Eric Comes Out on Top of Korean TV Critic Assessment of Recent Idol Acting Performances

This is a worth reading commentary from a veteran Korean television critic on the recent batch of idols acting in K-dramas. Published in entertainment news MBN, the critic rated the performances from the August-September dramas where veteran to newbie idol-actors were given roles of varying prominence. To now one’s surprise, and I’ll even argue there can be no disagreement here, Eric‘s performance as the male lead in Discovery of Romance was a tour de force of acting as good if not better than an professionally trained actor could have delivered. The critic wrote he’s no longer Shinhwa‘s Eric, he’s now also Moon Jung Hyuk the actor.

Coming in second was the surprise of the summer for me in Do Kyung Soo’s memorable debut in It’s Okay, It’s Love. Going by his idol stage name of D.O. when he’s performing with EXO, whether it was the right role or he simply is a natural, D.O. was fantastic in a supporting role in IOIL and worthy to grace the screen surrounded by a phenomenal cast. Rounding out the top three is a new fave of mine in Park Hyung Sik and his first main role in the weekend drama What’s With the Family playing the central family maknae brother. He wasn’t bad in Heirs but he was also unmemorable and got lost in the huge cast. Given the right role and with a crackling costar, Park Hyung Sik proves that he has an acting career ahead regardless of whether he stays in idol group ZE:A.

I’m in full concurrence with one-two-three rankings above, but for folks curious rounding out the rest of the list comes CN Blue‘s Jung Yong Hwa in Three Musketeers, Sooyoung of SNSD headlining My Spring Days, Yook Sang Jae from BtoB as one of the brothers in Plus Nine Boys, the actually improved Yunho in Records of a Night Watchman, and coming in dead last is My Lovely Girl‘s resident lovely but not yet a very good actress Krystal from f(x).


Eric Comes Out on Top of Korean TV Critic Assessment of Recent Idol Acting Performances — 57 Comments

  1. I really don’t understand why korean keep putting the title of idol turn actor to him and keep mentioning his name in this kind of articles. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. He’s veteran actor. He already acted for more than 10 years. Until now, not even the ‘true actor’ created such kind of forever classic cheesy line like him (“Do you smell something burning? My heart is burning”). He won several drama awards, he has natural acting (IMO he never overact), and he also very versatile actor (I still remember how dorky he was when singing Superman…Superman …during Super Rookie after prince charming image in Bulsae then turned to poor casanova in Que Sera Sera. He’s one of the very few korean actor that I feel has kind of natural bad boy image and old school Hollywood vibe. Call me bias (because I’m fan of him), but sometimes I think why it’s really hard for others saying he’s a great actors. Because his background is an idol??? Or because the first thing they will judge is his looks?? I just hope he never get tired to proof he such a great actor in k-biz. I watched Discovery of Romance. I can say his character (Kang Tae Ha) is the most well written lead male ever. Started from such a dorky, jelly, teaser and jerk then becoming someone who fall deeply, try to protect and respect someone he loves. There was one or two episodes, he didn’t even say much words but only showing his emotions by facial expression and mostly his eyes. And as viewer, I could felt it.

  2. I’m not sure if it’s anything to be happy about. I think he’s been acting for quite a long time? And those really defining idol-actors like Uhm Junghwa, Jang Nara, Yoon Eunhye (sorry, can’t think of the guys); no one really considers them idol-actors anymore. They are just actresses in their own right. You’ll only get put on such lists if people still regard you as an idol more than an actor. So…

    • I also wonder why they keep mentioning Eric’s name in idols turn actors. He always get first lead role after Bulsae till now. His performance always good. Maybe because his status as leader of boy band? Or maybe because his active in those two fields till now? Poor Eric..he’ll stuck forever in this kind of korean caste idol-singer-actor forever no care how great his performance is…

    • UJH and JN are not idols, they are singers/musicians ( just like Lee Seung Gi). There is a different between idols and singers/musicians. For example: Yoona is an idol, but she is not a singer, her position in her group is a visual.

      • @kitai

        even in Korea, singers =/= idols. Park Hyo Shin, Sung Si Kyung or Baek Ji Young are singers, but no one calls them idols.

