True Talent: 10 Unforgettable Park Shin Hye K-Dramas To Binge-Watch
Park Shin Hye is one of those unbeatable K-drama actresses who has it all: beauty, amazing acting skills, pure heart, and an innate allure that makes her captivating on and off-screen. She has proven time and time again that she can take on any role, whether it’s a kindhearted protagonist or a mean-spirited villain — and she has this ability to exude natural chemistry with whoever she’s paired with. She also has a great sense of choosing projects with a compelling story and character development. This is why she’s the perfect go-to lead actress who has a long list of K-dramas that are guaranteed good ones to binge-watch. Here are some of them:
This is a bit old school, but Korean viewers first fell in love with Park Shin Hye when she played Jung Suh, the young counterpart of Choi Ji Woo in this classic story of love against all odds. As a quiet, resilient teen who endured sufferings from her evil stepmother and jealous stepsister, Park Shin Hye carried the weight of the role with such skill that belied her young age. She was able to make audiences cry and sympathize with her while showing the strength of her character. You will also find yourself rooting for the adult characters who get separated for many years, with Jung Suh living a new identity and having a faint memory of her past love.
Catch the first episode of “Stairway to Heaven”:
“Tree of Heaven”
Another drama that includes “heaven” in the title, this Japanese-Korean production is just as dramatic as the last. This is the second time that Park Shin Hye and Lee Wan worked together after showing immense potential in “Stairway to Heaven.” They also portray step-siblings in this drama, whose troubled family and situations bring them closer to each other. The drama shows the scenic locations of both countries. Will they end up together after all or forge different paths? This may be a classic K-drama trope that’s been done before, but it’s still hard to resist!
This drama didn’t fare as well as the original “Goong,” but it still deserves a rewatch. Park Shin Hye shows a different side through her character Shin Sae Ryung, an ambitious young lady who comes from a good family and will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. Her character is graceful, smart, almost-perfect, but can sometimes be competitive and fierce. It’s definitely a refreshing experience to see Park Shin Hye taking on a role that’s quite opposite from her good-natured characters.
Catch the first episode of “Prince Hours”:
Another drama that made Park Shin Hye step out of her comfort zone is “You’re Beautiful,” where she played Go Mi Nyeo, who dresses up as her twin brother Go Mi Nam and joins a famous band to help him get out of a difficult situation. She realizes that she yearns for a different life as she meets the handsome lead singer Hwang Tae Kyung (played by Jang Geun Suk), who discovers her secret and tries to protect her from the start. This drama is funny, cute, and romantic considering the antics of both lead characters who try to navigate this odd story. You’ll also fall in love with the equally cute and dashing bandmates Jeremy (Lee Hong Ki) and Kang Shin Woo (Jung Yong Hwa).
Catch the first episode of “You’re Beautiful”:
Just like the case of “Stairway to Heaven” and “Tree of Heaven,” Park Shin Hye left audiences wanting to see more of her with an actor she previously worked with. Her chemistry with Jung Young Hwa was so strong that they met again in “Heartstrings,” a story about young love in a university setting where a guy who’s into rock n’ roll meets his nemesis (and eventual love interest) in a traditional Korean folk music student. This drama is light, super adorable, and will satisfy your yearnings for Shin Hye and Young Hwa’s romance ship which began in “You’re Beautiful.” With some of the cast members belonging to CNBLUE, it’s no doubt that the soundtrack is a killer!
Catch the first episode of “Heartstrings”
This is another cute drama with quite an experimental concept: a reclusive woman named Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye) is a freelance editor who refuses to go out of her home because of a trauma. She then meets Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon), a persistent (sometimes crazy) next-door neighbor who opens up her world. When she is caught by Enrique spying on her crush from the confines of her home, they become unlikely friends, with other men helping her along the way. There’s a lot of laughs, and of course, eye-candy in this drama with a handsome cast and off-beat characters. This drama is a webtoon that came to life, which explains the kooky characters and the over-the-top humor. It is a must-watch for every Park Shin Hye fan!
Catch the first episode of “Flower Boy Next Door”:
Who could forget this campy yet highly addicting drama about a bunch of rich kids whose beliefs were shaken by a girl from a lower status? Park Shin Hye does what she does best here: playing a character with a heart of gold. In the drama, she challenges a group of oftentimes spoiled brats from an elite high school played by a star-studded cast that includes Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin, Krystal, Kang Ha Neul, Kim Ji Won, Park Hyung Sik, Kang Min Hyuk, and many more! She gets entangled in a love triangle that’s made for K-drama books! Are you team Kim Tan (Lee Min Ho) or team Choi Young Do (Kim Woo Bin)?
Catch the first episode of “Heirs”:
This is a more intense drama that focuses on Park Shin Hye’s role as a reporter who can’t lie (due to the “Pinocchio syndrome”) and her childhood friend, played by Lee Jong Suk, who’s a genius. Their chemistry is so undeniable that dating rumors sparked during the broadcast and even after the drama ended. This drama combines politics, social commentary, thriller, and romance, all in one story that aims to search for the most important thing: the truth.
Catch the first episode of “Pinnochio”:
Park Shin Hye has grown into an actress who does well in playing empowered roles. In “Doctors,” she plays an intelligent, fearless doctor who’s not afraid to defend what’s right and protect her patients. She used to be a tough student who doesn’t trust anyone and often shut herself from forming real relationships with others. But she meets a compassionate doctor who transforms her life and perspective. Again, her chemistry with veteran actor Kim Rae Won here is sizzling, and together they made audiences swoon with their love story. Other cast members that are equally as amazing here are Yoon Kyun Sang and Lee Sung Kyung!
Catch the first episode of “Doctors”:
“Memories of Alhambra”
If you’re looking for a story of adventure, fantasy, love, and action, then this drama is for you! Power leads Park Shin Hye and Hyun Bin took viewers on a wild ride in this drama that combines augmented reality games and magic. If you love Hyun Bin as Captain Ri, you will also fall for him as a sword-wielding executive, with EXO’s Chanyeol providing that extra eye-candy. Park Shin Hye also shines as the beautiful owner of a hostel in Spain, who makes Hyun Bin’s indifferent executive character’s heart flutter. It’s an exciting drama that you’ll find yourself watching one episode after the next!
BONUS: Park Shin Hye’s surprise cameos for other dramas!
Park Shin-Hye made a cameo appearance at the same time as Lee Jong Suk in the four-episode weekend mini-drama, “Gogh, the Starry Night,” a Korea-China collaboration. She also made a surprise appearance on “Entertainer.”
Hey Soompiers! Which Park Shin Hye K-drama is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
DianneP_Kim is an English magazine and online editor based in South Korea. She is the author of a K-pop style book published by Skyhorse Publications, New York and has recently released her second book about BTS. Check it out on Amazon and follow her Instagram at @dianne_panda.