How ‘Lovely Runner’ TV Adaptation Differs from the Original Web Novel

lovely runner webtoon ending
lovely runner webtoon ending
Credit: tvN, X “@endendqhq”

With tvN’s Lovely Runner maintaining a strong buzz, attention is also turning to its original web novel “The Best of Tomorrow” by Gim Ppang. Despite modest viewership ratings of 3.4% according to Nielsen Korea, the drama competes in buzz with highly-rated shows like tvN’s Queen of Tears, which boasts a robust 21.6% viewership. Blending genres like youth, time-slip, fantasy, and romantic comedy, Lovely Runner primarily resonates with a younger audience, whose preference for OTT platforms over traditional TV influences its viewership pattern. Nevertheless, it still manages to generate a buzz comparable to mainstream hits.

The adaptation has taken several creative liberties from the web novel. While the novel focuses on Lim Sol’s despair following the sudden death of her favorite character leading her to time-slip to change fate, the drama introduces several key changes and additional elements to enhance the storyline.

lovely runner webtoon ending
Credit: tvN

Notably, in the original web novel, the character Lim Sol (played by Kim Hye Yoon) does not suffer from paralysis. Consequently, there are no storylines involving a tragic accident or Ryu Sun Jae (Byeon Woo Seok) saving her from such an event. Furthermore, Ryu Sun Jae and Lim Sol are not neighbors in the novel, which means scenes where Ryu delivers packages to Lim Sol’s home, or falls for her at first sight, are unique to the drama adaptation. Following her adaptation of True Beauty, writer Lee Si Eun has once again added a first-love narrative to the main characters, enhancing the romantic allure of the show.

Moreover, the character Kim Tae Sung (Song Geon Hee) does not exist in the novel. The drama also shifts the medium of Lim Sol’s time-slip from a pocket watch in the novel to a wristwatch that belongs to Ryu Sun Jae.

lovely runner webtoon ending
Credit: tvN

In the drama, Ryu Sun Jae is portrayed not just as a swimmer and vocalist of the band Eclipse but as a successful actor, diverging from his character in the novel who joins a group called “Potato Pancake” and struggles with malicious comments. The cause of Sun Jae’s death in 2023 is also different; the novel depicts it as an accidental overdose, while the drama has yet to reveal the precise reasons.

Furthermore, the drama has altered the timeline; whereas the novel has Lim Sol time-slipping at 18, the drama changes her current age to 34, with both characters being 23 in the novel’s present timeline.

These adaptations, although occasionally disappointing for fans of the original, have been lauded in Lovely Runner for introducing a distinct charm that has positively influenced its critical reception. The changes have not only captivated viewers but also ignited discussions about the fidelity and transformation involved in adapting books to screen.

>> Byeon Woo Seok Captures Hearts Every Minute in ‘Lovely Runner’: The Rise of a Rom-Com Genius

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