlikable characters. I’m curious to see how she’d do in a completely different kind of role.

Lee Jin Hyuk

Idol cred: Member of UP10TION, 2015-present.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen him in 2020’s Find Me In Your Memory, which was his acting debut. I found him very adorkable and endearing, albeit slightly one-note. I very much enjoyed his gangly regular-guy vibe, and wouldn’t mind seeing him again on my screen, even if he’s just being cute.

Lee Hong Ki

Idol cred: Member of F.T. Island, 2007-present.

My thoughts: Even though Lee Hong Ki was a child actor before he became an idol, I only noticed him in 2009’s Your Beautiful, where he was super endearing as the innocent blonde-haired Jeremy. After that, I found him equally endearing – with a touch of puppy smolder – in 2014’s Bride of the Century. From the little that I’ve seen, I feel like Lee Hong Ki does best in cute and endearing roles. Even though he had plenty of opportunity to smolder in Bride of the Century, all I could see, really, was Cute Puppy.

Jung Yonghwa

Idol cred: Member of CNBLUE, 2009-present.

My thoughts: Having seen Jung Yonghwa in a couple of things – namely, 2009’s You’re Beautiful, 2011’s Heartstrings, and 2014’s The Three Musketeers – I’ve tentatively concluded that he does best with characters who are written to be a little stiff; bonus if the character plays a musical instrument &/or sings. I do think he made significant progress with The Three Musketeers, where he demonstrates a brightness and energy that I hadn’t seen in his other characters prior, but I still don’t think acting is one of his strengths (yet?).

Jinwoon

Idol cred: Member of 2AM, 2008-2014.

My thoughts: I have to confess that my enjoyment of Jinwoon on my screen, is mostly of the eye-candy variety. He was my single bright spot in 2012’s very awful Dream High 2, and he was also very lovely to gaze at in 2014’s Marriage Not Dating. I did find that he had a nice range of expression in Dream High 2, but overall, in both shows, it was clear that his role was to serve up a nice quotient of shirtless charm – something that he is admittedly very good at. Heh.

Hyeri

Idol cred: Member of Girl’s Day, 2010-present.

My thoughts: I really, really enjoyed Hyeri in 2016’s Answer Me, 1988. I found her very likable, winsome and relatable, and I wouldn’t consider her a weak link in the show, at all. However, it’s possible that this could’ve been a one-time thing, because I couldn’t get into her acting, from the little that I saw of 2016’s Entertainer. I think Hyeri could probably do well in everygirl types of roles, given the right guidance from the PD.

Krystal

Idol cred: Member of f(x), 2009-2016.

My thoughts: I enjoyed Krystal the most in 2013’s Heirs, a show which I ironically mostly hated, heh. I found her winsome and endearing despite her character’s spoiled rich girl context, which I thought was pretty hard to accomplish. I didn’t feel the same (at all, actually) from the little that I saw of her in 2014’s My Lovely Girl, but I did like her quite well in 2018’s Prison Playbook. Because of this, I conclude that Krystal can be a little hit or miss for me. With the right role, she’s really pretty good. But without the right role.. meh. 😜

Jung Eun Ji

Idol cred: Member of Apink, 2011-present.

My thoughts: I’ve seen Jung Eun Ji in several dramas now – 2012’s Answer Me 1997, 2013’s That Winter, The Wind Blows, and 2015’s Cheer Up – and while I really really like her, I also conclude that she does best in the warm, spunky, down-to-earth sort of space. I haven’t had the opportunity to see her in a very different sort of role yet, and I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong.

Sooyoung

Idol cred: Member of Girls’ Generation, 2007-2017.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen Sooyoung in 2013’s Dating Agency Cyrano, where I enjoyed her very much. I thought she was very warm, earnest and likable, and I was also nicely impressed by her delivery of her character’s more difficult emotional scenes. I’ve got her in this category because I haven’t seen her in anything else yet, but I do think that she’s got potential to do well as an actress.

Taecyeon

Idol cred: Member of 2PM, 2008-present.

My thoughts: I first set eyes on Taecyeon in 2011’s Dream High, where I thought he did reasonably well, because the role worked well with his slightly stiff screen presence, and capitalized on his clean-cut good looks (he reminds me of a young Seong Seung Hun, actually). I thought he did less well in 2014’s Wonderful Days, where his angry scenes vibed a little too aggressive, to my eyes. But, I thought he was nicely endearing in 2016’s Bring It On, Ghost, and that’s why I conclude that Taecyeon does best in roles that bring out his clean-cut, dorky charm.

Yoona

Idol cred: Member of Girls’ Generation, 2007-present.

My thoughts: I’ve enjoyed Yoona selectively, ie, I like her in some roles, and really don’t like her in others. For the record, I liked her in 2013’s Prime Minister and I, and 2017’s The King Loves; I thought she was ok in 2012’s Love Rain; I really didn’t like her outing in 2016’s The K2. So I conclude that I don’t dislike her as an actress, necessarily, but I do need her to be cast in a role that works with her personality and her acting strengths.

Han Seung Yeon

Idol cred: Member of Kara, 2007-2016.

My thoughts: I found Seungyeon rather stiff and one-note in 2014’s Her Lovely Heels, but I was pleasantly surprised by her much more engaging outing in 2016’s Age Of Youth, and 2017’s Age Of Youth 2. I thought the character of Ye Eun, who’s cheery, pretty and sometimes a little petty, and sometimes a little thoughtless, played well with Seungyeon’s visuals and her acting range. I’m not yet convinced that she’s an especially strong actress, but I think she can be very engaging in the right role.

Henry

Idol cred: Member of Super Junior-M, 2008-2018.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen Henry in 2015’s Oh My Venus, where I found him bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and very cute and endearing. The role didn’t demand a whole lot from him, though, so I can’t tell if he has amazing acting chops hidden up his sleeves. Only time will tell, so I’m putting him in this category for now.

Key

Idol cred: Member of SHINee, 2008-present.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen Key in 2016’s Drinking Solo, where I found him very decent in his supporting role. However, I can’t tell if he has heftier acting chops than what we see in Drinking Solo, and since I haven’t seen 2017’s Lookout, where he has a meatier role, I’m parking him in this section for now.

P.O

Idol cred: Member of Block B, 2011-present.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen P.O in 2019’s Hotel Del Luna, where I found him very warm and likable. This was a supporting role that didn’t offer a great deal of opportunity for him to show a wider acting range, so I’ve got him in this category for now.

Minah

Idol cred: Member of Girl’s Day, 2010-present.

My thoughts: I think Minah’s got a very pleasant, husky sort of vibe, and I find her likable in the right role. However, I haven’t liked her in anything, really, since first seeing her in 2011’s Vampire Idol, where I found her cute. I ended up dropping both 2016’s Beautiful Gong Shim and 2019’s My Absolute Boyfriend. But hope springs eternal, so hopefully she’ll land a drama role yet, that will do a nice job of showcasing her husky charm.

Choi Min Ho

Idol cred: Member of SHINee, 2008-present.

My thoughts: I’ve only seen Minho in 2012’s To The Beautiful You and 2017’s Hwarang, and I liked him for the same reason both times: his adorkable-ness. From what I’ve seen, I feel like Minho may not be a consummate actor, but given a role that knows how to capitalize on his charm, he’ll do a perfectly good job of being a likable, slightly goofy dork.

THE ONES I’VE FOUND JUST OKAY

Seolhyun

Idol cred: Member of AOA, 2012-present.

My thoughts: I think Seolhyun is a very pretty girl, but I’ve found her acting just ok, so far. I saw her in 2015’s Orange Marmalade and 2019’s My Country, and both times, I found her a little flat. She does do better in the second half of My Country compared to the first half, so that’s a plus. I don’t think she’s a terrible actress. Mostly, though, I feel like she wears a default glossy-lipped, open-mouthed look which I find a little posed and rather distracting.

Rowoon

Idol cred: Member of SF9, 2016-present.

My thoughts: My main impressions of Rowoon are from seeing him in 2018’s Where Stars Land and 2019’s Extraordinary You. Both times, I found him good-looking but decidedly unremarkable, even though he’s listed as Extraordinary You’s male lead. Maybe it’s because the roles didn’t require more of him; maybe it’s because that’s really all there is to him, acting-wise. I don’t know, but for now, I find him just ok.

THE ONES I GENERALLY DON’T ENJOY SO MUCH

Here, just for the record, is a list of idol actors that I personally don’t prefer to watch. Certainly, these are just my personal reactions, so I’m sorry if any of your favorites are on this list. Your love for them is still valid!

L (Kim Myung Soo)

Idol cred: Member of Infinite, 2010-present.

My thoughts: For the record, I actually enjoyed L in 2012’s Shut Up Flower Boy Band. However, since then, I find that I haven’t genuinely loved him in a role, even though I’ve seen him in a couple of dramas, namely, 2014’s Cunning Single Lady and 2019’s Angel’s Last Mission: Love. Mainly, even though I appreciate that L is working hard and doing his best, my issue with his acting is that it’s very obvious that he’s trying, and I find that distracting. It’s perfectly possible that he’ll experience an acting breakthrough in time to come, but for now, he’s not an actor I prefer to watch.

Chanyeol

Idol cred: Member of EXO, 2012-present.

My thoughts: My introduction to Chanyeol was in 2015 web drama EXO Next Door, where I found his acting stiff and quite cringey, to put it bluntly. I found his angry glower very aggressive and unnatural, and I honestly found him hard to watch. That said, I thought he did much better in his supporting role in 2019’s Memories Of The Alhambra. He’s still not an actor that I prefer to watch, though.

Suzy

Idol cred: Member of Miss A, 2010-2017.

My thoughts: I think Suzy photographs beautifully, and I really liked her in 2011’s Dream High, where she plays a character whose deadpan expression is everything; “this is my happy face” and “this is my excited face” were fun catchphrases for her character and I found it a very fun, wry way to deal with an idol actor’s acting limitations.

Since then, though, I’ve found Suzy’s various drama outings on my screen rather uninspiring. I thought she was ok in 2012’s Big, but I really didn’t enjoy her in 2016’s Uncontrollably Fond. Granted, I didn’t enjoy ANYONE in Uncontrollably Fond, so it’s possible that Suzy might change my mind yet. But for now, she’s not an actress that I look forward to watching.

IN CLOSING

I hope you guys found my attempt at answering the question of why we see so many idol actors on the drama scene at least a little bit helpful, and I hope you also enjoyed this quick glimpse into what I think of the various idol actors that I’ve seen onscreen. There are so many of them out there, though, that it’s perfectly possible (probable?) that I’ve accidentally left out several that I’ve seen in action in Dramaland.

If you guys have other idol actors to shine the spotlight on, or have other perspectives or insights to share, please tell us about it in the comments! 😊

I hope this helps!

Love! ❤

~kfangurl

That is all. I said what I said. 😝

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on the Dear kfangurl page, or send me an email!

186 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: What do you think of idol actors?

