Fangirl Stalking: Choi Jin Hyuk

It’s no secret amongst my fellow fangirls that I am in L-O-V-E with the currently airing Kdrama Devilish Joy.  Why?  I present to you Exhibit A:  Choi Jin Hyuk.  This actor commands each different character given him, captivating the viewers with a quiet strength and unwavering determination. Yet, when needed, he is able to easily balance out his imposing stature with a sweet and gentle empathy.  Also, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention his voice–it’s a-MAZ-ing!  The magnetism of his rich rumble coupled with his crinkly-eyed smiles is truly exquisite.  Since I’m obviously smitten, I may have, not-so-subtly, hinted that a fangirl stalking post for this particular actor was essential for the blog.  So come join me as I gush unapologetically about Choi Jin Hyuk!

The Rules of Fangirl Stalking

We will start with dramas I think are must watch works by the actor, followed by the shows that could either way.  This means they are worth watching in my opinion, but I know there are some people who don’t like the genre.  Lastly, we will cover the dramas/movies that you could really skip and not miss much (at least in the regards to the actor/actress featured).  These are the shows that are for die-hard fans who want to watch everything.  Let’s dive in, shall we?!

Watch ASAP!

Tunnel: This drama had me at time travel!  But add in Choi Jin Hyuk as an enthusiastic and tenacious detective from the mid-80’s, suddenly thrust into the present day, and you have a truly fantastic time-travel drama.  As we all know, if it’s a Korean police drama, the focus WILL be on solving a serial murder case.  This story was intense and I found myself jumping and yelling at the screen more than once.  But I loved that intertwined through it all were adorable moments of levity, like when Det. Park was trying to figure out how to use his futuristic smart phone.  Jin Hyuk was able to move between the changing moods deftly, expertly illustrating his character’s journey through the story.  I think it’s safe to say that Tunnel is definitely his best (completed) drama to date!     

Gu Family Book:  Although Choi Jin Hyuk’s screen time in this drama was rather limited, he was breathtaking as the Gumiho father to Lee Seung Gi’s character in this fusion-style historical.  I’m not usually one to get excited about this genre, but his role remains one of the most memorable parts of the story for me.  His range of emotional expression as the mythical forest protector was well executed. And it probably didn’t hurt that he looked mighty fine sporting his mane of glory too!  I enjoyed the rest of the cast too, so this drama is one that I have no trouble in recommending, especially if you’re like me and are hesitant to jump into a “historical.”

The Heirs: You guys, I really debated where to put this drama on the list!  This was the first drama I watched Choi Jin Hyuk in, and his character as Lee Min Ho’s older brother still haunts me.  Let’s be honest, there are a LOT of recognizable names in this cast and it’s easy to be distracted by all the beautiful faces.  But for me, Jin Hyuk’s portrayal of Kim Won stood out.  He was a tortured soul, not only in his family relationships, but also as he struggled to decide where his priorities were–with his career or his love.  While this high-school drama was filled with plenty of angst, Kim Won’s version seemed more mature as he grappled with the cards he’d been dealt in life.  Side note: If you haven’t seen The Heirs yet, just know that it’s one of those K-dramas that’s a rite-of-passage.  Put it on your watch list and enjoy the ride! 

Depending On My Mood

Fated to Love You: This Korean remake of the hit Taiwanese drama, about discovering love after a one-night-stand, found its way onto my favorites list.  However, for the purpose of this post, it falls to a middle-of-the-road watch status, only because Choi Jin Hyuk was relegated to being the second lead.  His character was very stylish, super sweet, and protective, and for some may have been a source of Second Lead Syndrome.  Nonetheless, I was firmly rooting for Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra as the OTP.   This one is worth a watch, as long as you prepare yourself for the fact that Jin Hyuk won’t be taking center stage. 

Panda and Hedgehog: So, this drama about rival bakeries has been on my watchlist for some time, but I’ve not seen it just yet.  I have it on authority from one of the other fangirls that Choi Jin Hyuk’s character was super cute.  And also a major source of SLS!  *sigh*  It’s hard going into a drama knowing the actor you’re fangirling over is destined for heartbreak.  But I still plan on checking this drama out, eventually. 

For The Die Hard Fans

Emergency Couple:  Ugh, I started this drama, then promptly dropped it like a hot potato.  Song Ji Hyo played opposite Choi Jin Hyuk as the OTP.  However, her character in the first few episodes was REALLY obnoxious (insert comparison to Hwang Jung Eum here).  Another strike was the fact it was a medical drama, and those tend to be hit and miss for me.  But, after a short break, I picked it back up again, determined to see it through.  (This was before I learned the wisdom of dropping dramas and not feeling guilty, ha!)  While I don’t regret my decision to finish the drama, I wasn’t overly enthralled by it either.  Nothing against Jin Hyuk, his acting wasn’t lacking, but overall, the drama was a bit meh. I’d recommend giving this one a pass.

