Movie Reviews

True Beautys K-Drama Replacement Confirmed 4 Years Later By New Time Travel Show


  • Lovely Runner is a charming time-travel K-drama similar to True Beauty, emphasizing perseverance and sacrifice.
  • Both shows share key connections, having been written by Lee Si-eun.
  • True Beauty focuses on beauty standards and bullying, while Lovely Runner explores changing fate through overcoming past traumas.

Despite ending four years ago, True Beauty‘s legacy lives on in a new time-travel K-drama. Based on the popular webtoon by Yaongyi, True Beauty has become an essential K-drama to watch thanks to its heartfelt story that is masterfully presented through humor, romance, and quirkiness. Lim Ju-kyung’s (Moon Ga-young) quest to become “pretty” seems shallow at first, yet delving into the reasons behind her desperate desire to change her appearance makes True Beauty much more than a Cinderella story and one that deftly tackles adolescence, bullying, and romance with ease.

K-dramas’ recent growth in popularity has seen many live beyond just one season. Just this year alone, Squid Game season 2 will finally be coming to Netflix, as will Son of Netflix Song Kang’s Sweet Home, which returns for season 3. Spin-offs are also becoming popular, with Strong Girl Bong-soon’s world revived in last year’s Strong Girl Nam-soon and Hospital Playlist‘s spin-off series expected to come sometime next year. Though True Beauty season 2 doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon, this new time-travel K-drama brings True Beauty’s vibrant world to life in a whole new way.

Lovely Runner Is The Perfect K-Drama If You Liked True Beauty

They’re Both Heartfelt And Charming K-dramas

Lovely Runner is a charming yet bittersweet K-drama with many similarities to True Beauty, except it has a time travel twist. Lovely Runner focuses on the story of aspiring movie producer and K-pop superfan Im Sol (Kim Hye-yoon) as she travels back in time to save her favorite K-pop idol, Ryu Sun-jae (Byeon Woo-seok), from death. At first glance, Lovely Runner’s premise seems like fan fiction. However, much like True Beauty, Lovely Runner defies expectationsby providing a story that is full of laughter and heart.

Though True Beauty’s Lim Ju-kyung and Lovely Runner’s Im Sol are at very different points in their lives, with Lim Ju-kyung being a high-school student and Im Sol a woman in her thirties, their very similar attitudes glue True Beauty and Lovely Runner. Both characters’ unrelenting optimism is the core of their respective K-dramas. Although their clumsy approaches often lead them into similarly hilarious situations, they always mean well. Their struggles hang over them like a dark cloud, but they never let them define them, making their battles to change their futures more and more heartwarming.

Lovely Runner (2024)

Lovely Runner is a TV series that follows the story of a young athlete who rises to fame in the world of track and field. As the protagonist navigates the highs and lows of competitive sports, the series explores themes of perseverance, sacrifice, and personal growth.

Byeon Woo-seok , Kim Hye-yoon , Song Geon-hee , Lee Seung-hyub

Release Date
April 8, 2024


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Every Connection Between Lovely Runner & True Beauty

The Two K-dramas Have More Than One Connection

Though they are very similar K-dramas, there also are many direct connections that link True Beauty and Lovely Runner together. The most obvious connection comes from the writer Lee Si-eun. True Beauty and Lovely Runner are K-dramas based on webtoons, and Lee Si-eun wrote both of their on-screen adaptations, with Lovely Runner being True Beauty‘s direct follow-up. With this in mind, it’s hard not to see how tonally similar they are due to the infusion of Lee Si-eun’s writing talents. However, it’s also great to see Lee’s development as Lovely Runner‘s emotions run much deeper than True Beauty.

Kim Hye-yoon is the driving force of
Lovely Runner
as she stars as the show’s female lead.

Secondly, Lovely Runner and True Beauty both star Kim Hye-yoon. Kim Hye-yoon is the driving force of Lovely Runner as she stars as the show’s female lead, Im Sol, whose desire to save her favorite K-pop idol is the entire reason for the story’s inaction. However, Kim Hye-yoon’s appearance in True Beauty is minute as she reprises her role from Extraordinary You in a short cameo in episode 4. This is a lovely nod to the hit fantasy K-drama that rewards eager K-drama fans whilst connecting Lovely Runner and True Beauty with the wild Extraordinary You universe.

Speaking of cameos, two True Beauty cameos in Lovely Runner cement the connection between the two shows even further. The first comes from Kim Min-ki, who played Lim Ju-kyung’s mischievous younger brother Im Ju-young in True Beauty. He makes a brief cameo in episode 13 of Lovely Runner as the arrogant actor, Park Do-jun. Next, is the appearance of Lee Woo-je. Lee’s appearance in Lovely Runner as Sun-jae’s friend Cho-rong is absolutely hysterical, but he also played a character called Cho-rong in True Beauty, further solidifying the connection between the two K-dramas.

How Lovely Runner Is Different From True Beauty

They Have Very Different Messages

Though there are many connections between Lovely Runner and True Beauty, they explore K-pop’s effect on artists and fans in opposite ways. Lovely Runner focuses on the fans, as Im Sol treats Ryu Sun-jae as a beacon of hope after she is paralyzed in a car accident. This uplifts Lovely Runner’s story as Sol desperately tries to save the person who kept her alive. Alternatively, True Beauty‘s focus on the artists creates a source of conflict and criticism. The death of Lee Su-ho (Cha Eun-woo) and Han Seo-jun (Hwang In-youp)’s friend destroys their friendship while criticizing the effect scandals can have on young artists.


10 Best K-dramas Like Lovely Runner

From time travel revenge thrillers to nostalgic sports melodramas, here are some of the best K-dramas to watch after finishing Lovely Runner.

Lovely Runner and True Beauty also have very different core messages that greatly impact their stories. Firstly, True Beauty is a story that focuses heavily on bullying and the pressures that beauty standards can have on young people. This is particularly seen through the character of Lim Ju-kyung, who uses makeup to hide her natural appearance due to the heavy bullying she received at her old school. On the other hand, Lovely Runner asks what would happen if you could change your fate, as Im Sol chooses to navigate the past to change both her and idol Ryu Sun-jae’s future.

True Beauty
’s Ju-kyung’s change in attitude makes her future seem much less daunting as she finally embraces her natural beauty.

The way Ju-kyung and Sol try to overcome their issues exemplifies Lovely Runner and True Beauty’s key messages. Im Sol’s quest is outwardly very literal, yet she has to overcome some of the biggest traumas in her past instead of running away from them. On the other hand, Ju-kyung’s change in the high-school K-drama attitude makes her future seem much less daunting as she finally embraces her natural beauty and enacts change as her true self, not as what she thinks people want her to be. Though their messages differ, True Beauty and Lovely Runner’s similar approaches make them the perfect pairing.

Lovely Runner
True Beauty
are both available on Viki.

True Beauty

Moon Ga-young , Cha Eun-woo , Jang Hye-jin , Park Ho-san

Release Date
December 8, 2020


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