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What to Watch While Waiting for "Queen of Tears"

With four episodes left, Queen of Tears is well on its way towards becoming tvN's highest rated drama of all time, and it’s easy to see why. Week after week, this tale of family and love’s second chances sucks us in only to leave us with some pretty jawdropping cliffhangers.


While waiting for new episodes to drop, eotteoke? Why not pass the time exploring the previous k-dramas of lead stars Kim Soo-hyun and Kim Ji-won, and writer Park Ji-eun (who has worked with Kim Soo-hyun twice in the past).




For more of Kim Soo-hyun...


One Ordinary Day (2021)



Kim Soo-hyun stars in this adaptation of BBC’s “Criminal Justice” as a man wrongfully accused of a murder and rape in a drama that is both unwatchable and completely bingeable at the same time. It is an understatement to call the drama suspenseful as it keeps you on your toes from the first notes of its opening sequence all the way till the very last second of each episode. Read our full review here.


8 episodes, Viu.


It’s Okay to Not be Okay (2020)



Kim Soo-hyun is Moon Gang-tae, a dedicated psychiatric caregiver working at OK Psychiatric Hospital. Gang-tae is depicted as a compassionate and responsible young man who has dedicated his life to taking care of his older brother, Moon Sang-tae (Oh Jung-se), who is on the autism spectrum.


Gang-tae's life revolves around his brother, and he sacrifices his own desires and aspirations to ensure Sang-tae's well-being. Despite facing numerous challenges and hardships, Gang-tae remains steadfast in his commitment to his brother, demonstrating unwavering love and devotion.


As the series progresses, Gang-tae's encounter with Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji), a successful children's book author with an antisocial personality, brings about significant changes in his life. Through his interactions with Moon-young, Gang-tae begins to confront his own suppressed emotions and traumas from the past, ultimately embarking on a journey of self-discovery and healing.


16 episodes, Netflix.



The Moon Embracing the Sun (2012)



When your K-drama does a little too well, you become the face of over 15 products simultaneously. Such was the lucrative fate of Kim Soo-hyun when he played the troubled king Lee Hwon, the crown prince of the Joseon Dynasty.


As a highly intelligent and passionate young king, Lee learns to face numerous challenges and struggles, including political intrigue and personal tragedy. He is also torn between his love for a young noblewoman and the expectations placed upon him as a future ruler.


Kim Soo-hyun's role contributed significantly to the drama's success. The show’s popularity compelled producers to make one more episode, and also received widespread acclaim for its compelling storyline.


20 episodes, Netflix and Viu.


 

For more of Kim Ji-won...


My Liberation Notes (2022)



Kim Ji-won earned a Baeksang Best Actress for her role in this melancholic drama from writer Park Hae-young. In My Liberation Notes, she plays Yeom Mi-jeong, the youngest of three argumentative and unhappy siblings. Along with powerhouse actors Lee Min-ki, Lee El, and Son Suk-ku, she joins their journey to break free from their mundane existence in the small city of Sanpo.

16 episodes, Netflix.


Lovestruck in the City (2021)



Kim Ji-won and Ji Chang-wook play the roles of Park Jae-won and Lee Eun-o, respectively. Park Jae-won is an adventurous architect who values spontaneity. He meets Lee Eun-o, a passionate and artistic woman, during a chance encounter in the city. They are drawn to each other's vibrant personalities and quickly develop a deep connection.


As their romance unfolds, viewers witness the ups and downs of their relationship, including moments of joy, heartache, and reconciliation. The pair navigate the complexities of modern dating and strive to overcome obstacles together, against the vibrant backdrop of Seoul and the Korean coastline. Read our full review here.


17 (short) episodes, Netflix.


Arthdal Chronicles (2019)



In The Arthdal Chronicles, Kim Ji-won portrays Tan-ya, a courageous and resourceful member of the Wahan tribe. Tan-ya is known for her intelligence and strong will, which she demonstrates as she navigates the challenges and conflicts within the tribal society. She possesses a deep connection to nature and has a special gift for communicating with animals.


Throughout the series, Tan-ya becomes entangled in the power struggles and political machinations of the ancient land of Arthdal. Her journey involves forging alliances, confronting enemies, and ultimately striving to protect her people and their way of life.

