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Lovely Runner early reviews: What’s the verdict on Byeon Woo Seok, Kim Hye Yoon’s K-drama premiere? | Web Series

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Lovely Runner Episode 1 opened the well-anticipated spell of the swoon-worthy time slip romance K-drama series on April 8. Reserved for the Monday-Tuesday 8:50 pm KST timeslot, the tvN series stars Byeon Woo Seok (Record of Youth, 20th Century Girl, Strong Girl Nam Soon) and Kim Hye Yoon (Extraordinary You, Sky Castle). It’s based on the web novel Tomorrow’s Best and spins a web of fate, entangling the lives of top idol Ryu Seon Jae and his ardent fan Im Sol.

Kim Hye Yoon and Byeon Woo Seok in tvN's Lovely Runner Kdrama.
Kim Hye Yoon and Byeon Woo Seok in tvN’s Lovely Runner Kdrama.

About Lovely Runner K-drama

Under the spell of the glitzy mirage, Ryu Seon Jae (Byeon Woo Seok) may have made a spectacular debut and held on to his image of perfection, but behind the curtain, he battles the exhausting trials of stardom. From a distance, his ardent admirer, Im Sol (Kim Hye Yoon), affectionately gains joy from his existence. She was once an aspiring director, but a childhood accident shifted her perspective. Despite her broken dreams, she ultimately found comfort in Ryu Seon Jae’s music, and she couldn’t stop herself from becoming his loyal supporter.

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It all comes crashing down when Im Sol chances upon the devastating news of her favourite artist’s tragic demise. Struggling to face this unfair reality, she finds herself pulled back 15 years into the past. Grabbing it as her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she clings on to the heavenly miracle to completely transform the original dreadful trajectory of fate and prevent the foreboding mishap from ever taking shape.

The fantasy romance series is co-directed by Yoon Jong Ho and Kim Tae Yeop, with Lee Shi Eun penning the drama’s screenplay. The former director is renowned for co-directing the iconic Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun and Lee Dong Wook drama, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. On the other hand, Lee Shi Eun previously contributed to the much-loved romance series True Beauty.

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Lovely Runner also roped in Song Geon Hee and Lee Seung Hyub as the other main cast members alongside Byeon and Kim.

Lovely Runner Review: Did viewers find the wait worth it for Byeon Woo Seok and Kim Hye Yoon’s drama?

Digging into the first episode of the series itself, Kim Hye Yoon instantly reminded her fans why she’s forever the title bearer of the chaotic “rom-com queen.” As Lovely Runner quickly picked up the emotional pains her character bore, viewers equally found comfort in certain heartwarming quotes, like “You should live your life today bcs it’s great day. it’ll rain tomorrow. as you wait until the rain stops live another day. if you keep this up there might come a day when life doesn’t seem so miserable.”

Without missing a beat, netizens immediately drew parallels between Ryu Seon Jae and other real-life K-pop idols. Another comment meticulously translated these feelings into words: “This scene truly encapsulates how an idols saves ppl. I started crying bc this reminds me of how Bangtan saved me and taught me to love myself. Those words he said to her gave her a new life and the resilience to get through the lows of her life.”

The time slip moments transporting the leading pair back to the past in a high school setting were a touching nostalgic reminder of Kim Hye Yoon’s first leading role in Extraordinary You.

Shifting the focus to Byeon Woo Seok, even before the drama’s premiere, fans have been ardently wishing for his character to find his happy ending in the finale. His leading roles in 20th Century Girl and Strong Girl Nam Soon have tragically fallen to an unfortunate demise. Viewers are desperately hanging on to their dear faith, hoping that Kim Hye Yoon’s character will save him in the end.

Despite his credits as an actor, he has taken charge of an idol’s role in this new series. And fans can’t stop raving about his stage presence. Specific scenes wherein his psychological baggage takes a toll on him behind the curtain despite fuelling his fans with courage otherwise hit home. “The real scene of idols… The reality they showed. They give all the strength despite even being sick and etc,” wrote an X (formerly Twitter) user.

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Debuting on April 8, which is also the total solar eclipse day in North America, the series coincidentally featured moments of people watching an eclipse.

Other praising comments on the microblogging platform included:

  • “Kim Hye Yoon’s character is so good and she’s nailing it.”
  • “So, the first ep was very interesting for the audience to be excited to continue watching. I liked the characters and the plot.”
  • “You guys are my everything now, hyeyoon ang wooseok served us a good first episode✨ the scenes are emotionally relatable.”
  • “First episode was amazing nd it already made me emotional this drama will definitely be comforting yet emotional, I already loved it so much my 2k24 obsession”
  • “Wait why are actors singing better then idols. The fact that his stage presence is soo freaking great too wow Wooseok out doing himself.”
  • “The pacing, plot, emotion delivery, parallels… this was a perfect (devastating) start to the drama! it also covers heavy topics amidst all the fun but i love how everything just balances so well.”
  • “Hyeyoon said before she’s really worked hard on her acting involving wheelchair,, and yes we really can see a new and diverse side of #KimHyeYoon ✨”

Lovely Runner is streaming on Viki. 

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