MBC in Talks with Group 8 to Air Beautiful Man with Jang Geun Seok

As we head into the dog days of Summer, the K-networks are busy trying to lock down their drama schedule through the end of the year with hopes of snatching up any drama able to reverse the trend of middling ratings all around. Very few dramas break 20% ratings these days, forget 30% and above, when just a few years ago it was the 30% and above that felt like a stretch and 20% easily doable as long as the drama didn’t suck and wasn’t a niche product. SBS appears to have it all locked down with Heirs being its most high profile upcoming drama, so whether MBC wants to go young I don’t know but the network is reportedly in talks with production company Group 8 to pick up its upcoming manhwa-adapted K-drama Beautiful Man starring Jang Geun Seok. So this project wasn’t some sort of in-joke and really is happening? Drama gods help us all. If it’s good I’ll gladly consider myself pleasantly surprised, if it’s a hot mess of epic proportions I can already foresee the flame wars. MBC is a logical home for Beautiful Man since most of Group 8’s manga or manhwa adapted dramas have ended up on that network, from Goong to Tamra the Island to Playful Kiss. The network lost out on Boys Before Flowers which went to KBS. I actually quite like Group 8 products that aired on MBC, Tamra is one of my all-time favorite dramas with so much heart and soul, Goong was adorable before the second half extension killed it, and PK is like a little snail that could in my mind. But I confess that the synopsis for Beautiful Man turns my stomach in all the wrong ways – the leading man is a narcissist and bona fide “most beautiful man in the world” who uses his looks to woo women so he can climb to the top, while the leading lady is a “beyond ordinary” girl who has been crushing on him since high school. News reports keep calling this a funny and romantic drama but I’m genuinely flummoxed how this set up could possibly come across as either of those sentiments. If picked up, Beautiful Man will follow Top Medical Team on the Wed-Thurs slot, premiering sometime in December. It will be up against Man From Another Star with Kim Soo Hyun on SBS and Inspiring Generation with Kim Hyun Joong on KBS. Okay – this three way match-up makes me die laughing already. Bring it on!

Group 8 productions based on comic books are known to deviate from the source material in varying degrees. Goong the drama conceptually was like the manhwa and followed about 50% of the story, but then the second half was a completely different story. Tamra the Island was also very very different than its manhwa after the first few episodes, while PK more or less stayed with the manga narrative with some deviations that actually made it more palatable for me. Adapting Beautiful Man is screenwriter Yoo Young Ah, who was part of the team that wrote the script for the hit movie Miracle in Cell #7. The Beautiful Man manhwa is actually not set in high school but when the leads are in their late 20s, having graduated from high school 10 years prior. So the high school scenes will be flashbacks, but it will show the leading lady being completed infatuated with the leading man. His name is Dokko Ma Te, and her name is the punny Kim Bo Dong, with Bo Dong meaning “ordinary” so she has the most common Korean last name with a first name that literally means ordinary. In the manhwa, they meet up ten years later after he’s been on a quest to woo women for his own gain and she somehow gets swept up in it. I think the first thing this drama production needs to do is hire on a genuinely bright and warm actress who can act, so that the leading lady character doesn’t become the doormat all future drama doormats are measured against and has a chance of being likeable.

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MBC in Talks with Group 8 to Air Beautiful Man with Jang Geun Seok — 46 Comments

      • My thought was a pictorial in Tiger Beat magazine. Clean and wholesome and super cheesy.

        This whole set-up is so wrong – it is only going to feed this guy’s super-size ego further, and I feel like he has a tenuous hold on reality already.

    • Not the only one who thought Liberace my dear. The boy’s gone way too much off left field for me to bother trying to make sense. It gives me a headache. Still, I’ll probably check the drama out. Most likely out of loyalty. I think. LOL

  1. Did you say that Kim Hyun Joong has sign on for Inspiring Generation? Looking forward to seeing him in anything. It’s been too long.

  2. I’ll say that the character fits his personality from what I’ve seen and heard.. This really souds like hair pulling frustration type of drama (very similar to ISWAK).

  3. If he’s going to act as the most beautiful man in the world, at least tell me he’ll get a new stylist and a makeover…cuz with that look he’s had for the last three years that would be very hard to believe….i do love this guy’s talent and immense potential, but I read this synopsis and I already dislike theproject…just like the last one he picked….which makes me annoyed with him…I wish he’d diversify and stay away from romantic dramas for a while…I’m still checking this one out for… hoping for a miracle that this would be any good

  4. i am glad to hear it will deviate from source material because i don’t like the manhwa very much. I like the writer, so i hope to see her make major changes.