  1. BE

    Apparently Seo Hyun Jin got her start as a pop singer and even went to university to study musicology. I believe you have mentioned having a soft spot for her elsewhere. While her role in Dr. Romantic 1 was almost a kind of type for a female lead, which might have rendered her forgettable, but for her beckoning charisma and chemistry with the rest of the ensemble and her male love interest, all quite fetching and memorable.

    And while not the lead of the group, Yoon Eun Hye was part of a pop girl band for several years. (Unlike say, Lee Sun Kyun, yuk, she does have a lovely singing voice). Suffice it to say, whatever other roles she might have had, her Eun Chan in Coffee Prince was one of the most memorable performances as a woman lead in any Kdrama I have seen.

    Kwan Na Ra also played the support role of Yoo Ra, Gi Hoon’s bad actress love interestin My Mister, a rather challenging role as sheboth played a horrible actress in some scenes and an overly emotional mess in others, while also having to provide the show with the only woman’s comedic beats.

    Reply
  2. BE

    A few things more about IU’s crossover. Her first hit song, Hold My Hand, was written for an OST. Her interest in the theatrical has gone side by side with her interest in music, and many of her videos reflect that, as she tends to be enacting roles in little mini dramas, which allude to film. This one is from her Modern Times album, which as I noted earlier had a title tune dedicated to Charlie Chaplin, and this alludes to a 1948 British film. I would not be surprised to see her do a kind of La La Land filmed musical.

    Reply
  3. Prashil Prakash

    IU was simply remarkable in ‘My Mister’

    As an actor if you can make your audience “care”, that’s a job well done.

    I like to think a lot of good ‘Acting’ comes from good ‘Reacting’. What I mean is how they react to three situation they are put in.

    IU’s portrayal of Lee Jian was so moving and is a proof of what an excellent actor she is.

    Saying so much without changing expressions.
    Her deadpan face Almost always on a verge of crying but never Actually crying was impactful and really poignant. And that’s Talent for sure!

    Krystal Jung was great in her limited appearance in Prison Playbook too.
    Pretty excited for her upcoming movie ‘More than Family’ . High Hopes!

    Also IUs new movie with Park Seo Joon coming next year!

    Reply
  4. Reaper

    I usually I try to avoid dramas with idols. Except a view lucky ones like P.O, D.O and IU.
    Maybe it is about the names.

    I mean when I like an idol I am more likely too watch a drama they are just because I am curious. If I don’t like the idol (for ecample suzy, eunji, dayoung….) then I won’t even give it a try. Maybe I am judgy but likeability is very important even tho that is a very subjective matter.

    Reply
  5. Jae

    Since Seo In Guk’s here and he’s a singer. I’d go with Jang Na Ra,his former female lead in Hello Monster. I think no other female k-singer had an appeal that cross-overed to the Chinese market and maintained his popularity in Korea.

    Reply
  6. BE

    Before making a comment on Seolhyun, I would like to say I am once again amazed by your familiarity with the breadth and depth of K-Drama, what a wonder you are, and your willingness to go the extra mile in your research for us. This is a wonderful bit of reference for any fan of K-Drama.

    Inre Seolhyun. Part of my thoughts concerning her has to do with my largely disappointed take on My Country. All the women characters, and there were only four, two of which were distinctly support, were buried by the show writer. I remember watching the Tale of Nokdu at the same time, all those great women characters, and seeing the shows side by side emphasizing in my mind the by far largest failing of My Country.

    Seolhyun in her role seemed to have a bunch of potential in the first couple episodes, but was relegated to just another pretty face as the show went on. Now perhaps the show writers had no confidence in her acting, but there should have been at least one scene side by side with Jang Hyuk in which she squares off on him on behalf of her lover. Think Han Ye Ri in Six Flying Dragons, the woman knew how to be a warrior on behalf of her beloved, and in a very minor role, not the lead woman actor. The spunky fighting lass we got in the initial episode of My Country, whatever happened to her?

    A lot of folks tell me that Mr. Sunshine was slow, but I cannot imagine Kim Tae Ri or Kim Min Jung, actors and good ones, not idols, allowing themselves to be pigeonholed thus.

    Reply
  7. Timescout

    Late to the party as per usual these days. 😀 Wow, 117 replies and counting, read them all though, ha.

    Yup, if kpop is not your thing it’s quite probable you wouldn’t be familiar with the idols roots of some well known older actors. I think they were all first gen idols. 😉 Eugene (currently in Penthouse) is also one of them, she was a member of S.E.S.

    I don’t really have any beef with acting idols. Some are good, some are bad and some have potential. I can sit through a drama with some questionable acting if everything else works. Bad writing and directing are much more of a bummer than an idol or two in the mix. 🙂 Besides there are idols who are actually much better than some so called “real actors” who haven’t improved any since their debut days.

    But, I’m also of the opinion that green actors, idols or otherwise, should not be given leading/prominent roles outright unless they audition and are found to be suitable for the role. Or have proven some other way that they are up for the task. Of course some of these youngsters just happen to be multitalented and do well in most things they try. E.g Jun (Lee Joon Young) from U-Kiss is really good in Buam Dong Avengers and that was his first real acting gig. I had no idea he was an idol until several episodes in. Just thought the lad was a promising noob actor, ha.

    Kwak Dong Yeon was technically an idol too, though he never debuted as one. 😀 Besides Im Si Wan and Park Hyun Shik, another acting ZE:A member is Kim Dong Joon. He started in bit parts and has been slowly getting more prominent roles. He was pretty good in last year’s Chief of Staff.

    Reply
    1. beez

      @Timescout – My baby Kwak Dong Yeon can sing?! That just moves him up higher on my bias list. (Although I shouldn’t be surprised. A list of who can/can’t sing would probably be shorter of Korean actors/actresses who can’t sing.)

      Reply
  8. Usi

    From your “Didn’t know…” list I only knew Yoon Eun Hye was an idol since I still can remember the bad press Goong got when they casted her. Those voices died down pretty fast.

    For me Jung Yonghwa, Krystal and Yoona wouldn’t save their life if they had act for it. Especially Yoona has almost no facial acting or screen presense nor does she look -for me- anything out of the ordinary. But since I saw her in non-acting videos (I was curious) and she is also a living doll there, I think it is like she is. Scary.

    I would put Suzy also in the category who can’t act but I never have seen her acting lackluster. So, she really tries and she kind of warms my heart like a mom who does know her beautiful child loves what she does but isn’t good in it. But since her Dramas sell well enough she always gets casted again. I think she is the Angelababy of South Korea.

    Reply
  9. beez

    @phl1rxd – did you change your screen name? I’m trying to reply to you but the system says I’m replying to “Anonymous”. If you didn’t change it, then I need to let Kfangurl know something’s going on.

    About Jang Hyuk’s video. I don’t know if he’s embarrassed or not, but I know he decided to embrace it before others make fun of it. Do you recall that in FTLY, it’s included along with all the other meta jokes?

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi Beez – So sorry – I am just seeing this. I have been off the grid all week in front of the TV and you have to know why. 😆🤣 Hmmm…I do not know why you are getting that message. I am back in the world now. I will always have that screen name because I have had it for many years and I am too afraid to change it because I know that I will forget it.

      I missed that reference in FTLY as this was the very first time I have ever seen that video. I was on the floor laughing. There is nothing in this world that can make me not love our Hyuk-shi – not even that video. 💖 🤣Now – to borrow from you – CHUNO!

      Reply
  10. Asperugo

    In general I’m quite indifferent to idol actors and I mainly choose my dramas based on the plot description, not actors. However, I think it was Chansung’s performance in My holo love that led me to dig deeper into kdramas and kpop. The drama was meh, but I kept watching because of him. Obviously I had to google him to see if there were more dramas he was in. I was quite surprised that he was part of a boy group and only few days younger than me. The role made him seem more mature.

    I decided to watch Secretary Kim because of him and, as it’s not available on Netflix, I discovered Viki. I also listened some 2pm songs on Youtube and you know, when you listen to one kpop song, soon your recommended feed will be full of them. So now I’m addicted to both kdrama and kpop. I guess their plot to lure in more consumers really worked 😀

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      What a successful crossover story, Asperugo! Thanks for sharing! 😄 Looks like Chansung is singlehandedly responsible for your foray into kpop! 😆

      I admit I forgot all about Chansung when making this list – but I also forgot lots of other idols, so it’s absolutely not personal? – and I do agree he did a nice job in My Holo Love!

      Reply
      1. Asperugo

        No worries, you did great work here! There are so many idol actors, it’s impossible to mention everyone. I doubt I’ll ever be comfortable with the idol culture, where fans are fiercely loyal and go rapidly after anyone who they think somehow disrespected their favorite idol. This has been probably the biggest culture shock for me, as I don’t think these mainly adult idols backed by big companies really need me to defend them. I rather use my time to consume their content, than fight anonymous people on the internet. People are allowed to have different opinions, as long as they voice them in a civilized manner.

        I could have gushed a little about the third acting idol named Jinyoung, Jung Jinyoung from B1A4, but I was on a mobile and wanted to keep my first comment short. Again, the drama My First First Love was terrible, but I got through it because of him. Even knowing that as the second lead, he would not get the girl.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          I’m with you; idol culture is an uncomfortable thing for me too.. sometimes the fans can be so toxic, not just to their idols (when said idols do things that displease the fans), but to other fandoms as well. This is very perplexing to me, because I feel that everyone is entitled to like who or what they like, and it’s not one fandom’s business how another fandom feels towards their own idol. It’s all very strange to me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

          Ooh, I forgot Jinyoung as well! 😂 I haven’t seen My First First Love (I’ve heard that it’s very underwhelming, so your pronouncement of its terribleness is not surprising to me 😜), but I have enjoyed him in Miss Granny, She is WOW and Moonlight Drawn By Clouds!

          Reply
          1. BE

            It especially seems toxic to young women who become idols. I like the part of how some performers have such an intensely personal and appreciative relationship with their fans, but the emphasis on scandalization, not to mention the possessiveness of fandom for those they admire, especially in their personal lives, I find rather disgusting and somewhat perverse.

            Reply
            1. Natalia

              I was thinking the same the other day, watching BTS. You have 7 young men in their twenties who all live in the same house and cannot date anyone if they don’t want to be everywhere on their internet (and their girlfriend/boyfriend be torn apart). Horrible.

              Reply
              1. BE

                There was a song IU put out about a year and a half ago, “Bbibbi,” in which she addresses this. In her transformation from a child star to young, exceedingly attractive young woman whose songs and performances were, shall we say, suddenly sexually active, I am sure she suffered a great deal of consternation, and this was her response:

                Reply
                1. Natalia

                  @BE can you believe I’m not really sure who IU is? I mean, I’m relatively new to KDramaland and haven’t seen any of her work yet. She seems to be well appreciated though.
                  Thanks for the tip, I’ll check that out.

                  Reply
                  1. BE

                    My Mister is her best work as an actor. As a musical performer, from what I understand, she is the most popular music star there.

