2021 Year of the Youth Sageuks with Grown Up Child Actresses Kim So Hyun, Park Eun Bin, and Kim Yoo Jung Fails So Much Talent with Lee Se Young on Deck for the Final at Bat

It hurts my drama loving heart to have seen so much talented wasted so far and I wish these young actresses came of age a decade ago when there was actually good female lead sageuk roles and amazing scripts. The year of 2021 was supposed to the arrival of the grown up child actress talents and their headlining role in a female-centric sageuk. There was Kim So Hyun in River Where the Moon Rises, Park Eun Bin in The King’s Affection, and of course Kim Yoo Jung with Lovers of the Red Sky (Hong Chun Gi). But so far drama land has batted 3-0 for in terms of these talented actresses, each drama has ended with middling ratings and criticism of the plot. Poor Kim So Hyun had the bad luck to swap out a male lead at the beginning of her drama airing and re-filming, Kim Yoo Jung singlehandedly kept Red Sky watchable solely on her acting charisma as the script went to pot, and Park Eun Bin try as she might cannot anchor a drama when her male leads are all completed outclassed by her and the entire adult cast out-acted by the child actress in that drama. Remember way back when there was Ha Ji Won in Empress Ki, Lee Yo Won in Queen Seondeok, Han Hyo Joo in Dong Yi, and of course the queen of them all Lee Young Ae in Dae Jang Geum. Those days feel like another lifetime ago. But there is still one more grown up child actress with the final sageuk of the year on deck – Lee Se Young arriving in November with The Red Sleeve Cuff. If that drama has even a semblance of a decent plot then it could salvage what has been a tremendously bad sageuk year.


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2021 Year of the Youth Sageuks with Grown Up Child Actresses Kim So Hyun, Park Eun Bin, and Kim Yoo Jung Fails So Much Talent with Lee Se Young on Deck for the Final at Bat — 67 Comments

  1. Pingback: 2021 Year of the Youth Sageuks with Grown Up Child Actresses Kim So Hyun, Park Eun Bin, and Kim Yoo Jung Fails So Much Talent with Lee Se Young on Deck for the Final at Bat - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. At least KYJ and KSH did well in the acting department despite the plot failing.

    Park Eun Bin was completely out-acted by her childhood counterpart. And while I still watch the drama, I could not help but uttering out “I still don’t like this heroine as an adult”. Partly how the character was written and partly PEB’s acting which made it worse.

    • Seriously her mature beauty in River was a joy to watch. She has always had the most mature look out of all her counterparts but she really started to come into her own with River. She owned that role and it would have been impossible for any other actress her generation to pull of what she did. Truly the best actress of her generation.

    • Indeed. I’m not an avid fan, but she has beautiful features and my, such a small face she has, I’m actually jealous lol. I’ve always thought that Korean actresses look the best in sageuks (with a few exceptions), and it’s certainly the case with KSH. she does have a regal and mature beauty

  3. KSH and PEB have at least tried to challenge themselves to different and interesting characters that reverse the gender stereotypes. It is shocking though how that one child actress out acted the entire adult cast of TKA. Even PEB pales in comparison to her.

  4. Kim So Hyun has definitely had the best acting out of all the ones mentioned till now possibly because of how badass her character was the entire time. Park Run Bin is super cool too but just too tiny especially when her male leads are so so tall. It’s the first time I’m not enjoying the height gap.

  5. Park Eun Bin is great in King’s Affection and the drama is good for now. It’s a good adaptation of a manhwa. I think she has a great chemistry with Rowoon.

    Red Sky was great when they focused on painting but after the demon plot took too much place in the plot and lost its interest. The couple was boring because not well developped.

    River’s plot was badly written. But I really liked the fact they chose this area. KSH was better in the role of the Queen than her own role, maybe because the Queen was more interesting.

    The Red Sleeve will be a real sageuk, based on a true story. They won’t be able to take too many liberties. I don’t really like Junho’s looks as King, he looks so pale…

    I don’t think it’s fair to compare with old sageuks. People don’t have the patience to watch a 50 episodes drama anymore. For The King’s Affection, there were 2 episodes with the young actors and there were already people complaining about it…

    • I don’t think Koala’s comparison is about the length. But more about the quality of those sageuks which enabled those actresses to shine in iconic roles.

      • I know she didn’t talk about the length but longer story gave more depth to the characters… It’s why these young actors could shine, because they were in a lot of episodes as young counterpart.

