Nam Joo-hyuk is becoming quite the it boy lately with his starring performances in hit dramas like the critically acclaimed Radiant (ie The Light in Your Eyes), the fan favorite Weightlifting Fairy, and the scrappy up and coming Start Up. Well we have all of his dramas below for you to dissect and stream to your heart’s content below (How to Watch links are included). Let us know which one is your fave!
#1 SURPLUS PRINCESS (Fantasy Romance)
Premise: Surplus Princess is based on a familiar premise with a twist: it’s The Little Mermaid, with a tweak in that the mermaid must find love as well as gainful employment. “Did you think being human was easy?” is a common refrain by the witch. So the mermaid goes to Seoul in search of true love (and a job) and has a hundred days to become human.
Thoughts: Nam Joo-hyuk’s debut to dramaland. Despite that, he had a pretty nice size role that played off his rookie status and height of 6’2. I have not seen this show, but if you want to see that baby face in action then give this one a look. Note to the wise, the episodes were shortened from 16 to 10 so the ending suffered from it. But I did hear that this was a cute drama.
#2 WHO ARE YOU: SCHOOL 2015 (Mystery)
Premise: Who Are You–School 2015 is the sixth installment of the successful School franchise on KBS. This installment deals with school bullying and a mystery surrounding a pair of twins whose fate gets swapped. This mystery drives the plot. Nam Joo-hyuk plays a star swimming athlete.
Thoughts: This was a meaty drama for a lot of talented young up and coming actors. Nam Joo-hyuk is part of the main trio cast so he will have plenty of screen time. If you love your high school dramas and want to play “look at him then!” or “he was in this?!” then this one is the one to watch.
#3 GLAMOROUS TEMPTATION (Melodrama Revenge)
Premise: Glamorous Temptation follows the story of three characters: an ambitious woman, a woman jealous of her, and a man who will take revenge. It is a high society revenge drama set in Seoul where someone is getting taken down!
Thoughts: Nam Joo-hyuk plays the younger version of a main character in this drama. Enough to sink his acting chops into, though perhaps not enough for stans to enjoy possibly? He should be in the first two episodes substantially and then flashbacks throughout the rest. But I have not seen this drama so don’t hold me to that!
#4 CHEESE IN THE TRAP (College Romance)
Premise: A model student returns to college after a long break and is caught up in the life of a senior nicknamed Mr. Perfect. This story mostly focuses on the lives and relationships of a group of university students as they try to study and live in Seoul.
Thoughts: Ooh, boy. If you are a fan of the webcomic, then this drama might enrage you. But if you went in without knowing anything about anything, then you might love the snit out of this show. This is on our list of 7 rage inducing dramas to watch at your own risk. So tread carefully!
#5 MOON LOVERS: SCARLET HEART RYEO (Historical Romance)
Premise: During a total eclipse of the sun in modern Seoul, a girl travels back in time to the Goryeo era. There, she finds herself unwittingly caught up in palace politics and the rivalry among the many princes as they fight for the throne.
Thoughts: The drama that caused the most people to be obsessed with a show in 2016. Seriously, fandoms were created and expanded with Moon Lovers. And how can you not love a show with half a dozen handsome men bathing themselves together? (Yes, that happened, which is probably why this drama is worth checking out for that scene alone). If you do not love fated romances with lots of eye-candy, then this drama probably won’t be for you. But if you love them then, child, be careful, because you just might become obsessed.
How to watch: Netflix
#6 WEIGHTLIFTING FAIRY KIM BOK JOO (College Sports Romance)
Premise: A coming-of-age sports drama, inspired by the life of Olympic gold-medalist Jang Mi-ran. Kim Bok-joo is a top weightlifter at a sports college. She is just trying to be the best weightlifter she can be. Nam Joo-hyuk plays an Olympic hopeful swimmer who falls in love with Kim Bok-joo.
Thoughts: So adorable! Possibly one of the cutest Korean dramas I watched in 2016 (it also won our poll of the best Nam Joo-hyuk drama to watch!). I loved this little college sports romance that was packed with heart. It is the feel good drama of feel good dramas for 2016 bound to put a smile on your face. Nam Joo-hyuk was adorable in it as well. If you love cute college love stories then you will love this one.
And for a fun tidbit, Nam Joo-hyuk and Lee Sung-kyun started dating after this show. They were officially boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple years before calling it quits sometime in 2019.
#7 THE BRIDE OF HABAEK – THE WATER GOD (Fantasy Romance)
Premise: A narcissistic god (because aren’t they all?) comes to Earth to find a powerful stone that will grant him his rightful place on the throne. He enlists the help of a psychiatrist whom is destined to become his wife. However, she does not believe that he is a divine as he says he is.
Thoughts: Nam Joo-hyuk is the lead and head God in charge of this drama. Possibly his biggest drama to that date (he has since had bigger). So a lot was riding on it. I checked out the first few episodes and wasn’t super impressed but I also wanted to keep watching. If you love a good fantasy romance filled with alpha heroes then this is definitely that, and if fantasy romance is one of your top genres, this is worth checking out, for sure.
How to watch: Viki
#8 RADIANT – THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES (Light Fantasy Romance)
Premise: A woman find a watch that can manipulate time. However, manipulating time comes with a heavy price – she age each time she turns time back.
Thoughts: One of the biggest hits of 2019 (though 2019 had a lot of hits!). If you want to cry your eyes out, and love the crying of it, then this is the show for you. I did not watch it because I did not want to be in a tear fest for 16 episodes. But the people who did watch had nothing but good things to say and are probably still happily bathing in their tears.
How to watch: Viki
#9 THE SCHOOL NURSE FILES (Paranormal Romance)
Premise: A school nurse protects her school from jellied monsters, only she can see, with a toy sword and the help of her colleague, Nam Joo Hyuk.
Thoughts: I have heard great things and really want to check this one out! It is a 2020 Netflix original which means it will be slightly different from your average Kdrama. It also means that all the episodes premiered at the same time and are ready to stream. Hopefully I can watch and report back because paranormal love stories with quirky situations are my jam right now.
How to watch: Netflix
#10 START UP (Contemporary Romance)
Premise: A group of young entrepreneurs enters a competition to get their Start-Up company up and running to mega success. It stars Nam Joo-hyuk as a gifted computer programmer who falls in love for the first time after he is pulled into a mistaken identity penpal fiasco.
Thoughts: Okay, I know I said #6 is the best in the title, but that is only because Start Up is currently airing. If this show does not mess up the last third then it will hop right up there with the top enjoyable dramas to watch of 2020. Nam Joo-hyuk is simply delightful in this show and the entire cast of Samsan Tech geeks are uber adorable. It is definitely worth a watch!
How to watch: Netflix