                    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      Hahaha! He has an idol past too! Jang Hyuk has only two flaws, as far as I am concerned:
      1. He is too short
      2. He can’t sing

      I forgive him though😀

      Reply
      1. BE

        From “Up on Cripple Creek” by The Band:
        “Now me and my mate were back at the shack, we had Spike Jones on the box.
        She said, ‘I can’t take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk.'”

        And he has the right moves, not to mention his hair!

        Reply
      2. beez

        @Snow Flower … and he’s married. Oh. And he should’ve been born about 60 years earlier. And in America. Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah – And he should’ve gone to my high school. 😆

        Reply
        1. BE

          Well Beez, even though I went to high school 8-10 years before you, it is my best guess that his likeness really did go to your high school, but what with his overbite, and likely general weirdness, which perhaps even had a dorky component, you might have missed him altogether. Guys I went to high school who looked like him then were a dime a dozen, really, but youth does not always register how nature gives just about everyone young a shot at being really attractive. Better had you met him when he was in his early 20s and you were just enough older to provide you with sufficient aroma of awesome for such a fellow.

          Reply
          1. beez

            @BE – 😆 at how right you are! In fact, I often go back and look at images from Please Teach Me English because I found him so very unattractive them. I look at later pics and I see no evidence of plastic surgery and yet…swoon

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      3. BE

        @Snow Flower. I left a comment for you about Jeong Do Jeon at the bottom of the post in re how K goes about choosing what to watch.

        Reply
    2. beez

      All I can say whenever I see this performance is “Thank goodness he failed as an idol..

      or we might not have the actor.”

      Reply
      1. Snow Flower

        That’s right, @beez! I wonder what he would think if he read our comments!

        To stay on topic, it occurred to me that idols and models turn to acting to prolong their career. The looks are not going to stay youthful forever.

        Reply
        1. BE

          Well, insofar as models go, the ones I mentioned in the other post, all three of them have really high paying modeling gigs still, and that includes Kim Hee Ae who is, empress among empresses, in her fifties.

          Reply
    3. phl1rxd

      OMO BE – I just had to pick myself up from the floor! I am dying laughing over here. Wow. He is still the man even after looking at this. I wonder what he thinks when he sees this….!

      I have been sitting here poring over football game footage and crunching statistics for a few days and that video just made my whole weekend! 😘 Thanks for the great laugh – I needed that break!

      Reply
    4. kfangurl Post author

      Ahahaha, this was hilarious! 😂😂😂

      To balance out the Jang Hyuk energy – and because DramaFan shared this with me today on FB and I love it – I’m just going to put this here:

      All of my Chuno feels, in one fell swoop! 🤩🤩🤩

      Reply
        1. beez

          @Snow Flower – WAIT! PLEASE WAIT for me! Where can we discuss Chuno episode by episode? Would maybe Drama Fan give us some room? Or maybe here on Kfangurl’s Chuno review? I really want to go episode by episode with other fans. And maybe we could get some of the newer viewers here to join us????

          Reply
          1. Snow Flower

            @beez, I still have to upgrade my Viki subscription, so I am not ready for a rewatch yet. I guess we can discuss the drama in the comments under KFG’s review.

            Reply
              1. beez

                ❤ Kfangurl – I figured as much. It’s just I’m afraid that episodes by episode would take up too much room and didn’t want to take advantage of your space with something that I could see being possibly cumbersome? Y’all only THINK I’m long-winded now. Once I get started on Chuno and my Jang Hyuk/Dae gil lust starts pouring forth…

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                1. BE

                  Beez, you are like the North Korean soldier in Crash Landing on You–what is going to happen to Dae Gil?
                  I find rewatches often lead me to appreciate minor and support characters. Let me know when the 2 of you start this project.

                  Reply
                  1. beez

                    @BE – I’m not sure exactly which North Korean soldier in CLOY? And how am I like him? (Just typing “CLOY” brings a smile to my face.)

                    Reply
                    1. BE

                      The North Korean soldier Ju Meok who knows what he knows about South Korea vis a vis watching pirate K dramas, is obsessed with what will happen to Dae Gil. It was part of the charming and humorous chorus the support cast of soldiers provided the show along with the village ahjummas making the show so warm and fuzzy.

                    2. beez

                      Ohhhhh, yeah. I’d forgotten. Thanks for bringing it back to my recall.😄

                      Edited to add: Yes! That’s totally me!

                    1. phl1rxd

                      Si Senorita! I just got done listening to Yim Jae Bum – Stigma and I am in.

                      Any day is fine with me. I am completely flexible.

                    2. beez

                      I just contacted Kfangurl to ask her to set is up with something/some type of space.

                      I hope that everybody who loves Chuno and also people who haven’t seen it yet will join in.

            1. beez

              @Snow Flower. Ahhhh. I just checked and it’s KBS2 so you’re right it’s not available on basic Viki. I own Chuno on Amazon but only recently found out that when we buy things that reside online at the provider’s site, we don’t “own” anything. For instance, if I really owned it, I would be able to loan it to you (it is possible to loan Kindle books to others so I don’t understand why we can’t do the same for streaming content) and when I die, I can’t bequeath the movies and tv series that I “bought” to my kid. Totally sucks and I’ll go back to only buying dvd’s from now on.

              Back to Chuno. Let me know when you start. I’ll watch it on Kocowa just to see any differences in subtitles. (I’m still waiting to buy it on dvd because I want to be sure I get the subtitles that were done by WITH2, which is what Viki had previously)

              Reply
                1. beez

                  Awesome! Now I’ve just got to go through to see if Snow Flower and Kfangurl have commented and find out when we’ll start.

                  Reply
                  1. kfangurl Post author

                    Sorry I haven’t managed to reply! I think BE’s suggestion of mirroring Chuno’s original airing schedule sounds interesting and fun. I checked and it aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 eps a week. I could put up a weekly Open Thread for that week’s episodes, on Wednesday? BE asked that I give everyone a heads-up on when to start, a week in advance, so I’m thinking I’ll make an announcement post for this Wednesday, with the first Open Thread a week from Wednesday. How does that sound? 🙂

                    Reply
                    1. Snow Flower

                      Sounds great, KFG!

                      I already watched Episode 1, but I want to work on my notes, so I don’t mind waiting. 1-2 episodes a week is very reasonable. Plus, I am following a couple of currently airing dramas, so probably I will not binge Chuno. If I get ahead, I will just write my notes for each episode and post them when the thread is up. I know that we all have different schedules and different watching habits. I am just excited to chat with other seasoned Chunoholics. And if a newbie joins us, even better!

                    2. kfangurl Post author

                      Sounds great! We have a plan! 😀 I will put up the announcement on Wednesday; hopefully more folks will want to join the party! 🙂

                    3. beez

                      I’m so excited! I always wished I had watched Chuno when it originally aired and the community were all interactively chatting about it.

                      Thanks again, KFangurl! And to you Snow Flower for waiting for me!

                    4. BE

                      Perfect. I am already waiting to make a comment on the opening scene, which hooked my attention, unlike even most of the dramas I like which can take as long as three episodes to draw me in.

          2. Snow Flower

            @beez, @BE, and everyone who wants to experience the awesomeness of Jang Hyuk, let’s watch The Slave Hunters! Available on Viki and Kocowa.

            Reply
            1. beez

              You know I’m all in. But can we establish some things such as
              1) where we’re going to post our comments (I suggest under Kfangurl’s review).
              2) Can we make a schedule of 1 or 2 episodes a week (or however many agreed on) so that we don’t have some people discussing episode 13 while the rest of us are still on episode 5?
              I can’t think of anything else we need?

              Reply
              1. kfangurl Post author

                Would you guys like me to make a weekly open thread post for the Chuno rewatch? I’m happy to do that, if it’d make things easier to keep track of. Also, I’m wondering if the open threads might entice other readers to join you on a first watch or rewatch.. 😊

                Reply
                  1. kfangurl Post author

                    Just let me know which day of the week is good for you guys (eg, every Wednesday or Monday or whichever day you like), and how many episodes you’d like to cover each week, and I’ll put out the Open Thread for you guys, along with an announcement that it’s happening, so that anyone else interested can join in. No trouble at all. 😊

                    Also, to answer your earlier question Beez about space, no worries about that either, because with the upgrade to the Business plan, the blog has lots more space to enjoy than before. Previously we were somewhere around 60%, but with the massive increase in space allocation on Business, we’re now down to something like 5%. More than enough wiggle room to host some fun drama discussions, on top of the regular content! 😉

                    Reply
                    1. Natalia

                      Oh, I’m so sorry I can’t join you, you all seem to love this show! Unfortunately kocowa is not available here and the show is not licensed for Viki in my region!

                    2. kfangurl Post author

                      To get around geo-restrictions, Opera’s built-in VPN works a treat. 😊 You can simply select Americas as your region, and you’d be able to access Chuno here. However, it is only available to Viki Pass holders, which is a bit of a downer. You could try it 7 days for free though, and see if you like it enough to continue on a paid subscription. 😉

                    3. beez

                      I have a Kocowa subscription and they just added Chuno (hence, it’s return to Viki). But during our watch, I’m going to watch the version that I purchased from Amazon Prime (streaming) just to see how the sub translations compare as we discuss things.

                    4. kfangurl Post author

                      Natalia! I just found out that Kocowa has Chuno, and there’s a free to view option available. There are subscriptions available that would remove ads, but you don’t have to sign up for those. Video quality is great too! So you CAN join the Chuno watch, if you want to! I will be posting an announcement on Wednesday to invite everyone to join in, so you can look out for that! 😀

                    5. Natalia

                      Hey Kfangurl, you’re sweet. Unfortunately kocowa is not available in my country, so I guess I have to look into that VPN thing you told me about although to be honest I’ve never done that and am not sure how it works.
                      What’s the watching schedule you have agreed on, girls and boys?

                    6. kfangurl Post author

                      I’ll be posting weekly Open Thread posts on Wednesdays, for 2 eps per week. I’ll have an announcement post with more details up this Wednesday, and the watch party starts a week from Wednesday. The VPN thing is super simple, so don’t be intimidated by the idea of it! Just download Opera as a browser to your computer, and there’s a VPN option that you can play with. You can find a tutorial here. 🙂

                    7. beez

                      Awesome! And so are you! (But you already know we all think that. 😉) I’m waiting for Snow Flower to come on as I don’t want to make any decisive arbitrarily. Since most people like to binge, my thoughts are – maybe 7 episodes a week. That’s one a day for anyone’s who doesn’t have time to do a marathon. But even if we watch 7 in one go, we should try to limit the discussion to that day’s episode. I don’t know how you’d set that up, Kfangurl. hmmmm🤔

                    1. beez

                      It’s on! I hope that a lot of people join us, and especially the people who haven’t seen Chuno but hear us raving about it all the time!