      • Yes to that. Also — back in the day, kings in sageuk were cast with character actors. Junho is a very sharp actor but what’s a guy with his looks doing playing a Chosun king?

      • That sounds like an overstatement. I don’t think these young actresses are terrible in any way. It is more of a script problem. I don’t think older actresses could have made those writing work.

      • I have to politely disagree with you here. None of them were terrible, it’s the writing that’s the problem, hence the inconsistent ratings of both RWTMR and LOTRS. KSH even got a Baeksang nomination and a KBA best actress award for RWTMR. And as Koala said, KYJ made LOTRS at least watchable. I’ve only seen some of TKA, not my cup of tea so I don’t think I’ll finish it, but from what I’ve seen, PEB wasn’t bad at all. I think it’s more the fault of the declining quality of sageuks these days, even the great Lee Young Ae found herself in a mediocre sageuk just recently (Saimdang Light’s Diary), so it’s not the fault of these talented young actresses.
        It’s just my opinion though, it’s okay if you disagree.

    • Save Koala’s blushes please, she probably wants to lie low after running down KSH earlier based on his ex’s unsubstantiated allegations. Her last update was Dispatch’s first exposé where she painstakingly filtered out the minority pro-CYA comments, painting a false picture of netizen sentiments. Since then, things have only gotten worse for CYA and K-netizens have completely turned on her. Won’t be easy for Koala to admit that she was totally fooled into making a fool of herself, all for the sake of milking a “scandal” to earn more clicks.

      • I never knew reporting on a story was milking a scandal for the drama of it. No one had all the facts at the the time (including yourself) and with the way scandals have been happening recently, KSH was just another drop in the puddle, so calling out Koala for information she didn’t have at the time is short-sighted of you.

        And honestly, if Koala never updates about KSH’s status I’d be fine because I’m tired of hearing about him. It’s weird to me how all the new information about KSH’s gf paints her in a bad light but never directly refutes a lot of the statements. Yeah she may be a crap person but I’d bet money he is a little crappy as well.

        Dispatch is the tabloids of S.K. so I’m taking everything they push out with a huge lump of salt. We don’t truly know the dynamics of the relationships.

      • Dispatch didn’t hack into their phones for the second expose. It was CYA’s friends who presented the screenshots to Dispatch to publish. CYA sent those intimate screenshots to her friends to boast about her r/ship with KSH. She violated the basic trust & courtesy of their relationship first. Even her own friends couldn’t stand CYA slandering KSH’s character other than the abortion decision which was a mutual decision for both of them to end the pregnancy. KSH is responsible for that decision yes but he is not the monster she made him out to be. She was caught drinking and flirting with other men in a noraebang while in a relationship when a youtuber was doing an expose on a celeb in the same room with her. The fact that SK advertisers reinstate his ads & retaining his movie role in ST speak volumes.

      • koala post seaweed story 10 pages long but quiet now. where r all moronic feminists now? ksh topic trending in korea herald biggest english online news in korea.

    • I loled too when seeing post about jirisan’s rating dropped that had 89replies that mostly mocking, and enjoying the downfall, and the post about it’s rating jumped back again that only had 19 replies lol. People here surely really enjoy hating, mocking and badmouthing something. Remember Kim Yoo Jung’s post?

    • I had waited to see evidence and whoa never expected her own brother n her own friends provided evidence that refuted the accusation. Have read enough from unbias site, it just feel so good.

    • Ksh is still a gaslighting pos since the abortion scandal was proven true. The ex also being a pos does not somehow exonerate him. Stop caping for that clown already

  6. Park Eun bin range is crazy good…also really loving her in King Affection
    Kim Yoojung acting is good and is super pretty but that can’t save bad drama with meh character lul
    Lee Se Young def has that royalty aura for historical drama but sometimes her acting bored me. I don’t know why they casted Junho as a king tho he look so damn modern LOL

  7. Which one is bad? The scripts or the actresses?

    For example, if those script like Red Sky or River was given to older/seasons actress, (including the refilming from start and whatnot) will it be better than current actress?

    • KYJ is a pretty darn good actor and I don’t know if giving it to an older actor would produce a stark difference. The screenplay for the show was pretty poor and I think KYJ did a good job with it. I won’t comment on AHS and his character.

      And also to add on, the KYJ and YJG (plus all the younger actors) in Moon Embraces the Sun outshone the older actors unfortunately performances. People can convince me otherwise but I think KYJ was the salvage of this piece

  8. I enjoyed Bossam. Rest I couldn’t finish. I think River Where the Moon Rises would have worked a lot better if the unfortunate fiasco involving Jisoo didn’t happen.

