I was super excited about the JTBC drama “Run On” and for the most part, I’ve been enjoying my time watching this drama.
However, I’ve seen fans split in half over whether this drama was worth the wait or not, and today I am here to discuss why “Run On” became a hit with some fans and a miss with others.
Note: this article is a personal subjective opinion; I’ll discuss my thoughts while keeping in mind why others view it differently from what I do. This is a spoiler review of episode 1 to 8.
The script- is it interesting or dull?
Some of you might be shocked that I said I like “Run On” thus far, and understandably so, you’ve seen me previously being heavily critical of kdramas similar to this one, so why is it that despite how basic the script is, I ended up liking it?
I think what drew me to “Run On” was the dialogue which is probably one of the weirdest things I’ve written on this site.
The script core idea is as basic as they come but the execution for the most part is done better than most kdramas with similar plotlines.
The characters have very interesting out-of-the-box conversations that are not what you’d typically expect from characters with their descriptions. Sometimes, their honesty and bluntness is so shocking you wouldn’t believe a Korean person is saying it because you know how different they are culturally and how such conversations usually carry out in real life so differently. There is this laidback-ness [if that’s even a word] to the drama that I found endearing and warm.
I think the conversations were made even better by how well-acted the scenes were. You can tell the actors tried approaching this from multiple angels and tried their best to showcase their characters and set them apart so they don’t come off pretentious or worse, boring.
However, this is where we got split to two types, those who enjoy it and those who didn’t like it. Let me explain why:
“Run On” plot is standard, the most basic of the most basic, minus the overly exaggerated dramatics. It does have its own share of dramatic moments but they’re far apart and in-between, and only done when necessary. If you weren’t drawn to the way the characters conversed, you won’t like the drama. It’s as simple as that.
Despite the fact that I enjoy watching “Run On”, my patience is wearing thin. Watching episode 8 was the least fun I had during this entire drama run time to date and I don’t like that I am feeling this way because it has been a pleasant experience thus far.
The characters are beginning to purposefully hide information or hold back when it doesn’t make much sense especially judging by how they’re been acting until now. I hope it does get better towards the second half.
Thus far, we’re halfway through and the romance for both couples hasn’t officially started its taking a lot longer than expected and a lot longer than what’s appropriate.
You can only tolerate them having a ‘some’ relationship for so long, I begin to wonder why either couple won’t just admit they’re into each other.
Mi Joo (Shin Se Kyung) and Seon Gyeom (Siwan) as a couple aren’t that interesting, the most interesting part is Seon Gyeom’s peculiar character and his approach to people; he’s gullible and adorably innocent at times. It’s fun watching him but you can tell this particular couple will not face hurdles so I can’t help but wonder why aren’t they in a relationship yet. The guy moved in with her and they’re both acting as couples, so why aren’t they dating? What’s the reason its not being addressed or taken as seriously as it should be?
The more interesting couple where a conflict would arouse is Dan Oh (Sooyoung) and Yeong Hwa (Kang Tae Oh) simply because of two things, Dan Oh’s pride that she shouldn’t fall for a student much younger than her and not on the same level, and how her parents will likely oppose it and cause issues. In the case of Seon Gyeom, he’s already shown his rebellious side and doesn’t mind butting heads with his parents, they aren’t the best parents but aren’t THAT terrible either.
I can understand that Yeong Hwa would feel intimidated by someone who’s older than him, but both Mi Joo and Seon Gyeom have been open and frank with each other for the most part, its almost as if the writer doesn’t have enough material to fill 16 episodes. Even in such basic dramas, usually, the couple would be dating by the 6th episode.
Also, since Dan Oh and Yeong Hwa are much more interesting as a couple, I find myself drawn more to them and their future together. They’re overshadowing the main couple which is also an issue because the main couple takes up about 45 minutes of runtime, I always find myself craving for more content from the second couple opposed to content from the main couple and that’s an issue.
I must say, I think Shin Se Kyung and Siwan have great chemistry; it’s the best pairing for both actors thus far in my opinion. However, some fans believe they lack chemistry and some have hesitations about how Shin Se Kyung act which I think adds to it.
I also like the chemistry between Sooyoung and Kang Tae Oh. I just love how head over heels he is for her.
I really like just how seriously the actors take their roles, Im Siwan is one of my personal favorite idol-turned-actors, I am just so happy he pursued acting because whenever he’s on screen, he’s captivating and commands your attention. That’s how good he is. He is one of the main points why I stuck around, he takes on his character so differently, if it had been another actor, this could’ve ended becoming rather dull.
Shin Se Kyung is good in this role, I feel she’s comfortable around Siwan and its helping her, but at this stage in her life and career, I am just curious as to why she’s still playing the same characters over and over again.
I said this in my initial review of “Run On”; Shin Se Kyung has been playing basically the same characters for the past four dramas. I don’t know why she’s avoiding taking chances as much as possible, its very rare for a Korean actress to always pick such similar characters each time. I am just baffled.
I get the appeal in portraying such characters, viewers root for the underdog, the hard worker who’s overpowered by circumstances and society, but wouldn’t a change be nice?
If you’re watching this drama expecting an out of the box experience from Shin Se Kyung, then you won’t like the outcome. She’s good here, but easily overshadowed by Siwan and Sooyoung.
Which brings me to my next point, Sooyoung!
I think I am falling in love y’all! Sooyoung is just… she is AMAZING. I think this is my personal fav performance of her to date.
She’s always been my pick as the best actress in her group, but this character hits different. This could’ve easily gone bad had she not taken it as seriously as she did, but you can tell she’s trying hard to set herself apart from all the other chaebol female characters with similar descriptions, and she did that.
She’s so interesting when she’s on screen and honestly, I need to see more of her, she is captivating. I didn’t expect to like her performance this much. I don’t like her character that much but I understand her motivations and the reasoning behind what she does.
Kang Tae Oh is criminally underrated as an actor and it’s not even funny that he’s still playing secondary leading roles despite his immense talent. He’s a natural. He’s so cute when on screen and the way he smiles puts a smile on my face, I love how he continues to approach Sooyoung so confidently.
Rookie actor Lee Jeong Ha also shines in this drama, I love seeing him on screen. He’s a new actor who has a bright future ahead of him; he is so stable and so much fun to watch. I’ll keep an eye on his future projects.
Rookie actor Choi Jae Hyun also gained my attention initially because his performance was lacking. He couldn’t hit the emotional notes as well as I had expected but then, I searched and found out he’s been active since 2019.
Also, he’s shown great growth over this period. I am genuinely surprised. He is much more stable now when he acts and his emotions appear more genuine in recent episodes, with more practice, he’ll become even better. His performance wasn’t easy to watch in the first episodes, but I noticed he quickly took better control of his character and I’ve been enjoying him on screen much more these days.
Should we have expected more or less from “Run On”?
Since fans are split on this one and so are reviewers, this questions popped up in my mind. It’s a standard warm romance drama; it can be considered a breath of fresh air among the sea of over-the-top nerve-wracking kdramas that are currently on air.
If you came in with extremely high expectations, the atmosphere of the drama must’ve shocked you, not unless you had a preconceived notion of how it would play out, most probably you were surprised.
During such challenging times we’re going through all around the world, this drama offers a lighthearted break and I found it comforting in a way, I was able to focus on the couples and not thinking of much else watching it.
The set of circumstances and performances surrounding this drama is the reason I enjoyed it thus far, I am a bit skeptic going into the second half but I hope my worries get squashed by episode 10.
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.