                    1. kfangurl Post author

                      What kind of pace would you all like to keep, with the episodes? Beez mentioned 7 eps a week – that seems rather ambitious, especially if you’re hoping to have more people join in and keep up the pace..? 😅

                    2. beez

                      @kfangurl @ snowflower @natalia – I think it depends on the forum. If it’s one long thread then perhaps we just need a big bold print stating which episode(s) is/are getting discussed and that bold print title would be added every few days? But, and this may be asking too much, especially if no one is interested in joining us – a separate thread for every 2 episodes? But again if no one comes in and its only me and Snow Flower, then one thread will do.

            2. BE

              Also on Amazon Prime. Jest let me know when you start. It is a long show, and I do not want to dampen anyone’s passion, but I wonder how often it was on when first put on the air–a couple episodes a week? I am thinking that it might be interesting to see it as it was introduced to folks, at that pace. Of course, I also have the nasty habit of never leaving myself at a cliff hanger, but rather at the end of the first fifteen minutes of the following episode in order to calm down how cliffhangers feed the addiction.

              For seven per week, we should have started earlier in the pandemic.

              Reply
        1. Snow Flower

          BE, KFG posted an excellent video of JH from My Country in her review of the drama. Whoever edited the video did a great job!

          Reply
  11. Trent Goulding

    I’m a total Kdrama noob, so I don’t even feel qualified to comment (but…when has that stopped anyone, right?).

    I liked IU in Hotel del Luna, but mainly because I thought she fit the part well, even though the part itself (IMO) was kind of underwritten. I had been wavering on trying My Mister, but your very positive review of it has bumped it up my list for future viewing. (tangent: a bunch of kpop, mostly current stuff, has rotated into my playlist over the last few months, and I like IU quite a bit just as a singer, acting aside, so.).

    I actually didn’t really like D.O. in 100 Days My Prince, which I just finished; I thought he was very much a weak link there. His very flattened affect just didn’t do it for me. Don’t hurt me, EXO fans!

    And finally, Suzy: I wasn’t going to even bother with Start-up, but I got sucked into it, at least in part because I wanted to see something with Suzy, who I had heard some of the hype about (not specifically for acting or idol either one, just as a “big name” in the celebrity scene). I’ll be honest, I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying it so far; it’s not earth-shattering or anything, but it’s been fun, and I’m definitely looking forward to new eps, at least for now. I think Suzy has been decent in it; actually, I’ve liked all 4 of the core leads so far (Kang Han-na, playing Suzy’s older sister, is stunning, IMO). Anyway, my two cents.

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi Trent – Suzy’s acting has improved from her prior performances.

      I am also watching Start Up and so far, so good. It is entertaining enough and showed a lot of heart in the first few episodes. I also have keeping an eye out for Nam Da-Reum who plays the younger Han Ji-Pyeong. That kid has a bright future so it was nice to see him on the my screen. Plus we have all the Moms and Dads of KDrama along for the ride which is always great. Add in Jasper Cho.and Kim Joo-Hun and I am def going to watch this. Let us pray that the writing does not go south.

      Reply
      1. Trent Goulding

        Yes, agreed on pretty much all points. Nam Da-Reum also caught my eye–he’s a good-looking dude, and he’s played this part so far with a real soulful intensity. Hopefully we’ll get a few more flashbacks at least.

        It’s quite amusing to me that suddenly Kim Joo-hun appears to be everywhere on my screen! (Start-up, and then he’s also playing a major role in DoDoSoSoLaLaSo, and of course he was just lighting it up as Ko Moon-young’s publisher/agent in the much loved (by me, at least) It’s Okay to Not Be Okay). Glad to see he’s getting work!

        Reply
      2. Snow Flower

        Another vote for Start Up! I am liking it so far, and Suzy is not too irritating. I hope the writing stays good.

        Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      I actually agree with you Trent, in that I preferred IU in My Mister than in Hotel Del Luna. So, YAY that you’ve bumped My Mister up your list! It’s a must-see drama, in my opinion. 😊

      I didn’t watch 100 Days My Prince, and so I can’t comment on D.O.’s outing there.. I can only say that he’s been solid in what I’ve seen him in. Since you enjoyed IOTNBO, you might also be interested to check out another show that deals with mental illness, It’s Okay, It’s Love. D.O. has a small but pivotal role in it, and I thought he did nicely. 😊

      Thanks for the positive endorsement of Start-Up, I’ve put it on my list!

      Reply
      1. beez

        D.O. was good in It’s Okay… (I can’t get the title straight since the new It’s Okay… came out this year.) But I just wanted to say I enjoyed him in the movie Swing Kids. Despite the serious topic (prisoners of war and racism) – if you take the movie seriously, then it’s an epic fail. But if you watch it with the lens of South Pacific (which also featured racism) then it’s a good little movie. Like South Pacific, the subject matter is not taken lightly but the true main focus of both movies is the singing and dancing. It’s an old style musical.

        Reply
          1. beez

            @kfangurl – I didn’t actually recommend it. I try not to recommend unless I think something is “must watch” or “don’t miss it” level. I was just impressed with D.O.’s dancing which is on another (professional) level from the type of dancing done in Kpop groups.

            Now I do recommend Phantom Detective as a weird but absolutely wonderful quirky movie. I’ve watched 4 times already. Three times on my own and once with my son who doesn’t watch Kdramas or Kmovies. That was part of my mother’s day demands this year. 😄

            Reply
  12. ngobee

    Thank you, kfangurl, for going to all the trouble. I had no idea there were so many idols in kdramaland.

    Yes, Eric is really a joy to watch. He’s got that vibe of not being vain. As for other idols, Lee Seung Gi was really well suited to his role as Monkey King in Korean Odyssey. He is ok in Vagabond but I dropped it because I find Suzy uninteresting and too childlike.

    I did enjoy Ji Hyun Woo and Eunji in Trot Lovers of which I watched 3/4 because the script doesn’t hold up. As you said, kfangurl, Eunji is best suited to warm-hearted, not overly complex characters. Ji Hyun Woo is probably not an idol but a good musician with a very likable screen presence, as seen in Queen and I.

    That said, I think there are so many advisers, coaches, managers, agency around those highly paid singers and actors, that idols certainly don’t make decisions to try their hand at acting alone. It is a business transaction that can be filled artistically, with luck and appropriate training. And of course someone with high visibility, like an idol, gets more offers than a lesser known actor. That’s not just true for entertainment.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there ngobee!! Thanks for enjoying this post! ❤️Yes, aren’t there so many idols in Dramaland?!? 😜 I often find myself being surprised that a character I’m watching on my screen is being played by an idol. Which is a somewhat positive thing, because this means it wasn’t their lack of acting ability that made me look them up..? 😅

      And you’re so right, it’s not the idol’s decision to get into acting; it’s an agency thing, where the strategic aim is to expand said idol’s reach and increase the fandom. So it’s not the idol’s fault if they find themselves acting in a drama, really. 😅

      Reply
  13. Lady G.

    Excellent post, I was surprised some of the older favorites were all Kpop idols. I am a Kpop noob and I prefer the dramas over getting involved with the music. My Korean library is mostly a bunch of Kpop songs I happened to enjoy from the 2010s and Kdrama soundtracks. lol, It doesn’t really matter to me if the actors were in Kpop groups. As long as they can deliver a believable character and emote well, and I enjoy the story, I am happy. However, time is life so when a drama doesn’t cut the mustard for me I drop it fast. I can no longer binge as I used to either. I do understand the concern about idols taking all the acting work, but I don’t think the traditional or classically trained actors are missing out on much by not getting most of those parts. The roles typically do not call for much gravitas or layered acting talent.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for enjoying the post, my dear! ❤️I was surprised too, to realize that Jung Ryeo Won and Hwang Jung Eum were idols! We learn something new every day! 😅

      I agree that it really doesn’t matter whether an actor is an idol or not, if they’re doing a good job of delivering the role – whether that is because they’re good at acting, or whether it’s because the role suits their strengths. As much as people get disgruntled over idol actors not being very good with the acting, there are also plenty of non-idol actors who need to up their acting game. 😜

      Reply
      1. Lady G.

        there are also plenty of non-idol actors who need to up their acting game. …

        YES! I think I get more annoyed when I see those actors getting lead roles one after the other and they never improve.

        Reply
        1. beez

          @Lady G – Are you the same Lady G that we see in early contribution articles on the Kfangurl site? If you are, might I be nosy and ask why we don’t see posts by you nowadays?

          Reply
          1. Lady G.

            Hi Beez! I am so sorry i didn’t see a notification for this comment. I can only say that i slowed down over the years, even with my drama watching. My main contribution here was the dream drama stories. While i still have that one sequel to Afterglow in draft form in the wings I just lost so much steam somewhere along the way. I have a few health fatigue issues, So I had became selective on what I focused on. And family obligations helping with a very sickly relative and with also with my 4 and soon to be 3 year old nephew. (I almost called them new additions but time passes so quick!) For now i just read posts and my drama watch Queue gets filled but don’t get around to most of them. :/ I also have some writing/video projects i am starting to work on for monetary gain and it is taking up that energy. But I am always around and hope soon to get back in the game sometime. 🙂

            Reply
        2. BE

          Because it is so popular, K drama has a plethora of vehicles, and there does seem to be, especially with female leads, and this leads to cardboard female characterizations as a result, but male leads as well, an emphasis on almost unworldly good looks for leads. And there is a real youth movement as well in Korean entertainment. Pretty face syndrome and the need to appear young is a problem in all popular entertainment. Being aware of older lead actors who started out as such–I am thinking of Kim Hee Ae and Lee Byung Hun–one must admit few stand the test of time, and the way to do so is get good at the craft. One of the reasons I tend to stay away from rom coms is that they are so often populated by actors more chosen for their sex appeal than their ability to act. I am as attracted to human physical beauty as the next person, but I do find actors in Korean films are often required to be good character actors, lead or support, and there are lead actors who are leads not on the basis of how they look, but rather their ability to bring their characters alive whether they are attractive or not.

          Reply
          1. Lady G.

            I agree with you! I had drifted to a lot of the mature dramas so to speak myself and there are some great ones. Jung Jae Young for instance, is one of my favorites, and he killed it with the Partners for Justice series, and then Cho Seung Woo and Bae Doona in the Stranger series (Still need to see part 2!) actors like Jang Hyuk and So Ji Sub will always keep me watching. I wish Gong Yoo would be given some mature fare like that when it comes to his drama choices. The movies are great, but the drama world insists on boxing him into these fluffy fantasy roles.

            Reply
            1. BE

              Bae Doona is even better in the second season. It is a rather labyrinthine drama and a slow burn, but especially in the final episodes, a performance worth watching however one cares (I liked it) or does not for the drama as a whole. As with Jang Hyuk, I will always at least give Bae Doona a look.

              In K drama televised series, I think supporting actors are often more interesting than the leads, and in most great K dramas with very good leads, their roles are enhanced by the interaction with support characters. But above I made a comment about My Country and Seolhyun, and my entire take on that series was not only were the two leads so less skilled as actors than the four or five main male support actors, but every time Seolhyun was on screen next to Jang Young Nam, it was like watching cardboard next to cherry wood.

