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[Beanie Recs] A Lee Jun-ki drama worth the hype


Ahoy, Beanies! It’s time to gather your collective genius for a new recommendation series that features you and your drama knowledge. Each week we’ll drop a drama conundrum and leave it up to you to provide a drama rec, and the appropriate rationale behind it, be it long or short. Respond below!

Again My Life was disappointing, so I’m looking for a Lee Jun-ki drama that’s worth the hype. What should I watch?


Have a very particular drama itch that needs scratching? In need of a Beanie Rec? Email us at hello @ dramabeans.com and we’ll feature your topic in a future post.
 
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Flower of Evil!! The opposite of Again My Life which became increasingly bland by the end. Absolutely loved Lee Jun Ki's incredible, emotional performance.

It's not a typical crime thriller. There's plenty of suspense and mystery, but there's a focus on the main character's journey. Lee Jun Ki and Moon Chae Won had great chemistry too.

I've watched a ton of his dramas, but my memory is fuzzy with his older ones. XD Arang and the Magistrate and Two Weeks are good ones to try though.

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None other than Flower of evil! I still think that drama was a master piece

I think his only other dramas I have watched are Moon Lovers, Criminal minds and Lawless lawyer but FOE was definitely the superior drama

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I definitely loved watching Arang and the Magistrate, Two Weeks back then when I watched them.

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Flower of evil
If you want to gain an appreciation for Lee Jun-gi as a dramatic actor, its far and away his best onscreen performance.

Lawless Lawyer
Skip "Again my life" and watch this one if you're looking for a fun action/legal thriller, he excels at action vehicles and this one is a clear demonstration of that.

Two Weeks
An thriller with real emotional heft, he handles both dramatic and physical aspects of his performance really well here.

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Scarlet Heart Ryeo- just kidding, although he was the best part of that show.

Arang and the Magistrate~!

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Uncross that cross out. Bad sikki

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No! I shan't!!!!! 😂😂😂

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Defiant sikki

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Si. How do you think I maintain the power of my Queendom? :P

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I've noticed. 👀

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That was still good. He could save that one for me. I watched even The Scholar.
Actually Again My Life is his only drama that I simply couldn't finish. Well,, I stopped after the first episode to be honest. Even his acting chops and his priceless face couldn't save this trope melting pot.

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Arang and the Magistrate was the feel-good sageuk comedy starring him.

Also, I do recommended the old, nostalgic funny romcom My Girl. It was also starred him and it became one of the most successful Kdrama romcoms of all time.

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Big fan of his! My favorite Lee Jun-ki (aka Lee Joon-gi) kdramas are:
Two Weeks (2013) - Genre: Melodrama, crime, action, thriller
Arang and the Magistrate (2012) - Genre: Fantasy, period, mystery
Flower of Evil (2020) - Genre: Melodrama, suspense, thriller
My Girl (2005) - Genre: Romance, Comedy

Honorable Mention:
Lawerless Lawyer (2018) - Genre: Legal, thriller
Time Between Dog and Wolf (2007) - Genre: Action
Gunman in Joseon (2014) - Genre: Historical, revenge, melodrama, action, suspense

An unforgettable and must-see performance by Oppa:
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heat Ryeo (2016) - Genre: Historical, romance

Oh the Visuals…Oppa in some beautiful & colorful hanboks
Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015) - Genre: Historical, fantasy, fusion saguek

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I think it would be safe to add a file to your list (I agree with it)
The King and the Clown - I think it has everything - good story, nice visuals and a fabulous Lee Joon Gi

And I also would add Iljimae - another sageuk - to the list of dramas where he excels

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Flower of evil: His character was great and kept you thinking if he was good or bad. Plus, the chemistry with Moon Chae Won.

My girl: He plays the typical second lead and his hair is somewhat distracting but I liked this drama for the female lead and the comedy.

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'hair is somewhat distracting' 😂 yep it was

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All the crying he did in My Girl was pretty distracting too, but he’s come a long way from that drama..

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Arang and the Magistrate!!! That's where I fell in love. Then Lawless Lawyer, Two Weeks and Flower of Evil also watchable for me.

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Also, My Girl is great, but he's not the lead.

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Everything else.