18 episodes, Netflix.


Fight for My Way (2016)



As the spirited Choi Ae-ra in this Baeksang Best Drama nominee, Kim Ji-won brought a fighting spirit to the determined young woman with big dreams. Despite facing numerous setbacks and challenges in her pursuit of becoming a broadcaster, Ae-ra remains resilient and refuses to give up on her goals. She is childhood friends with the main character, Go Dong-man (Park Seo-joon), and their will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic harbors the comedic crux of the drama.


Throughout the show, Ae-ra showcases her strong-willed nature, unwavering determination, and adorable aegyo as she navigates adulthood, poverty, and career aspirations.

16 episodes, Netflix.


Descendants of the Sun (2016)



As First Lt. Yoon Myung-ju in this 2016 blockbuster K-drama headlined by Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki, Kim  Ji-won plays a strong-willed and dedicated army doctor and the daughter of a high-ranking military officer. She gets into a complicated relationship with Master Sergeant Seo Dae-yong, portrayed by Jin Goo. Despite their initial clashes and personality differences, Myung-ju and Dae-yong develop a deep bond as they navigate the challenges of their respective roles in the military and in their humanitarian mission.


16 episodes, Netflix.



 

For more from writer Park Ji-eun...


Crash Landing On You (2019-20)



The reigning #1 tvN series is this epic tale of star-crossed lovers that ushered in a new generation of k-drama addicts early into the pandemic. Queens Group (which may or may not be related to the Queen of Tears conglomerate) heiress Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) literally crash lands on North Korean soldier Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) after a freak paragliding accident. As he reluctantly agrees to help her return to Seoul, they fall in love.


Fans of both series, which come from the same director-writer team, will surely notice the many CLOY references throughout Queen of Tears. And of course, Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin’s real life romance brought the frenzy around this drama to a different level, with the Hallyu power couple tying the knot two years after the drama aired. You can read all about the BinJin love story in our comprehensive timeline here.


Legend of the Blue Sea (2016-17)



Jun Ji-hyun plays an adorably cooky centuries-old mermaid who falls for the charming conman played by Lee Min-ho. (Seriously, it doesn’t take much to suspend disbelief that Min-ho can sweet-talk middle-aged women out of their millions). With solid performances, an interesting story that takes us to Spain and Joseon, and a witty script, it’s no wonder that this show ranked high in the ratings not just in Korea but in Asia.


The Producers (2015)



The first KBS drama that was produced by its Variety Department (as opposed to its Drama Department), The Producers is the second collaboration between Park Ji-eun and Kim Soo-hyun. In this slice-of-life comedy which brings us behind-the-scenes of variety show production, he plays clueless rookie producer Seung-chan who has a crush on his senior producer (Gong Hyo-jin).


If you loved watching drunken aegyo Baek Hyun-woo in Queen of Tears, watch out for his more awkward and adorkable (no that's not a typo) younger version here. The series gets off to a slow start but just stick with it as it picks up after a few episodes, and you’ll find yourself rooting for all the characters. The Producers also stars IU as k-pop idol Cindy and Cha Tae-hyun as another senior producer.


12 episodes, Netflix.



My Love from the Star (2013-14)



The first collaboration of Kim Soo-hyun and Park Ji-eun is this 2013 fantasy romcom, where he plays an alien who has been stuck in Korea for 400 years. Taking on an identity as cold history professor Do Min-joon, his supernatural abilities include enhanced strength, agility, and the ability to stop time. He leads a solitary life, maintaining a distance from humans due to his unique circumstances.


He then encounters Cheon Song-yi (the hilarious Jun Ji-hyun in a Baeksang Daesang-winning performance), a famous actress known for her eccentric behavior and glamorous lifestyle. As the series progresses, Do Min-joon finds himself drawn to Cheon Song-yi, despite his initial reluctance to become involved with humans. Their relationship develops gradually, with Do Min-joon struggling to conceal his true identity and his affection for Song-yi, while navigating the complexities of the human condition and the possibility of tragic loss.


21 episodes, Netflix.


 

Behind the Scenes and Special Content


And finally, if you love seeing the cast together and want to get to know more about these talented actors, there's plenty of content on YouTube to keep you amused during the week.




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