I distinctly remember the first time I saw Lee Sang Yeob. It was in the 2015 KBS weekend drama, House Of Bluebird, that I originally watched because of Lee Joon Hyuk. Man, second lead syndrome is real, I kid you not. And while his character there isn't actually the most ~pleasant~, Sang Yeob still left an impression on me that made me look forward to seeing more of his projects.
Born on May 8, 1983, Sang Yeob made his acting debut in the year 2007 when he starred in the KBS television series, A Happy Woman. From then on, this Taurean has been in a string of small and big screen projects that have paved the way for him to become one of South Korea's most sought-after actors. With over two dozen titles to his name, it's hard to choose which Lee Sang Yeob dramas you should definitely watch. So I've narrowed down this list to the dramas that have mostly earned him accolades from some of the esteemed award-giving organizations in South Korea.
Here are five Lee Sang Yeob dramas you shouldn't miss!
1. While You Were Sleeping (2017)
Sang Yeob starred as Lee Yoo Beom in this legal fantasy drama from SBS. Yoo Beom, once a famous prosecutor but is now an even more successful lawyer, is dating a reporter named Nam Hong Joo (played by Bae Suzy), who has the uncanny ability to see the future in a dream. She shares this gift with her neighbor, prosecutor Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk), and police officer Han Woo Tak (Jung Hae In). The three of them work together to prevent the crimes that their dreams tell them about, only to find out that Lee Yoo Beom figures in all of it.
In an episode of Jessie’' Showterview, Sang Yeob mentioned that Yoo Beom was actually one of his favorite roles. He played his character so well that he earned the Excellence in Acting award for the Wednesday-Thursday category from the 2017 SBS Drama Awards.
2. Love Affairs In The Afternoon (2019)
Who else is in it: Park Ha Sun, Jo Dong Hyuk
Growing tired and weary of her mundane life in a small city, Son Ji Eun (Park Ha Sun) often wonders about a different life beyond her roles as a wife and as a part-time worker at a supermarket. Things start changing when Ji Eun meets thrill-seeker Choi Soo Ah (Ye Ji Won), who seems to have it all but the love and affection of her own husband. She is not ashamed of her adultery and urges Ji Eun to do the same. So when Ji Eun meets school teacher Yoon Jung Woo (Lee Sang Yeob), sparks fly and neither one of them can stop the passion that has started to blaze.
For his role in this remake of the Japanese drama, Hirugao: Love Affairs In The Afternoon, Sang Yeob bagged the Best Drama Star award from the 2019 Korea Best Star Awards, and the Best Actor award in the TV category from the 2019 Korea Cultural Entertainment Awards.
3. Once Again (2020)
Who else is in it: Lee Min Jung, Lee Cho Hee, Oh Yoon Ah
Song Young Dal (Cheon Ho Jin) and Jang Ok Book (Cha Hwa Yeon) have been married for years, but it is not without its ups and downs. Their current headache is that their two elder children are both divorcees. Song Na Hee (Lee Min Jung), their third child, is a successful pediatrician but her marriage to college sweetheart Yoon Gyu Jin (Lee Sang Yeob) is on the rocks too. Meanwhile, maknae Da Hee (Lee Cho Hee) who just got married is also filing for divorce. Will their grown-up kids ever find their happy endings?
Don't let the number of episodes (100!) overwhelm you. This drama is filled with relatable and heartwarming stories that will surely hook you right in. Min Jung and Sang Yeob were such a lovely couple here that they won the Best Couple award at the 2020 KBS Drama Awards. Sang Yeob also took home the Excellence Award and the Netizen Award at the same ceremony. Moreover, he also took home the Top Excellence award from the 2021 APAN Star Awards for his role as Yoon Gyu Jin.
4. On The Verge Of Insanity (2021)
Who else is in it: Jung Jae Young, Kim Ga Eun, Moon So Ri
This drama stars Jung Jae Young, who plays the role of Choi Ban Seok. To avoid being laid off by his company, Ban Seok is forced to leave behind his position as an engineer of 22 years and joins the Human Resources team instead. Here he meets Dang Ja Young (Moon So Ri), who heads the HR department, and thus begins the life-changing interaction between the rookie and the boss. Meanwhile, Lee Sang Yeob plays the role of ambitious development team lead Han Se Kwon who looks good on paper, but is he really all that he claims to be?
Once again, Sang Yeob proves his acting chops through this 16-episode drama as he bagged the Excellence Award for the mini-series category at the 2021 MBC Drama Awards.
5. Eve (2022)
Who else is in it: Seo Ye Ji, Park Byung Eun, Yoo Sun
This upcoming tvN drama will be all about the shocking divorce lawsuit (reportedly amounting to 2 trillion won!!!) of chaebol Lee Ra El (played by Seo Ye Ji). Sang Yeob will play the role of Seo Eun Pyung, a young and capable politician who is the rising star of the South Korean political sphere. But you know what they say about love making you stupid and all that—is Eun Pyung really going to throw everything he's worked so hard for just to be with Ra El? We'll know the answer when the drama premieres on May 25. And it wouldn't be surprising if Sang Yeob bags yet another award for this role. I just can't wait to see it!
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