Great Cast, Poor Script: 8 K-Dramas That Just Didn’t Cut It
As an avid K-drama watcher, there has been a fair amount of K-dramas that I was excited to watch prior to the release because of the amazing cast. Most of the time, a stellar cast is more than enough reason for me to watch a series. But then there comes that moment – and it can be one episode in or several episodes in – when you realize that the script is just awful. It ends up becoming just another title on your list of K-dramas that you didn’t finish. Sad, right?
Here’s a look at eight dramas that had a great cast, but just didn’t live up to the hype because of their poor scripts.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
1. High Society
“High Society” is a K-drama that aired in 2015 on SBS. With a cast that includes Sung Joon, Uee, Park Hyung Sik, and Lim Ji Yeon, the anticipation was pretty high for it to be a solid K-drama that catered towards a younger audience. Sung Hoon and Uee were enough for people to get excited about it.
The story involves a rich girl named Jang Yoon Ha (Uee) who tries to hide her wealth in order to find true love. She meets Choi Joon Gi (Sung Joon), who wants only to be with a woman of wealth because he’s struggled so much to get to the position he is in. After much deception and lies, the two end up dating, to break up again, to get back together again.
It was hard to really understand what the story was about through the trailer, but it didn’t really matter, because when you have a cast with these familiar faces, you’re pretty much willing to accept any script. Except I couldn’t accept it. It was really difficult to get through the series mainly because Choi Joon Gi was awful. He is not like the likable male leads that we’re used to in K-dramas and he had zero personality.
The only redeeming part about the series was the secondary couple, Yoo Chang Soo (Park Hyung Sik) and Lee Ji Yi (Lim Ji Yeon).
These two were absolutely adorable and if the story had revolved around them and their characters, the series might have been a hit. Too bad.
“Tempted” stars Woo Do Hwan, Joy, Moon Ga Young, and Kim Min Jae in a drama that is based on the American movie, “Cruel Intentions.” When Kwon Shi Hyun (Woo Do Hwan) and Eun Tae Hee (Joy) meet, it isn’t by chance. Shi Hyun tries to get Tae Hee to fall in love with him, only to break her heart. He does it because he’s in love with Choi Soo Ji (Moon Ga Young), his best friend. After deceiving and breaking Tae Hee’s heart, he realizes how much he cares for her and tries to win her back.
This drama has love triangles and love squares, betrayal, and affairs. What might sound like an enticing and intense melodrama, but the drama fell short of even being half decent. The script failed to develop the characters in a way that made us sympathize with them. There are no characters to root for and you end up not caring about what happens to any of them. Especially when it came to the main male, Shi Hyun, I was especially confused as to why he kept breaking Tae Hee’s heart when he “loved” her. It was infuriating and it made me also dislike Tae Hee’s character for being so naive and getting back with him every time.
Don’t fall for it…
Now here’s a series that really had expectations set high with the news of the cast: Seo Kang Joon, Lee Kwang Soo, Lee Dong Hwi, Park Jung Min, Jo Jin Woong, Ahn So Hee, Amber, and a whole lot of highly-anticipated cameos. “Entourage” was supposed to be the Korean spin-off version of the hit American series of the same name. And although the cast is solid, the script failed to deliver. They tried to keep it relevant to the Korean culture but also tried to incorporate the carefree and scandalous Hollywood life – two worlds that are hard to combine.
I was really disappointed, mainly because I thought the casting of Young Bin as Vincent Chase was perfect. And when you have Lee Dong Hwi, Lee Kwang Soo, and Park Jung Min as his best friends, you were pretty much guaranteed a hit! The relationships and love life of the main leads were nothing too special and I couldn’t help but crave for some more of the romance throughout the series. Unfortunately, the chemistry between Seo Kang Joon and Ahn So Hee was non-existent. It was hard to believe the two were in love for most of the series.
4. Wok of Love
“Wok of Love” stars Jang Hyuk, Junho, and Jung Ryeo Won. The theme of the script revolves around cooking and delicious food, but when the script unfolds, you also see the romance between Seo Poong (Junho) and Sae Woo (Jung Ryeo Won).
The cast is obviously pretty stellar. With Jang Hyuk, you really can’t go wrong, and at the beginning of the series, it seemed pretty promising. The characters were likable and relatable. However, as the story progressed, it became flat and anti-climactic. There was no direction in the script towards the middle of it and it was easy to get bored of the characters and their problems. Maybe if they had cut it shorter, it would have been more bearable.
