“Backstreet Rookie” Episode 1 Review And Recap

Published Categorized as Kdrama Reviews

“Backstreet Rookie” is finally here!

We’ve been waiting for a while and its finally here, and I don’t know how to feel about it!

I am a huge Ji Chang Wook fan but even I can’t defend his past year drama comeback, and ever since it finished, I was waiting patiently to hear about his next project, and then it was confirmed that he’s leading “Backstreet Rookie”… it was an odd project pick to be honest with you…

Related: “Backstreet Rookie” Receives Backlash For ‘Provocative’ Outfits Worn By Kim Yoo Jung + Problematic Shooting Angles

The source material which is a webcomic was already criticized for its raunchy problematic content, so it was a very odd choice for a drama adaptation. You’d think production companies would not want to adapt such a project but it kinda happened.

After seeing the first episode of “Backstreet Rookie,” I decided to talk about it and share my feelings on it. So here we go!

Previously, Ji Chang Wook stated that he wanted to work with director Lee Myung-Woo and it was one of the reasons he picked this project, in the press conference he said that he felt a warmth from this drama as well.

I wanted to know why Wookie would pick such a project and it’s too early to judge, but so far, I am confused…

The first episode is a mix between a cartoon and a semi-sexy romance, Dae Hyun is absolutely adorable and Wookie is doing a good job with the character, I also feel he’s more into this character than he was with his last drama. I feel that he’s a lot more comfortable doing a rom-com this time than he was last time.

I think he suits his character so well and so far, he’s my favorite. I like his dynamics with the rest of the cast as well, he has good chemistry with Yoo Jung and Sun Hwa and doesn’t feel awkward around them, it makes me very happy, I was worried about that.

“Backstreet Rookie:” episode 1 kinda shocked me and not the way you’d expect, I found it oddly leaning towards being raunchy… like its leaning towards that direction in a very odd manner, I didn’t expect that because the trailers didn’t give that away.

My problem with “Backstreet Rookie” even before it aired was the age gap, 12 years is a lot to some, but for someone who just became an adult and a 33 year old man, it feels weirder so to speak.

I was really surprised by how sexy and open Yoo Jung’s character was, and I was taken aback by their first kiss which happened like 15 minutes into the drama. A teenager is kissing someone way older than her knowing he is a lot older.

The way they approached it was also weird, Dae Hyun’s reaction shouldn’t have been ‘here is my number’ but it should’ve been fear, she’s a minor…. am I missing something? Like?? idk… what?

Aside from that kiss scene, I was also surprised by the comic writer who draws sexy naked characters in the drama…. It also felt very uncomfortable watching him speak with that tone, the way the scene played out was very weird… The teasers gave off this cute clumsy rom-com vibe and then we get this, I am not against 18+ content and I wouldn’t label “Backstreet Rookie” as such but I am surprised.

Aside from what I’ve talked about, I found an issue with something I don’t think a lot of you will agree with me when I say it. I dislike cartoonish comedy, always have and always will. It always feels flat to me and a poor attempt at concealing a bad joke by over-exaggeration. Those cartoonish effects don’t impress me but disappoint me, comedy isn’t easy to do and not everyone can skillfully do it. I didn’t like the humor of “Backstreet Rookie” 1st episode.

“Backstreet Rookie” is indeed adapted from a webcomic but I am very weirded out by the fact that they used such type of editing and shooting style. It felt like they’re filming something for the kids, but then the content is catered towards adults. Will someone in his/her 30s find such content funny?

I don’t understand what demographic is “Backstreet Rookie” aiming for; it’s a very weird mix. I didn’t like those scenes and felt they shouldn’t have been there. I didn’t laugh and I was surprised by how ridiculous it all was. I facepalmed a couple of times.

Now let’s talk about Yoo Jung’s character

Saet Byeol is very confident and sure of herself, she knows how to defend herself and it looks like she had to be this woman because she has a younger sister to raise, it seems like they don’t have a family by their side.

Saet Byeol is problematic to me at first glance and could end up being an unlikeable character, which I don’t mind. I am curious to see how this character turns out to be. I am intrigued because I am interested in seeing how she’ll change Dae Hyun’s mind and make him break up with his girlfriend.

Final thoughts

I want “Backstreet Rookie” to do well regardless of my thoughts because its my Wookie, but so far, its not special and slightly odd and unfunny.

In kdramas, one episode is hardly enough and I didn’t watch it with high expectations, its just fine and cute at times. We’ll have to give it a couple of more episodes to see if it’ll be fun or plain crude.

What did you guys think of “Backstreet Rookie” 1st episode?

By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. the founder of Jazminemedia, in this site, I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas, and if you have any requests for a kdrama review, please let me know in the comment section of any article.


  1. DaeHyun did give out his number, but you can clearly tell he was flustered. And then he even asked her what she is doing. It’s not like he accepted the kiss or anything. And she’s not 16, but 19 when she kissed him.

  2. I agree with your review here.
    I was surprised with the kind of slow motion flying scenes. Really?
    After watching half of this episode, I decided it just wasn’t for me.

  3. I have seen a fan of JCW right from healer. I have been rooting for this drama ever since they announced it. The trailer was unimpressive so I know better not to have high expectations. Although it’s too early to judge the first episode was totally bad. I meanI cringed at the so called comedy parts so many times. Way to go drama. Hope that the drama will redeem itself in the coming episodes. Currently the only factor that is making me patient with this drama is JCW.

  4. I thought it was great! Yes, the first ep is full of controversy but actually I liked it because it drew various reactions. Happy, shock, embarrassment, awkwardness and laughter! At first it did feel unrealistic with the action scenes and the comic writer scene was a bit awkward to watch, but I quickly got past it because throughout the whole episode was all good vibes and it was refreshing. It is a nice light hearted, happy comedy and I felt Yoo Jung pulled off Saet Byul’s mixed emotions really well. I felt lots of emotions along with her character. It’s really fun and it’s what I really need to relieve the stress during this hard grim times of reality. No need to be so serious and just enjoy it for what it is. It’s what Yoo Jung wanted to achieve in this drama and she’s nailing it. What a happy pill she is! =)

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