Run On is a fine show – even-keel, so-so, alright – but that’s pretty much it. I was almost resentful of the fact that I had other things to do when I was watching More Than Friends a couple weeks back, but while I was engaged in Run On I found myself deliberately doing things I had put off doing, not really worrying about when I’d get back to the show. I didn’t dislike the drama, I just didn’t care much about it.
Fate brings a national athlete and a language translator together, as destiny works its magic on a wealthy heiress and student artist.
National athlete Ki Seon-Gyeom comes to the aid of the same total stranger – twice – and later discovers she’s been given the job of translating for him at a special practice session. As the two spend more time together, mutual feelings of respect and admiration elevate and a romance seems inevitable.
Seo Dan-A, a wealthy CEO, is drawn to the paintings she sees in a cafe. After purchasing one, she arranges to meet the person responsible for its creation and is surprised when she discovers the artist is a college student. It doesn’t take long for her to find herself drawn to the charismatic young man who obviously has a romantic interest in her.
Ki Seon-Gyeom comes from a very well-known prominent family – his mother is an award-winning actress, his father is an assemblyman, and his sister is the number one ranking golfer. He began his athletic career as a javelin thrower but a shoulder injury brought things to a screeching halt. His overbearing father decided to have him train to be a sprinter and after years of hard work, Seon-Gyeom is now the second-fastest runner on the national team. He is signed to the Dann Agency of which Seo Dan-A is the CEO. Seon-Gyeom is a soft-spoken, empathic young man with an innate sense of justice. Full of integrity and courage, Seon-Gyeom is honest, hard-working, easy-going, and determined. He tends to care more about others than himself.
Oh Mi-Joo loves movies and has always wanted to be a translator so she has been very fortunate to make a living combing both of those passions. Her office is her bedroom where she sits, translating and adding subtitles to movies into the wee hours of the morning. She lives with an older friend who is also in the film industry. Mi-Joo plays video games in her spare time and especially enjoys shooter ones. In fact, she collects fake, yet real-looking, guns. She was raised without parents and has worked hard to get to where she is by putting herself first.
Beautiful Seo Dan-A thinks of herself as royalty and has been known to refer to those below her social and financial status as “peasants.” She had hopes of being a professional soccer player but sadly realized her station in life was to be a businesswoman – although she never wears anything but tennis shoes just in case she ever gets the chance to kick a ball. She enjoys swimming but has to be careful to not over-exert herself since she suffers from a heart condition. She isn’t close to her father (calling him “Chairman” instead of Dad) and dislikes her two younger half-brothers – one who is her competitor in the family business and one who is a pop idol.
Lee Yeong-Hwa is an art major student and a fine painter. His parents own a bee farm near the ocean which they have turned into a decent honey business. He lives alone in a small studio apartment. Yeong-Su-Hwa is friendly, outgoing, and fun to be around. He tutors his best friend’s younger sister, a high school student, for extra money. He loves to paint and has the habit of putting canvases together when he is upset. He falls for Dan-A the minute they meet and although he hopes their business relationship (artist and patron) can blossom into a personal one, he is reasonable enough to know they come from two drastically different worlds. Yeong-Su-Hwa is an all-around good guy.
Thirty-two-year-old Im Si-Wan was born Im Woong-Jae but legally changed his name before his debut. He was recruited as a Star Empire trainee and became a member of Children of Empire, which later changed their name to ZE:A. A year later he became part of the Moon Embracing the Sun cast. After a few more roles in other productions, he starred in the motion picture The Attorney which, at that time, was the 8th best-selling Korean movie of all time. Since his debut, he has appeared in eight movies, 15 TV dramas, and one stage musical – racking up 32 award nominations and 17 wins. He has held the title of Honorary Ambassador seven different times. This talented actor/singer also knows how to play the guitar and violin. As for schooling, Si-Wan has attended Busan National University, University of East Broadcasting Arts, and Woosong Information College.