  3. Moon Jung Hyuk’s performance was outstanding in DoR. Glad that he is receiving recognition for his fine acting. Congrats to him!

    I enjoyed watching Do Kyung Soo in IoIL. He has good chemistry with JIS. Currently, enjoying Park Hyung Sik as Dal Bong in What’s with this Family. He is so natural in the maknae role. Jung Yong Hwa’s role in The Three Musketeers suits him and he is doing well in that role. Can’t comment on the others as I have not seen their performances so far.

  4. I have to confess…. No, apologize to Eric- Before DoL, I just had the displeasure of watching him from Strongest Chil Woo( shudders- it was bad…just as a whole). I didn’t have much expectations for Eric, but boy, is he good or what?! As it was mentioned by @ Sarah, Eric acted beyond drama ‘s dialogues… All of us audience felt his conflicts of emotion, his pain… Thank you, Eric, for such excellent performance… I hope your past as an idol will become one of your many accomplishments( to come).

    • I saw another of his drama Spy Myung Wol. Many said it was disaster but I enjoyed the drama. I always get feeling Eric is really good to express such kind of desperations. I don’t like seeing man crying especially in k-drama because usually those guys cry like anything but less emotions. But when Eric cries, I feel sympathy for him. In his latest drama, DoL, there were episode where he asked his ex gf for break up or in the hospital when he realized his fault, those scenes were so heart breaking for me. I like to see him crying..XD so I’m ready to see him in more serious drama for the future.

      • I actually quite liked Spy Myung-wol and Eric had good chemistry with Han Ye-seul. Soldiered through the drama for them both. Eric is a decent actor and quite likeable on screen. Hope to see him get more good roles.

  5. Congratulations to the top 3!! Didn’t watch DoR or IOIL… and am sure if you wouldn’t have recommended WWTF I’d have missed Hyung Sik’s awesome performance!! Planning on watching Nine as have read that he did really well in that one.

    I started watching Misaeng and Siwan’s pretty good in it as well!!

  6. I find it weird that they put D.O’s name right under Eric. Not that I’m underestimating him (I love his acting too in IOIL), but his role isn’t the main lead. These things get me annoyed especially when I put 100% trust on Krystal to act as a lead in She’s So Lovable after adoring her so much in The Heirs. Oh well…

  7. Congrats for idols-actors who got 4 and 3 star. I watched only Discovery of Romance and It’s OK It’s Love. So, I totally agree with Eric and D.O. I guess why they put Eric’s name in there is just because the man with his group is success and still active as an idol till now while others (such as Yoon Eun Hye, Jang Na Ra) already inactive from long time ago. I even don’t know Eun Hye and Na Ra were idol…LOL… Instead of feel sorry for Eric because of this idol turns actor status, I think it’s kind of his achievement. Proof Eric has so many talents and great in all those fields (dancing, singing, rapping, acting, composing songs). And I heard he also CEO of company too. So, I don’t feel bad for him instead I think God is unfair to create such a perfect human being. God must spent more time when created him…LOL..…Good luck for others too. Hope to hear all of them get 4 or 5 star soon…

  8. I thought based on the article, Eric is first while D.O, Hyungsik and Yong Hwa are all 2nd since all of them have 3.5 stars? But the comments for Hyungsik and D.O are better than Yong Hwa. Kind of weird

    Anyway, it is not fair to compare Eric with them. I think Eric should be considered an actor since he has been acting for quite sometime and he is really good. In fact, his fellow band mate, Dong wan is really outstanding too.

    I enjoy Hyungsik’s performance in the weekend drama. He has his style of acting that is different from the trained actors but it works for the maknae role. However, i hope he can tackle more serious roles like the twin roles in Sirius in the future.

  9. Definitely Eric! I’ve never watched any of his drama before and Discovery of Love isn’t for everyone (especially those who looks for dramatization of love story), I really like that drama because of Eric and Jung Yumi, he surprised me in a pleasant way. Anything that doesn’t seem logical to me somehow works and believable when they do it. Besides, their chemistry was unbelievable in that drama, I couldn’t understand Jung Yumi’s hesitation in deciding.

    Other than him, I’d only agree with Park Hyung Sik. I still think his shining moment was Nine. I don’t think Yunho should even be on the list, I love DBSK but when I watch him act, I’d think that he shouldn’t force himself into acting. Sigh.

