Credit: tvN

tvN’s new Monday-Tuesday drama, Lovely Runner, has addressed concerns from some viewers who felt the show’s premise recalled the late SHINee member, Jonghyun.

Lovely Runner follows a famous artist’s death and his ardent fan’s time-slip back to 2008 to prevent it. The premiere episode featured Lim Sol (Kim Hye Yoon) becoming a passionate fan of Ryu Sun Jae (Byeon Woo Seok), Sun Jae’s sudden death, and a fateful reunion as high schoolers 15 years earlier in 2008.

Credit: Yonhap News

However, the plot raised concerns among domestic and international viewers who suggested that the artist’s death mirrored Jonghyun’s. They pointed to the protagonist’s return to 2008—the year SHINee debuted—and the broadcast date coinciding with Jonghyun’s birthday as reasons for their protest.

CJ ENM addressed these concerns, stressing, “Sun Jae’s debut year (in the original novel) is 2009, and the drama, based on the web novel ‘Tomorrow’s #1’, was not created with any specific individual in mind.” They also explained the decision to set the return year to 2008 instead of following the original’s timeline, stating, “We deemed the original setting of traveling back to six years prior unsuitable for showing a significant time difference, hence the choice of 2008 for a clearer contrast with 2023.”

Regarding the choice of the broadcast date, CJ ENM dismissed any intentional alignment, stating, “The scheduling was determined in order, making any deliberate timing realistically impossible.” Netizens have reacted to the controversy, with comments ranging from “This is such a stretch” to “Some people really make a fuss over nothing.”


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The post tvN’s ‘Lovely Runner’ Clears the Air Amidst Comparisons to Late SHINee’s Jonghyun appeared first on ZAPZEE – Premier Korean Entertainment Magazine.