The part of Seo Dan-A is played by Choi Soo-Young. When she was in fifth grade she was discovered at an SM Entertainment Open Audition. She began her career as one half of Route 0, a Japanese-Korean singing duo, after winning first place at the Korea-Japan Idol Duo Audition in 2002. The group didn’t last long (only releasing three singles) and in 2007 she found herself part of one of the most famous Korean girl groups of all time – Girls’ Generation. She has written the lyrics to three songs and has co-written one. Branching out to acting was more difficult for her than becoming a singer. She said she failed more than 70 auditions before her debut but she went on to win two Excellence Awards (one for her role in My Spring Days and another for her part in Man in the Kitchen). She attended Chung-Ang University (majoring in film studies) and received a lifetime achievement award upon graduation. In 2013 she began dating the amazingly-talented actor Jung Kyung-Ho. I’d love to see them play opposite each other in a romantic comedy.
I’ve written a little bit about Kang Tae-Oh, the man who plays Lee Yeong-Su-Hwa, in a few different reviews – Evergreen, The Tale of Nokdu, My First First Love, and Short. Adding one piece of information not yet covered in those reviews – he is the recipient of one Impressive Actor award, one Rising Star award, and won Best New Actor award.
In my opinion, the best thing about this drama is actor Im Si-Wan and his lovable character Ki Seon-Gyeom. I had no idea who Si-Wan was, having never seen him in anything before, but by the end of Run On’s first hour, I was in awe of his acting abilities, which happen to be flawless. Not a single word needs to cross his lips because we know exactly what his character is thinking by observing his countless and varied facial expressions. After just seeing him act in this one role, I am proud to add Im Si-Wan to my favorite actors list. Thank heavens he’s already served his mandatory military service because that means we won’t ever be forced to take a break from seeing him. I’m going to have to go back and watch some other things he’s been in! As for his character, Ki Seon-Gyeom, the guy is absolutely perfect. He’s everything good wrapped up in a darling ribbon. I can honestly say he is one of my most favorite male Kdrama characters of all time!
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, Run On is fine but far from wow. The plot isn’t extremely compelling and the two couple relationships are only so-so romantic. If someone were to explain the show to me, episode by episode, I’d probably stop paying close attention shortly after they began. When I had to get things done (cook, clean, sleep…) there was nothing in the show that made me want to rush back to the screen – no “I’ve got to see if…” or “I’ve got to know…” or “I wonder what…”
There are some clever scenes where the characters are part of a movie-type scenario. You’ll understand what I mean when you actually see it. Since, in the drama, Ki Seon-Gyeom’s mother is an actress and Oh Mi-Joo is a motion picture translator, I think the idea of putting the characters into a kind-of movie was brilliantly creative.
One thing that helped the drama score points with me was the fact that all four leading characters had original occupations – there’s a national sprinter, a movie translator/subtitler, an athlete agency CEO, and an artist. Thanks goes to writers like Park Min-Sook who have been branching out and thinking of careers/jobs their characters can have that are unique or at least not widely used.
I was going to say there’s some good character growth throughout the show but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. The four main characters branch out in their thinking but I wouldn’t exactly consider it growth. Instead of changing their thinking, they just extend their ideas and beliefs. No one is vastly different from who they were when the story began but all of them do mature.
There are a few good songs on the show’s soundtrack. Run to You, sung by Lucy, is what I would consider to be the drama’s theme song. Ride Or Die, performed by Kei of Lovelyz and Joohoney of Monsta X, is a great song that combines some good singing with excellent rapping. Priority, performed by The Boyz, begins with a single acoustic guitar accompaniment, and then halfway through the song, a few more instruments are subtly added, almost without us even realizing it. Im Si-Wan (the actor who plays Ki Seon-Gyeom) croons a gorgeous ballad called I and You. Except for the title’s poor grammar, I’m a huge fan of the song. It’s just exquisite and you can check it out for yourself here.
Nothing about the drama’s scenery stands out in my memory. Ki Seon-Gyeom goes to Jeju Island for a well-publicized practice meet and Oh Mi-Joo is there to translate for him (some English-speaking reporters are there to cover the event) but we mainly see the hotel they stay in and the track where the event takes place.
I liked Run On, I just didn’t love it. I suggest you take time to watch this drama simply because Im Si-Wan’s acting is superb and his character, Ki Seon-Gyeom, is endearing. However, before you begin it, I suggest you check out More Than Friends first.
Im Si-Wan’s acting is flawless
The character Ki Seon-Gyeom is perfect
Isn’t extremely engaging – not a lot of wow to it