“Shooting Stars” has aired 8 episodes thus far which means its half-way done and this calls for a spoiler review of the first half. Let us dive in.
“Shooting Stars” is popular among the international community, as you’d expect, but the drama has been struggling domestically scoring very low ratings remaining in the 1% range since it began airing. Lets talk about why that happened and discuss my personal views on the drama.
Note: this will be a spoiler review of the said episodes in the title only, its not the final thoughts on the drama. This is a subjective review.
“Shooting Stars” is very typical, in the sense that its exactly what you’d expect from a kdrama about such a topic. Its a rom-com and there were moments that I laughed because of the sheer absurdity.
What I personally liked the most were the scenes where one of the characters f*ck up managing their artist or a rookie actor screwing up. Those moments felt real and naturally funny. It didn’t feel pretentious, or that it was trying too hard or like slapstick comedy style which I am personally not a fan of.
Those scenes felt like things that actually happened or were close to what happened in real life.
Personally speaking, I have no way of verifying whether the drama truly captures what goes on behind the scenes in the Korean entertainment industry but it sure feels like it at times with the exception of what I am about to discuss.
In the case of the character Han Byeol who basically cleans up after actors’ mess., one thing was odd. In relation to how she reveals information and communicates with the press… it all felt so odd and like something I have never seen in the Korean entertainment industry. Let me explain.
In general, for Korean companies, even when they deny a certain thing or a controversy, they usually rarely show actual footage to back up their claims [not unless the claims are very serious or they were ‘leaked’]. However, for some reason, Han Byeol cleans up messes by going through CCTV and then sharing photos and videos of the said footage with the press to get her actors out of a mess.
We run a blog here about Kdrama and Kpop news, I tell you this, I’ve never personally seen this happen the way the drama portrays it. This is a weird writing choice because I am wondering why the screenwriter particularly framed it that way considering the fact that anyone who follows the industry closely knows they don’t do this like that.
An example of that would be when the rookie actor Si Duk [played by Lee Seung-Hyub] gets drunk because he’s offered drinks by elders. He gets into trouble as he believes he’s home and takes his clothes off in a park, a video of that leaks online. Han Byeol goes through CCTV and shares footage of photos and videos of what he’s done prior to that to properly explain what happened. That was odd.
Even in the case of screenshots of.. let us say conversations between two celebrities, you’d have a media outlet report on it but its never ‘publicly’ or outwardly stated that the actor’s company was behind the ‘leak.’
But what was close to how its done was when neighbors and bystanders talked to the press and told them he cleaned up on his way and is an upstanding citizen. That often happens especially if other people are involved in the incident.
Other than that, “Shooting Stars” goes through the typical cliches and stereotypes you’d expect. One of the most annoying ones used that goes way overboard is how Tae Sung treats Han Byeol.
I am personally sick and tired of the trope of the male lead who keeps bothering/disrespectful/being childish the female lead because he likes her and is unaware of that. There is one scene that is especially problematic, she makes a typo that hints at him being ‘impotent’ and he flips out so much that he chases after her into a bathroom and proceeds to attempt to strip down to show her she’s wrong even when he was made aware it was merely a typo. That borders on sexual harassment at work, and its not a ‘funny’ scene. Its jaw-dropping for sure, but not funny.
The drama shows Han Byeol actually still so traumatized that she sometimes dreams of that particular encounter.
I also am not a fan of the fact that they have a ‘shared’ history. I can’t seem to find a kdrama that doesn’t have this trope in 2022. Almost all leads in kdramas this year have known each other for quite sometime or have a shared history they’re unaware of. They usually have some form of connection and the use of this trope annoys me.
The only thing that makes “Shooting Stars” slightly stand out is the focus on the PR teams in the industry. Other than that, I don’t think the drama has anything particularly special going for it.
The characters in “Shooting Stars” are A-ok. I personally like the supporting actors more than any of the leads. I don’t like Tae Sung at all. I don’t vibe with how immature he is. Han Byeol is just the standard female kdrama lead and I don’t particularly have any positive or negative things to say about her. She’s the textbook example of a female kdrama lead in a rom-com. Having said this, I didn’t expect it to be any other way.