              I feel the same way about Song Joon Ki that you do about Gong Yoo. I think his good looks work against him when getting roles that have some meat on the bone. He is a wonderful comedic actor, capable of playing exceedingly quirky roles, but generally he is given more two dimensional roles as a lead romantic interest with a modicum of action skills. It is not that he is particularly bad at those, but is in no way memorable at them and he could be doing so much more.

              Reply
              1. beez

                @BE – I hear what you’re saying about Lee Joon ki and agree for the most part, but as someone who used to practice Tae Kwon do – LJK’s martial arts skills are much better than “not bad” but are excellent and very enjoyable to watch.

                Reply
                1. BE

                  Motor City patent law, tae kwon do…quite the gal, Beez!

                  What I meant was, it is not so much skills, but using action to, as Jang Hyuk has said it, express character. I am sure since you know something, have some real measure to judge such things that your appreciation is enhanced as a result.
                  Alas, I do not really find anything more than fighting going on in his fight scenes, however well they may be executed, but when he is quirky or funny, he knocks me out; he owns the screen side by side with really good actors.
                  Yoo Ah In when asked about his piano playing skills in Secret Love Affair responded that it was not his piano playing skills, which weren’t all that much, but his acting skills that made those scenes memorable. I have no idea if either Byun Yo Han or Han Ye Ri have actual fighting skills but when the two of them, as the greatest sword fighters in Goryeo (he as Li Bang Ji, and she as the old emperor’s consort with A level mystofacto sword mastery), do it in Six Flying Dragons, it is thrilling.

                  Reply
                  1. beez

                    lol. I’ve got a long list of jobs and careers before I settled in ling-term at the firm that I retired from. I’m sure a lot of us here have the same, seeing as we’re not “spring chickens”. 😆

                    Reply
                    1. BE

                      I apologize; I should have known “epic” is understatement when it comes to someone so formidable.

                      In my case it has been my avocations that have made my life seem more romantic than ranch hand, harvest laborer, and community college English teacher, even if the FLOTUS elect shares that final profession from which I have retired.

                      And my ex wife is just about your age, and I have been referring to her as a spring chicken for forty years now. That is, don’t sell yourself short, young ‘un. You still go squee over Jang Hyuik’s ribcage.

                    2. beez

                      @BE – I should be blushing as I “liked” your comment in which you refer to me (?) as “epic” and “formidable”. 😆 Well thank you, very much! (Although, I’ll be more than blushing if you were referring to one of the actors or characters that we’ve been discussing. 😆 I did check your earlier comments above to see if you were talking about someone else that we’d been discussing earlier but since I couldn’t make the connection, I’ll just go with it!

                      I knew you’d been a university English teacher, but ranch hand and harvest laborer?! Wow! Can you elaborate? Maybe in your youth? Pre-college days? And what are your hobbies that you describe as “romantic”? (I’m in full nosy mode now 🤥 🕵☺)

                    3. BE

                      @beez
                      I always loved working physical labor, and started as a teen during my summers working in a metals warehouse on a power shear, determined to prove to grown men I could work side by side with them. I had been groomed to go into my dad’s business or law, and disappointed everyone in my family, when I dropped out of university and ran off to the back to the land circus to become a poet. During those years, till my mid thirties, when I went back to college to enter a career as an educator to support my kids, I worked for years on a tree and flower ranch in the hills west of the Napa Valley and later way back in the mountains in Mendocino County doing all sorts of outdoors work including harvest labor, largely grape harvests, but all aspects of plant husbandry. My avocations include having written thousands of poems, translated poems–passionate about 8th C Chinese poetry, early 20th C Spanish and Russian poetry, American ethnopoetics, done some criticism in small presses, spent several years as a watercolorist, mostly abstract expressionism and surrealism, conceptual artist (ran my own personal museum for awhile, with events and hours long dinners), wrote reviews of African popular dance music. All these avocations, by the way, losing money operations. Also have collected mid 20th C Mexican metal art work and some African art, Yoruba beadwork, Bwa masks, Ndebele tapestry. Lately my body has been falling apart alas, but I take walks in my small town, photographing the local home styles, the yard ornamentation, and found abstractions in rusted out metal, peeling paint, and disintegrating wood, as well as every once in a while coming across someone’s yard that is wildly over the top artistically. So, open book here. When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, I often found myself waking up with my own nose in the open book of St. Augustine’s confessions, yuk.

              2. Lady G.

                Song Joon Ki really is wonderful. He was my gateway actor into Kdrama, first seeing Werewolf Boy in the theater, then checking online to find more of his work I discovered Drama Fever (R.I.P. So sad) and Nice Guy was my gateway drama. I haven’t checked on him in a long time since that messy divorce. :/. I didnt see Arthdal Chronicles, did you like it? This upcoming drama Vincenzo appeals to me.

                Reply
                1. BE

                  IMO Arthdal Chronicles is entertaining, and it sports a good cast. SJK gets to play a dual role, one the hero and the other a kind of slimy twin (the first has a kind of bob, his evil twin long hair that on his face–I dunno, adds to the slime effect. I would rate it a B. Of the Netflix blockbusters this past year, Kingdom is far and away my preference.

                  My favorite tv drama of Song Joon Ki is Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Both he and Yoo Ah In, functioning as third and second male leads respectively make the show for me, and Song Joon Ki even moreso. He is just so playful, quite wonderful. It does make me a bit sad to think both he and Kim Tae Ri are in some sort of Space Pirates film–I hope at least they get the chance to be funny.

                  I will definitely check out Vicenzo, and it does make me curious after seeing him in Crash Landing, and watching him steal scene after scene, it will be interesting to see what kind of role Yang Kyung Won plays in this.

                  Reply
                  1. beez

                    @BE – your last paragraph where you referenced having seen “him” in Crash Landing – who are you referring to? I thought you were talking about Song Joong ki but since he wasn’t in CLOY…???

                    Reply
                  2. Lady G.

                    Thank you for telling me about the Chronicles. Sungkyunkwan Scandal was a lot of fun, I enjoyed his character. I really liked him as the young King in Tree with Deep Roots too.

                    Reply
                2. BE

                  You know I did not really like Goblin, and dropped it early on. I am watching Coffee Prince right now, and I suspect it is heresy to say so, but I feel there is something not quite right about Gong Yoo in that role. Indeed, I think it would suit Song Joon Ki much better, or say Jo Jung Suk. It strikes me that Gong Yoo might have a better career arc if he followed the path of someone like Matthew McConaughey, who once he swore off romantic comedy and began choosing serious character roles came into his own.

                  Reply
                  1. beez

                    @BE – Interesting you would say that because Gong Yoo has had major success with his movies which tend to take on very serious subjects.
                    Suspect – he’s a North Korean defector
                    Silenced – a teacher at a school for deaf children and he discovers they are being sexually assaulted by the staff
                    Kim Ji-Young: Born 1982 – film upset the status quo in Korea. The brew-ha-ha was over the character’s (weak in my option) protests for equality in the workplace and her (again weak) protest of the treatment by her mother-in-law. The film was actually about mental illness but that was overshadowed by the aforementioned issues.
                    His biggest blockbuster has been the zombie flick Train to Busan.
                    I, personally think he’s great in all genres. He has an odd mix of Clark Gable-Cary Grant thing going on.

                    Reply
                  2. Lady G.

                    I don’t care much for Gong Yoo’s drama choices! Though I liked BIG despite everyone else hating it. I haven’t seen Goblin. I prefer his movies. Perhaps they should give Gong Yoo a mature Drama at this point, or something with law or crime or whatnot. I find him a little long in the tooth to be in these cutesy Goblin/Big type dramas. Not that he can’t have fun or anything with it, but a lot of these dramas are best left to the 20 and young 30 somethings. I just want something he can really shine in.

                    Reply
                    1. beez

                      I loved Big until that fiasco of an ending. ( I can’t remember the ending exactly now but I remember hating it and feeling it ruined an otherwise good show) 😆

                    2. Lady G.

                      haha, I understand. He supposedly went back to being 17 or something, but then we see her stuck in the rain and someone hands her a red umbrella and it looks very much like Gong Yoo’s hand, but you don’t see his face, only her reaction. I hate endings like that so much. I think the older brother died (Who was also played by Gong Yoo and cheated on her) and the younger brothers soul went into him. At least that’s what i imagined happened.

              3. Lady G.

                Lol two planks of wood. You are right, in many cases the supporting actors catch my eye. And their characters often steal the show. I constantly root for the support actors to get their chance to lead. And there are some that never do and I never understand why.

                Reply
  14. Alaskan

    I have not been able to get through a single Suzy drama. I’ve tried. I tackled but ultimately dropped Uncontrollably Fond, While You Were Sleeping, and Vagabond because I could not get past what I felt was her scripted and inauthentic acting. She doesn’t seem to inhabit the characters she’s supposed to play so I’m always aware that I’m watching somebody trying to act instead of being truly drawn into the actual story. I also have trouble watching L (Kim Myung Soo). I admit, however, to taking guilty pleasure in hate-watching him in Meow, the Secret Boy, surely one of the worst dramas of the year. I watched/fast forwarded through it primarily for the cat, who was a much much better actor.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      😂😂 That’s hilarious, that you found the cat a better actor than L! 😝 Yes, I have trouble watching L too. I did think Dream High worked well with Suzy’s limitations, so that might be the one to work for you? At the same time, I’ve been told by numerous sources that Suzy’s not ruining Start-Up for them, so that’s promising? 😅

      Reply
  15. BE

    Turns out Kim Chang Wan, who has had a long career in K Drama–I remember him from his portrayal of the rather skeasy Dean Min Yong Ki in Secret Love Affair, got his start as part of the very popular K rock band Sanulrim as lead singer and (psychedelic punk) guitarist.

    I am sure once you see this K, you will recognize Kim from a number of dramas.

    He continues to this day to perform in this vein (Sanulrim broke up after its drummer was killed in a traffic accident) with his own band.

    Here is a softer iteration, a collaboration with IU on a love ballad:

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi BE, yes, I did forget Kim Chang Wan, although, since he and his band weren’t products of the kpop machinery that we now know, I don’t think he technically qualifies to be called an idol. 😅

      I did look into him for my post on supporting actors (https://thefangirlverdict.com/2020/08/24/dear-kfangurl-who-are-your-favorite-supporting-actors-and-will-they-ever-get-to-play-lead/), and realized that Sanulrim was a band that he made with his brothers – and therefore it was one of his brothers who was killed the accident. How very tragic. 😭 He’s very talented indeed, and if memory serves, he’s also a poet. Wow! 😲

      Reply
      1. BE

        I believe one of his songs was covered in Reply 1988 by a pop singer. And now I have to see Coffee Prince, since so many of the cast are so good. Not my typical kind of thing, but you have sung its praises so often and Kim as part of the supporting cast is the straw…

        and yes, he certainly is a poet:

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Oh wow, he’s such an artist. Such deep reflective thought, so evident in his poetry and his music! Thanks for sharing, BE! Kim Chang Wan really ought to be more celebrated.