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i agree with Arang & the Magistrate, but i noticed him first in My Girl -which sent me to watch The King & the Clown, The Time Between Dog & Wolf and then Virgin Snow...

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Your comment made me realise a. "yeah, why hasn't anyone mentioned the King and the Clown yet???" because b. "isn't that one of his most famous roles?"
Lel

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I’m so glad someone else also mentioned The King and the Clown. What better place to start your Lee Joon-gi journey than the film that started it all?

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The King and the Clown is still my favorite of his performances, even though it was one of his first (it helps that it's a great film in general).

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I agree. It is my favorite role. Second would be his role in Arang and the Magistrate.

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The King and the clown la vi 4 veces y la volvería a ver me facina su interpretación me enamoré de su cara y lo descubrí en La flor del mal un genio de ahí en más no me pierdo nada en donde actúe.

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I vote for:
Arang and the Magistrate
Two Weeks

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I really think Lee Joon Gi should've won Baeksang in Flower of Evil over Shin Ha Kyun in Beyond Evil.
His Do Hyun-Soo/Baek Hee-Sung character is a hard one to act, with multiple layers of personality peeled off as we get the story along, not to mention he overdone himself in some scenes that still scarred me to this day. He should have gotten the awards for his body of work himself.

At that time, the competition is stiff because both him and Shin Ha Kyun played mentally deranged characters but I think Beyond Evil is a meatier drama and eventually took the Best Drama award so the jury leans more towards Shin Ha Kyun.

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After Scarlet, I kinda lost my "love" for him. He became very thin, it was kinda distracting, and I found his dramas revolving too much around him and less the general story.

So my favourite is Arang and the Magistrate.

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So true to be honest. I’m watching most of his drama for him and often wonder how long I could keep this up. Some of his characters start to blur for sure.

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Arang and the Magistrate would be my top choice as *the* Lee Joon-gi drama. Not only is he great in it, but the drama itself is fantastic. Truly an underrated gem of a drama. I feel like it’s being forgotten and I don’t like it.

Or maybe you’d prefer Scholar Who Walks the Night. If you’re not looking for quality content and just B-tier trash with good eye-candy to pass the time (LJG and Lee Soo-hyuk for a price of one bad drama. The casting director had a vision, but the writer didn’t).

For a more ‘old but gold’ approach, go with either Time Between Dog and Wolf or My Girl. The two shows couldn’t be more different, but LJG is great in both and I’d recommend either show if anyone were to ask for recommendations of drama classics in their respective genres.

Out of his most recent fare, Flower of Evil is the only one that stands out in any meaningful way. The show itself sort of declines by the end, but it’s got a unique story and incredible performances and romantic chemistry between LJG and Moon Chae-won.

Last but certainly not least, I know this is a list for dramas - but I feel that any summary of LJG’s career bests cannot be complete without the inclusion of The King and the Clown. An excellent movie with a career-making performance from rookie LJG. It’s the one that got him famous, after all.

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"If you’re not looking for quality content and just B-tier trash with good eye-candy to pass the time (LJG and Lee Soo-hyuk for a price of one bad drama."

🤣🤣😂😂😂I fell off my chair. I'm still trying to brace myself to watch that drama

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I liked 'Scholar Who Walks the Night'. LJK's character had fierce noblility and courage in this, and Lee Soo-hyuk was hunky & stellar in his badness. Well worth it...if you can take a historical vampire series.

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Oh watch it, it's terrible. I highly recommend its awful to anybody. It was a fun time.

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@ladynightshade, I am in a hiatus position right now before my next kdrama cycle begins (in about 3 weeks with the Hong Sisters’ ALCHEMY OF SOULS on Netflix) and I am in a sageuk mood so based on your recommendation I will take the plunge and watch ARANG on Viki US of course under a different title: TALE OF ARANG.

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I love Two Weeks and Lawless Lawyer. I also like Arang but hate its final episode. I haven't finished Flower of Evil yet.

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I love this post because the unimpressive reviews of Again My Life made me wonder if he’d ever done anything really worth watching.

I think my problem with Lee Jun-ki (aside from his drama choices not at all being up my alley) is that, personally, I think he tends to chew the scenery. Can anyone recommend a more nuanced performance from him for me?

