Start-Up Ratings Remain Steady in Episode 2 as Story Smartly Lines Up All Four Leads with Compelling Connections

Some dramas star a fan’s favorite star and the lengths by which I hear devotees try to rationalize the bad writing, lackluster directing, and even bland acting doesn’t make it actually any good. tvN‘s latest Sat-Sun drama Start-Up is the opposite for me, I could write it off easily but it’s just so so sooooo good, with a story that so many actors and actresses should die for to be cast in. Two episodes in the four leads are nuanced and complex, the relationship interactions are twisty yet make sense, and the supporting cast wonderfully fleshed out and entertaining. This drama’s start is the script but the directing is also top notch, so fast and fluid and dreamy when suitable. PD Oh worked with Park Hye Ryun on her last drama While You Were Sleeping and also directed You From Another Star, Hotel Del Luna, and Doctors. Currently the second leads Kim Sun Ho and Kang Hana are acting circles around leads Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk but not in a way that ruins the drama, Suzy and Nam Joo Hyuk are holding their own but just not as technically proficient as the other two is all. I was so ready to ship Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong, and still am somewhat, but Nam Do San’s arrival dovetailed so well that I can see him and Dal Mi forming a present day connection that stands alone so we’re off to the races for my new weekend drama crack!


Start-Up Ratings Remain Steady in Episode 2 as Story Smartly Lines Up All Four Leads with Compelling Connections — 31 Comments

  1. So far so good with this drama. You hit it right on the nail when you said it’s a drama actors & actresses should die for to be casted in this roll. Really am seeing some claws come out trying to tear down the current leads ?

  2. Glad to hear that this drama is good. I love Nam Joo Hyuk, but was going to pass on this one, since I found the other actors and the story quite bland.
    And I can’t believe Nam Joo Hyuk is bad in this. He has received so much unearned criticism in the past…Well, maybe I will check this out after all and see with my own eyes.

    • To be fair a lot of the criticism NJH got in his early days was deserved – but I haven’t seen anything he’s been in since 2017 so if he really did get better after that then that’s a good thing (though others said it was uneven)

      • Well, I disagree since he catched my eye long ago in Scarlet heart, and I thought he was acting well and conveying emotions in a subtle way. I thought he had potential. But many people like to criticise newbie pretty actors, the same as they did with IU…

  3. On a side note..the Ost “Future” is fricking awesome….I m addicted to it ..It is really rare to find an Ost sung by the whole group..Red Velvet has done it again with perfect harmonization..Vocal queens.
    The drama is going good so far..

    • It went down? Ha, yet Koala wrote that it stayed steady as if there was no drop and didn’t put the rating anywhere in the post or headline like she normally does. Haha…being biased is fine but let’s be truthful, shall we?

      • It’s the truth that it went down though. Check nielsen’s data yesterday and you will be slapped by the truth.

      • @Luna,

        The last line of my comment wasn’t directed at you. It was to Koala. She normally puts the ratings right up there in the headline like a target for mockery if it’s low or a victory chant if it’s high.

        But she seems to have a soft spot for the writer and this drama so she didn’t mention the ratings drop or the exact ratings at all.

      • Episode one ratings were 4.27 and 4.49. Episode two stayed steady with 4.20 and 4.36. Hardly a big decrease. Koala isn’t being biased. ?

  4. Writing is so good…. im really liking this drama. Suzy is doing a good job.

    Fans of this 1% rated actress are so pressed with suzy….

  5. Anyways, I am watching the drama for the writer because I love her works esp the lines her leads have with older characters who are the moral compass like here we have the Grandma. The leads are watchable and I like the supporting cast.

    Here comes Suzy antis- or Suzy-allergics or Just Haters of everything about Suzy… 3.. 2.. 1… Hahahaha.

  6. If Suzy has indeed picked up some acting ability after several years and several attempts by skilled writers to work with what she’s got and delivered a drama that lived up to its hype, then that can only be a good thing.

    Maybe her fans can finally give up the persecution complex about every time she’s been (rightfully) criticised for poor or mediocre acting and her critics can be grateful she finally, after ten years in the game, can bring something other than a pretty face and PPL money to the table.

    • Having a pretty face is a talent. Why else would some actress & actors get plastic surgery? ? But on a serious note people have got to look at what they posts. It’s not too hard to see some of the fake “critics”. Thank goodness Suzy has been making money all these years. Imagine getting in people’s nerves & NOT making money ??‍♀️

      • No seriously, it’s good for her – she’s never had to audition for a single role in her life or be good at acting (her ostensible job)

        But if you think mediocrity at the actual job is something to be celebrated and rewarded because “a pretty face is a talent” then, on a serious note, that says a lot about you. Kpop fan culture is a curse.

      • Lmao at you thinking she didn’t have to addition. LOL. I don’t take myself too seriously on web sites that have people trashing actors/actresses because of their opinion of someone’s acting.

