Calling all K-drama addicts! Our fave drama actor, Nam Joo Hyuk, is set to return early next year with the Netflix fantasy series School Nurse Ahn Eun Young! The Penshoppe ambassador debuted as a model in 2013 but shifted his career to acting a year later, with a minor role in the rom-com drama The Idle Mermaid. While we (not so) patiently wait for his return, here's a roundup of all his buzz-worthy Korean dramas so far.
1. Dazzling / The Light in Your Eyes (2019)
In this 12-episode fantasy melodrama, Joo Hyuk plays the role of Lee Joon Ha, a hardworking 25-year-old who aspires to be a reporter. However, his low status makes him think that no matter how persistent he is, nothing will work out in his life. His lonely and dark life is disrupted when he crosses paths with the bright and honest Hye Ja (Han Ji Min), who dreams of becoming an announcer and has the ability to manipulate time. As the two spend time together, they figure out the importance of making the most out of their given time. Filled with gut-wrenching emotional scenes, this drama just might be Joo Hyuk's most challenging and mature one to date. Watch out for a BIG PLOT TWIST in Episode 10!
2. The Bride of The Water God (2017)
With god-like visuals, it's no wonder Joo Hyuk was cast as Ha Baek, the arrogant but kind-hearted water god who travels to modern-day Korea on a quest to become the king of the gods. Upon arriving in the mortal world, he loses his powers and is forced to ask help from a human servant, psychiatrist Yoon So Ah (Shin Se Kyung), whose family has vowed to serve the gods. He's a little stubborn and self-centered at times, but he soon learns to be considerate of others, especially of So Ah, who also happens to be his destined bride. Joining in the fun are wind god Bi Ryeom (Gong Myung) and water goddess Mu Ra (Krystal of f(x)).
3. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016)
In this hit coming-of-age romantic comedy, Joo Hyuk is boy-next-door Jung Joon Hyung, a collegiate swimmer who is playful and supportive of his weightlifter friend-turned-girlfriend Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung). He also has an ideal relationship with his older brother, Jae Yi (Lee Jae Yoon), whom Bok Joo develops a crush on early in the drama. Joon Hyung's romance with Bok Joo develops slowly but it was such a delight to see him turn from that annoying cute friend to a doting boyfriend. His character is the ultimate #GOALS for a college boyfriend: sweet, funny, and supportive!
4. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
Joo Hyuk's character is Baek Ah, the 13th prince of Goryeo. Unlike his brothers, he doesn't want the throne and doesn't even introduce himself as a prince. He is close friends with Hae Soo (IU), a woman from the future who found herself teleported back to the Goryeo dynasty. The prince is known for his good looks and his love for music and the arts. Baek Ah is popular among the ladies and he's kind of a playboy at first but falls deeply for gisaeng Woo Hee (Seohyun of Girl's Generation), who is actually the last princess of the Baekje kingdom conquered by King Taejo's Goryeo dynasty. The two come to terms with their feelings for each other and the bloody history of their two nations. Be prepared to shed a tear or two for these star-crossed lovers.
5. Cheese in the Trap (2016)
In Cheese in the Trap, Joo Hyuk is Eun Taek, the ever-reliable and loyal bestie of the lead female character Seol (Kim Go Eun). He has a secret crush on friend Bo Ra (Park Min Ji), whom he tries to protect and take care of. Eun Taek and Bo Ra's romance provide light-hearted moments to the series in contrast to the main couple Seol and Yoo Jung's (Park Hae Jin) complicated relationship. It's another friends-to-lovers relationship for Joo Hyuk, but who can complain when he portrays it perfectly every time, right?
6. Glamorous Temptation (2015)
Joo Hyuk plays the teen Hyung Woo, the son of a senator who grew up with the daughter of the prime minister, Il Joo (Kim Bo Ra), and the daughter of the minister's driver, Eun Soo (Kim Sae Ron). The trio share a nice relationship until Hyung Woo falls for Eun Soo. Joo Hyuk only appears in the first half of the 50-episode drama, but his portrayal of a pure and innocent schoolboy is one to remember!
7. Who Are You: School 2015 (2015)
The KBS youth drama tells the story of the quiet Eun Bi (Kim So Hyun), who loses her memories and finds herself living the life of her long-lost twin, Eun Byul. Alongside her is the handsome Han Yi An (Joo Hyuk), the school's star swimmer and Eun Byul's childhood BFF. Yi An has had a longstanding crush on Eun Byul but after finding out the truth about the swapped identities, Yi An has to come to terms with his feelings for the two sisters. To complicate the relationship further is the appearance of Tae Kwang (Yook Sung Jae of BTOB), the rebellious son of the school director who also develops feelings for Eun Byul.
8. The Idle Mermaid (2014)
The drama that started it all introduces us to Joo Hyuk as Dae Bak/Big, a rich computer genius who finds himself cut off by his parents and who starts living in the Surplus House. Big slowly forms a love line with the quirky mukbang (online food broadcast) personality Hye Young (Kim Seul Gi) and viewers can't help but squeal from kilig when watching the two's adorably sweet moments!
Follow Bea on Instagram.