I like Kang Yoo-Sung, the manager, and I also like Kang Yoo-Sung, the rookie actor. Park Ho-Young and Jo Ki-Bbeum are also cute. Park Ho-Young is so endearing and Jo Ki-Bbeum is interesting, she’s a very peculiar character that I find way more interesting than Han Byeol.
Lee Sung Kyung gives another good performance as Han Byeol but I’ve noticed this, I can’t seem to be able to tell her characters apart. It always feels like she’s playing the same role but with different settings. I have yet to see her do something that is so out of brand or something that shocks me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean she’s a bad actress but I feel like she lacks range. I don’t feel that she changes performances from one character to the other. They all feel the same.
Yoon Jong Hoon is, again, amazing. He’s always been amazing. This role is like chewing gum to him, its way below his acting abilities but he’s taking on a lighter project, some of his characters truly suffered in recent dramas, so I like this change of theme.
Kim Yoon Hye is also good here, she’s so cute and nails her accent.
Sojin was a surprise. She’s really good. She’s an idol-actress but if I hadn’t searched her name, I wouldn’t have found out. I was so pleasantly surprised by her performance. She’s definitely underrated.
The same goes for Lee Jung Shin who I think does a good job with his character. I wouldn’t have guessed he’s an idol too either. He’s such a natural.
Rookie actor Jin Ho Eun who plays the role of Tae Sung’s manager is so cute. He’s gained a new fan, he was born in 2000 and the industry is in need of younger actors these days, if he picks his projects correctly, he’ll become a massive hallyu actor one day.
Lee Seung Hyub honestly gave one of my fav performances in this drama. He nails the accent too and nails how he sounds while trying to not sound like he has an accent if you understand what I mean. I’ve seen him in dramas before, he’s really underrated and deserves better. If he was in an actor’s agency, I think he would have been so big already. He’s in a band for those who don’t know.
In regards to Kim Young Dae… I left him for last because I know I’ll get hate for this. I just want to say I have nothing against him. I don’t dislike him and I think he has potential.
Among the rising rookie actors recently was Kim Young Dae, but out of the bunch, I always thought he was the one who needed the most guidance in terms of acting. I always felt he had things he needed to work on.
Kim Young Dae gained fame through the penthouse series. Prior to that, he was playing supporting or minor roles. Even in the penthouse saga, he was a supporting role surrounded by very experienced actors some of which had been working for 20 or 30 years. So even if he had shortcomings, the others can cover for him. He then took on a secondary leading role and is now taking on his first leading role. I think it was too hasty.
In normal scenes, he’s fine. When it requires an emotional response, I can see cracks. Especially in his eyes, he needs to work on that part specifically. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t improved so much since the Penthouse. His enunciation has definitely improved. He improved a lot but needed to be in more secondary roles before this one.
Despite saying all that, I honestly like him as Tae Sung. I feel he brings him to life, I don’t like the character but I can’t picture anyone else playing the character but him. I don’t know what compelled the casting director to pick him but they did well[?] I think he’s a good fit to play that role. I know I might be coming off as contradictory right now, but as I said, he’s not terrible as Tae Sung, it feels like he is Tae Sung but he definitely still needs to work on his acting if that makes sense.
I think “Shooting Stars” will appeal to most international fans. Its fun, its filled with eye-candy rising actors as well as some established ones but its not that special either. Its what you expect from a typical rom-com, and for most who love rom-coms, this is more than enough so its totally understandable.
As for my conclusion on the drama thus far, I think its fine. I am not particularly obsessed with it but its not the worst either. Its just fine. Its something you can watch without having to invest so much emotions, sort of an escape from our reality, and sometimes, thats what people need.
I have an idea of how the drama will wrap up and a rough idea of the cliches that will be used later on, so there is that.
So these are my thoughts on “Shooting Stars” thus far, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.