JTBC’s “Run On” has finished its run recently, and I am here to talk about the romance drama.
“Run On” ended on a quiet note with its ratings hovering around 2-3% throughout its run, but is it worth watching or not? Today, I’ll be discussing just that in a spoiler-free review.
From a plot stand-point of view, “Run On” is as basic as they come. On first look, there is nothing particularly special about the plot or the main points that are clearly stated anywhere you attempt to search for it on the web. However, what it lacks in that department, it makes up for in the way it handles it.
“Run On” could’ve easily been a forgettable drama had it not been the dialogue the characters utter.
In kdramaland, there is more focus on giving information as quick as possible and showing by action when it’s needed. Little do many kdramas take time to properly explore what makes a good dialogue or how to craft it. If you’re watching an action drama, that’s hardly the thing you care about the most but in the case of a slower romance drama, it matters, a lot. And a lot more than people would expect or anticipate.
Just for the record, “Run On” has received some mixed reviews from critics, with SCMP calling it a drama that ‘lacks logic or charm.’
There is more than what meets the eyes and despite its basic plot, it’s still heartwarming if you become invested.
What do I mean by that? “Run On” is either a hit or a miss with kdrama fans, its slow-paced which means it automatically divides us into two categories, those who love such type of dramas and those who are impatient/uninterested in such types of dramas. If you prefer faster-paced content, then “Run On” will probably frustrate you or worse, bore you.
If you expected to be wowed by how fast-paced “Run On” would be, then you’ll be up for disappointment. I was also surprised by the pacing, I had expected it to be a little bit faster, but I still liked it nonetheless.
The dialogue the characters have in the drama makes up for the lack of fast-paced plot development. They have interesting adult conversation. There is room for interpretation and there is nuisance to the sentences you hear on screen.
While I enjoyed “Run On,” the drama needed to be a bit more interesting. The plot lags around episode 8 to 10 before it picks up, but the pace throughout the majority of its run, is relatively mild at best, if not slow.
It’s more about people going about their days instead of focusing on an end-goal which can make it feel hallow at times. Also, “Run On” could’ve still been better, it had more potential and more avenues to explore but for some reason, the screenwriter didn’t properly explore certain characters, the biggest of them was the female lead played by Shin Se Kyung, this particular character needed to be fleshed out a lot better. Its such a shame.
I’ve seen my fair share of healing dramas or dramas that are slices of life, not every drama categorized as such is a good drama, still, there needs to be enough happening to justify the run time, in “Run On” that didn’t appear to be the case, even if I liked it. I think 12 episodes would’ve been more than enough.
In certain parts of the drama, it almost felt foreign as in if you know how Korea works or have lived there, you probably know such things would never occur in real life. When the SCMP reviewer said it lacks logic, there is truth to that, in the sense that the characters sometimes make certain decisions or go with the flow in a very odd manner that you don’t usually see in kdramas because most Koreans wouldn’t behave like that in real life. I can’t go in details because of spoilers but if you end up watching and you know enough about the culture or have lived there, some of the character actions will considered slightly odd.
Its easy-going in a weird way but I liked that, the characters could be seen as naïve due to that, but I thought the way the screenwriter went about it was kinda fun and amusing.
The second thing that made “Run On” a bit more special than your average slow-paced romance kdrama was the characters.
“Run On” has a unique set of characters, mainly those played by Sooyoung and Siwan. Without those two actors and the characters they played, I hardly doubt most would’ve stuck around, including me.
The character Siwan plays will surprise you if you choose to watch the drama. He’ll be one of the most fun parts of the series for you.
Shin Se Kyung’s character is probably the least interesting in the lot and despite what could’ve been of her character; we’re left with a stale female lead that won’t be remembered on the long run. it’s the weakest character among the leads.
Sooyoung’s character is also pretty interesting; she plays the rich CEO but the screenwriter gives it such a nice spin that you’ll surely remember. This particular character could’ve ended up becoming insufferable easily but Sooyoung’s performance and the writer’s dedication to showing a different side of the bossy female CEO definitely helped keep it interesting.
Kang Tae Oh plays the cutest character in the drama. He plays a charismatic student and pulls it off effortlessly; you can’t help but fall for him.
But not every character was to my liking, there is the overbearing CEO dad, I wished more would’ve been done to explore why he’s like that but he’s borderline a comical character at times which seems rather unlike any character description in the drama.
I’ve said this before in my half-way review of “Run On,” but Shin Se Kyung is yet again playing the same character she has played in all of her past dramas in the past couple of years. So if you’re looking forward to a fresh and unexpected performance by her, then you’ll probably be disappointed.
Siwan plays a very interesting character in “Run On,” it’s as unique as the projects he usually picks. He pulls off the character and immediately distinguishes it from the sea of similar male leads in romance dramas. I can understand why he gravitated towards this project to begin with.
Sooyoung’s performance was just amazing, she easily overshadowed Shin Se Kyung, especially at first, and she has that aura to back up the female CEO vibe. As a character she goes through growth and it was pretty nice Sooyoung’s performance. I think she’s my favorite actress in SNSD.
Kang Tae Oh is, again, amazing. I don’t understand why he’s not bigger as an actor, he definitely deserves to be. If I had to guess, its his choices rather than his performances, he needs that one hit project where he plays a vital supporting character to get him there, he just needs that one push in the right direction. He’s been acting for a while now and he’s still to reach his peak. I hope it happens soon.
Choi Jae Hyun’s performance was weak at first, but he definitely got better as time went by. Rookie actor Lee Jeong Ha was such a treat, he’s going to be big one day. For the most part, I’d say every character has done a terrific job.
Should I watch this drama?
While I did like “Run On,” it stills not the type of drama that I’d recommend to anyone I see because it’s a slower-paced drama, not everyone is into such dramas or generally speaking, dramas that are about life in general.
If you enjoy slow-paced dramas, then this is a good pick for you. If you’re having trouble and life is hectic, this will probably help you unwind and relax, it’s not a drama that requires a lot of concentration or deep emotional investment.
So these are my thoughts on “Run on” , so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.