The Midnight Romance in Hagwon early reviews: Did Wi Ha Joon, Jung Ryeo Won's new tvN romance win viewers' hearts? | Web Series - Hindustan Times
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The Midnight Romance in Hagwon early reviews: Did Wi Ha Joon, Jung Ryeo Won's new tvN romance win viewers' hearts?

May 12, 2024 03:56 AM IST

Wi Ha Joon finally steps into the male lead shoes with Jung Ryeo Won by his side in tvN's The Midnight Romance in Hagwon on May 11.

After tussling with the Front Man in Squid Game (2021), leading a drug cartel in The Worst of Evil (2023), and whatnot, the diverse yet underrated talents of Wi Ha Joon have finally the top spot as the male lead of a romance drama. Opening its chapters of melodrama on Saturday, May 11, The Midnight Romance in Hagwon premiered on tvN, the South Korean network home to recent hit releases, including Queen of Tears and Lovely Runner.

Jung Ryeo Won and Wi Ha Joon at a press conference for their show The Midnight Romance in Hagwon ahead of the tvN premiere on May 11.(tvN)
Jung Ryeo Won and Wi Ha Joon at a press conference for their show The Midnight Romance in Hagwon ahead of the tvN premiere on May 11.(tvN)

The latest weekend drama is directed by Ahn Pan Seok, widely celebrated for his previous works such as Something in the Rain and award-winning shows Secret Affair and Behind the White Tower. Jung Ryeo Won (Wok of Love) shares the screen with Wi Ha Joon in this tvN romance melodrama as their lives get entangled upon reuniting after a decade-long gap.

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Joining them, Soo Jo Yeon, Kim Jong Tae, Kim Jung Young, Seo Jeong Yeon, Shin Joo Hyup, Yoon Bok In, Oh Man Seok, and others take on pivotal supporting roles.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon K-drama Plot

Years later, a veteran cram school instructor, Seo Hye Jin's stable life takes a jarring turn upon the return of her former student. Although a decade ago, she helped trouble-maker Lee Jun Ho gain admission at a prestigious university, he silently admired her from afar. Ultimately giving up his big-shot job, he also decides to become a teacher, which earns him a chance to get closer to Hye Jin again.

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K-drama fans were quick to get on the new premiere's bandwagon and share their takes on the show. Since the brand-new tvN series is touted as a “melodrama,” viewers hoping to get into it should know that it may not be everyone's pick. As per the collective verdict of the fans who've tuned into Episode 1 so far, the series gets off to a slow start, building up on natural conversations and dynamics.

It evokes a strong sense of nostalgia with its easy-going plot progression in the season premiere. Certain moments also took fans back in time to their screenings of K-dramas from the late 2010s, including SKY Castle and Something in the Rain.

The slow-burn romance makes room for natural connections between the leading pair, whose chemistry instantly tugs at one's heart. Moreover, with The Midnight Romance marking Wi Ha Joon stepping into the shoes of a male lead role for the first time, it's quite likely that his undeniable charms will sweep you off the floor in no time.

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon reviews: How did the audience react to Wi Ha Joon and Jung Ryeo Won's romance drama premiere?

Fans couldn't get enough of the show's heartwarming nostalgic vibe. They also drew comforting parallels with the show director's (Ahn Pan Seok) previous project, Something in the Rain.

As the series is also expanding its exploration of the South Korean education industry in some ways, K-drama fans couldn't help but reminisce their old memories of the sensational 2018 hit series SKY Castle, which actively approached that vision with an audacious stance.

