AAs the world moves closer to the powerhouse that is South Korean entertainment, it only makes sense that screenwriters would end up drawing inspiration from the details of their own industry. log into Behind every startvN’s latest K-drama and a show that takes the spotlight from audience-facing actors and shines it on the unsung heroes of Seoul’s illustrious entertainment industry.
Behind every star is a comedy-drama that jumps right into the nitty gritty of the celebrity agent’s life. Start with So Hyun-joo (Special Counsel WooJoo Hyun-yeong) who tries to exploit a mysterious connection with director Ma Tae-oh (Lee Seo-jin) to secure a job at the talent agency Method Entertainment. Thankfully, a rookie manager dumps her in a fit of anger, creating an opportunity for her to work in Cheon Je-in’s (Kwak Sun-young) team.
We’re starting to see the sheer frenzy in this industry: When Je-in tells Hyun-joo about her first day, agents are expected to juggle “deliveries, program management, promotions, scheduling, contracts, marketing, and all the remainder concerning the activity of an actor’s career”. Things get even more complicated for Method Entertainment when its senior CEO Wang Se-ja (Lee Hwang-eui) suddenly dies while on vacation. Her wife tells Tae-oh and his team of agents that she plans to sell the entertainment company, however, Tae-oh insists that they raise the money to secure CEO Wang’s side of the stock.
Behind every star makes it easy for viewers to invest in his characters. Four episodes later, we are able to get an insight into the personalities and working styles of Method Entertainment’s core team, who are given ample room to shine. Tae-oh is an aloof and calculating businessman who knows his way around tricky situations, while confident Je-in thrives on the field thanks to his immense resourcefulness. Kim Joong-don (Seo Hyun-woo) brings comic relief as the bumbling but well-meaning colleague. Hyun-joo, on the other hand, is an inexperienced recruit who makes mistakes but is dedicated to fulfilling her dream of being a celebrity agent.
As a remake of the French television series Call my agent!, Behind every starThe premise of is familiar, but that’s mostly where the similarities end. This version brilliantly draws inspiration from the turn of events in the original and adapts it to the context of South Korea’s entertainment industry, bringing a fresh perspective to the table. The series does an amazing job of balancing tone with poise—there are as many unsettling moments as there are lighthearted ones.
The performances of veteran actors Lee Seo-jin and Kwak Sun-young are surprisingly engaging, but the onscreen chemistry between the four main characters of the series is most refreshing to watch as their respective stories unfold. Of course, cameos from a handful of South Korea’s biggest real-life celebrities, including Parasite‘s Cho Yeon-jung and Claudia Kim – definitely help maintain an anticipation level for each episode.
That said, newcomer actress Joo Hyun-jeong pales in comparison to her co-stars. She is at the center of Behind every star, but its portrayal of Hyun-joo as a struggling underling trying to come to terms with her mysterious relationship with Tae-oh feels largely one-dimensional. The rigidity of his portrayal makes it particularly difficult to care for the character and his subsequent rise from the ashes. However, Behind every star it has an authenticity to it that makes it quite an eye catching watch. How the series intends to build on its mostly solid foundation remains to be seen.
Behind every star airs every Monday and Tuesday on tvN and streams on Netflix in select regions.