Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun, and Ji Chang Wook Comeback Dramas Are Floppingjessie tan
Three of our most popular Hallyu actors—Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun, and Ji Chang Wook—have all come back this year after fulfilling their mandatory military service. While all three used to dominate network ratings with their star power, maintaining that prestige is proving to be a hard task. Suffering from critical failures and low viewership ratings, their three comeback dramas are no short of flopping in the domestic market.
Lee Min Ho’s The King: Eternal Monarch, which premiered in April 2020, did decently well as an original Netflix series, but domestically in Korea, the ratings did not meet expectations, and was largely deemed as a disappointment. From starring in hit series such as Boys Over Flowers (2009), City Hunter (2011), The Heirs (2013), and Legend of the Blue Sea (2016), it is disappointing to see Lee Min Ho’s comeback being less than explosive. Truthfully, The King had all the ingredients to be a hit—a fantasy romance that crosses realities, has a $25 million US dollar budget, and co-stars the award-winning Kim Go Eun, best known for her leading performances in Cheese in the Trap (2016) and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016).
According to ratings reports, the percentage of viewers for The King dropped with each episode, meaning that most viewers who had started the show ended up not continuing it. According to reports, viewers found the setting of the series too convoluted due to poor world-building, and that the excessive product placement was distracting.
Kim Soo Hyun’s It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is faring a little better, but no where near as well as expected. Despite a successful premiere, viewership ratings dropped dramatically on the second episode, but picked back up after a week.
Ji Chang Wook’s Backstreet Rookie, which only premiered a day before It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, is being criticized for racial insensitivity. While ratings are increasing for the show, it is definitely an underwhelming comeback for Ji Chang Wook.