          Also, yay that you’ll be checking out Coffee Prince! I hope you’ll end up surprising yourself, and loving it like so many of us! ❤️

          Reply
          1. BE

            As Asperugo noted once you hit one number by any artist really on you tube, all of a sudden your feed starts popping up with one song after another. This morning mine came up with a recorded with Eng. subtitles version, then recent live performance of Kim doing one of his electric hit songs, in which he takes on the persona of a 7th grader (ie 13 year old, which must be the single most confusing year of youth), who is generally a good kid, but telling the adult world to lay off, he (or she) knows right from wrong and can do it. The live version has a whole bunch of school kids in their school unis on stage with him and bopping around the stage while Kim is blasting away on his electric guitar, a couple of the girls really getting into it. I just have no idea of how such a combination exists, anywhere–so good natured, a cross generational display of pure joy. Just wonderful.

            Reply
  16. Julianne Lin

    HAHA my experience with idols in kdramaland is both similar to yours and also quite positive. I also started out much more into kdramas than kpop — I knew nothing about kpop basically until Dream High (haha). So for a good few years even after Dream High I was solely in the kdrama space and really didn’t see a trend between bad actors being idols.

    After a while I was solely into cdramas and OH. my god. Same with @carpcontrol above. “Idol” influx into dramas in cdramaland is HUGE. And BAD. I quote Idols frankly bc a lot of them get fame from Produce101 type shows and often have very little training of the idol kind, which contrasts with the norm in kpop. The ones that are trained and skilled are 90% trainees from Korea. There’s also the sad reality that every so often an idol group is trained and starts off in China… but the companies are pretty shit and overall c-ent is NOT a good place for fostering idols. They have no room for music shows or pop-oriented reality shows so really all idol groups get funneled into acting or solo-singing. (Also good music producers are lacking in China bc music style and what China values as “good” music is very different and not really friendly for starting an idol group pop-industry.)

    Side note said, it’s truly VERY obvious when idol actors/actresses show up in cdramas — and very very often they’re noticeably bad/green. This can be attributed to a lot of bad scripts, or poor production quality. Big-name dramas that cast of lot of idols tend to be due to popularity/money-making reasons. Sometimes either that idol actors are straight up so stiff directing can’t save them, OR it’s one of those productions that just wants to quickly pump out a tropey “feel good” idol drama and basically there’s no directing to adequately support or direct idols into at least giving their best performance.

    All that said, I’ve now not been watching any dramas from either country and have solely sunk myself into kpop land and am well enjoying my time here LMAO.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Wow, thanks for the insights into the C-industry, Julianne!! I consider myself a noob at the C-industry, so this was quite enlightening. As a viewer, I do find it frustrating that so many of the fluffy cute shows that are promoted as 偶像剧 mostly turn out to be quite underwhelming. And yet, because I really do want to give more time and attention to C-dramas (to improve – and reclaim! – my grasp of Mandarin), I keep dabbling in them but then end up getting disappointed. 😝 Ah well. I will keep on on keeping on!

      Also, that’s so funny that you didn’t know kpop until Dream High! Same here! Although, unlike you, I still haven’t dived in to acquaint myself properly with kpop. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself though! ❤️

      Reply
      1. CarpControl

        for good 偶像剧 dramas (because I believe there are rare examples in this category)….it is always better to rely on serious reviews/ research than just luck, because I have failed almost every, single time! 😛

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Thanks for the tip, CarpControl!! I will definitely put more effort towards researching an 偶像剧 before jumping in, in the future! 💪🏻😅

          Reply
  17. BE

    I like you am not all that aware of kpop, and if it weren’t for her turn in My Mister, leading to a subsequent interest in IU after, I would probably know nothing at all about it. But I would say this, in her two projects after My Mister, Persona and Hotel Del Luna, the first being an overly artsy set of shorts, and Hotel del Luna, a gimmick laden fantasy, I think she could have benefited from better scripts and direction in both, and her star status, especially that of being a sexually powerful young woman, a persona she developed as a singing star between the ages of 23-26, seeming to have left a bit in the dust since, a bit of a caricature that got in her own way. In a previous post, I said it reminded me of what happened to Leo di Caprio for a while–that is he was cast for star power rather than his character acting skills.

    From what I have gleaned about her, however, IU is often even in her iteration as a singer/composer while sometimes known as the star of stars, as she is so admired by other kpop phenomenons, she is considered more an “artist” than idol. One must also point out that in her early twenties she made a major album recording in which the title song was a paean to the great silent film actor Charlie Chaplin, and she had a more recent hit that was similarly dedicated to the great French mime Pierrot.

    It strikes me from reading bios of actors in drama and cinema that there is a strong training system for actors in South Korean universities, and one can see in the acting particularly highly developed acting skills, facial expression is one that comes to mind, distinct in South Korean acting. But along with pop stars, it amazes me how many very, very good actors, men and women, have gotten their start as fashion and advertising models–Kim Hee Ae, Bae Doo Na, Lee Byung Hun.

    And it also strikes me that many actors are quite good musically–see Hospital Playlist. I think today’s Korean acting scene probably emphasizes, just as old Hollywood tended to emphasize, a raft of talents. And artistic endeavors always being highly competitive especially require a particular charisma–stage presence and the ability to intoxicate the camera.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      That’s a fair point, that IU is known more as an artist than a kpop idol. You’ll have to forgive my lack of deep understanding of kpop! 😅

      Also, that’s a great observation, a lot of actors & idols in k-ent tend to be multi-skilled, whether out of natural personal interest, or out of a desire to be more versatile and marketable. Many actors would take singing lessons, for example, in order to be able to offer fans a good experience during fan meetings. And there’d be many actors who would take up martial arts &/or horseback riding, to make themselves more marketable in the saguek arena, as another example.

      In terms of the Hospital Playlist crew, I thought it was amazing that at least 3 of the 5 started taking intensive lessons, with only a basic understanding of the instrument to start, in order to prepare for the role. Our drummer, keyboardist and bassist were far behind our 2 guitarists, and yet, they pulled off such great performances! My hat off to them all! 🤩🤩🤩

      Reply
  18. merij1

    Yoon Kye-sang, who started out in the boy band g.o.d.

    Guess what show I saw him in? Ha ha. The ML in Chocolate. Another one of those roles where “no expression at all” is sufficient to convey the character as written.

    (Amusingly, I thought you’d left out Lee Min-ho. His acting is so thin I just assumed he’d started out as a boy band idol. Even so, I’d argue it’s same path, where a young person is plucked out of obscurity by the ‘suits based on looks alone.)

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Yes, I forgot about Yoon Kye Sang! 😅 And that’s so funny, that you’d assumed that Lee Min Ho was an idol! I personally can’t picture him singing and dancing, so this made me laugh. 😆😄

      Reply
      1. beez

        @kfangurl – I can’t picture LMO dancing either BUT neither could I picture Lee Joon ki either and HE’S THE BEST! It’s hard to believe that he wasn’t an idol before an actor based on his moves! And also his singing.

        Reply
  19. beez

    Wow! So many of the more mature ones that I never knew were idols.

    I’m fine with it myself. After all Frank Sinatra and Elvis were teen idols before they began acting. 😄

    My only issue is I wish they seasoned the idols longer with supporting roles before they make the jump to lead and at least make sure their acting has become strong enough for the lead.

    Reply
    1. BE

      Sinatra was a considerably better actor than Elvis. The early sixties produced a number of pop stars in the US doing acting turns; none of them were very good. Beyonce was in one of the Austin Powers movies and played Etta James in the movie about the Chess label. The latter was probably not such a good choice for her, because James had a much more distinct and bluesy approach to singing, but if given the right role, I think she would be fine. I do not know whether she acted well in it, but who could take one’s eyes off Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard?

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      That’s true.. quite a few idols start out in lead roles, and while some of them are very capable, like Im Siwan in Misaeng, many others aren’t really ready for lead (if they ever will be). Like L. 😅

      Reply
      1. beez

        @Kfangirl – I really like L, too (just not as lead in my dramas :p) I really, really liked him in the Show Which Shalt Not Be Named. For some reason he was the only one that felt natural in that show, as if he belonged there. Even Mr. Sexy (Rain) seemed like he didn’t below in that drama.) 😕

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          I didn’t see much of that show at all (I selectively watched parts of the first few eps while on a flight), so I have no impression of L in that. But, I did enjoy him in a lot in Shut Up Flower Boy Band – I thought that role suited him nicely. I didn’t enjoy him in Cunning Single Lady tho.. his character was supposed to be funny but it just didn’t land for me. So I think supporting roles that work with his strengths is where I like him. 😅

          Reply
          1. beez

            @Kfangurl – L being the only thing good in Show Which Shall Not Be Named is an indication of just how bad everything and everyone else AND the script was. Even my beloved Rain. How do you produce a show in which you cast Rain as a producer/songwriter and never show him perform or at least haves him watch and critique the young performers/trainees on the Show? And this was before he was actually a reality show judge so we were dying to at least see something of that since the rest of the show was a total snorefest.

            I keep saying I’ll go back to finish Shut Up Flower Boy Band. I dropped it after one episode because somehow I found out that Lee Min ki was not in any other episodes. And that was before he made my bias list. It’s just his character was everything and I only imagined all the excitement, zest, life and charisma would be sucked out of show once he was gone. So after a year or so, my OCD said to return to the show and, again, after watching Ep1 again, I had no desire to watch the rest of the show as I thought about what was left with his character gone? It seems like it would be boring. I do plan on finishing it… some day.

            Reply
  20. 70lizzie

    I have not watched all the dramas you have but the ones you love I have and totally agree with you. As for Suzy, I saw her in Netflix’s Vagabond. I was hesitant to watch it because of her (flashback Uncontrollably Fond and While You Were Sleeping) but she was really good in this role. I am watching Start Up right now and while she is not remarkable, she is not spoiling my enjoyment of Nam Joo Hyuk .