  10. Eric is beyond brilliant. I think he was the only reason I was able to go through DOR. He doesn’t act as often as I’d want him to but whenever he does, he has so much screen presence and control over his character, it makes he forget he’s even Eric.

    I also agree with other comments that he shouldn’t be called an idol actor. He’s proven himself to be a lot more than that. So many idols this year has improved actually. Yunho and JYH is doing a lot better than they had previously, so its good to see everyone getting their fair due.

  11. Not familiar with most of those idols. But for me, Eric’s acting in DoR is much better than true actor itself. Kang Tae Ha’s character is complicated and has so many layers of emotions. Cute, playful, jerk, mature, straight froward, not too mention his masculine and overload hotness…I saw his performance in Que Sera Sera too. And I don’t think any other actor could pull the role of handsome jerk that anyone supposed to hate but turn to love him.

    Another great idol actor is Yong Hwa. He has a lot of potential in it. BUt we need to see till he has chance as the main lead.. But I bet he could do well too.

  12. I am here to root for choi Sooyoung. she is 4 stars in my book. The girl is a natural. If she decides to make acting her craft she has a long and beautiful future ahead of her. She has the amazing ability to hold her own against much more experience actors and stand her ground beautifully. I am a new fan.

  13. I love seeing That’s Okay, It’s Love on this list! That show used the idol/actor in a VERY smart way. D.O. is young and making his first foray into TV–the definition of idol/actor. (Eric is an actor, in my book.)
    But TOIL took the formula of “insert pop idol here” and gave him a VERY unusual role. I don’t want to give big spoilers, because the show’s awesome and some people might not have watched it yet. But basically, though D.O. is in a secondary role, the whole story hinges on him.
    Constructing the story around an innocent, lovable pop idol puts viewers really deep inside the main character’s P.O.V. It’s impossible not to care for D.O.’s character. Viewers want the best for him. But what is best for him might not be good for anyone else in the story.
    In fact, I’d say D.O. is the third point in the love triangle in this drama, because Jo In-Sung leaves Gong Hyo-Jin for D.O., in one sense. The climax of the series is the confrontation between D.O. and Jo In-Sung, and it’s a fascinating scene, totally unusual and strange, but as touching as anything in drama land.
    TOIL’s not perfect, but it did shake up my thinking about the mind. And the endearingly awkward D.O. was a big part of that.

    • Totally agree… As we were watching TOIL, not knowing D.O.’s role and how essential to the plot, just thought what a great young actor this boy is…

  14. Agree with what everyone else says. I kind of see Eric as an actor before a singer. Maybe because I am not into K-pop at all and am completely unfamilar with Shinhwa, but Eric has always juggled both hats pretty well through a couple of projects by now.

    • I wrote the same like you as before.. Until I realized I was misreading it due to ockoala wrote them in ranking 1,2,3.. It’s actually need to be read in terms of the stars.. Which means, Eric > D.O = ParkHyungSik = JungYongHwa = ChoiSooyoung > YookSangJae > JungYunho > Krystal…
      And the reason for the order D.O first and last is Sooyoung is because it was based on the released of each drama (IOIL-July 23rd, WWTF-Aug 16th, T3M-Aug 17th, MSD-Sep 10)…

  15. Was about to just write ♫ Fly me to the 문 ♪ but it wouldn’t do him enough justice.
    Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to see him grace our screen again.
    Thanks for the article, Mrs Koala!

  16. Dude, most folks need to chill out and read the context more carefully.

    This is ONE critic from ONE newspaper writing about the recent idol acting performances, and recent being only from dramas that aired in August-September. It’s not a ranking of idol actor performances the world over. And it’s not even a ranking to begin with, the critic assessed each one independently of each other and gave a critique for how that idol did in the role given. It’s not Eric is better than D.O. or anything like that.

    The ranking part is simply putting this critic’s assessment in the order from most to least promising.

  17. My first drama was Que Sera Sera and I didn’t know that Eric Mun was a singer. I really love him like an actor and in TV show (I was a fan of X-Man and Love Letter :D). For me, he’s a great actor. And in his last drama, his character was played very well !

