It’s been a couple of weeks since Strangers From Hell concluded, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been missing my weekly dose of Im Si-wan and Lee Dong-wook’s acting. So I’m doing what I usually do when I’m suffering from drama hang-over—rewatch old shows starring my faves. This time, I thought I’d help my fellow fans out by compiling a list of shows that will tide you over for now.
If you’re missing Im Si-wan’s gorgeous face, tune into:
Most of us became fans of Im Si-wan through this drama, and in all honesty, it was difficult not to. He gave such a stunningly restrained performance as the naive but hard-working Jang Geu-rae that it was impossible not to fall for him (and cry for him).
I’m not just recommending Misaeng because it was Im Si-wan, but as a blanket recommendation for one of the best K-dramas ever made. It’s not a story that many would find interesting upon reading—one young man learns to tackle the harsh realities of the corporate life despite having no skills or degrees. But believe me when I say that it is one of the most inspiring and hopeful shows you could ever watch. As you witness Jang Geu-rae rise up to life’s challenges, I can bet you will feel motivated to do the same.
If you’d like to check out more of Lee Dong-wook’s work, watch:
Throughout his career, Lee Dong-wook has been associated with the brand of slapstick, stereotypical rom-coms that “serious” drama-watchers scoff at. And Life was his attempt at something serious, which in my opinion, was an attempt that deserves praise.
Life is a medical drama also starring an assortment of some of the best Korean actors—Jo Seung-woo, Moon So-ri, Yoo Jae-myung, and Lee Kyu-hyung. I wasn’t expecting Lee Dong-wook’s performance to hold its own against this wall of talent but somehow, in his role as a young doctor who goes against the hospital’s management, he manages to stand out and shed all prejudices.
Lee Dong-wook was already a star in his home country, but his turn as the clumsy Grim Reaper with a tragic backstory in Goblin launched him into worldwide popularity. His chemistry with Yoo In-na in the show (which he recreated in this year’s Touch Your Heart) rivaled that of the leads of the series, Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun.
Not only was his bromance with Gong Yoo’s goblin character the talk of the town, but his performance was also praised for doing justice to a spectrum of emotions—from the cute, slightly ditzy Reaper to the soul-crushingly sad Wang Yeo, who leads himself to a tragic fate. I’d recommend watching the show not just for him, but also because it’s one of the biggest and highest-rated K-dramas ever.
If you’ve been charmed by Lee Jung-eun, try:
The Light In Your Eyes (2019)
Starring Han Ji-min, Kim Hye-ja, and Nam Joo-hyuk, The Light In Your Eyes is a melodrama that features incredible performances by everyone in the cast. Despite so many brilliant performances from this and dozens of other dramas, Lee Jung-eun managed to stand out and win Best Supporting Actress in the 55th Baeksang Awards.
And what a well-deserved win it was. She stars in the show as the mother of Hye-ja, a 25-year-old who one day wakes up to discover that she’s 80 years old. Her character is a simple middle-class Korean mom who toils hard for her family while also dealing with her daughter’s crisis but the amount of emotion and nuance she puts into her performance is something that I can’t put into words. So do yourself a favor and go watch the show.
Lee Jung-eun is currently playing another supporting role in When The Camellia Blooms, as Gong Hyo-jin’s character’s mother, and is one of the stars of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, the award-winning film which I’m dying to watch.
If you’d like to explore Lee Hyun-wook’s work, consider:
Only Love (2014)
Lee Hyun-wook is a rookie actor compared to the rest of the cast, so there isn’t much to recommend in his filmography. He made his acting debut in 2014 through the film The Target.
If you were charmed by his creepy energy in Strangers From Hell, however, consider watching Mrs. Cop 2 (2016) and Only Love. In the latter, Lee takes on the role of an intense young doctor who is in conflict with Seo Ha-joon’s character. While he doesn’t have a meaty role in the show, who knows, you might end up discovering a new favorite actor, which might lead you down another rabbit hole and drama recommendations such as this one. After all, such is the life of a K-drama fan.
Who were your favorite actors in Strangers From Hell? Which one of these dramas are you planning on watching? Let us know in the comments!
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