“True Beauty” was the perfect way to start the new year. It’s the perfect drama to watch considering the circumstances of the world right now and the hardships some of us might be going through. “True Beauty” provided a great escape from life’s lemons even though it was only for a couple hours a week. There really is nothing that can completely replace it, but it’s definitely worth a try! Here are some K-dramas to check out if you liked these things about “True Beauty”:
The heartbreaking second lead syndrome
The second lead syndrome was pretty bad with “True Beauty.” Hwang In Yeop plays the bad boy with a very soft heart, Han Seo Jun. He falls hard in love with Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young) and loves her from afar for several years, making us fans ache along with him. The pain experienced in this series for Han Seo Jun is definitely hard to get over, but there are other dramas that also had some unforgettable second leads.
Jang Nara stars as Kim Mi Young, a wallflower who tends to get overlooked by people around her because of her quiet nature. She has a whirlwind of a romance with the charismatic Lee Gun, (Jang Hyuk) and they have a one night stand which results in Mi Young getting pregnant and the two getting married. Lee Gun regrets his passionate night with Mi Young and continuously pushes her away, which sends Mi Young into a pit of sadness.
She finds herself at the neighborhood coffee shop that Daniel (Choi Jin Hyuk) owns. He quickly falls in love with her and stands up for her when Lee Gun doesn’t. Knowing in his heart that Mi Young deserves more, he continues to stick by her side. His confession and proposal to her could go down in K-drama history as being one of the most romantic ever. He’s a second lead that is undoubtedly unforgettable!
Catch this adorable romance here:
“Don’t Dare To Dream” (Jealousy Incarnate)
Go Kyung Pyo played the well-to-do chaebol Ko Jung Won. What an unforgettable character he was! He pursued Pyo Na Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) in a very romantic and persistent way. In a moment in her life where she felt like she didn’t have much and didn’t have the most self-confidence, Jung Won loved her so much, giving her everything a girl could have ever wanted. Despite this, Na Ri found her herself falling back in love with the man who broke her heart before (Jo Jung Suk).
Watch the first episode here:
This second lead syndrome draws very close to that of “True Beauty,” so if you’re going to watch it, prepare your heart! “School 2015” is a normal high school K-drama with a significantly memorable second lead. Yook Sung Jae plays Kong Tae Kwang, a quirky student who never paid much attention to Eun Byul (Kim So Hyun) because of her snobbiness. But when Eun Bi appears at Eun Byul’s school pretending to be her twin sister, Tae Kwang finds himself oddly attracted to her. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he worries about her and is there for her when no one else is. He’s honest about his feelings from the start, and the subtle ways Tae Kwang shows his feelings for her are so heartbreakingly sweet.
Check out the first episode here:
New mega star Hwang In Yeop
Hwang in Yeop shot to stardom this year. In a short amount of time, he has garnered millions of followers on social media and has been on the minds and hearts of many all over the world. If you haven’t already watched everything related to Hwang In Yeop, here are some suggestions to check out.
The first role Hwang In Yeop ever got was in the web drama “WHY” as Gi Jae Young. He plays one of the two best friends of the main lead. He’s involved in another love triangle in this one, but it’s not as heartbreaking as the one from “True Beauty,” so it’s manageable to watch. His charisma and intense gaze is evident even as a rookie, so it definitely can’t be missed if you’re a Hwang In Yeop fan! You can watch the first episode here:
After Hwang In Yeop’s first role in a big network drama “The Tale Of Nokdu,” people were starting to notice him. But it wasn’t until his role as Goo Ja Sung in JTBC’s “18 Again” that Hwang In Yeop really started to garner some fans. His role as Goo Ja Sung is oddly similar to that of Han Seo Jun; he’s a bad boy, he falls in love, he sings to her in front of the school, and he plays basketball. All this to say, it’s a series that can’t be missed, especially if you’re a Han Seo Jun fan!
Watch the first episode here:
This rookie interview
Although this isn’t a drama, this interview is worth watching. You can get a good glimpse into how good of an actor Hwang In Yeop was when he first started out and why it was really a no-brainer that he became this famous in just a couple years of debuting. The natural talent is so obvious:
Dreamboat Cha Eun Woo
Cha Eun Woo as Su Ho in “True Beauty” did quite the number on his fans. The perfect ways in which he portrayed his character made the role an unforgettable one. Cha Eun Woo hasn’t been acting for too long, but his impression is always quite lasting. Here are a few other shows you can find him in if you are missing him.
Luckily, we have Cha Eun Woo to watch on the regular as he is a cast member of the hit variety show “Master In The House.” In this show, the cast have get a “master” for two days, and they must live through the schedule and routine of that particular master. In a recent episode, Im Gyo Jin and So Yi Hyun were guests on the show, and Cha Eun Woo was able to open up about his thoughts on marriage.
