Lovely Runner Ep 1-2 Review: Kim Hye Yoon, Byeon Woo Seok’s rom-com starts off heartwarming, funny and all things nice

The highly anticipated time-slip romantic comedy series Lovely Runner just made its premiere. Let's look at the first two episodes as we review it further.

Updated on Apr 11, 2024  |  12:10 AM IST |  1.5M
Lovely Runner (Image Credits- tvN)
Lovely Runner (Image Credits- tvN)

Name: Lovely Runner (선재 업고 튀어 in Korean)

Premiere date: April 8, 2024

Cast: Kim Hye Yoon and Byeon Woo Seok

Director: Yoon Jong Ho, Kim Tae Yeop

Writer: Lee Si Eun

Number of episodes: 16

Genre: Romance, Time-slip, Comedy, Fantasy

Language: Korean

Where to watch: Viki

Lovely Runner plot

Lovely Runner presents a captivating time-slip romance drama that poses the ultimate question: "What would you do if given the chance to save your ultimate bias?" Kim Hye Yoon takes the lead as Im Sol, a loyal fan deeply affected by the passing of her beloved star Ryu Sun Jae, portrayed by Byeon Woo Seok. Im Sol embarks on a journey through time to prevent his tragic fate.

Watch the trailer here-


Lovely Runner episode 1-2 short recap

The series begins with Im Sol confined to a hospital bed while Sun Jae embarks on his career with the boy band Eclipse. Im Sol, devastated by her accident, finds solace in Sun Jae's voice during a radio show, reigniting her will to live. Fast forward to the present, she has become a devoted fan of his, attending his concert only to be denied entry after misplacing her pass. A chance encounter occurs post-concert, where Sun Jae graciously lends Im Sol his umbrella. However, tragedy strikes later that day when news of Sun Jae's suicide spreads. Heartbroken, Im Sol rushes to find him, leading her to lose his discarded merchandise, resulting in a frantic search. Later, she is inexplicably transported back in time.

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Now transported back to 2008, Im Sol finds herself able to walk again and rushes to Sun Jae, whose confusion is evident at her sudden change in behavior. Despite her attempts to befriend him, she consistently fails, facing obstacles at every turn. Alongside, she encounters her past love, Kim Tae Sung (played by Song Geon Hee), and the two engage in playful interactions. Im Sol later endeavors to persuade Sun Jae, who was once a dedicated swimmer, to refrain from participating in the upcoming match, as she recalls from the future that it will be his final one. However, her efforts are ruined when time inexplicably freezes as she attempts to share information about the future, rendering her unable to intervene.

The storyline takes an unexpected turn as we witness events from Sun Jae's perspective, revealing that he harbored feelings for Im Sol long before her journey back in time. Despite her lack of interest, he remained unnoticed until the drastic changes brought about by the older Im Sol's presence in her teenage years became apparent.



Lovely Runner: The positives 

The show engages viewers right from the beginning. Despite the heavy topics of its first episode, it offers a poignant social commentary on the entertainment industry, particularly the intense pressures K-pop idols face, grounding the narrative closer to reality. Alongside the serious themes, an abundance of humor and relatable moments are woven throughout. Sol's passionate fangirling is relatable to fans in real life; her collection of merchandise, attendance at concerts, and the sentimentality attached to anything related to her favorite idols reflect the essence of fangirl culture. The portrayal of loyally praying for their idols' happiness, cherishing their music, and wholeheartedly cheering them on effectively captures the essence of being a dedicated fan.

The humor in the series is consistently top-notch, balanced perfectly with moments of deeper emotion and sadness. Sol's comedic attempts to persuade Sun Jae to befriend her are as entertaining as her efforts to shield him from harm. While there are a few cringe-worthy scenes, they're not overpowering enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the show. The romance is heart-fluttering right from the start, and the twist at the end adds a unique perspective to the storyline. Sun Jae's one-sided love for Sol is incredibly endearing, and gaining insight into his perspective adds a whole new depth to the narrative, prompting viewers to contemplate re-watching the series from his viewpoint. 

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Additionally, the clever choice of naming the K-pop group Eclipse and releasing it on the day of an eclipse serves as an intriguing Easter egg that many fans found fascinating. Overall, the premiere sets a high standard, and if the show maintains its momentum, it has the potential to easily rank among the top shows of the year.


Lovely Runner: The negatives

Honestly, there wasn't anything particularly negative about the premiere. Although there were some second-hand embarrassing moments, they did contribute to the overall humor element of the show. Many fans drew comparisons of Sun Jae to real-life idols who have passed away, but given the premise, it didn't seem like the show is heading in that direction. Honestly, it is too early to judge the show at this point, but the premiere was engaging and enjoyable.


Lovely Runner: Acting performance

Lovely Runner was undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated K-dramas of the year, largely due to the pairing of Byeon Woo Seok and Kim Hye Yoon. Both actors enjoy significant popularity, and their casting together had fans eagerly anticipating the synergy they would bring to the screen. Needless to say, they exceeded expectations.

Kim Hye Yoon has always radiated bright and infectious energy and her portrayal of Im Sol is perfectly tailored to her strengths. She embodies the character flawlessly, evoking relatability in viewers to the extent that her on-screen tears often evoke a similar emotional response from the audience. Throughout the premiere, she shines brightly and infuses the show with a positive aura.

On the other hand, Byeon Woo Seok delivers a compelling performance as the conflicted Ryu Sun Jae. He adeptly portrays both facets of Sun Jae's character—the dark and gloomy version in his 30s and the passionate teenager—with skill and passion. There's even a running joke among fans about Byeon Woo Seok's characters frequently meeting tragic fates, so this time, fans are truly rooting for a happy ending for him alongside Kim Hye Yoon's Im Sol.



Lovely Runner- Stream or Skip?

According to us, the show really did stand out in terms of plot, acting, and overall visuals. There was social commentary, relatable moments, humor, romance, and a sweet twist at the end, tying everything up perfectly. There wasn’t a single dull moment throughout, and the actors played their roles well. The cinematography is also top-notch, and although time-traveling is a common genre, Lovely Runner presents it in a fresh way, making you want to know what’s coming up next, making it definitely bingeable.

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ALSO READ: True Beauty, Marry My Husband, Lovely Runner and more: Decoding success of webtoon adaptations in K-dramas

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About The Author

Pratyusha Dash is an English Literature Graduate from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies with a deep passion for Korean

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Credits: Viki
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