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Glad to hear that Suzy’s not a downer in Start-Up – that’s very encouraging to know! I plan to check it out soonish myself, now that I’ve seen quite a few reassuring comments on how Suzy’s either neutral or not bad in it! 😉

      Reply
  21. carpcontrol

    I am a lot more forgiving towards ‘idol actors’ from k-dramaland, especially considering they don’t attend acting schools and are trained rigorously to be k-pop idols! On the other hand, C-dramaland is considerably more tragic with its infestation of ‘idol actors’ and ‘idol dramas’ with cheap tropey plots that generate a lot of traffic, buzz & make lots of money, but are crap overall.
    ‘Idol’ actors (not mandopop or c-pop singers) are popular for mostly their looks & huge fanbase, and usually turn out to be terrible (over-acting or just plain wooden) DESPITE having attended prestigious acting schools & having numerous works in their portfolio. Some okay ones can only churn out decent work ONLY if the director is good. T_T

    It’s a problem because while most of such projects are trash, (to put it mildly), some ‘idol’ projects turn out good, but we end up missing them because of the bad-rep around idols. Relying on reviewers such as you seems to be the only way out! I am surprised at how benign your article sounds; I have watched far lesser dramas than you and already run out of patience with ‘stars’ who refuse to take their craft seriously. Thank you for your list of actors you keep a lookout for- they have definitely entered my radar upon your recommendation! <3

    Special mention to Bomi (apink) in BTIMFL [with her killer deadpan expressions]; Onew (shinee) in DoTS [somebody I genuinely wasn’t apathetic towards] and Chansung (2PM) in Sec. Kim [who I thought had too much foundation on his face, and okayish acting]. They restored my faith in idol-dom’s exploration into acting!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Ahh, I had completely forgotten that the definition of idol actor is completely different in C-dramas, thanks for sharing, carpcontrol! From the relatively little that I’ve experienced of the C-drama industry, I do have to concur that there is a distinct difference between an “idol drama” and a more serious drama with skilled actors. My hairdresser, who hails from China and who has chatted dramas with me a lot, was the one who first inducted me into the phrases “偶像派” and “实力派” and the big chasm that lies between them.

      In this case, I do think that kdramas are handled differently, because there isn’t this distinct differentiation between a drama that features idols (and yes, the definition is different, since these idols hail from kpop, while the C-idols don’t) and dramas that don’t feature idols. It feels like there is a kind of pressure for kpop idols who act, to perform up to standards that apply to actors across the board, whereas my impression is that viewers are ready to cut C-idols (again, not C-pop idols) a lot of slack, while expectations are shifted squarely to those who belong to the 实力派. It’s all very interesting!

      In line with what you’ve shared, overall, I feel like – very generally speaking – the kpop idols have a better success rate than the 偶像派 actors that I’ve seen in action.

      Reply
      1. Natalia

        Ok, question: what is a Chinese idol if not pop idol then?
        I do not watch chinese dramas because they are so, so long (imagine that I tend to avoid 20 episode kdramas too), so I know nothing about them.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Hrm.. I find this rather hard to explain. In Chinese dramas, a fluffy, light rom-com type drama, peopled with beautiful people who may not necessarily act very well, is typically called an Idol Drama (偶像剧) and so the beautiful people who get regularly cast in these Idol Dramas are therefore referred to as “idols” but most have nothing to do with C-pop.

          The opposite of an Idol Drama would be a meatier, typically more serious drama that casts actors who are known for their craft.

          From what I’m told, the two categories of actors are commonly referred to as “偶像派” and “实力派” (what I translate as idol faction vs. skilled faction).

          This is far from comprehensive (and I am far from well-versed in the C-drama industry) but I hope this helps! 😅

          Reply
          1. Natalia

            Of course it does, thanks for the instant reply!
            So c-idol shows are basically shows with beautiful people that are chosen for their good looks.
            To be honest, it sounds pretty honest to me (instead of trying to persuade the public that X is not only eye candy but also a worthy actor – this approach could “save” a few Kdramas as well…).

            Reply
            1. CarpControl

              This is a double edged sword @Natalia, because of this bifurcation, it means C-idol actors who generate more traffic & buzz, often are not quite deserving of the hype. (please folks, don’t kill me) 😛 On the other hand, really popular k-drama actors are ALWAYS good at their craft (some exceptions do exist though, and I don’t want to mention a certain-someone here!). I was pleasantly surprised coming from C-drama land with the thought: oh, this k-actor is really popular (fan-clubs, legit stans, insta followers, etc)…so this means they must be good-looking trash. On the contrary, I found their acting job quite mind-blowing, EVEN when the script turned out to be faulty/ borderline awful.
              as a thumb-rule: for c-actors, ‘fame’ is inversely proportional to acting chops. for k-actors it is directly proportional. c-idols would NEVER take up a less than glamorous job/ role. I have seen k-actors with massive following take up juicy, meaty roles, where they don’t look quite as beautiful (to put it mildly) 😀

              Reply
              1. kfangurl Post author

                That’s a great observation, CarpControl! I got into kdramas first, and then started with NIF, which is firmly of the 实力派 persuasion, so my introduction to 偶像派 shows was accidental and quite perplexing. I kept wondering why I couldn’t pick better fluffy C-dramas, but as it turns out, the fluffy ones are mostly not great, and the acting tends to be not great either, as a very general rule.

                On the other hand, I feel like the general standard of acting that’s expected in kdramas is noticeably higher, so if an actor is good-looking but weak at the acting, people know it, and I feel like there’s a measure of diss that the actor has to endure in general, even if lots of people like them for their looks.

                Long story short, I agree with your assessment of how the popularity to talent ratio works in k-ent! 😄

                Reply
                1. beez

                  Speaking of excellent actors – while I’m watching My Mister, Kim Young-Min keeps throwing me for a loop because I kept going back and forth that “Isn’t he the same actor who played The Rat so sympathetically in CLOY but then again…?” So I just checked and it is him! He was so sympathetic in CLOY (despite his actions) but in My Mister his facial expressions, I dare say even his bone structure it seems, never softened and his face was the epitome of arrogant ambitious azzh*le the entire time. Even when he was beaten, he never lost that, whatever it is, that made his face so different in My Mister from what it is in CLOY.

                  Reply
                  1. kfangurl Post author

                    Kim Young Min is great! I was very startled to see him in CLOY, because by then I’d already seen him be snooty in My Mister. He’s so good at morphing into his characters! 🤩

                    Reply
                    1. BE

                      He was very good in The World of the Married as well, and going back to My Mister, having seen him in CLOY & TWOTM, I paid him greater attention, and I have to say I found his enactment more complexly delivered than I remember, and albeit he was such a complete jerk, I found his character at times more sympathetic than I had remembered it.

              2. Natalia

                Hey @Carpcontrol, I think I know who you’re referring to …😉 But he’s such a star that they write shows FOR him, so one can always choose whether to watch them or not, so that’s ok with me. Plus, my husband seems to like him, so maybe he clicks well with male audiences?
                (At this point I wish we are talking about the same guy…!)
                I wrote the comment above having in mind the show I am currently watching, namely Save Me. At the beginning I had trouble watching it because it’s pretty dark, no I’m having trouble watching it because of the insipid side stories and the male lead, who apparently is an idol (Taecyon?) and, to me at least, is the less talented male lead I have encountered so far. It may be the script too, but I kind of feel that if the second lead was in his place the whole experience would be much better. Again, no offence to his fans!

                Reply
                1. CarpControl

                  hahaha, @Natalia…i am guilty as charged! 😛 i wish i had the subtlety and nuance, but i guess not! 😀 my patience runs quite thin with bad acting (more than bad plots)…and believe me when i say this, i ended up quitting k-dramaland for a decade because of a certain 2009 k-drama of this actor [while i actually started watching asian dramas after picking up the earlier released j-dorama version of the story]…i was scarred and traumatised 😛
                  on the other hand, i have a treasure-trove of highly appraised works accumulated over the years, and i avoid the lesser talented actors and their works, like the plague! -_- i also agree with kfanngurl, k-idols have somehow a higher chance of success rate than c-idols ever could… 🙂

                  Reply
                  1. Natalia

                    @CarpControl, that was almost like reading my own thoughts! ❤ I also run away from Kdramaland 10 years ago because of that same show (which was the first Kdrama I kind of watched) and I wouldn’t come back even though my husband is Japanese and has watched his fair share of Kdramas growing up with two sisters, so occasionally he would propose a show and I would go like “are you nuts?”. I only gave Kdramas a second chance because we were in lockdown, there was this show about North Korea and my husband assured me that “I’m telling you, the actors in this one are pretty good”.
                    So you could say, I was also scarred and traumatized, but to be fair, that was because of the show as well. I don’t think there was one person who acted well in this one, so I wonder if there were all idols after all? 😄

                    Reply
                    1. CarpControl

                      Well,Ii believe only the SML was a k-pop idol. the others, especially the ML achieved ‘idol-like’ fandom after this particular role, so you’re right about that one!

                      This is creepy, but I TOO decided to give a second chance to k-dramaland during the lockdown, with a netflix offering on something about North Korea. I took similar levels of convincing, as well! And I will take go take a shot if your comeback-drama was CLOY too. ___

      2. CarpControl

        yes kfangurl, it took me quite a while to wrap my head around the concept of “偶像派” and “实力派”. often blaming the stuff i watched, and thinking the entire dramaland is overhyped & garbage! -_- because such a dichotomy exist, there are a few ‘idol dramas’ that surprisingly are written well (also sleeper hits); that would be given a miss by serious watchers [because the acting would be assumed to be really bad]. a good example of this is tiger & rose imo. 🙂
        Hence, research in the form of serious reviews from bloggers such as yourself, has saved plenty of hours for poor souls like me. THANK YOU! ^^ saranghaeyo for all your efforts! 🙂

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Aw, thanks for the love, CarpControl!!! 🥰🥰🥰 So glad you find the reviews helpful!! I agree that Tiger & Rose is better and more enjoyable than the typical 偶像剧. It’s been really helpful to see C-ent through your more experienced eyes as well, because it’s somehow reassuring to know that most of the 偶像剧 are just bad, so at least I know that I don’t simply suck at picking ’em! 😆

          Reply
          1. CarpControl

            wow, thank you so much, means a lot. left me with a UwU face right now!…the pain of picking wrong dramas is real, and i find it so funny even seasoned players like yourself might have an occasional miss. And i have a terrible aftertaste from misses that come from the ‘idol’ category, somehow! I feel cheated 😀

            Reply
            1. kfangurl Post author

              Ahaha, yes the pain of making a bad drama pick is real, and while I’ve had a fair amount of practice picking kdramas, I still feel like a relatively newbie to C-dramas, since I’ve only been watching them for the last 5 years (or less?), and I don’t watch as many C-dramas as I do kdramas. So I’m often left feeling confused and bemused when I follow buzz for a show, only to hate it, like Well Intended Love and Where The Lost Ones Go. SO MUCH positive buzz on both shows, and so I persevered to the end with both, trying to understand why people loved them, but.. nothing. I hated them both. 😛😝 So you could say I’m still trying to get a feel for C-dramas, and so seeing C-ent through more experienced eyes like yours, really help me gain some insight and perspective. Thank you! ❤️😘

              PS: If you have insight into why people love the shows that I hate, I’d love to learn more! 😅 It’s been a continual source of mystery to me. 😜

              Reply
              1. CarpControl

                I am a newbie myself as well, and hence I am in the same boat as you, being utterly disappointed with hyped shows from c-dramaland. I am as clueless as you on disliking some of the much-loved shows. T_T

                Most of my c-recommendations come from a reviewer called ‘AvenueX’, who I believe shares similar tastes as you (her channel started with NIF &TMOPB, both highly rated by you too). I also see similar opinions on shows between you two (longest day in changan, minglan, tiger & rose, find yourself, etc.) She also appreciates actors like Bai Yu (suddenly this summer)

                I think a good place to return to C-dramaland now would be the light-on series (bad kids & the long night) Both are crime-thrillers. Then again, because of Halloween/Autumn, I have just been watching this genre ^^

                Reply
                1. kfangurl Post author

                  You might be a newbie (in your eyes), but it sounds to me like you’ve sampled way more C-dramas than I have, so I feel like you have more experience with them! 😉 I tend to sample relatively few C-dramas because I have so many kdramas that I’m trying to keep up with at the same time. So I guess you could call me a longstanding newbie..? 😅

                  Yes, I do know of AvenueX! My mom found her YT channel and recommended that I check her out. I think she’s great. I do think that my taste is kinda similar to hers, but I’ve also learned that I don’t always feel the same way she does. For example, I gave Love and Destiny a second chance because AvenueX said that it was one of her favorites shows for the year. But it just didn’t work for me, and after many episodes of trying to like it, I ended up dropping it. 😛 And then lots of the show’s fans said I was missing out, so I skip-watched my way to the end. I still didn’t love it. 😜 So now I take AvenueX’s recommendations with a pinch of salt, because now I know I don’t always end up loving what she loves. 😅

                  Thanks for the C-drama recs – I will add them to my list!