    • LOL this reminds me of why I watched Que Sera Sera all those years ago. It was the same thing for me, I liked his personality in Xman and Love Letter. Glad to see his acting has improved. I still haven’t seen DoR yet. I thought he and Jung Yumi were okay in QSS so I’m still putting of seeing DoR. It sounds like everyone seems to really like Eric’s performance here so I guess I ought to give it a shot.

  18. I already waching him in que sera sera…He was decent.. Just decent… Not great yet. Yu mi still stole the limelight back then… . Then myungwol come intonplace… But the script all over the place… So I understand… God I’m glad he is cast as kang tae ha instead of lee jin wook who I think is a limit actor. No offense to his fans. .. He won’t be able convey kang tae ha’s conflict so well the way eric does… I’m surprise he already improved a lot as an actor.. He start to come on his own with jung yumi… Please can I ask to make a third reunion? I’m so addicted to them being just together is not even funny…

    • Did you know Jung Yoo Mi was the one who recommended Eric to DoL team production soon as she read the script? When I saw the DoL press conference, the girl seems has crush on him for real. My favorite OTP. I don’t mind if they would reunion in real life forever (If you know what I mean*) ^.^

      • Haha, I know… Eric too, accept DOL’s project because Yu Mi would be in it.. ! OMG I’m so over the moon when I heard that… My shipper heart… Ottoke? I become greedier as times goes… I don’t mind them being together for real, too LOL …

        I love all my fav. OTP… But Eric – Yu Mi pairing is spesial to me.. There is just something about them acting together that move me.. be it happy times, or sad times…. everytime I watch the ending of Que Sera Sera, I’m still shed tears until now..

  19. I didn’t know eric before DoR (though I remember trying out “the-drama-that-we-should-not-name-about-north-korean-spy”) and, man, he was AWESOME!!!

  20. Park hyung sik !!!! Glad to see his name on the list.
    I knew he has a talent in terms of acting :3
    since i saw him in “nine times time travel” i became his fans, and more like him after i saw his acting in “sirius”.
    I hope i can see him more later as 1st lead like siwan in “misaeng”.

    Park hyung sik, fighting !

  21. I like Ze:A and I dont want ZE:A will be disbanded. I really hope Hyung Shik will never leave ZE:A.I want him stay there until ZE:A finally gets the first hit song ever.

  22. By the way, I couldn’t see the whole headline to this post on my phone earlier.
    My heart just about fell into my basement when I read, “Eric Comes Out…”

    I KNOW you do this on purpose, there, missy.

  23. Dear Ms Koala, sorry to be slightly off-topic, but since Siwan is mentioned in some of the posts as idol-actor, have you watched Misaeng? I personally think that the show and Siwan are awesome, and would love to read your opinion.

  24. i love eric mun to the moon and back! 🙂 singer actor dancer rapper or whatever! he is so freakin’ talented! i love his pairing with jung yu mi!

    • HAHA Eric Mun to the moon. Yes, he’s super talented and super sexy. I wish someday he would be more recognized by everyone in Korea and world. He can speak english well, so no barrier for intenational career though.

  25. My beloved ZE:A’s Junyoung aka Moon Leader will say,”That’s ZE:A for you.”

    Hyung Shikki, keep the good work and spread ZE:A’s name widely so Moon will come back proudly.

    • Oh yes please. i never thought about this pairing. But Eric and Eun Hye will be good pairing. I think both have similar image: Good looks + idol background + sex appeal

  26. So, when will we get Eric on the screen again? It’s already 2016! He’s one of my favorite korean actor. My selfish mind want him leave his group and focus only for acting projects (but I’m sure Shinhwa fans will kick me out to Han river).

  27. I recently watched Discovery of Romance and I totally adore Eric’s acting. He can convey his emotion and message through his eyes even without saying anything. Now that’s what I call a true actor.

    He’s tagged as one of the idol-turned-actor because he WAS or IS an idol before he started his career in acting field. That’s a fact, not sure why people are fussing about it.

  28. He and his idol group, who were all close friends, seem to still be close. I read where Eric, when he first started acting, shared his earnings with other group members. Has anyone else read that too? I just like his acting, doesn’t hurt that he is easy on the eyes too.

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