[K-DRAMA REVIEW] “Radio Romance” Full Drama Review
So, I’ve put off writing a review on “Radio Romance” for a few days now because when it ended, I wasn’t actually sure how I felt about the show. Now I’ve decided I’m going to write this review in a little bit different format: divided into a section of “likes” and “dislikes”.
1. The Acting
I knew going into this show that there would be great acting based on the actors’ prior dramas. We had Kim So Hyun (“Ruler”, “School 2015”) playing the female lead Song Geu Rim, Yoon Doo Joon (K-Pop group Highlight, “Let’s Eat”) playing male lead Ji Soo Ho, Yoon Park (“My Shy Boss”, “The Package”) as Lee Gang, and Yura (K-Pop group “Girl’s Day”) playing Jin Tae Ri.
I was nervous about the age difference between Kim So Hyun and Yoon Doo Joon (10 years) and how Kim So Hyun would be able to portray a more mature side. However, she really impressed me! I thought she acted more mature and older than Yoon Doo Joon even. There was never a time you could sense they had a 10 year age gap as their chemistry was perfect.
Yoon Doo Joon did a great job as well with his character, Ji Soo Ho. While I may not have entirely liked his character, I did think he did the part justice. Every time he would look at Geu Rim in the radio booth, you could read so much emotion from his eyes. I would’ve liked to seen a bit more dimension to his character in terms of anger/sadness, but I think the lack of that was mostly the writing.
I quickly recognized Yoon Park as the brother of main character in the recent drama, “The Package”. His character Lee Gang is a quirky, outspoken character that takes his job very seriously and has liked Geu Rim for years. Even though he can be a little hard on Geu Rim, he’s only doing it because he’s the only one that can see her true potential as a writer. The way he looks at her throughout the show you can tell is out of genuine sincerity.
2. The Backstory of the Main Characters
I’m a sucker for the story line about child hood lovers that reconnect years down the road. Soo Ho fell in love with Geu Rim when they were young at the hospital. Geu Rim was there taking a class to see what it was like to be blind because of her mom losing her eyesight. That’s when Soo Ho took an interest and started hanging around her (Geu Rim was blindfolded the whole time). Soo Ho wanted to remain a mystery although he did tell her his “name” which he took from his other friend in the hospital. Geu Rim always believed she was in love with a boy named Woo Ji Woo when it was really Soo Ho. However, she never recognized the older Soo Ho, but he definitely remembered her.
I love the stories where two people connected/fell in love as kids and went their separate ways only to reconnect years later. Even more so, when one or both don’t remember the other as a kid, so they have to re-fall in love with each other. I think it’s special and shows they’re truly meant to be if they can fall in love twice at different times in their life.
1. Under-development of All Other Characters
Ji Soo Ho, Song Geu Rim, and Lee Gang were the only characters that really more than one side to them and even they were debatable. We had many other characters we visited constantly throughout the show: Jin Tae Ri, Kim Joon Woo, Jason, Nam Joo Ha, Ji Yoon Seok, and Jo Ae Ran. All of which barely had more than one expression/attitude the entire series, and their story lines were just kind of there. It didn’t really ever add much to the story.
Ha Joon as Kim Joon Woo
Oh Hyun Kyung as Nam Joo Ha
Jin Tae Ri spent the whole drama being a drama queen bully that definitely didn’t deserve the kind-hearted Kim Joon Woo. Jason was just a random psychologist that showed up in the first episode that spied on Soo Ho. Joo Ha made Soo Ho’s life miserable by doing the same exact thing in every episode of trying to make him star in a drama. However, the most disappointing part to me is the limited role of Jo Ae Ran. She played Song Geu Rim’s mother and the sole reason Geu Rim went into radio. But, she was phased out around episode 5 and barely made an appearance anymore. There could have been so much more done with the dynamic and relationship between mother and daughter but it was overlooked.
Yura as Jin Tae Ri
2. The Monotonous, Never-Ending Circle Plot
Geu Rim writes script. Lee Gang makes her re-write it. Soo Ho can’t sleep and fights his past demons. Tae Ri pitches a fit and whines to Joon Woo. Joo Ha tries to make Soo Ho quit radio and do a drama to make her money. That’s basically a summary of every episode. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the show until about episode 5. Then, it was like the writers didn’t know what to do anymore. By episode 8 or 9, I really wanted to just quit watching the drama. But, I hate not finishing a series so I toughed it out. I really wish I didn’t though cause there are so many other dramas out right now I would’ve been watching. Alas, they can’t all be hits though.
3. Song Geu Rim and Ji Soo Ho’s Relationship
So, this isn’t a complete dislike, but I wasn’t a complete fan of them either. Their early teenage relationship was adorable and I loved it. However, it seemed like Soo Ho was way too immature for Geu Rim later in life. He was very needy and didn’t seem to ever really trust Geu Rim especially around Lee Gang (even though Geu Rim never gave him a reason to not believe/trust her).
Geu Rim was always the mature one by comforting Soo Ho, never giving up her dreams or on their relationship, standing up to his mom, etc. She’s such a strong and independent character that I felt Soo Ho weighed her down a bit. Not to mention Soo Ho was way too over protective for my taste. One of scenes in the last episode where Geu Rim was saying goodbye to Lee Gang, Soo Hoo was standing right off to the side attempting to “hide” behind a pole to watch them. I know it was supposed to be endearing and funny, but to me it was a tad creepy.
4. The Soundtrack
Occasionally you have hit OSTs like “Descendants of the Sun” and “Goblin” where every song is amazing. Almost every other time, there are at least a couple of songs on an OST I love. However, there wasn’t a single song on “Radio Romance’s” OST that I enjoyed really. I feel like music makes the scenes more emotional and reach top quality. The fact that there wasn’t a song that stood out, didn’t give the scenes as much impact as they could have had. They constantly re-used iKON’s “Love Scenario”, which I do love that song, but for a drama, I think the original songs created are what make it special.
OVERALL SERIES RATING: 5/10
I wanted to love “Radio Romance” so much because the potential was there with the all-star cast. But, it just fell short for me, mostly due to the show’s writing. Hopefully, we’ll see Kim So Hyun and Yoon Doo Joon accept another drama role soon that allows for a more dimensional character. What did you think of the series? Let me know in the comments below!