                  Reply
                  1. CarpControl

                    Oh yes, I left out mentioning Love & Redemption on purpose because, I knew your opinions clashed on those!… And hence, I find it is always better to refer to reviews from multiple sources! 🙂 Regd, L&D my opinion tends to swing your way, as I just manage to egg myself to continue watching! 😛 😀
                    As a serious reviewer, with so much to watch and so little time, may you always hit upon jackpot dramas, and be spared from the un-watchable ones!…😂
                    Cheers!~

                    Reply
                    1. kfangurl Post author

                      Ahaha! Hi5 that we feel similarly about L&D!! Sounds like we agree on quite a few dramas, CarpControl! Which means I ought to pay close attention when you suggest I check out a show! 😉 Thanks for your well wishes on jackpot dramas, YES PLEASE, I’LL TAKE IT! 😆😆 May we all have loads of jackpot dramas to enjoy! 😄❤️

      3. beez

        @carpcontrol & kfangurl – I’d actually be more tolerant of Kdrama idols being given their own little crappy shows to learn and grow from. Kind of like a “farm team” in baseball where you’re groomed and don’t move up until you’ve proven yourself good enough. I don’t like “raw” idols messing up a show in a lead role alongside a stellar actor in a story that I would otherwise be excited about (ex. L in that Angel drama with Shin Hye sun)

        That being said a good example of this would be Vampire Idol. A campy little show with zero special effects but introduced Kim Woo bin, Hong Jong hyun, and Lee Soo hyuk. And with no expectations for the acting, it was just plain fun.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Ah, yes, I did like Vampire Idol! So campy and cute! Poor show got sliced in half and therefore ended very abruptly though. 😝 I guess audiences didn’t exactly like the idea of raw idols in a low rent show..?

          Reply
        2. CarpControl

          @beez
          ‘kind of like a ‘farm-team’ in baseball’…… kkkkkkk….DEAD xD xD xD

          On a serious-note, that’s a genius idea, and should be the norm, But we also know big labels behind idols and their influence, say & sway are never going to go away. (wow that rhymed!)
          So I keep my fingers crossed, keep my expectations low and pray they do not turn out to be too green. Sometimes, I end up pleasantly surprised! 🙂

          Reply
  22. Dee

    I mostly agree with you.
    Btw try to watch park jihoon acting. He was a child actor and then debuted with wanna one (sama group as ong seongwu) and he has done great as supporting roles in flower crew joseon marriage agency and now he’s the lead on webdrama love revolution. He always received praise for his acting. I hope you would check him out.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there Dee, thanks for the heads-up on Park Ji Hoon! Always good to know of good actors. I’m not super keen on the premise of either show, but I’ll keep him on my radar! 😊

      Reply
  23. Webby

    Kfangurl winning the internet : “his role was to serve up a nice quotient of shirtless charm – something that he is admittedly very good at.”
    :))))
    Agree particularly on Suzy. She’s a big reason I haven’t picked up StartUp despite my love for Kim Seonho.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Tee hee! Thank you dear Webby! ❤️ I’m so glad you enjoyed that little factoid; Jinwoon really is talented at displaying shirtless charm.. 😉😅

      I’ve been hearing neutral-tending-positive things about Suzy’s acting in Start-Up, so I’m planning to check it out despite my Suzy-induced reservations. Fingers crossed! 😄

      Reply
  24. snow

    Idols don’t make me particularly excited for a drama as mostly I’m left dissatisfied with their acting. I also realise with this post that there are so many idol actors that I’ve yet to see in anything 😀

    The ones I love: Seo In Guk, Sooyoung, Rain, Jung Ryeo Won (I didn’t know she was an idol!)

    The ones I really like: Yoon Eun Hye, Eric, UEE, Choi Siwon, Im Shi Wan, Yook Sung Jae, Lee Hong Ki, Yonghwa, Eunji, Bomi of Apink.

    Also, Yoon Kye Sang (of Kpop group g.o.d.)….I really like his acting.

    Like you, there are few that I have liked in different roles or found okay: Suzy, Hyeri, Yoona, Park Hyung Shik, Krystal, Hwang Jung Eum, Taecyeon, Hoya.

    Skipping writing about the ones I didn’t enjoy in terms of acting 😛

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there snow! Thanks for stopping by! ❤️

      Like you, I don’t particularly get excited about news that an idol is going to be in a show – unless I already have a strong positive opinion of their acting skills. That said, there are a good number of idols whom I’ve been pleasantly surprised by, to the extent that I didn’t realize they were idols, while I was watching them. That’s always a good sign! 😉

      Ah yes, I forgot about Yoon Kye Sang! I completely forgot that he had idol beginnings! See, I’m really not great with the kpop thing..! 😆😅

      Reply
  25. drawde2000

    Only three for me: Im Siwan, D.O., and Eunji. I tune in for dramas they pick. For others, I will only pay attention if there are amazing feedbacks, and excellent team behind them (e.g. IU in My Mister).

    I guess there was a time then where every idol stars in a drama. But now, if that’s only what the viewers notice in dramas, then he/she is not watching variety of dramas. So many dramas available with so many actors and actresses, from different backgrounds, not just idols.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      That’s true, there are lots of shows that don’t feature a headlining idol, so if folks have strong negative feelings about watching an idol in a drama, there are definitely other choices to pick from. That said, there have been a good number of times where I’ve checked out a show without realizing that it features an idol, and said idol does such a decent job that I only realize it belatedly. 😊

      Reply
  26. Ace

    Just read your article and I totally agree. I wish stans would use their mobilising powers for good instead of harassing individuals on the interwebs. Like sway an election or something 🤷🏾‍♀️.
    I have just been thinking about Suzy especially since I want to watch Start-up. As an actress I don’t think she is remarkable but I’ve found her just ok. However I’m not particularly excited to watch her and have debated whether or not I would give Start-up a chance. For me though the writing/story is king so luckily no one actor/actress can spoil a show for me.
    Outside of idols given roles for their marketability powers I am equally disappointed with writers and directors who cast the same leads religiously in every one of their projects. I get that a shows ratings is arguably the most important for creators but I think their casting choices are often lazy and stifle growth in the industry.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there Ace, thanks for enjoying this post! 😊 I’ve been hearing very positive things about Start-Up, and the comments on Suzy’s acting range from neutral-unobjectionable to pretty good. So it sounds like it’s pretty safe to check out Start-Up despite any reservations stemming from Suzy’s acting track record. 😊

      Also, yes, I do agree that casting could be more growth-orientated, with meatier roles offered to talented up-and-comers who might not yet have the fan base as a more well-known actor or idol.

      Reply
  27. Ally

    So I will plug my own idols here who probably could be in a lead role but haven’t yet. (Originally seen on Dramabeans): https://www.dramabeans.com/2018/11/scene-stealers-well-rounded-idols/
    I really enjoyed this article—which I’m sure took quite a bit of time! I agreed with your idols who can act. Henry was recently in an American movie as well and did well, I thought. And Key—well, you can read about him in my piece above. I also liked Lee Gikwang in Circle—and again in my piece above! And a surprise as well in that piece from a girl group. I hope you like it.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for sharing, Ally!! This was a great piece! Wow. I had no idea Kim Min Jae was a rapper! 😳 This is especially mindblowing considering that I’m now watching Do You Like Brahms, and he’s all shy reserved classical pianist there – which in my head is the opposite of a rapper! 🤯🤯

      Dang, I forgot about Ki Kwang in Circle!! I thought he was very good in that too – and I wouldn’t have placed him as an idol, if I hadn’t already been told that he was one!

      Also! WOW at the eclectic range of things you’ve done for work! You are one multi-talented force to be reckoned with! 🤩🤩

      Edit: I went to look up a clip of Kim Min Jae rapping, just to satisfy my curiosity, and he’s very good (to my amateur eyes). Putting this here so that other folks can take a look too:

      Reply
  28. Aqua

    I realize I said 2011 (he’s acted with Ji Changwook in Bachelor’s Vegetable Store), and forgot to separate that from Big in 2012 haha

    Reply
  29. Aqua

    Loved this post! I’ve got a lot of similar opinions on you on these idols.

    I’d also like to point out Shin Wonho from Cross Gene. Technically he debuted as an actor and model before he debuted as an idol, but I’ll include him anyway. He’s been acting since 2011 with Big—and while we didn’t get to see much of him in there, he had such an impact on screen in LotBS that the writer added more screentime for his character due to the commentary. I would look into his works, he’s been acting only more recently more often. Definitely one of the most charismatic and versatile idol actors I’ve seen. Will miss him now that he’s serving military, but anticipating bigger roles for him when he does come back.

    Reply
    1. Natalia

      Oh, you forgot the painful experience of watching V in Hwarang! And I love BTS (and V),mind you.
      Most of these actors I haven’t watched, and those I have watched I didn’t know they were idols. My favourite would be Park Hyung Sik not only because he’s talented, but also because he’s, well, pretty cute.
      Oh, you also forgot Kim Hyun Jung, although I personally think he’s rather lacking too.
      And I wonder if Kim Chang Wan can be considered an idol. If yes, then he’s my favourite!

      Reply
      1. kfangurl Post author

        Ahaha!! I did forget the painful experience of watching V in Hwarang! 😆😆 And yes, I forgot about Kim Hyun Joong, AND I forgot about Kim Chang Wan as well – though I wonder if Kim Chang Wan counts, since he wasn’t part of the idol machinery per se..? He is awesome though! 😄

        Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Ooh, I realize that I’ve seen Shin Wonho in 20th Century Boy and Girl – I didn’t realize he was an idol! 😅 And, I didn’t know he’d left for MS either. I’d love to see what he brings to the screen, post-military stint! 😄

      Reply

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