tvN’s Shxxting Stars (or Shooting Stars/별똥별) is a romantic comedy through and through. It might not reinvent the wheel, but it knows what it wants to be and does it well. Yet it is also still refreshing and new while being as fluffy and breezy as a romantic comedy should be. That’s also true even when the series does dabble in more dramatic stories, especially those addressing some of the darker sides of Korean entertainment. But this stylized depiction of a world ripe for K-drama shenanigans is an absolute treat.
Lee Sung Kyung is Oh Han Byeol, the smart and savvy head of the PR department at talent agency Starforce. Kim Yong Dae is Gong Tae Sung, Starforce’s biggest star and one of the most-loved celebrities in the country. Tae Sung returns to Korea after a year of service in Africa and must readjust to being a top star.
Knowing Lee Sung Kyung and Kim Young Dae are our two leads, their journey from butting heads to kissing lips should not come as a surprise to anyone coming into the series. But it is a cute and fun journey that both actors help to make charming and endearing.
Kim Young Dae is especially a joy to watch as his role as Gong Tae Sung is so far removed from his three biggest roles up to this point. Those roles are of course that of the broody manhwa leading man in Extraordinary You, the cool, charismatic NIS agent of Cheat on Me If You Can and his breakout role as the stoic, chaebol son in Penthouse. But as Tae Sung, Kim Young Dae loosens all the way up and delivers what is a surprising, yet welcome comedic performance that draws upon his dramatic experience to balance the more lighthearted nature of his character here. His performance is probably one of the highlights of the series.
He shares a great chemistry with the more experienced Lee Sung Kyung who of course has a lot of both comedic and dramatic experience to draw from to deliver the necessary performance to make Oh Han Byeol a strong character.
Though Han Byeol and Tae Sung’s romance forms the core of the series, Shxxting Stars features a large ensemble of characters who each have their own engaging stories of love and friendship as well. And through those relationships, the series manages to effectively tell stories of the behind the scenes joys and struggles of the Korean entertainment industry.
Shxxting Stars is not going to be a gritty deep dive into the dark side of the industry. In fact, it’s quite a cheerful depiction. Even when they do effectively portray more serious topics such as mental health or the toxicity that reigns on social media.
But the series finds the right balance to give ample and deserved focus to more serious matters while never taking away from the individual stories of the main and many supporting characters. And vice versa.
There is a bit of slice of life thrown in as well with the series being briskly paced so much that the last few episodes are filled with fan service more than needing to tie up loose ends.
A strong supporting cast forms the large ensemble. And being able to effectively establish all these characters and make them distinct and fully developed is definitely an accomplishment.
But K-drama icon Choi Ji Woo, also in a supporting role, elevates the series beyond being merely an enjoyable rom-com. Her presence, though quick, alone adds some heft to the proceedings. Her character’s story and her accompanying performance really adds that extra bit of depth to the series that makes for a well-rounded experience.
And that well-rounded experience makes Shxxting Stars just a fun, enjoyable watch. Lee Sung Kyung and Kim Young Dae are absolutely charming as they lead a wonderful ensemble cast. Romantic and lighthearted throughout with well-placed drama and emotion, the series delivers great characters and a satisfying story. And that’s definitely a winner in today’s K-drama landscape.