Kdrama Review: Start-Up

Start-Up is a 2020 South Korean kdrama series starring Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seon-ho and Kang Han-na. This is one of the most awaited series in 2020 as this is Suzy and Nam Joo-hyuk's first kdrama together.

I was able to watch this on the first release and it has made noise all over social media every week as it releases a new episode. This series just ended yesterday and I can finally give a proper review. The ratings are pretty good from start to end which is expected since Suzy is the female lead.

Title: Start-Up
First episode date: October 17, 2020
Final episode date: December 6, 2020
Number of episodes: 16
Genres: Drama, romance



The story starts with Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy) who aspires to be a bigtime entrepreneur. Her family was separated at an early age and she grew as a hardworking woman even she doesn't even have much. Han Ji-pyeong, her first love, wrote her love letters but using the name of Nam Do-san

They met after so many years under Sandbox, a South Korea's fictional Silicon Valley. Dal-mi joined Sandbox to make her dreams come true. Same with Do-san who started a company Samsan Tech. Ji-pyeong was already a mentor in the company. Won In-jae, Dal-mi's sister, also joins Sandbox with her new startup company. 


The start of the story is actually pretty good especially Dal-mi's family even though it's a little cliche. It actually makes more impact on the later part of the whole drama.

Seo Dal-mi is a cliche character in my opinion. She's actually a humble and submissive but strong-willed. She grew stronger as the story goes by though and In-jae helps her to be a good CEO. She takes up after her sister. I think she fell in love with Do-san because they can relate to each other and she sees Ji-pyeong as his mentor. 

Are you #TeamDoSan or #TeamJiPyeong?

As for the love story part, I have so many friends that are #TeamJiPyeong. I was too, but as the story goes, I've decided to observe them more instead of taking sides. So, yep. I'll start with him instead.

Han Ji-pyeong is the good boy we know from the start. He went through a lot at a young age and I am happy that he's succesful after doing the hardwork. I can tell that he's loyal and loving Dal-mi even after so many years. He's always there for her and is softhearted. He has everything yet he's not happy and feels empty. 

However, I don't want to see just his good sides. Even though she loves Dal-mi so much, it took him years to finally confess it. He even used Do-san when they met again which is kinda a manipulative move. Torpe si Kuya mo! He's also insensitive and just say what he wants to say.

He may started the story with the letters but if you're a kdrama fan or a reader, you'll notice that his characters and actions are meant to be a second lead. It just so happen that his character really stood out from the start. And as I've said, Dal-mi sees him as a mentor and it's not more than that. I think their love story ended when the love letters stopped. They are both different persons when they met again. 

To be honest, I thought of not choosing between Ji-pyeong and Do-san. They both have negative sides and I can't really pick for Dal-mi. I was watching the last episode last night, and I thought of other actors who can play his character. It was a perfect fit for Nam Joo-hyuk.

Nam Do-san started as a weak character and it makes sense at the ending. Imagine having a parents who have high expectations especially when you're a genius. Typical Asian parents! Haha. I can tell he was pressured that's why he grew up shy and have no confidence at all. He also failed a few times. But he had the dream and I am proud that he never gave that up. 

He fell in love with Dal-mi the moment he met her. I also got teary when Grandma was thankful to him for making NoonGil. Even though his family is not very much supportive of him at the start, we can tell he's family oriented. He's still down to earth after being a successful.

I am happy and relieved that Do-san has his friends and team, Lee Chul-san and Kim Yong-san. These guys never left him even when they are broke. They are together during the ups and downs of their lives. True friendship indeed!

I cried when they need to let go of their old office! My heart is weak for that. Haha! We witnessed how these guys are determined for their startup company to actually reaching that dream. Btw, isn't it Yong-san who wanted revenge? I am not sure but there seems to be no closure on that part, or did I just miss it?

I actually ship Lee Chul-san and Jeong Sa-ha more than the lead couple. Haha! They made this drama brighter and I really get the kilig! I am so happy and satisfied that they get their own happy ending too.

At first, I thought Won In-jae will be an antagonist on this series but I love how she and Dal-mi get along in the end. I never expected that. I am just disappointed that she and Ji-pyeong could be a couple but the writer didn't make it happen. Haha! She also have a chemistry with Yong-san.

This series has the most satisfying ending for this year. I expected that Dal-mi and Do-san would end up together, are both successful together and got even married! I didn't expect Chul-san and Sa-ha to be a legit couple but it happened. Won In-jae got her surname back to Seo and went back home. Ji-pyeong accepted his fate. He became less stiff and is smiling more now. Grandma opened her corndog business. The writers didn't left us hanging! Thank God! Haha. 

Also, the moment we've been all waiting for!

We got the closure we needed. I think they'll be good friends especially now that Ji-pyeong is now more open and light-hearted to others. Do-san trusts and looks up to him as a mentor. Kasalanan mo talaga Dal-mi. Haha! Just kidding! 

The story is modern and innovative. I also appreciate the programming and technical scenes. There's no powerful antagonist though. But overall, it is a great series that will surely make you hook and there are no boring episodes. All the casts did well too! 

I got hooked with this series! I'm gonna miss them! 🥺 I watched this on Netflix btw.

P.S. The photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.  
Do you agree with me? What are your thoughts on this drama especially with the ending? Are you satisfied? 


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