2020 may go down in history as one of the worst years yet. Thank goodness we had some of our favorite heartthrobs grace the small screen this year for some much needed good vibes. But which ‘oppa’ made the best comeback this year?

Lee Min-ho

Lee Min-ho in “The King: Eternal Monarch” (SBS)

“The King: Eternal Monarch” marks Lee Min-ho’s return to K-drama after his two-year military service. This drama was the most anticipated project in the first half of the year, mainly because of the ensemble cast and the screenwriter, who wrote some of the most popular K-dramas like “Secret Garden,” “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin.” Expectations were therefore high in terms of acting, writing, and production. 

Lee Min-ho plays the role of a modern-day monarch who crosses an alternate world where he meets Kim Go-eun’s character. The storyline had a lot of potential and was actually quite unique with the two worlds/dimensions colliding. However, “The King: Eternal Monarch” somewhat lost its magic with too many side stories and minor characters and a bunch of ad placements. 

“The King: Eternal Monarch” poster (SBS)

A lot of fans may argue with me but the chemistry between Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun was lackluster. Both are known to be good actors but the melodramatic scenes felt forced and insincere, mainly because of continuity problems. 

Unfortunately, “The King: Eternal Monarch” fell short in replicating the magic of “Goblin.” Despite this, it is still one of the most watched K-dramas on Netflix. I’m looking forward to seeing Lee Min-ho grow as an actor by taking on more challenging roles rather than “characters,” which he seems to be drawn to, judging by his previous dramas. 

Kim Soo-hyun

Kim Soo-hyun in “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” (tvN)

They say an actor is only as good as their last performance and Kim Soo-hyun has proven that with his well chosen projects. His last project before his military enlistment was the highly controversial film “Real,” which was hailed as a “flop” by critics and viewers. However, Kim Soo-hyun’s project choices proves his unpredictability, still making him one of the most exciting actors of his generation.

“It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” is proof of Kim Soo-hyun’s willingness to gamble on roles and storylines that may not seem exciting for many. He plays the role of Moon Kang-tae, an emotionally scarred man who has an older autistic brother. 

“It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” poster (tvN)

This was Kim Soo-hyun’s comeback drama after his military service and it is actually surprising that he chose a project where he would be sharing the screen with two other main characters. You wouldn’t expect that from the highest paid Korean actor today but that’s what probably brings him at the top of his game.

His gamble paid off because “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” despite its flaws, was well received by viewers worldwide.

Ji Chang-wook

Ji Chang-wook in “Backstreet Rookie” (SBS)

With the recent suspense/thriller, action-drama trend in Korea, it’s surprising that Ji Chang-wook chose the romantic-comedy “Backstreet Rookie.” 

Ji Chang-wook plays the role of Choi Dae-hyun, who manages his family-owned convenience store. Despite his good looks, he gives off loser vibes, which makes him a perfect target for the sassy Jung Saet-byul played by Kim Yoo-jung

“Backstreet Rookie” was based on a webtoon so some scenes really felt like a live-action interpretation of the comics. Some might find it too corny but that may not be the reason why this drama did not do too well. Admittedly, I was initially drawn to this K-drama because I wanted to know what made it so controversial, others even claiming that it romanticizes romance with minors. I have yet to see what the fuss is all about regarding the “overly sexually suggestive content.” However, I can see how the character Dal Sik, who is portrayed as someone with dark skin and dirty, can offend sensibilities.

“Backstreet Rookie” poster (SBS)

For someone who usually plays serious characters, I think it’s refreshing to see Ji Chang-wook in a romcom so I think I’d be willing to overlook the flaws and finish his latest work.

So which of these three hotties do you think had the best drama this year? Take a pick and leave us your thoughts.

Myla Torres-Eder

Myla writes news stories for a living and watches K-dramas for leisure. She enjoys doing both for Hallyudorama.

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