Review

Multi-Generation Flowerboy Male Leads Dominate 1st Half Of 2018 K-Drama Sphere

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2018 Korean dramas have been sizzling with heart flutters and well-made stories from a mixture of fresh and old favorite drama male leads who have conquered the k-dramaland in the first half of 2018.

We are not talking about just one actor starring in the dramas. The production companies appear to be following the trend of joining two or more reliable and popular actors to spearhead and spice up the last six months of 2018 drama narratives.

2018 Korean Dramas

 

If we ponder on it closely, most of the stories produced for television from the tail-end of 2017 up to now were hero-centric. It’s interesting to note that we also have variety of characters which is the exact opposite of how we mostly met prosecutors and serial killers in the previous year.

Yoo Seung Ho, Kim Rae Won, Hwayugi deities, and the jailbird brothers of Prison Playbook spurred the masculine vibe this year.

Then it continuously flowed with engaging spring dramas which flaunted ReturnEulachacha Waikiki, The Grand Prince, Switch Change The World and Suits.

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“Switch Change The World” Nicks Calibrated Caper Story From Start To Finish

Jang Dong Gun, Lee Jun Ki and Jung Jae Young lead the roster of dramas airing this period with Lee Dong Wook, Ji Hyun Woo, Yang Se Jong and more joining the lineup from next month, which will begin the second fold of the year.

With the past 2018 Korean dramas that premiered, let’s run down the fascinating mid-year (January – June) race for the best K-dramas powered by notable male leads.

2018 Korean Dramas

The Powerful Duo Bundles

Jang Dong Gun & Park Hyung Sik – as Lawyers Yeon Woo & Kang Seok in Suits

Dialogue heavy drama on a courtroom premise looks drowse-inducing on paper, but the keen distinction of the male protagonists in Suits propelled its polished and intelligent mood. It is a feat hard to accomplish owing to the possibility that the more experienced actors would wallow the presence of the other. Jang and Park did an amazing job of showcasing their strengths and supporting each other on their weaknesses.

Grand Prince

Yoon Shi Yoon & Joo Sang Wook – as Lee Hwi & Lee Kang in The Grand Prince

The tightly limned and passionately depictions of Joseon princes, who are separated by principles, greed and love, spin the story of The Grand Prince. Being the sole historical drama which ran in the first half of the year, it enjoyed viewers’ love, notching TV Chosun’s all time highest rating drama. Hands down to the intense exchange of acting prowess by Yoon and Joo who helped a lot in strengthening the core of the story.

Jung Ji Hoon & Lee Dong Gun – as Dong Soo & Do Jin in Sketch

Sketch moves to a straight gritty crime premise, powered by seasoned male leads Jung Ji Hoon and Lee Dong Gun. So far, the intensity hypes up to a restless level without any intention of backing down. Both exuded manly auras, which is an acknowledged proof of why they maintain their bankable actor status.

Sketch

The Tried & Tested Oppa Characters

Yoo Seung Ho – as Kim Min Kyu in I’m Not A Robot

Yoo Seung Ho, as a love struck chaebol, is the best visualization of BTS’ “Boy in Love” hit single. From his bag of emotional drama scene expertise, Yoo Seung Ho charmed the viewers on those why-did-you-lie-to-me frames, as well as those omg-am-I-in-love-with-a robot soliloquies. Considered to be an effective drama actor, his switch to a light role raises another “oppa cult following”.

Jung Hae In – as Seo Jun Hee in Something in the Rain

The show’s forerunners might have Jung in their mind when they were conceiving the hero of Something in the Rain. The handsome actor surged to popularity with his breakout performance and first main lead opposite top actress Son Ye Jin. He managed to blend well to the romance trajectory of the story when spectators perceived the success to mostly rely on the heroine. But he proved them wrong by sweeping noonas’ hearts with his impeccable performance.

