Everyone loves a good comeback story. This year we have a Korean heartthrob playing a troubled character in a show filled with award-winning stars, a beloved actress playing her most intense role yet and an unpredictable magical act. Those are a few examples among many. It sure is a good time to be a K-drama fan as 2022 marks the comeback of several popular Korean stars. Between Lee Min-ho joining the finest Asian talents in a global multi-lingual series and Park Min-young returning to do what she does best in a workplace drama, there’s enough to keep one entertained. They did not disappoint upon return. So without further ado, here are 7 Korean stars who made their buzz-worthy comeback in 2022:
Korean megastar Lee Min-ho has been stealing scenes (and hearts) ever since he first appeared in Boys Over Flowers. He is one of the reliable actors and with his latest series Pachinko, he has perhaps delivered his career-best performance. The sprawling series that revolves around Korea’s colonial history has an ensemble cast of talented stars including Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung. Lee Min-ho plays Koh Hansu. And mind you, this isn’t a romantic hero, not by a long shot. With Hansu, the actor had a unique opportunity to inhabit a complex character – a man with criminal ties who tempts a young girl Sunja (Minha Kim) into an illicit affair. Min-ho dug deep with this role as he also plays the younger version. Pachinko is an emotional saga that doubles up as a celebration of human resilience. It might already be one of the best shows out there and some of the best scenes in it feature the star. It’s unlike anything he’s done before but the risk has paid off.
In any ranking of the top K-drama stars of all time, it’s impossible not to mention Son Ye-jin – one of the most beloved actresses out there. She’s best known for her role in Crash Landing on You, a star-crossed lovers drama in which she features alongside her now-husband Hyun Bin. Son Ye-jin has an impressive filmography that spans decades. Her latest show Thirty-Nine arrived in 2022 and was the most hyped comeback by far. The show is an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. It revolves around three best friends who are about to turn 40. The plot chronicles the highs and lows of their 30s coming to an end and a tragedy as one of the trio gets diagnosed with a terminal illness. Son Ye-jin plays Cha Mi-jo, a director at a dermatology clinic. As Mi-jo, the actress tackles some of the most challenging and emotionally draining scenes in her filmography yet. An impending loss, love and family secrets collide in this intense show. While it all sounds dreary, the show’s heartwarming moments get elevated by Son Ye-jin’s ability to switch gears and offer a convincing performance.
Park Min-young made her return to the small screen this year. The actress is best known for her charm and her most popular role in K-drama What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? Her latest show Forecasting Love and Weather sees her take on the familiar territory of a workplace drama. This time around she plays Jin Ha-kyung, a weather forecaster from Korea’s Meteorological Administration. Tensions mount as the employees race to predict the next day’s weather. Park Min-young has a knack for transforming office romances into endearing shows. And she does it again with her comeback series. Starring opposite Song Kang, with whom she shares a crackling chemistry, she outperforms the rest of the ensemble cast. Even the show’s harshest critics will go easy on Park Min-young. The woman can do no wrong.
Fans who had Healer on their K-drama starter pack are in for a treat because Ji Chang-wook, the 2014 show’s lead star has been on a roll. After wrapping up his last show Lovestruck in the City, he returned in May 2022 with a brand new series The Sound of Magic. It is already known that he is charming but wait till you watch him put on a cape and break into a dance routine. In the show, the actor seems to be having a gala time as he plays a magician for the first time. As Ri-eul he’s mysterious and sparks intrigue. The show opens with a joyous dance sequence, where Ji Chang-wook puts his smooth moves on full display. If that doesn’t get one hyped for his comeback, we don’t know what will.
Kim Tae-ri has fewer films and shows in her career compared to some other stars on this list but she’s impressive nonetheless. Her debut performance in the critically acclaimed 2016 film The Handmaiden won her plaudits, including the prestigious Blue Dragon Film Award. While the psychological thriller put her on the map, her latest show Twenty-Five Twenty-One is an all-out romance drama. Starring alongside Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Tae-ri plays Na Hee-do, an athlete on the school’s fencing team. Na is a naive and determined character and the actress channels those traits pretty well. The show is set across years starting from the late ’90s. On paper, it has all the makings of a feel-good drama. But it soon proves to be a refreshing and grounded take on coming-of-age stories.
Time to get uncontrollably excited because Uncontrollably Fond star Kim Woobin is coming back to the small screen. The actor had a long hiatus from 2016. The wishes of his fans have been answered with Our Blues, a drama about people living on the bustling Jeju island. The show’s ensemble cast also includes Shin Min-a. His next is a rather intriguing venture. Kim Woo-bin is all set to star in Black Knight. It is a sci-fi series that will see the actor play a legendary delivery driver called 5-8. While we don’t know what that means, it can only mean exciting possibilities. It’s set in a futuristic world where only one percent of the human population has survived. The show offers Kim Woo-bin yet another chance to showcase his stunts. Black Knight will arrive on OTT this year.
Han So-hee has been the talk of the town for a while now. The actress who can do it all has been delivering consistent performances with romance drama Nevertheless and more recently, with action series May Name. Both shows offered proof of her versatility. Her latest show Soundtrack #1 which is yet to arrive in India sees her play Lee Eun-soo, a lyricist who moves in with her photographer friend, whom she has known for twenty years. Actor Park Hyung-sik who co-stars in the show, only came on board to work with her, she’s that good!
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