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Re: LJG and chewing up scenery. In LAWLESS LAWYER he met his match in Choi Min-soo who was wonderful as nemesis and villain Mayor Ahn Oh-joo. Choi Min-soo stole (lol or attempted to steal) every scene he was in with Lee Joon-gi. It was great to watch.
Added bonus is that because of the story for one brief moment they joined forces to fight some common bad guys and that produced one of my favorite all time fight scenes in a kdrama.

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I watched a few eps of Lawless Lawyer when it aired, but it wasn’t really my jam.

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No his performances are always a little... large. It's like Yoon Shi-yoon, you either like it or you don't.

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I don't know what it says about my taste, but I love both LJK and YSY. While some other actors which are commonly said to have a very nuanced? or subtle? acting feel boring to me...

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Regarding Lee Joongi's chewing the scenery: I think he gives so much into his performances that he often crosses the line between subtlety and overacting . I still believe that he is talented. My favorite projects of his remain The King and the Clown (top choice) and Arang and the Magistrate. I know that Lee Joon-gi is a talented martial artist and does his own action stunts, but at this point, I would like to see him take a break from such action-heavy roles (especially with such choreographed fight scenes). He does tend to play a particular character type. I would like to see him tackle something like a slice-of-life drama or even an drama with an ensemble cast. I wonder how he would do in a drama like My Liberation Notes or Our Blues.

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@mindy

I would recommend Flower of Evil. I think he shows a lot of subtlety in his expressions.

I haven't watched his recent drama; I admit to dropping it midway through the first episode, lol.

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Lawless lawer started well, and went quite bad (according to me). Since it was my first Lee Jun Ki drama I did not understand the hype.
Then later I watched Flower of evil.
What a difference the actor direction, and cinematography can make...

Flower of evil is one of the best drama I have watched. Lee Jun Ki has a impressive control of this microexpressions. And there is the cutest kdrama daughter.

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Time Between Dog and Wolf

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The first half of Time Between Dog and Wolf is great before it throws plot logic out the window in the second half. On the plus side though, you get Jung Kyung Ho thrown in as a bonus.

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I never really got the hype about Lee Jun-ki until I watched Flower of Evil. I liked that drama from beginning to end, thought Lee Jun-ki gave his best performance and had great chemistry with Moon Chae-won.

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Lawless Lawyer is a great legal thriller and the action scenes are so good. Lee Jun Ki really does actions well. There is also a sweet adult relationship.

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I misread it as Lee Min Ki and came running! :-D

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Scholar who walks the Night and Flower of Evil.

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Arang and the Magistrate! This will always be one of my favorite k-dramas because, one, I love all things historical fantasy infused with ghosts and, two, the main leads were fun to watch. LJK's chemistry with his co-star is excellent, and this k-drama also put that particular actress on the map for me, which is why I will watch anything Shin Min-a headlines even now.

I wanted to like LJK in his other dramas besides this one, but most of them I didn't even finish, although I enjoyed all his action scenes (and his eternally youthful face) and such.

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Definitely My Girl, a drama before he starts his quests for justice.

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I fell in love with him in My Girl, but Arang & the Magistrate is my fave drama starring him. Love historical fantasies and this one features him and Shin Minah being adorable. And it's a sageuk that skips the palace politics, and he's just a magistrate, not a prince secretly disguised as one. He gets to show off his action moves in some scenes. And the moves look nice and natural because he's an actual martial artist with black belts in several styles.

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His dramas have my fav intense second leads...

Time between dog and wolf - jung kyung ho as the angsty brother, plus old school ost
Arang and the magistrate - yeon woo jin creeped me out, plus the quaintly creepy background music
But my favourite is Two Weeks. What a redemption arc! And him tearing up over old hongkong movie, thats my guy

The recent dramas seem flashy and sophisticated, but couldnt match the ones above, i think

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It makes me so happy to see so much Arang and the Magistrate love on this thread~

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A bit sad that Lee Jun Ki doesn't have more HIT's(at least in the eyes of South Korea) under his belt as he is a great actor and deserved a higher recognition.
I'll add as great shows Iljimae,Time Between Dog and Wolf,Arang and the Magistrate,Two Weeks & Flower of Evil...
A fun watch is Scholar for the pretty left and right.

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