  7. I enjoyed the 2 episodes and hope that it will continue . ALICE is such a disappointment . i’m going watching to check “Search” cast is good and OCN always produce good stuff .

  8. Interesting good old storytelling style drama so far – things move forward at a steady pace, some usual tropes for the dramatic effects, attractive leads, credible second leads and a whole lot of competent actors playing side characters who are relevant to the main leads’ plots. I like Suzy. She is very attractive on screen and can play such quirky and frivolous character well. All in all, these first two episodes of “Start-Up” are certainly worthwhile for K-drama fans to check out.

  9. Truth be told, I had very low expectations for this drama, what with the bland promotional posters, even their promotional interviews seemed bland to me lol. I was also concerned that I haven’t been impressed with the acting of Suzy and NJH in their previous dramas. I decided to check out the first 2 episodes since I had a couple of hours to spare this weekend. Surprise, surprise, I am quite liking this drama! The backstory is just so rich (didn’t expect it to be that good) and well-written and directed and got me hooked. I would even say that this role fits Suzy, most of her scenes so far do not need heavy acting, the writer and director made it so such that the backstory will carry and convey the emotions to the audience. So excited that there’s another one to look forward to every week in this pandemic.

    • Agreed with this – neither of them is a great actor, but as long as they can be good *enough* for this, it’ll be a fun, charming drama and the writer has a track record of being able to work well with people who aren’t exactly thespians (I wasn’t into her last drama but hope this is good – I don’t want it to suck).

  10. I like ep2 so it’s a good sign for drama. I know a lot of people have criticise NJH but I have a weak spot for him over the years as I see how how he has Improved and put himself out there. I thought he really did well in the past 2 drama he was in and although one can argue that there are a lot more Better actors that deserve the male lead spot than him, I think it’s fair not to discredit someone who is working hard enough and value his chances. I like his character here, it’s nothing new for him In terms of acting but we haven’t seen much yet. I do like that he looked really handsome scrubbed up so brownie points for that.
    Also i don’t dislike Suzy as much as many people, every time I look at her, I just can’t help but exclaim how pretty she is. She’s just the kind of girl that you wish you can be. Her looks aren’t gorgeous but it’s a lasting niceness and beauty about them. I think she’s doing well here, I like her interpretation of the character and she’s emoting well. If she’s a newbie I’ll say she’s got potential, well she’s not a newbie so I’ll say she doing ok. Regardless I like it enough and she does comedy well too. Right now I’m invested in all the characters – it’s good writing. And the directing is on point and I’m loving the OST too. It has a very fresh vibe. Very well done at ep2

  11. Park Hye Ryun usually writes good stories (her second half usually much more weak than first half), with nice messages and likable characters, but dang she likes to choose actors in lead who can’t do much more nuanced roles or stuck in the same image, which negatively impacts her “freshness” and “uniqueness”. If she went with other type of actors, I feel like she could’ve been a much bigger hit maker.
    Her best duo until now is director, who understands her style and he frames actors nicely.

  12. I like how you give credit to the PD and the writer in the production of this. It’s a perspective that has made my kdrama watching much more nuanced. I have friends who are new converts to kdrama and I can see that they have a long way to go. Yes, Start-Up is off to a good start, the rich backstory, good support acting, esp NDR, the child version of the second lead. How can it not be good when second leads are strong? I guess it is part of the story to have the main leads grow and find their way. Hope that will be carried through by the main leads, as I too, have reservations. I remain open though.

  13. I am having 2nd lead syndrome already and it’s only 2 episodes. It doesn’t help that the younger version of 2nd lead was played by one of my favorite young actors. Ugh. I get that NJH didn’t have much to do in 2 episodes but the 2nd lead back story was so good. His relationship with grandma made me cry. I don’t know how NJH’s character is going to top that in my book. Kim Sun Ho is a scene stealer for me in a lot of his supporting roles so I’m rooting for him. Maybe the writers will do something unexpected but I doubt it.

  14. Park Hye Ryun choose her actors n actresses to project her messages n lines that makes people think n appreciate people more. Her drama – i see her messages first, her name then the actors n actresses.

    Well her pick of actors n actresses succeed in her drama and achieved her goal – people see her messages first and remember her as an amazing writer. People like me look out for her drama, must watch n excited about it n investors wants to invest in her drama – that is true success.
    Whoever she picks to act, i respect that choice cos its her drama n she measures her success based on her benchmark and the goals she wants to achieved.

  15. It’s true Suzy acting is weak at some parts, but dramas like this one, she is alright tbh. Her acting is bit flat at emotional/crying scenes, but one thing I like about her is: she always has good chemistry with her co-stars. She is also not afraid of kiss back (so many actresses lack in kissing scenes).

    Having good chemistry and good kiss scene is something I really care when the drama plot is romantic comedy.

    The main actress or actor can be really good at acting, but if they don’t have good chemistry or lack it with their romantic partner, it is such let down and not enjoyable since the entire kdrama plot is all about them as couple.

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