Watch that episode here:
“The Best Hit”
If you’ve already seen the likes of “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty” and “Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung,” another K-drama to check out is “The Best Hit.” Cha Eun Woo stars in the drama as MJ who is a well-known idol. You’ll get a side of Cha Eun Woo that is a bit rude, arrogant, and rough around the edges. It’s a character we’re not used to, but seeing him in this light only shows that he’s capable of versatility when it comes to acting.
Watch the first episode here:
The talented and beautiful Moon Ga Young
Moon Ga Young as Lim Ju Gyeong in “True Beauty” brought out all the jokes and laughter. Her ability to play such a pure and naive high school girl is such a stark contrast from the mature roles she has played in the past. If you’re hooked on Moon Ga Young and are curious about her other roles, here are a few to check out.
Moon Ga Young starred in another K-drama in 2020, and the storyline and character were very different from that of “True Beauty.” She played Yeo Ha Jin, a girl who has forgotten certain moments in her life as a result of trauma. She falls in love with an announcer named Lee Jung Hoon (Kim Dong Wook) who has hyperthymesia, which is the ability to remember everything in detail. The two have opposite conditions but find love in each other. This more mature role of Moon Ga Young’s is worth the watch, especially if you’re a fan!
Start watching it here:
“EXO Next Door”
In “EXO Next Door,” Moon Ga Young plays Ji Yeon Hee, a girl who has never had a boyfriend as a result of her inability to talk to any boys, especially if they’re handsome. Four idol members of EXO end up moving in next door to her and she somehow starts working for them by cleaning their house. What she doesn’t know is that Chanyeol is her long lost friend from when she was younger. Seeing Moon Ga Young as Yeon Hee is slightly similar to her role in “True Beauty,” but you definitely get to see her in her rookie days.
This particular series isn’t for everyone, but if you want to see Moon Ga Young in a different light from that of her character in “True Beauty,” then this one is a must-watch. She plays the cynical and dark Choi Soo Ji, a girl who has been misunderstood for most of her life. And with the added pressures of her mother, she’s sent into a pit of self-destruction. Her love line with Kim Min Jae as Lee Se Joo is one main reason to watch the series. Their love is sweet and Se Joo’s devotion to the troubled Soo Ji is heartwarming to watch.
Start watching it here:
The high school feels and romance
There are a lot of high school romance K-dramas, but very few are as good as “True Beauty.” The love triangles, the emotions, and the desire to fit in are all elements that make a high school K-drama fun to watch and relatable. Here are some other high school-themed K-dramas to check out that might be up your alley.
A mobile application is created to indicate if someone within 10 meters of you likes you. When someone likes you, the app gives off an alarm but it doesn’t reveal the exact person. Kim Jo Jo (Kim So Hyun) gets caught in a situation with two boys and decides whether or not it’s a good idea to download the app.
This series has got all the angst and emotions needed for a high school drama. Although there is only one season, the development of the characters and their love story is worth watching. You’ll love seeing Song Kang as Hwang Sun Ho in a lead role and the affections in which he shows his first love, Kim Jo Jo. It doesn’t have the humor of “True Beauty,” but the love triangle and coming-of-age themes are strong enough to keep you engaged. We also got word that the second season is FINALLY airing in March. Thank goodness!
Eun Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon) thinks she’s a normal high school girl with a large group of friends. Everything seems to be going smoothly for her until she realizes that she’s living in a comic book and is nothing but a minor character. What makes this situation worse is that she ends up falling in love with Ha Roo (Rowoon), who is an extra in the comic book. Because he’s an extra, he’s barely in the comic book, which makes it difficult for Dan Oh to ever see him. The two agonize over how they should be with each other despite the odds set against them.
If you like any sort of high school drama, “Extraordinary You” is one that can’t be missed. With the likes of the amazing and talented cast, there’s really not a boring moment. And if you’re looking for something a bit dramatic, there are various love stories and triangles going on, which are bound to keep your attention.
Start watching the series here:
This coming-of-age series stars Kwak Dong Yeon as Choi Jung Woo, a student at Namil High School who has spent most of his teenage years transferring schools as a result of his father’s job. He lives his days as a loner without any care about making any friends until he meets Yang Ah Young (Lee Se Young). Ah Young is the class president, and she takes it upon herself to break through Jung Woo’s shell and become friends with him.
This drama is quirky with a lot of the elements of the high school genre that make it so memorable. It’s got a great script, talented actors, and it’s not as predictable as you’d think. The indie vibes of the series will give you feelings of nostalgia as well as warmth which are perfect for these winter months. We also can’t fail to mention Kwak Dong Yeon’s portrayal as Choi Jung Woo – his true talent is showcased in this series!
Start watching the drama here:
Hey Soompiers, which dramas are you watching now that “True Beauty” is over? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG, but has been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop these days. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Youn’s Stay” and “She Would Never Know”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo,” and “True Beauty”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen