Each year brings with it some particular trend that dominates the drama world throughout the year, with every other show following it and trying to milk on the success of that formula. I can say that there was one trend that I totally loved and supported wholeheartedly and that was the bevy of reunions that we received this year. It’s very special and new in K-dramaland because here, it’s like once in a blue moon that we ever get two stars working again for another project, however much success they got with the first one. And so it was with much delight that I received the first news of the reunion, which was classic pairing of Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae in Hotel King and after that, the deluge of reunions filled dramaverse and continues to do so. I’m happy with this new trend!
In recent history, the only ones that I can remember are  with Jang Hyuk and Lee Da Hae who have done not two but three shows together — Robbers, Chuno and IRIS 2 with only Chuno receiving sky-high success,  Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa in You’ve Fallen For Me after he played second lead to her heroine in You’re Beautiful and  Jang Nara and Daniel Choi who moved from being lovers in Baby Faced Beauty to colleagues in School 2013. But the last two cannot be counted as purely romantic reunions as they didn’t play love birds in both.
I think there are many lucrative points that lure the makers to cast two actors together again. There is already a large fanbase for the pair which supports it come hell or high water. They eagerly wait to see their favourite couple with excitement out the wazoo. The pairing is tested already for its electric chemistry and all in all, there is high chance of success with low risk factor involved. As Korean wave is spreading day by day, there is a huge international fan following, especially for oldies (well, 2000s) dramas that are touted as classics and many are the entry way for these fans into K-dramas. Hence, the profitable export chances to overseas market is super high.
On personal front, I welcome the reunions with open arms. We see two people, travel with them in their journey through a drama and we don’t even know when they make a place in our hearts. We laugh with them, cry with them, feel giddy and cheer when they finally kiss. And hence, it’s natural when after so many years, we get to see them together as the couple refreshes all those warm memories of the time spent with them and the amount of love we gave them.
On the flip side, the reunions can generate high anticipation and then we expect the couple to be awesome just like the way it was the first time. The first time pairing has an advantage of starting on a clean slate and they have only one way to proceed and that is to go up. Whereas, the second time pairing has the burden of expectations that they may or may not fulfil. But then there is a general observation that the leads are more polished in their acting as well as looks in the second outing, which is obvious after an experienced journey in the land of acting.
Let’s have a recap of all the OTPs that graced our screens and made out hearts flutter once again. Technically it was Kim Soo Hyun and Jeon ji hyun who started it all but it was the transition from blockbuster film Thieves to blockbuster drama You From Another Star.
If we strictly talk about dramas, it all began with Lee Da Hae and Lee Dong Wook when they were cast for weekend drama Hotel King. I found them totally enjoyable in My Girl (2005) and it was a special gift for the die-hard fans of the couple. The drama veered towards makjang category and hence I skipped it. But many viewers enjoyed it to the T. I think the show also has pretty passionate scenes which were in great contrast to My Girl romance which was on the cuter side. The drama got mediocre ratings considering it was a weekend fair.
Lee Jun Ki and Nam Sang Mi appeared in sageuk The Joseon Gunman after their 2007 action thriller The Time Between Dog And Wolf. The show remained on top of its time slot even if the numbers were not very high. I didn’t watch either so the excitement meter was low for me on the personal front.
Then there was Discovery Of Romance, a second chance at love rom-com that reunited Jung Yumi and Eric, who first starred in 2007’s Que Sera Sera — which was a very different show and what I can call a dark, not-for-everyone kind of drama but I loved it. It was great to see the two actors doing something light after that. I didn’t see it but it has received fairly mixed reviews. And I think it’s worth a watch just for seeing the awesomeness called Eric!
Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo made everyone cry with them in their early hallyu hit drama Stairway To Heaven (which I have no courage to watch) and this time they appeared as a couple in an extra marital affair in melodrama Temptation. I would have really preferred if they had chosen a lighter and sunny tone this time round but alas, it was another one that I skipped.
I think the most successful of these pairings is that of Jang Hyuk and Jang Nara. They were hit together 12 years ago in Successful Story Of A Bright Girl and they succeeded in winning hearts even now with Fated To Love You. I loved their AMAZING chemistry and they are even better at their game now. You could see how comfortable they were together. They also played as a couple a few days later on the heels of FTLY completion in a short drama Old Goodbye.
There are many more dramas in the upcoming lot that are churning out reunions. Lee Seung Gi and Moon Chae Won are reuniting in movie Today’s Romance though they were alternate leads in Shining Inheritance. Hyun Bin and Han Ji Min will be seen as a couple in multiple personality drama Hyde, Jekyll, Me after their movie The King’s Wrath but they were also not romantically involved there. Then there is another reunion which is happening after the shortest time which is that of Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum who are starring in romantic comedy Kill Me Heal Me after working in 2013’s melodrama Secret.
All in all, I think it’s great that we are seeing pairings get repeated nowadays which looked like a pipe dream earlier. If there was any magical dust, I would wish for a reunion of Jae Hee and Han Chae Young who form my most favourite couple ever! And I would love to see Moon Geun Young and Kim Rae Won in a drama as they were adorable with capital A in movie My Little Bride.