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Top Star U-Back debut: tvN brings back “Korean Province Romance” angle in new K-Drama, popular among domestic viewers

Top Star U-Back
Kim Ji-seok and Jeon So-min star in this happy romantic comedy set in a Korean province. Image Credit: Total Variety Network (tvN)

The Total Variety Network (tvN) is currently airing a string of hit K-dramas this season on all their scheduled nights. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Tale of Fairy is exponentially increasing in viewership. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes is keeping viewers in a state of suspense. Finally on Saturday and Sunday, Room No. 9 has viewers watching in bated breath with its take of the body-swap formula.

With all of the success tvN is experiencing now, there is no need for the Korean cable/pay network to release any more K-dramas until the 2018 to 2019 swing season starts. However, it seems they want to start early. Ergo, they’ve debuted Top Star U-Back in their Friday time slot and it was a hit domestically. It is also a K-drama that marks a return to “Korean province romances,” an angle that has been underutilized over the past year or so.

What is Top Star U-Back all about?

As mentioned earlier, Top Star U-Back is a return to the “Korean province romance” angle. What that means is that one of the main characters, usually living in Seoul, is forced to move to a “back country” province for one reason or another. There they truly “learn about life and themselves” all while falling in love. Warm and Cozy (also known as Jeju Island Gatsby) is an excellent example of such.

Starring Kim Ji-suk and Jun So-min, Yoo Baek (Ji Suk) is a former idol star who has become a household name as an actor. Though popular, he is vain and an unapologetic narcissist. When he gets into big trouble, he is exiled to a remote island as a form of damage control. In for the culture shock of his life, far from civilization, the impossible happens: he falls in love with Oh Kang-soon, a local island girl.

The “Korean Province Romance” angle is still as popular as ever

The “Korean Province Romance” angle hasn’t been used in what seems like forever, but it is still just as popular. The numbers don’t like as the premier episode recorded high viewership numbers. According to AGB Nielsen Korea, the nationwide viewership rating was 2.829 percent while Seoul recorded 3.372 percent. Take note this K-drama airs on Friday which is usually a “dead day.”

As for international fans (at least those living in the Americas), there is only one streaming service confirmed to air Top Star U-Back and that is OnDemandKorea (ODK). With tvN’s other K-dramas for this season being major successes, ODK may have its diamond in the rough if this K-drama is subtitled on time. It just made its debut so it shouldn’t be hard for them.

Top Star U-Back airs on Fridays at 11 p.m. KST on tvN. As mentioned above, it is only at ODK, a streaming site which has been heavily advertised for adding more subtitles to their shows, especially all the JTBC K-dramas that were originally airing on DramaFever before its shutdown.

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War Omega is an entertainment news writer and painter that specializes in Asian entertainment. On Monsters & Critics, he writes about K-pop, K-dramas, and Chinese... read more
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