  9. TKA is a decent story compared to the other two. The praise of the child actress (though she was good) was overblown because her story was tragic and people wanted more of the sad backstory. PEB is queen, but her cast mates are really good too.

  10. Love all the four actresses as i’ve been watching them since ages now . Hope to see them in another projects with better scripts . The one with Park eun Bin is not bad at all as he is the only one i’m still watching . Dropped the others after 4 episodes .

  11. dispatch paid cya friends to send info to dispatch evil b^stard advertisers blind st*p*d movie director heavy weinstein supoorting ksh

  12. I am actually quite enjoying The King’s Affection. PEB is just delightful and Rowoon IMO is quite fun to watch. I certainly enjoy him more here than I did in his debut drama.

    In terms of the period dramas this year, so far, to be fair none of them are “historical” in the true sense of the word. I guess Red Sleeve Cuff will be the closest to historically accurate we will get this year.

    The actresses themselves have each performed so well; just overall storytelling was not always compelling.i do however wonder if age might also be factor?

  13. I think River did not fail So Hyun because after all, she bagged major acting awards and nominations for her role. Also, I feel like she will get Top Excellence Award or Daesang Nomination for this year’s KBS Drama Awards.

    Further, River was supposed to achieve greater heights if not for Ji Soo fiasco. I remember that the scandal went out after the drama reached double digits in Episode 4. In any case, it’s overall ratings are still one of the best in KBS terms this year. Hope this drama continue bagging major awards.

  14. Koala koala koala …..where are the updates on Kim Seon Ho ? You are laying low now since the change of narrative. Bias and baseless reporting you were making with full feminism paint brush.

  15. I think the blame lies with the mediocre scripts and poor direction rather than actors in most of these examples..

    One of your above examples, Han Hyo Joo, was pretty bland in Dong Yi but the project overall was of high enough quality that it carried her. Same with The Moon Embracing the Sun where Han Ga In was legit awful but the drama itself was a huge hit because of literally everybody and everything else.

    What about Bossam with Jung Il Woo and SNSD Yuri? That was a sageuk that got very good ratings this year on a relatively obscure channel?

    • koala must suffering from memory loss. she was faithfully recapping bossam from start to finish. funny she left bossam out of this post lamenting no good sageuks this year.

      • Why would koala even add Bossam on this article post when the topic is about former child actresses and their upto date leading saguek works? That’s so out of place.

      • Bossam is not a Youth Sageuk, that’s the topic of this post. Bossam is a Traditional Sageuk, different concept within the genre. It would be like comparing Naval Oranges and Mandarin Oranges.

    • she breathlessly said bossam keep stealing my heart, rising in ratings, break record, lovely with a capital l now tremendously bad sageuk year. lol.

    • @ockoala: Thanks for the explanation. I didn’t actually watch it so I didn’t realise it was a traditional rather than youth sageuk

  16. Hope to see Kim Yoo Jung in good action drama, she look good in fighting scene.For me, she is the best among grown up child actress, acting wise…natural beauty wise.But I aso like Kim so hyun and Park Eun Bin…I never missed watching their dramas.

    • Second that. We are very lucky to see KYJ, KSH & PEB this year. I also like to see Nam Ji Hyun in a good action drama. She came from child actress background & acted in sageuks. Happy to hear she will start shooting Little Women soon. She even posted the novel next to her script.

  17. I cannot comment on the other two as I’ve only scene KSH’s River.
    Imo, it would have been better if the series was a bit longer because it’s like they only put some parts and try to sew it in just 20 episodes.

    Nevertheless, Queen Yeon/Gajin/PG is now my fave character of sso. I hope she’ll do more kick-ass characters in the future. And please don’t consider Goong(if ever she’s offered) lmao.

  18. Agree that it’s been a bad Sageuk year. However, I fully disagree re PEB and The King’s Affection. It may not be a big hit ratings wise but it’s a solid, strong drama and doing well on Netflix. PEB is killing it in her role and so is the rest of the cast. I’m a huge Sageuk fan and its’ due to this genre that made me appreciate Kdramas so I watch them all first and then judge if I will continue or not. Of the three so far this, I only continued with The King’s Affection. I tried to watch the other two but they were terrible full stop.

    • Agreed, I’m actually really enjoying TKA right now and looking forward to episodes each week. I appreciate the hard work all the casts and staff put in for all dramas.