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  • “#TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon's intro is giving me so much nostalgia 🥹😭 The song is my vibe ❤️”
  • “They alr give me butterfly and its just Epi 2 teaser🦋the song and the cinematography remind me something in the rain vibe😍please give me more.”
  • “15 minutes into #TheMidnightRomanceinHagwon and i’ve already seen half of sitr & osn supporting cast in it. 😭 it feels like watching seasonal series with different main characters.”
  • “Both the #TheAtypicalFamily and #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon are weird. But in a good way 🔥”

Reactions to The Midnight Romance in Hagwon's plot and characters

Thoughts on Wi Ha Joon's K-drama comeback with his first-ever lead role:

  • “Wi Ha Joon's first time as the main lead and in none other than a romantic comedy? THAT'S A DREAM COME TRUE.”
  • “Wi hajoon male lead era is finally here EVERYONE CHEERED”
  • “How rewarding it feels to watch wi hajoon as the main lead in a romance drama, like I’ve waited for this day since 2019, and here it is.”

Fans' verdict on Jung Ryeo Won's character Seo Hye Jin:

  • “5 mins in and I love how Hyejin such an assertive women #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon”
  • “One more strong FL👏I love it when FLs are strong, independent & kind....we all needed a teacher like her🥺”

  • “I already fell in love with her, i really love watching such STRONG WOMEN 🫶🏻”
  • Another commenter explained how Ryeo Won's portrayal of the teacher character was spot on: “She really left all her tiredness & frustrations outside the door and put up her best smile before she entered the class to teach. it's really not easy to do this 🥺🥺”
  • “My fav kind of #JungRyeoWon scenes are her eloquent characters engaged in conflict. She delivers her lines so well and wins convincingly.”

In addition to Jung Ryeo Won winning viewers' hearts from the get go, many also felt drawn towards So Joo Yeon's Nam Cheong Mi, described as yet another new instructor with a bold personality. The first episode also lent a glimpse at her character's potential friendship with Wi Ha Joon's Lee Jun Ho, and viewers are already counting on their dynamic to deliver wholesome interactions throughout the series.

  • “I'm so in love with Chungmi already she's hilarious and so charming..Seo juyeon the actress that you are.”
  • “Cheongmi is def a confident character! The fact that she didnt feel small bc she didnt graduate from SKY (3 most prestigious university in South Korea) Yes girl! Let your talents speak!”

Audience's thoughts on the plot so far:

  • “#TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon has begun. Delving into cram schools, pressures due the education system, restarting career & and then this is this start of a romance. I'm locked in. Always loved #JungRyeoWon & now #WiHaJoon takes on his 1st lead role 🤌🏽”
  • “Ep 1 gives a solid and interesting beginning for junho and hyejin’s story, while introducing various problems related to academics such as school vs academy and students-parents-teachers dynamic. love it <3”

  • “One episode down and yeah im liking it. It was a slow start but I enjoyed the episode overall. I’m guessing the main theme of the show will be the tension between the school teachers and the private tutors and about jh and his parents and life choices.”
  • “30 minutes in and I’m SOLD👏👏👏#TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon”

How people reacted to Wi Ha Joon and Jung Ryeo Won's chemistry:

The drama's leading pair secured a warm place in the hearts of many with their natural acting chops that instantly made room for their palpable on-screen chemistry, which was nothing short of swoon-worthy.

  • “Please call me teacher, i think that would make me feel good”. I love how confident and flirty he is with her."
  • "I'm in love with the way they interact already. They feel so comfortable and natural around each other. I love it! “My pride.”
  • “A rainy umbrella scene to end the episode where he charmingly and playfully tells her to call him instructor too loving their chemistry already #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwonEp1”
  • “Ladies and gentlemen, we are in for a ride with #TheMidnightRomanceinHagwon Episode one and my heart is doing gbim gbim 🥵”

  • “Their chemistry looks so good and natural.... excited for their love story❤️”
  • “It's only been one minute since I watched n I'm already blushing 😭 #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon”

Slow-paced plot progression may not be everyone's cup of tea

  • “What is this. 25 minutes in and nothing much happened. when will this pickup pace #TheMidnightRomanceInHagwon”
  • “Quite a slow & bit boring #GraduationEp1 until you reach the end of it, so hang on. This is going to be an epic ride.”

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon Episode 2 will air on Sunday, May 12, at 9:20 pm KST on tvN and TVING. International viewers may rely on the streaming platform Viki/Viu in selected regions to watch this ongoing series.

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