Pride and Prejudice:  This another Choi Jin Hyuk drama that I’ve yet to see.  While I was debating whether to add it to my watchlist, I read the phrase “passionate prosecutor” in the synopsis.  Oooooh, a legal drama–not the most exciting genre to begin with.  After seeking out counsel from my fellow fangirls, I was informed this drama was a total snooze-fest.  So, my apologies to Jin Hyuk, but this is one drama I won’t be watching.

Currently Airing

Devilish Joy: Okay, this drama just started airing–in fact, we’ve only had 4 episodes so far.  BUT Choi Jin Hyuk is perfect as the chaebol doctor!  His chemistry with Song Ha Yoon is fabulous, and the bromance is pretty cute too.  Memory loss and a couple of mysteries from the past make up the main plot thread.  However, at this point I’m happily watching each week for the interaction between the OTP–they’re so sweet!

What do you think drama fans?!  Share your favorite Choi Jin Hyuk dramas with me in the comments!



Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

14 thoughts on “Fangirl Stalking: Choi Jin Hyuk

  1. I’m so excited to read that someone else is also swooning over this actor! I have seen all the dramas you mentioned, except Pride and Prejudice. I thought that his acting in Tunnel was absolutely incredible! Between that voice of his and his acting ability I’m a fan girl too! Thanks for the great article!

  2. I’m a completist LOL if that’s a thing! I’ve seen EVERYTHING he’s been in – his role in Heirs (along with Min Hyuk of CNBlue’s) comprised the best reason to watch it, and he nailed that role very well indeed, giving it substance in a drama notably lacking it.
    I very much enjoyed both Pride and Prejudice (although noting a few plot holes/logic lapses) and Emergency Couple. Never really understood why so many people didn’t like that last one. Possibly because romcoms viewers don’t expect that kind of realism….

    • I also really liked Emergency Couple, although I think that one of the reasons some people didn’t is because they took to long to show us the couple in love. If some of the better parts of the relationship and some of the early difficulties before they got to their worst had come sooner in the drama, them falling back in love would have been much more believable. Once you finish and look back, it’s all there, but there is a point where I found myself wondering where the pull was coming from between them.

      (The elevator scene and the scene immediately following with the second female lead are some of the funniest romantic comedy moments ever, thought, in my opinion 😀 😀 )

  3. Choi Jin Hyuk absolutely deserves to be on your Stalking List! I can’t say it any better than you did how i feel about him. And your words are beautifully poetic. The order you listed your dramas is very similar to my order. Though I dropped “Heirs” and “Pride and Prejudice.” I suffered through Emergency Couple too. Only because it was him, and i liked the 2nd Male Lead too.

    There’s one drama that’s not on your list that I LOVED, He’s the Male lead, and gets ample screen time, but the drama’s focus is more on family and the FL’s growth from a somewhat spoiled rich girl to a provider for her family when something befalls her beloved Father.

    It’s called “It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl” from 2011. It stars Moon Chae Won. Choi Jin Hyuk and Lee Dong Hae (From Panda and the Hedgehog) play brothers. I don’t want to give away the plot, but things do get somewhat melo, but not in the way you’d expect. Still, you’ll want tissues.

    I highly recommend it if you want to see an early performance by Choi Jin Hyuk, his face looks just slightly different too, but it doesn’t matter, you’ll know those crinkly eyes and that smile anywhere. And he SINGS. Oh my gosh, he sings so beautifully. I also love that he provided the love song for Gu Family Book too. I don’t know why he didn’t get more lead roles after this drama. It took 3 years before he finally starred in “Emergency Couple.”

    I guess the time was well spent, because to me he’s an actor that improves with every role. I think his role in “Tunnel” was amazing, he was in top form. I look forward to “Devilish Joy.”

    And I need to plug – If you feel the need for more CJH, please feel free to check out my “Dream Drama” called “Afterglow” from 2015. A lot of readers enjoyed it. 😀

    • Adding It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl to my watchlist- thanks for the recommendation!
      I love listening to CJH sing as well… his song from the soundtrack of Heirs is on my OST playlist.
      I’m a big reader (as well as drama watcher) so thanks for the link to your writing- I will check it out!

  4. You NEED to watch Panda and Hedgehog. He smiles so much on this show and his character is so nice. I had never felt SLS until I watched this drama and fell for his adorableness! Lee Donghae is super cute too and it’s just a nice lighthearted drama tbh

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