    Acting wise, JKS is a stronger actor than the other 2.

    Ratings wise, it is hard to guess if we based on popularity. KSH is definitely more popular in Korea. But Korea drama rating often shows that the popularity of the leads hardly affects rating. However, i still think that KSH new drama will have an advantage because of Heir. i think Heir will have a good ratings not because of the casting but because the writer style is what the korea public loves, so if KSH new drama is to follow after Heir, it will have a good advantage in terms of ratings. And KSH seems to be picking up all the right dramas so i most probably he will win. A bit surprise to see BYJ let his top 2 money makers “fight” at the same slot. Keyeast is good at picking good roles for KSH, so i wonder if they are equally good at choosing the new drama for KHJ.

    Plot wise, none appeals to me. Hopefully the teaser will make me decide which is more appealing.

    • What?!!! Acting wise , JKS is a stronger actor than the other 2..?!!
      I think something wrong with your head or your eyes.You really funny.,make me LoL so hard…in Korea.,KSH has been chop as the most talented young actor of his generation..2nd was SJK and 3rd was Joo Won..and just look at the logic.,you can see this drama will definitely got the rating around 5-7% only…

      • you can have your opinion. i can have mine. I don’t think the other two is a stronger actor than JKS. I can also say there is something wrong with your head and eyes too. Do you like that?

        JKS is also known to be one of the best in his generation before, with Yoo Ah-in and some others. KSH, SJK, Joo Won are listed because they are the “newer” upcoming star. Does not necessary mean they are considered the best now? Not necessary.

        A few months later, you will hear people saying Lee Jong-suk is the most talented among his generation and whoever who manage to nail a good role

      • I think Min is right, I do,think JGS is a stronger actor than KSH at least in terms of range and versatility thats already has been proven and also in terms of experience…I think KSH has yet to show that because he doesnt have as many projects under his belt and has more to learn by doing more stuff …..I think SJK is en par but Joo Won ?! Lol…see now you make me laugh….Joo Won has promise but has places to go in terms of nuance and technique….

      • Agree with you.JKS acting level is really beh…I am not fans of the other 2 men,but i will rather watch their dramas than his.

    • I agree that JKS is a stronger actor than KSH & KHJ. Experience, character expression JKS top it both. And inspite of the ratings of his two previous dramas in Korea, PDs has never given up on him, because they know Jang Keun Suk’s great potential as an actor. I will definitely watch it!

      KHJ i think he better stick doing MVs, there are so many excellent korean actors, but after watching KHJ in Playful Kiss oh gosh I said this one is different, he totally ruined my perception of korean actors with his stiff acting!

  5. Story: Been there, done that. I have flashbacks of the Donghae’s character in Skipbeat. Not my cup of tea but I guess his hords of fans will jump on the wagon.
    And yes, a makeover please…

  6. I think his very extreme metro image is already hard to accept in korea today. A drama like this will probably make it worst for him. No matter how strong an actor he is , and he is an excellent one. i think he is killing his own career with this obsession to keep this flowery image.

  7. “The most beautiful MAN in the world”, he has a pretty face alright, but his small frame doesn’t qualify him for the title. He reminds me of Jung Kyung Ho during Smile You days. At least after his military service, JKH now has great body and abs in Cruel/Heartless City.

  8. Well, we all know JKS can act and I believe he will change his image or go for total makeover for this drama. Now the significant factor is the leading lady. If they choose the wrong leading lady, it will affect this drama adversely. I have Moon Geun Yong in my mind as the best fit leading lady, but I know it’s impossible with her schedule for Goddess of Fire. I really miss our Geun Geun couple. Seems like it’s only MGY who can tame JKS’ quirkiness

      • huhu..I am thinking of MGY too..the minute I read that “genuinely bright and warm actress, who can act”.. :)..can they act together again..Our Holiday Couple (because it will aired in Dec..right? )

  9. I’m sorry but the outfit JGS is wearing in these pictures looks like something my Aunt Irene would wear to one of her ladies’ luncheons. In fact, the hair is similar too. He needs to manly it up for me to be interested in his projects.

  10. I am soo looking forward to the three way race here, if MBC does manage to buy the rights for this show. All three actors have a healthy fan following, although I’m expecting KSH’s show to do best ratings wise. Because that drama’s premise seem interesting and technically, he’s the most popular today. But I guess ratings don’t really depend on online popularity…

    Anyway, the whole “prettiest man on earth” makes me wanna barf. It just boosts ego – which is already whale sized for JGS. A narcissist playing a narcissist is fitting though. I hope they don’t cast an actress I like. I can’t go through another ISWAK again – only this time, I think it’s gonna be much worse. UGH.

