7 K-Dramas That’ll Give You Second Lead Syndrome

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Interesting Second Lead Syndrome Kdramas To Warm Your Soul

Being captivated by a Korean drama usually means being consumed by the romantic tension between the protagonists. But sometimes there’s a twist: Second Lead Syndrome.

This is when you start rooting for the “other guy” — in Kdrama second leads are just as (if not more) charming and supportive than the main lead, and capture your heart as well. It’s an emotional roller coaster as these characters compete for the heroine’s affections, making you torn between who you want her to choose.

Kdrama second leads are often scene stealers with their irresistible charm — from heartthrobs to charming confidants, they’ve got it all. You might have begun shipping the female protagonist with the main lead, but once you notice the second lead’s sincerity and charisma, it’s over for you.

And this is what keeps viewers hooked; they can’t wait to see how this love triangle pans out every week.

Related: 10 Old-School Period Romance Movies To Escape To Another Era

So. below are seven second lead syndrome kdramas to watch!

7 Engaging Second Lead Syndrome Kdramas

1. True Beauty (2020)

Second Lead Syndrome Kdramas

The love triangle between Im Joo-kyeong, Lee Su-ho and Han Seo-jun in “True Beauty” is fueled by the spellbinding performances of its cast. The crux of the story revolves around Joo-kyeong’s transformation from insecurity to confidence through makeup.

Although both Su-ho and Seo-jun have an impact on her life, Seo-jun’s unwavering friendship paired with genuine affection for Joo-kyeong can’t help but make the audience fall in love with him too; hence leaving us undecided between two such charming leads.

2. Start-Up (2020)

Seo Dal-mi, Nam Do-san and Han Ji-pyeong are introduced as three passionate tech enthusiasts in “Start-Up”. Dal-mi’s journey intersects with Do-san’s and Ji-pyeong’s setting off a love triangle that keeps viewers at the edge of their seats.

Despite Ji-pyeong’s unspoken feelings and tender moments shared with Dal-mi, it is true what they say about the course of true love never running smooth; so we can’t help wanting something different for ourselves than what we see happening before us.

3. Her Private Life (2019)

In “Her Private Life,” Sung Deok-mi’s professional world collides with her fangirl life when Ryan Gold steps into it. While Deok-mi’s romantic involvement unfolds with Gold, there is also another person who loves her silently from childhood – Nam Eun-gi.

It is hard not to sympathize or feel sorry for Eun-gi because he has always been such a good friend who cared about Deokmi deeply even though his efforts were never reciprocated by her thus adding some poignancy to this series.

4. Hotel Del Luna (2019)

“Hotel Del Luna” tells an otherworldly story of love lost and found agains a supernatural backdrop. As Jang Man Wol and Goo Chan Sung fall in love, it becomes hard not to be charmed by the sweet innocence of Go Chung Myung.

Chung Myung’s playful nature combined with unwavering loyalty leaves a lasting impression on anybody who watches this show – we might have known how things would end from the start but that still doesn’t stop us from caring about what happens along the way.

5. Reply 1988 (2015)

In “Reply 1988”, friendship and romance among high school students take center stage through their journey as childhood friends.

Kim Jung Hwan’s infamous confession scene with Sun Deok Sun keeps everyone at the edge of their seats only for us to get hit by a truckload of sadness when we find out she didn’t choose him.

It challenges our perception about love because sometimes you think someone is meant for another person but it turns out life has different plans altogether.

6. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021)

“Hometown Cha Cha Cha” introduces a new main star while breaking hearts for Ji Seong-hyun who loves Yoon Hye-jin secretly without being reciprocated.

No matter how much he tries or how long his feelings have been there; timing just always ends up becoming an insurmountable barrier between them which leaves one feeling sorry for him since all this time he was hoping against hope.

7. Our Beloved Summer (2021)

“Our Beloved Summer” tests friendships when Kim Ji-ung falls in unrequited love with his best friend’s crush.

Ji-ung’s pure affection and sacrifices tug at one’s heartstrings thus showcasing second lead syndrome in its most painful form where everything seems to go wrong because people won’t communicate or seize opportunities that come their way.

Related: The Art Of Soft Love In K-Drama Romance: 10 Enchanting Lessons

In K-dramas, second lead syndrome is a bittersweet ride for viewers who cheer on the sidekick. These shows throw everything from unreciprocated love to lost chances and sad goodbyes at fans – and they love it.


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