Kdrama Review: Time Travel Romance “Lovely Runner” Explores Fame’s Toll

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Have You Ever Wanted to Rewrite Your Story?

The ninth episode of the hit drama ‘Lovely Runner’ hit last night and I was compelled to write a review while waiting for the shoe to drop. If you’re into Time Travel and Romance Kdramas like Splash Splash Love (did I just age myself!) or the classic Scarlet Heart Ryeo, you’ll love this one. This Kdrama is an adaptation from the webtoon “Tomorrow’s Best/내일의 으뜸” and has been well-received so far, with fans happy with the live-action interpretation

Imagine being a die-hard K-pop fan, completely devoted to your favorite star. Then picture that star being ripped away from you in a sudden tragedy. That’s the gut-wrenching reality Im Sol (Kim Hye Yoon ) faces in the new K-drama “Lovely Runner.” Consumed by grief after the untimely death of K-pop idol Ryu Sun Jae (Byeon Woo Seok), Sol finds herself on an extraordinary journey. In a fantastical twist of fate, she’s transported back in time to Sun Jae’s high school days!

Kim Hye Yoon has played something abit akin to this -she was the lead in that other KDrama Extraordinary You. In fact, one of the criticisms of this drama is that Kim Hye Yoon’s acting style has become repetitive across different dramas. They find her portrayal in “Lovely Runner” similar to her previous roles, characterized by fast-talking, intense, and high-pitched dialogue, which some viewers are finding tiresome.

While that may be true (and I’m not really into her), it’s not bad and I found myself drawn to the story because, well I love Time Travel stories! This isn’t your typical time travel rom-com, though. Sol lands smack dab in the middle of Sun Jae’s teenage years, a time before fame and its pressures took hold. Faced with a bewildered Sun Jae with no clue about her true identity, Sol has a monumental task on her hands. Can she rewrite destiny, prevent his tragic future, and maybe even spark a love story that transcends time itself?

Anywhooo, “Lovely Runner” dives deep, exploring the dark side of fame, the facades celebrities wear, and the relentless public gaze. I hardly recognized Byeon Woo Seok from Strong Girl Nam Soon as the villain and now a Kpop star! The drama also questions fate’s grip, and if sheer determination can rewrite our destinies. Romance weaves through these themes, making the show all the more emotionally resonant. As a fellow K-drama enthusiast (who secretly harbors dreams of epic meet-cutes with my own bias!), here’s why “Lovely Runner” deserves a prime spot on your watchlist:

  • A Raw Look at K-Pop’s Dark Side: “Lovely Runner” shatters the illusion of K-pop’s glittery perfection. We see the relentless training regimens that push idols to their physical and emotional limits. We witness the suffocating expectations placed on young stars, the constant pressure to maintain a flawless image, and the toll it takes on their mental well-being. The show doesn’t shy away from portraying the darker side of the industry, making you appreciate the human cost of creating the catchy tunes and synchronized dance routines that bring us so much joy.
  • A Rollercoaster of Emotions: Forget popcorn, “Lovely Runner” requires a full box of tissues! This drama will take you on a wild ride, where heart-melting moments of blooming romance collide with unexpected plot twists that will leave you gasping. You’ll find yourself cheering Sol on as she tries to change fate, wanting to hug her through her moments of despair, and maybe even swooning a little at Sun Jae’s endearingly awkward attempts at navigating this crazy situation. But hey, that’s the magic of K-dramas, right? They keep you hooked with their captivating narratives and their ability to evoke a whole spectrum of emotions.
  • A Story of Hope and Growth: Even if K-pop isn’t your thing, “Lovely Runner” resonates on a deeper level. We’ve all harbored regrets, wished we could change something in our past. Sol’s journey is a journey of second chances and the strength we possess to shape our own destinies. Even if it takes a miraculous time travel experience to get there, her story reminds us that it’s never too late to rewrite our narrative. It’s a message of hope and growth that transcends cultures and languages.

A bit of a disclaimer though. There are concerns about how the drama handles its sensitive themes, particularly around suicide. Some feel strongly that the promotional materials and the overall tone of the drama might not treat the subject with the necessary seriousness and sensitivity. This has led to worries that the drama might trivialize or mishandle these serious issues. Myself, I feel like the refocus on a “killer on the loose” plot twist instead of focusing on helping the lead Sun Jae process his suicidal tendencies is a bit of a downer and feels like it has derailed from its original plot.

And before I forget, Song Geon Hee’s portrayal of Kim Tae Sung as the second lead is sooo cute! I’m having a “second lead syndrome,” haha! Other side characters -such as Sol’s friend and her brother round off the Kdrama as a funhouse with a bit of laugh on the side.

So, if are you looking for a heartwarming romance with a dash of fantasy or maybe a thought-provoking drama that tackles real issues, try this drama! Perhaps you just need an escape into a fantastical world filled with K-pop references and lovable characters. If any of these options sound appealing, then “Lovely Runner” has something for you. It’s coming up to Episode 10 tonight and a perfect time to catch up. Grab your favorite snacks, get comfy, and prepare to be swept away by this captivating series. It just might become your next K-drama obsession, and who knows, it might even inspire you to reflect on your own journey and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

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