      Been following Koala’s blog for many years now and was a silent reader but somehow recently I find her posts becoming more negatively inclined, and comments section tend to attract the same type of ppl mostly – nothing wrong with critiquing or giving an opinion. But some comments do seem to come from a critical spirit and it shows. Too bad I really enjoyed reading alot of Koala’s posts in the past especially her sharing from K to J to C-ent news and insights. Nowadays it seems to be just about chasing ratings and hearsay from k-netz. Granted this is her blog so yea~ will be visiting less from now I suppose

      • Same here will visit less henceforth its a total biased blog.
        Secondly some people commenting here while giving their opinion (whether criticizing or praising) think its the ultimate whatever they believe.
        Cant differentiate between opinion and reality and total cringy exaggeration of their bias.
        Fed up and done for.

      • I miss the oldschool Dramabeans. With Javabeans and Girlfriday. Back in the day, it was always fun to follow and discuss dramas. Now it seems a lot of people just hating and criticizing everything.

      • Agree. I have seen some sensible commenters like Laura, Pam, candycane, Adal, Ginger Crunch, Kimchi Ajumma & countless others all gone now. The extremes seem to have taken control of this blog to push out any good banter between commenters. So much hate but I guess blogger partly to blame for fanning the fires in some of her articles and chasing clicks. Miss the good old days of DB too. Why can’t drama lovers come together to connect anymore.

    • I agree with you all that replied to me. Also a long time K-drama fan that have been reading this blog for a long time – same re Dramabeans and elsewhere. It’s unfortunate that this blog has become so very negative and the comments section so toxic. Gone are the civil discussions that make you appreciate the great things about Kdrama, Cdrama, or Jdramas.

  19. Can we just have Kim So Hyun back? Girl needs to go conquer small and big screens after that breakthrough performance in River Where The Moon Rises. She keeps proving why she’s the best young actress in the industry today and the future of Korean dramas and movies. Come on Culture Depot start announcing the big projects we know she’s been signed for. Enough with the secrecy we need announcements.

      • Almost 7 months actually and we NEED her to comeback but her last character is going to be a hard one to follow up. The script really needs be EXTRAORDINARY to overshadow Pyeongangg/Gajiin/Queen Yeom.

  20. Kim So hyun wasted a year for that drama. Like I’m expecting the drama to pull-off a Queen Seon deok with her fierce character but only to be trampled in the mud by the problematic criminal male lead Jisoo and the chaotic plot.
    I’m hoping her and Yoo Seung ho will be paired again and have a grand comeback. Kim Min jae and Yeo Jin Goo will do too. Give them a nice drama already.

    • Manifesting this! But shyshy reunion needs to happen first. I think they already finished filming when flowers bloom, I think of the moon?
      Next year will be the 5th-year promise, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And hopefully it’s modern.

    • Shy shy reunion need to happen but with a better writing. Not just with ysh. I have a long list of male lead for ksh to reunite. hehe

    • Nope. She did not waste anything. Actually, she bagged major acting awards and nominations for that drama and has a chance to be this year’s Daesang nominee at KBS Drama Awards.

      • As she should as she carried the whole drama with her acting. But still, waiting patiently for a good drama that will make her crazy popular internationally.

      • Yeah she needs a boost in popularity. She already popular internationally but, she needs more.

  21. Tried watching lotrs but couldnt get past 6 episodes, wasnt cup of my tea actually. Currently watching “the kings affection” and imo this is where koala is a bit wrong. The show has been airing on two OTT platforms and one being “Netflix” being constantly in top 5 of it,
    it is bound to get low ratings on the broadcast channel given it is a youth romance means the target audience is the younger population and they mostly prefer ott platforms than the channel. Also the show as well as being constantly ranking higher in good data and other charts i dont think the ratings are the reflection of the success of the show given most main leads are new faces in a historical drama.
    Secondly,the child actress has done a fabulous job no doubt but her outcasting the entire adult cast is a bit too much as it is not only about acting but also the character one plays which was bound to stand out among others.
    Lastly, given the first drama i am watching of Park Eunbin i think she is really doing an excellent job in portraying her character. Her acting is on the point in every scene. But, comparing her with the other casts mostly the male casts is not something i would do as she has an experience of 20 years in the acting field with as far as i know 3 roles in a historical previously, though they were small roles. And ofcourse she would stand out as the whole story revolves around. Like i said, it is not only about acting but the character one is playing and she is playing one heck of an awesome and charming character so she is bound to surpass the other casts. Imo the male casts are doing a great job in their respective roles given how their characters are much of an submissive roles and it is a first time in a historical drama for them.

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