[PICK] Report Cards of Stars Who Returned to the Small Screen in the First Half of 2020

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun


Unlike the big screen where there are fewer opportunities to meet the star actors due to the spread of COVID-19, the small screen became hot with the help of star actors. However, not everyone receives satisfactory results. Although all broadcasting companies introduced several new works, only a few caught the attention of viewers. Among them, we will look at the actors who successfully returned to the small screen after a hiatus and those who received disappointing responses.


Park Seo Joon ” Itaewon Class

credit: JTBC

Park Seo Joon has have made several hits, including She Was Pretty (2015), Fight For My Way (2017), and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018), by present perfect chemistry with his fellow actors. His true value also sparkled in drama Itaewon Class, the work he returned to the small screen with after two years. Unlike his previous works, Itaewon Class showed a heavier atmosphere. But still, he managed to perfectly pull off an honest character who sticks to his belief. On top of that, with his appearance that seemed to have popped right out of the original webtoon, he started the “Park Sae Roy craze.” Park Seo Joon will now work with IU in director Lee Byung Hun’s new film Dream (literal translation).


Kim Hye Soo ” Hyena

credit: SBS

Kim Hye Soo’s return to the small screen four years after Signal was triumphant. Jung Geum Ja, who rushes to the goal without hesitation and pursues justice in her own way, was a character that we have never seen in TV dramas before. Her unique personality came to life after meeting Kim Hye Soo’s slick and cheerful performances. She also opened a new world of “adult romance” by exchanging intense emotions with Joo Ji Hoon. After Hyena, Kim Hye Soo will come back with the film The Day I Died (literal translation).


Kim Hee Ae ” The World of the Married

credit: JTBC

When it comes to Kim Hee Ae, even the obvious and stale affair dramas become elegant. Following My Man’s Woman (2007), A Wife’s Credentials (2012), and Secret Love Affair (2014), Kim Hee Ae returned with The World of the Married, which dealt with affairs. She captivated viewers by leading intense stories with detailed emotional performances going back and forth between the rage and coolness. It’s impossible to think how The World of the Married would have been presented a whirlpool of intense emotions if it wasn’t for Kim Hee Ae. The Baeksang Arts Awards, held on June 5, gave Kim Hee Ae the Best Actress Award for her three-dimensional portrayal of her role, Ji Sun Woo.


Choi Kang Hee ” Good Casting

credit: SBS

Choi Kang Hee challenged her first action scenes since her debut 25 years ago. In the comic spy action drama Good Casting, which she returned to the small screen with after two years, she played the role of Baek Chan Mi, a secret agent with a strong personality. She showcased a variety of action scenes, including a barehand actions in the rain, giving a sense of catharsis for viewers. And in the romance with Lee Sang Yeob, she added the fun by presenting her lovely charms, presenting a heart-fluttering moments. Although the viewership has fallen a single digit since the first broadcast, it has maintains its undisputed No. 1 position among all Monday-Tuesday dramas, thanks to her effort of trying something new without settling in the same place.


Lee Min Ho ” The King: Eternal Monarch

credit: SBS

Hallyu star Lee Min Ho chose writer Kim Eun Sook’s The King: Eternal Monarch as his first return in three years after his discharge from the military. But despite all the expectations he received in the production stage, it was a lonely exit. Aside from the anachronistic lines and improbable developments, there was also a slew of criticisms about his never-changing acting of Lee Min Ho, who played Yi Gon, the emperor of the Korean Empire. Similar acting from his precious works was obvious, and the chemistry with Kim Go Eun was not what was expected. Figuring how much the drama caught the attention even before the official broadcast with the reunion of Lee Min Ho and Kim Eun Sook, the result is bitter.


Jung Hae In – A Piece of Your Mind

credit: tvN

Jung Hae In, who performed strongly in emotional melodrama, made a comeback with A Piece of Your Mind a year after One Spring Night, but faced a humiliating exit after the drama was cut down by four episodes. Such a result was even more painful since he showed back-to-back hit with Something in the Rain (2018) and One Spring Night (2019). Even to Jung Hae In, the unfamiliar subject of AI, the hard-to-sympathize character relationship, and the tedious developments became hindrances. The drama failed to grab the attention and broke the lowest viewership with every episode, eventually coming to an end with 12 episodes instead of 16.

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