Jung Hae In

Jang Geun Suk – as Sa Do Chan & Baek Jun Soo in Switch Change The World

Carrying the weight of the story, Jang Geun Suk, who played dual roles as a prosecutor and con artist, handled his personas with poise and commitment. The focus he dedicated in switching his characters, who were even switching inside the story itself, deserves an applause. He relentlessly maintained the stimulating momentum with his flexible acting skills.

SWITCH CHANGE THE WORLD

Kim Myung Soo – as Im Ba Reun in Miss Hammurabi

Although Miss Hammurabi weaves the story of the optimistic justice seeking heroine, Kim Myung Soo makes the central figure more endearing because of the love plot that connects them. The courtroom drama captivates when the story narrates from his perspective, and well when he generously flashes those “dimple smiles”. His first attempt to create a love connection to his first love fails, owing to how the heroine is resigned that emotional involvement is the least activity she should engage in after her riches-to-rags story. Nevertheless, Infinite member L is doing a great job in inducing the romantic vibe of the well-conceived courtroom series.

Miss Hammurabi

Lee Jun Ki – as Bong Sang Pil in Lawless Lawyer

Revenge drama Lawless Lawyer takes a polished storytelling with thugs and crimes on the side. The defined sole conflict makes it an easy to follow chronicle. Lee Jun Ki, as expected, flaunts seamless emotions in his vengeance driven character who wants to fulfill his promise to his dead mother.

Lawless Lawyer

Seo Kang Joon – as Namshin & Namshin III in Are You Human?

Playing dual roles as a robot and human, Seo Kang Joon made sure to delineate the contrast on the dual roles he is portraying. His haughty human persona and his caring android character engage viewers to anticipate how they will maneuver in the storybuilding. The robot posing as a human plot will challenge the consistency of the 5urprise member’s acting chops.

The More The Merrier

Prison Playbook Jailbirds

Though the story is centered around the main hero’s adjustment to living in the penitentiary, the supporting male cast portraying as his cell inmates efficiently suited up well to their roles, to give each character its distinct respective color and function in the group. The everyday interaction among prisoners induces laughter spree, as the story flows by introducing the back stories of how the inmates ended up in the jail. Prison Playbook‘s dynamic and balanced inmate ecosystem inside Je Hyuk’s assigned cell is one of the strongest points of the drama.

Prison Playbook

The Elite Villains of Return

Return is the highest rated weekday drama to date with an average nationwide rating of 13.7%. The impressive hook can be attributed to the amazing male cast who powered the thrill and excitement of the legal-crime drama chronicle.

The Guesthouse Brotherhood of Eulachacha Waikiki

While the three were terrific together, each has his own distinctive charm which contributed to the overall success of the production. The sub-unit anecdotes when two from the trio paired up on maverick scenarios called by the story, generated some of the most hilarious moments in the narrative. On solo moments, the lead male cast was just golden.

Eulachacha Waikiki

The Bizarre Hero Bunch

Park Seo Joon – as Lee Young Joon in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

Drama fans were warned when Park Seo Joon was up to play a chaebol, self-centered character. A role that we are quite used to, but we were not prepared with the attention to details of his character. From his trademark suit pose and episodes of marveling how handsome he is, he made all the conceited k-drama heroes in the past nice and just aloof. *chuckles His journey to make his secretary stay by his side takes the driving point of the narrative.

park seo joon

Jung Jae Young – as Baek Bum in Investigation Couple

Wounded and detached, Jung Jae Young is that one actor who would earn your respect due to his versatility and ability to own his character down to the smallest detail. His role as an apathetic and genius forensic specialist drew the addictive hook of Investigation Couple.

Investigation Couple


We expect a lot given the talent and star power of the lineup this year. The well-conceived dramas up to the mid point of 2018 enabled the ratings to spread evenly because of how the varying stories have helped the audience to choose which storyline they would intently follow.

Compared to the usual lopsided rating’s battle in the past few years, 2018 Korean dramas have so far boasted generally superb stories which pervaded a strong impact on the followers.

Which 2018 Korean dramas have you enjoyed so far?

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