There are so many dramas released every year that it is sometimes hard to keep them all straight. However, I think that one thing that sets apart a spectacular drama and makes it memorable is a strong performance by it’s leading actor. So join us as we chat our favorite leading men. Did your favorite make the list?
My choices this year have been actors that I have loved for years. Those seasoned veterans who transcend pretty visuals and create characters that are 100% memorable. These actors don’t just play a character they bring them to life.
Jo Seung Woo – Forest of Secrets is one of those shows I consider a Kdrama gem. It is not a drama that your average kaddict who is looking for fluff is going to watch. You have to focus in completely to figure out all the nuances of the plots and there is no romance to keep a romance-focused watcher tuned in. However, if you make the effort and love a well written story this is a must watch drama. Much of that is thanks to Jo Seung Woo’s ability to play a totally straight (and devoid of emotion) Hwang Shi Mok. There is just something so delightful in watch a character come to life and this was one of the best drama experiences for me this year.
Kim Nam Gil – This is another actor that a lot of my co-bloggers and friends do not recognize. Previously, he has stuck with historical and revenge dramas. With a ton of noir and more serious movies added to the mix. He is not an actor you would just run across in your yearly rom-coms. Which made his return to the small screen in Live Up To The Name all the better. His performance as a talented historical doctor time traveling to the future was both hilarious and heart warming. He also had amazing chemistry with Kim Ah Joong which is not always the easiest thing to have. He made me laugh, cry, and connect with a crazy plot. Which makes him at the top of my favorite actor list of 2017.
Jo Seung Woo- The main character in Forest of Secrets is Prosecutor Hwang Shi-mok, who seems not to have emotions. Everyone knows him as stern and logical and unable to be bribed or swayed. However Yeo-jin, a police officer who works with him, starts noticing small expressions and behaviors that indicate that he feels emotions, but just doesn’t express them. It is fascinating to follow these clues with her and to see how he subtly changes through the drama. My eyes were glued on him the whole time he was on screen.
Yoo Ah-in- His character, Se-joo, is cold and hostile at first. As he discovers his previous life he realizes that though he had been a brilliant strategist he had closed himself off from personal attachments. These memories cause him to change, as he warms up and becomes a very different person. He learns to care for the people around him and even forgive his enemies and give them second chances.
Namgung Min- We have seen him play extremely creepy villains, but he stole our hearts this year as the hero in a comedy, Chief Kim. His cheekiness and insouciance rolled through every obstacle and turned everyone’s expectations upside down.
Karie the Maknae
Lee Min Ki – I love range, and having recently watched Shut Up Flower Boy Band, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with Lee Min Ki in Because This is My First Life. He basically went from playing Mick Jagger to playing Sheldon (from The Big Bang Theory). Personally, I find that impressive.
Kim Young Kwang – Jang Do Han/ Lee Kwan Woo, in Lookout really stood out this year. I loved how conflicted this character made me feel. Was he a good guy or a bad guy? I started the drama hating his smarmy guts and wanting to mop the floor with him. Then as we were given his backstory, everything changed for me. I’m a sucker for a bad guy who isn’t bad at heart, just a victim of his situation in life. So while I still was mad at his character, he also made me cry buckets. I felt like this character was well written and wrapped up in a satisfactory way, even though I wanted a different ending.
Lee Joon-His portrayal in Father is Strange as Joong Hee the emotionally stunted actor was so heart wrenching. First when he finds the father he’d never met, he’s angry and hurt and pushes him away. Then when he starts falling in love with his dad and family it just killed me in every scene. He was like a lost puppy who finally found his way home. The perfection of his performance came when he realized he’d developed feelings for his supposed sister, Mi Young. I have never wanted to comfort someone so bad.
Kim Sang Joong & Yoon Kyun Sang-Yes, these two are a package deal in my book. The pair playing father and son in Rebel both knocked their portrayals of slaves turned into heroes of the people out of the park. I felt like Kyung Sang drank in the energy from his elder and gushed it out in his performance. It’s not to say that Kyun Sang’s performance hinged on the older actor, but sometimes you can just tell that the magic happening onscreen is of a symbiotic nature.
Choi Jin Hyuk – (honorable mention)-I have to admit that before Tunnel I only sort of liked his acting. I fell in love with his cameo performance in Gu Family book but then the next few dramas were underwhelming. His gruff analog cop who has to get by in the digital age after time traveling through a Tunnel was both heartfelt and pretty funny at times. His relationship with his daughter tickled my time bending funny bone.
Yoo Ah In – I would watch Yoo Ah In portray any role in any drama because he is such a talented professional. He is a true artist in the way he manages to create characters that are real and flawed, but with such heart and depth. He then slowly reveals how they change over time and it feels absolutely real and sincere. As Se-Joo in Chicago Typewriter he made me believe he was a writer, and then he made me believe he was a freedom fighter. He chose a script that allowed him to show us his full range of acting ability, and it was captivating.
Lee Jong Suk – I did not watch While You Were Sleeping for the romance. It was fine, but secondary to the overall story. Lee Jong Suk has been one of my favorites since School 2013, and he continues to perfect his craft. I think he is able to generate chemistry with almost anyone, and this ends up creating a more satisfying drama.
Yoo Seung Ho – Oh, my dear Yoo Seung Ho. I so desperately wanted to love The King: Man of the Mask. I really wanted to love it just for him, but the story was just not coherently written and the chemistry with Kim So Hyun was tepid at best. Still, I stuck with the show until the end. Why? Well, Yoo Seung Ho still shines. He had a few moments of brilliance in this drama, mostly when he was crying and blaming himself. His pain-filled eyes just leave me breathless, like I can feel his pain. I want to become his manager, though, and choose better scripts for him. A dazzling diamond lost in the mud just can’t keep its glimmer for long.
Zhang Bin Bin – He played a brutal and merciless king, but he still managed to make me love him. I did not love everything about the King’s Woman, but Zhang Bin Bin played his part so beautifully. He showed conflict, pain, and his own version of love; I was mesmerized. I was so happy to him in a leading role, but now I greedily want to see him in a role where I won’t feel conflicted about falling for him.
Thanks for joining us as we remember our favorite actors of 2017! Be sure to check out our other End of Year reviews HERE! Also, let us know you favorite actors in our comments.