  11. What in the world happened to JGS?? His ‘Liberace’ style is really off-putting and his physique is a mere shadow of his younger former self. JGS was far more masculine and attractive when he was in his teens compared to now. He was charismatic in Mary Stayed Out All Night, but still looking a bit on the skinny side. He is a good actor, and I really hope he will continue to challenge himself in perfecting his craft rather than preening about like a flaming queen.

  12. He needs a good haircut and, please, please, stop being an as****le! I loved his dramas, but now, I can only see a spoiled brat that doesn’t know how to manage his own career. That’s what I think, IMHO. He can continue “singing” dance trash, or being a conceited actor, but he has lost my respect.

  13. Sorry, but Jang Geun Seok isn’t the most beautiful man in Korea. He’s attractive, maybe charismatic.. but handsome? the most beautiful man? It’s a joke…. Is today April’s fools?

  14. So I guess it’ll be Kim Soo Hyun vs Jang Geun Seok?

    Not even considering kim hyun Joong’s drama, I don’t think the korean audience can suffer bad acting when they have the other two to watch. Guy should just stick to kpop. I watched the special on City Conquest and the film footage looked bad and his acting was even more awful. Im hoping they use the money that they earned from the copyrights of the drama to pay off the crew and other cast instead of giving a huge percentage to kim hyun joong.
    Jang Geun Seok has still to fall back into the grace of korean audience but I doubt it’ll be this drama. Im hating the roles he’s done for the last..three or four years and it seems to encourage his narcissism even more. Its a shame because he’s the best actor in his peer group
    I don’t find anything special with Kim Soo Hyun but I think people in korea like him really well and Im putting my money on his drama to come on top

    • I agree that he’s the best actor of his peer group. Let’s not give up on him and see how he does miracle again. I believe he can.

  15. This guy is very talented but has a screw loose. He should seek advice from G-dragon or enlist in the military to set his head straight.

  16. He really look gay… and what girl on her right mind would want a boyfriend more beautiful than herself… huh!! huh!! Huh!!!

  17. Don’t mean to offend anybody, but JGS always give me goose bumps with his feminine look. There’s lots of pretty boy out there, but his look is just not right.
    He’s a fine actor, I have to give him that. But as a ‘beautiful’ man who has women at his feet??.. Not the right look, though. They need a gorgeous, yet manly/sexy man for that role, not a pretty one.

    • Well Jang Keun Suk is undoubtedly gorgeous, and to act manly & sexy will not be difficult for him as well coz we all know he is very much capable of changing his looks. “But as a beautiful man who has women at his feet??” – In reality that’s 100% TRUE! JKS has million of female eels all over the world lol.

      • agree with you. If someone ever doubt JKS’ off screen life or look, never ever doubt his dedication on screen. he is the most versatile actor who can look as if he jumps straight out of the manga. I myself like all looks of him. He’s perfect on and off screen

  18. Honestly I feel like this plot is being way over analyzed. I don’t see it as really any different from any other drama. A really good looking guy who thinks he’s too good for everyone, is a playboy and then life changes when that one special ordinary girl comes along who has loved him forever and shows him the error of his ways. That is essentially the plot of every romantic drama ever.

    Playful kiss: really good looking, smart, and more well off guy who thinks he’s above it all, ordinary dumb girl who changes him.

    Goong: really good looking prince who thinks he’s above it all, poor country girl who changes him

    Boys Over Flowers: really good looking rich guy, poor ordinary girl who changes him.

    Secret Garden: really good looking rich guy with entitlement issues, poor girl who changes him.

    IT’S ALL THE SAME STORY!!!

    What makes them good or not good is the acting and the chemistry between your leads. Throw in some good dialogue and squee-worthy scenes and you have a hit. This drama is no different. This character is a really good looking guy, a seducer of women who gets challenged to go through 10 of them and then all his plans go to hell once he meets the poor, ordinary girl who’s gonna rock his world.

  19. pretty man is an awesome show and i cant wait for next episodes to come out … he is gorgeous and a wonderful actor cant wait to see what he does in the future …all i can say is haters gonna hate but you need to watch your comments some are very cruel and un-necessarly unkind and can hurt people… it is one thing to dislike something but try to be respectful to those who dont share your way of thinking… they say us as americans can be rude but i think we have nothing on some with the comments is see posted on here …..pretty man you are awesome keep up the good work so i can enjoy in the future …much love

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