“Live On” is an 8-episode mini-drama series that aired on JTBC from November 17, 2020 to January 12, 2021. The story centers around Baek Ho-rang, a famous high-schooler and a social media princess with 170,000 SNS followers, and Ko Eun-taek, the respected and meticulous captain of Seoyeon High Broadcasting Club.
The story has quite a strong beginning for the main characters where they initially meet with unfavorable impressions, strongly bickering about their rude behavior towards each other. Both characters have distinctive and extreme personalities which make the drama very interesting. This is not your typical high-school romance series full of aegyo and Baek Ho-rang will surely remind you of School 2015’s fierce and fearless Go Eun-byul.
Although their personalities are not absolutely opposite, Baek Ho-rang and Ko Eun-taek, are one of those K-drama couples that people don’t usually expect to end up romantically involved. That is why I really enjoyed their character development and how they gradually shifted from being bickering enemies to friends and eventually liking each other.
Adding color to the story are their classmates and friends Kim Yoo-shin, Kang Jae-yi, Ji So-hyun, and Do Woo-jae. Together with Baek Ho-rang and Ko Eun-taek, these six main characters make up the three cute couples of this drama. Each of these characters showcases different charisma, but I adored and fell in love with each of them, especially with how each of them grew and portrayed such a beautiful friendship in the end despite their differences.
With a huge social media following, Baek Horang is very famous at Seoyeon High, with most students looking up to her like a celebrity. Born from a wealthy family and with her success as an influencer, Baek Horang is recognized not only because of her beauty but also because of the expensive brands she wears at school and posts on social media. While this generally draws positive attention from the school crowd, this also invites bashers and jealous critics on the side. Being branded as rude because of her straightforward demeanor, she doesn’t have many friends at school despite her popularity. By being utterly nonchalant to her critics’ opinion about her, everything seems to be going well in the school life of Baek Ho-rang. This was the case until one mysterious story that hints about her dark past was read during a lunch broadcast from SHBS and shattered her peace.
The character was played by Jung Da-bin. I first saw her in the Korean Movie “Student A,” and I think there is no other young actress who can better play Baek Ho-rang more than her. I appreciate how her facial expression can tell stories and convey a mixture of emotions. I also love that I can feel her every emotion with each line – even those feelings that her character is supposedly trying to hide. She is a very excellent actress, and this series certainly made me look forward to more of her projects.
The meticulous captain of the Seoyeon High Broadcasting club, Ko Eun-taek, is well respected by its members because of his excellent leadership and extreme perfectionism. He performs well at school and is tall and good-looking, so he is also a popular student. He values time and honesty. He always speaks his mind and doesn’t hesitate to reprimand his team when needed, but he remains reasonably considerate. This makes Ko Eun-taek appear dashing and picture-perfect. But in reality, he is not that flawless. Deep inside him hides a broken heart because of his family situation.
Ko Eun-taek is NU’EST Hwang Min Hyun’s first lead role. Although he is a relatively rookie actor, I think he did very well in this drama. For me, he is perfect for the part. Besides the fact that it’s a joy to see his beautiful face on the screen, his voice is also pleasant to hear. I love how he said my favorite line from this series. I wept so hard when I listened to those words. Although Ko Eun-teak is a cold character on the outside, Hwang Min-hyun manages to show his warmness and sincerity through his eyes, especially in the way he stares when he listens to Baek Ho-rang.
The second captain of Seoyeon High Broadcasting team is Ji So Hyun. She is calm, pretty, and an outstanding student. Ji So-hyun is also very dedicated to her duties at SHBS. Because she is more comfortable around boys than girls, she is always rumored to be flirty and dates too many men. Despite these rumors, Ji So-hyun continues to be kind so she gets along with most of the people around her. However, for some reason, she seems to share bad blood with Baek Ho-rang.
Ji So-hyun, played by Yang Hye-ji, is a fascinating character for me. You can tell she is smart, confident, and eloquent, but at the same time, she is also shy, careful, and cautious. She is one of the story’s unpredictable characters and thanks to Yang Hye-ji – Ji So-hyun was very well played!
The self-proclaimed best friend of Baek Ho-rang, Kim Yoo-shin, is one of the characters to look forward to in this series. She is Baek Ho-rang’s clingy friend who follows her around for free food – even on weekends! Despite his cute image that makes him look innocent and clueless about life, he takes good care of Baek Ho-rang and always watches out for her. Aside from following Baek Ho-rang, he also goes around confessing his admiration for Ji So Hyun.
Although this is VICTON Choi Byung Chan’s acting debut, he undoubtedly nailed being the charming ball of sunshine of this series as Kim Yoo-shin. I hope more people will take notice of him because I will surely be looking forward to his lead role in the future!
Kang Jae-yi is the pretty but loud girl of Class 1. She is the cute girl of this series and the second character to bring fun and light throughout the story. Kang Jae-yi shares an on-and-off relationship with Do Woo-jae. At first, she may look just another shallow and whining girlfriend, but it is interesting to see how far her character grows and shows how she can be a very dependable friend despite her seemingly naive nature.
Former MOMOLAND member, Yeonwoo, played Kang Jae-yi’s character and boy, with her voice, she sure is perfect for the role! At first, I was kind of annoyed how she seems to be shouting almost all of the time. But in the end, I came to love seeing her on-screen, especially when she is with Kim yoo-shin. When they’re together on the frame, it will surely be a funny and adorable scene.
A member of the Student Council, Do Woo-jae is one of the mature characters of this series. Contrary to his noisy girlfriend, Do Woo-jae is the silent type, very patient, and always rational. As described by his younger sister, Do Woo-jae lives a very dull and boring life if not for Kang Jae-yi. When he is not with his girlfriend, he can be found hanging around Ko Eun-taek and Ji So-hyun – studying.
Noh Jong-hyun played Do Woo-jae’s character and I think he perfectly represents all the patient boyfriends in the world! The growth of his relationship with Kang Jaeyi, along with their individual growths, will surely be relatable for young couples.
The story of “Live On” appears dark and mysterious in the beginning. The identity of the anonymous black-mailer kept me frustratingly engrossed. But thankfully, for the most part, I think it ended up as a very heart-warming and comforting drama. I really enjoyed it 10/10 and it surely made its way as my first entry to my 2021 list of Korean Drama personal favorites. I was kind of sad that it was only a short series with 8 episodes so I was left wanting for more when I finished it. Because of that, I decided to re-watch the entire series right after! I find it so amazing that it still made me laugh and cry at the same scenes I first laughed and cried. That’s why, I LOVED it! It got me!
To sum it up, “Live On” is a feel-good, high-school, romantic, comedy series that will make you laugh and cry. It tackles the common struggles of high-schoolers including bullying, school violence, friendship, romance, and a bit about family relationships. If you are into high-school Korean drama series with interesting plot twists and colorful characters, this series should definitely be an addition to your watchlist!