“My Lovely Girl” was Rain‘s big comeback into the K-drama world after he completed his military service. Although never a huge fan of Rain, I did (and still do) have an immense amount of respect for him and the success he garnered all on his own. Also, with f(x)’s Krystal as his female counterpart in the drama and INFINITE’s L as the second male lead, people were pretty excited, to say the least.
The first part of the series was okay. But it was when they introduced the idea of Rain’s character, Lee Hyun Wook, falling in love with his dead girlfriend’s little sister, Yoon Se Na (Krystal) that it really took a turn for the worst. It almost seemed like he wanted Se Na because she reminded him so much of his past girlfriend. The love didn’t seem genuine, and I spent most of the series just hoping Shi Woo (L) would end up with her.
On top of the weird love between the two main leads, most of the script was pretty boring and anti-climactic. It was a series that was not really engaging, and the only intriguing part was in the character, Shi Woo. Other than that, the story was boring and it was difficult to get through.
I really wanted to like this one. Yoon Eun Hye is known to be pretty picky with her script selection, so when she agreed to do this one, it was pretty exciting. And when the other main cast members include Lee Dong Gun and Jung Yong Hwa, you have pretty high expectations.
Yoon Eun Hye played Na Mi Rae, a writer who works at a broadcasting station. She meets Kim Shin (Lee Dong Gun) whom she has a love line with despite Shin’s prickly personality. Beside her is the charming and adorable second male lead Park Se Joo (Jung Yong Hwa).
Se Joo falls head over heels for Mi Rae and brings out the big guns with confessing his feelings and wanting to be with her. With her love life being at a crossroads, she also comes across the future version of herself, who gives her advice about the two men.
Unfortunately, this drama was slow. But despite it being slow, the events and adorable advances from the adorable Park Se Joo almost made it worthwhile to watch. When the story started to seem kind of weird or boring, Se Joo would do something really sweet and it would be okay. Until it got towards the end of the series; the story not only took us for a loop, but it had no closure.
It pains me to have to put this one on the list. When “Degree of Love” first announced its cast, I was oh so excited. Yang Se Jong was riding on a wave of being a sought-after rookie actor and had landed a lead role alongside Seo Hyun Jin – a definite win. And with the handsome Kim Jae Wook as the second lead, there was a fair amount of buzz.
Yang Se Jong plays On Jung Sun, the innocent and naive aspiring chef who falls quickly in love with a drama writer named Lee Hyun Soo (Seo Hyun Jin). The two share in their paths to achieving their dreams and fall deeper in love with each other. When Jung Sun gets an opportunity to move to France to take up an opportunity to further his cooking skills, he takes it, while having to sacrifice his relationship with Hyun Soo. Fast forward a few years later, he returns and the two meet again.
The first few episodes of the series were exhilarating. The combination of the fast-paced romance and Kim Jae Wook as the second lead was utter perfection. There were lots of K-drama tropes and cliches, but because the acting and cast were so superb, it was enough to garner a lot of excitement.
However, it didn’t take long before the script started to falter. When the main couple started to exhibit problems in their relationship, Yang Se Jong’s character started to become really petty. The rest of the series became a cat and mouse game of whether or not the two wanted to be together or not. At this point, I preferred Lee Hyun Soo with Kim Jae Wook’s character, Park Jung Woo.
8. Bel Ami
Jang Geun Suk, IU, Lee Jang Woo, and Han Chae Young star in “Bel Ami,” a series about a pretty boy who uses his looks to make money. In a weird mission from his dead mother to try and meet his father (whom he has never met), Dokko Ma Te (Jang Geun Suk) has to meet several women and get hints from each of them. On his path to figuring out who his father is, he meets Kim Bo Tong (IU), a girl who has been infatuated with Ma Te for the longest time. Still infatuated, she decides to help Ma Te on his hunt to meet his father.
Something about this script made the drama so unappealing because aside from the first couple episodes, the drama lacked in excitement. It was really hard to believe that Ma Te would fall in love with Bo Tong, and I also didn’t like the character of Bo Tong. She was so willing to help Ma Te even though he was so selfish and so mean to her. David Choi (Lee Jang Woo) was probably the only saving grace in the series, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save the script.
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas did you think lacked in script quality? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Her Private Life” and “My First, First Love”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen