A Time Called You is a plot-heavy and engaging drama to watch.

I didn't know anything about it before watching it and was sucked into the story soon. I binged it in a day and thought about it so much that I later spent an hour narrating the plot to a friend. Since I have so much to say about it, I might as well write a review on it.

what is A Time Called You about?

The drama starts with two different beginnings. In the first one, we see a charming record store in 1998. A high school girl is working in the store when two classmates—one of them her crush—walk in. The scene is the beginning of the trio's friendship.

In the other beginning, presumably taking place in the present, we see a woman called Han Jun-hee who is grieving her boyfriend. On his first death anniversary, she receives a mysterious photo showing a girl who looks like her and a boy looking like her boyfriend along with a third person she doesn't recognize.

She also receives a music player and a cassette. When Jun-hee listens to it, she falls asleep and wakes up as somebody else 10 years ago, the high-school girl we saw earlier. Jun-hee, in Kwon Min-ju's body, meets Nam Si-heon, the spitting image of her boyfriend. As she struggles to adjust to her new reality, she suddenly wakes up in her real body.

During the drama, Jun-hee travels back and forth a few times and has to grapple with the reality of the two timelines. She arms herself with some information whenever she's in the present timeline and tries to work with it when she's in the past as Min-ju. However, it's not so easy to change the future when everything is confusing and it feels like there isn't much in her control.

A Time Called You is an engaging, fast-paced drama that has the classic tropes of time travel, a whodunnit mystery, and a unique romance. While it is a remake of the Taiwanese drama Someday or One Day, it tries to do something new and isn't exactly the same.

photograph from a time called you with han jun-hee, jung in-gyu, and nam si-heon in front of the record store
source: HanCinema

my thoughts on A Time Called You

The drama is shorter than regular with only 12 episodes, each around 1 hour. It shows a short scene before the intro sequence and, like many dramas nowadays, it has short extra clips after the end credits of some episodes.

the plot

A Time Called You is a plot-heavy drama. There is a lot to show in 12 episodes so the main focus is the plot and the rest is secondary. While some would say that it is a character-driven story, I say otherwise. We don't get to know the characters enough to call it character-driven.

The story is mainly about Jun-hee time travelling back and forth and trying to solve a few things:

  1. How is she time travelling?
  2. Who are the people who look like her and her boyfriend?
  3. Who is trying to kill Min-ju (her in 1998)?

The above questions are quickly raised and the show basically invites the audience to solve the mysteries with the characters on screen. I found myself being engaged throughout because I had something to think about and solve.

With a consistent pace, the plot throws twists and doesn't let the viewers relax. It becomes slow only in a few places to draw the viewers in. There are quick shifts between the two timelines and the audience is continuously questioning things. We find answers only to come up with more questions.

Since we are following 5 characters—with two doubles—in two different timelines that intersect, it can be a hard timeline to follow. We need to keep track of the dates, when who is in which body, and when they switch. Some of it is confusing. The drama does its best to make the plot easy to follow.

There are some key creative choices made—such as the colours of the shots—to make the distinction between timelines easy. The actors have done their best to showcase which character is on screen and which life they're living. It is a combined effort to make the plot easier on viewers.

The plot is challenging enough to engage the audience but not so confusing that we can't keep up. It's good for a casual viewer who doesn't want to think too much but also doesn't want to be told everything. This is precisely why the drama is so bingeable. The length and mild complexity make it a great one-day binge.

still from a time called you drama showing two boys reading comic books in a record store
source: HanCinema

The time travel aspects were done really well. While Jun-hee's travelling was consistent in time (she always travelled to the past and always returned to a time after where she left off), the other characters travelled differently.

The plot made a complex time-travel chaos and kept it simple enough to be easily followed. I liked how the cause of all the events took place after a bunch of the effects occurred. It shows just what a mess time travel can be and how causes and effects are not linear. It made for a great twist as well, I was caught off-guard.

The acting after the first time travel was done nicely as well. The shock, confusion, and acceptance were depicted well. I liked how Jun-hee, after waking up as Min-ju with Min-ju's memories, was convinced that her life as Jun-hee was an elaborate dream because her life as Min-ju felt so real.

I also liked how it created an ever-changing time loop. Time loops fascinate me so it was fun to see everything come full circle—to understand where the beginning is and how it is also the end. The characters have to willingly do certain things to make sure that the past occurs or they can destroy everything. but they also have the choice to make mild changes which can lead to a butterfly effect.

The best part of the plot was how everything was tied up neatly. There was a place for everything in the puzzle piece and there were no lingering questions at the end. I couldn't notice any plot holes despite the complex time loop.

The drama does not have the Time Traveler's Wife problem. It is a romance trope commonly seen in time travel stories featuring a man and a woman. Usually, the man travels around time while the woman doesn't and stays oblivious or waits for the man. In A Time Called You, both the characters time travel at different points and have a unique romance.

I liked the role of Min-ju's uncle (the record store owner) throughout the story. He was a caring and oblivious character in the past but knew everything in the present. Despite knowing a lot of the information, he can't do much as he's not a major player. Hence, he has to do his part and hope that things work out. He plays a key role and it isn't highlighted much.

scene from a time called you where the characters are celebrating a birthday under trees with blooming flowers
source: HanCinema

A Time Called You leans heavily into idyllic 90s vibes. Most of the 1998 clips were aesthetically pleasing and comforting. When Jun-hee goes back in time and becomes a girl in high school, the viewers are also pulled from her present-day grief to the past's charm.

The greenery, small-town roads, mint-green scooters, high school buildings covered with green moss, and roads lined with trees full of blooming flowers come together to form a charming Korean spring setting. The characters, despite being in high school, seem to barely do homework. In some of the classroom scenes, they learn philosophy (do any high schools really teach philosophy? Aristotle and the golden mean?).

I found myself admiring so many of the shots. They were carefully crafted shots to create a charming and nostalgic vibe. This drama doesn't go light on the aesthetic. It helps that the three main characters are beautiful as well. Jeon Yeo-been, Ahn Hyo-seop, and Kang Hoon added to the aesthetics.

Unfortunately, because the drama was short and it had a lot to do, it lacked many things. Except for Min-ju's family, a few family members are present only as cameos and they have little to no effect on the characters' lives. 

Emotional depth in the drama is either not there or badly done. In some places, they go hard on the emotion and in the next scene, it's back to normal. Most of the drama is focused on showing pleasant 90s scenes that invoke nostalgia. Everything else was not done well. I found the grief in the first episode to be too intense and it suddenly disappeared when Jun-hee time travelled.

Surprisingly, this drama didn't have much comedy. Usually, Kdramas have at least a little comedy scattered throughout but I can't remember many in this show.

Even the OST was disappointing. I fell in love with Kdramas because they had such good OSTs but the soundtracks in the new dramas somehow don't stand out. I remember the impact that Auditory Hallucination has in Kill Me, Heal Me and the charm of While You Were Sleeping's songs. I didn't even notice A Time Called You's soundtrack. Seo Ji-won’s Gather My Tears is a huge part of this drama but it simply wasn’t impactful! I did not care about the song at all.

Nothing was developed other than the main plotline. Even the supporting plotlines were short and not well done. Sometimes, there would be flashbacks or short sequences to give a little explanation for something and there would be no more on it (the short bit on Koo Yeon-jun and Tae-ha got me like ?!). Largely, we focus only on the main plot.

the characters

Han Jun-hee

han jun hee in a time called you kdrama
source: HanCinema

Played by Jeon Yeo-been, Han Jun-hee was a fun character to watch. When the drama starts, she is a talented professional who is grieving her boyfriend. When she goes back in time into another body and life, she is rightfully confused but makes the best of it.

Jun-hee is a likeable character. She's upbeat, confident, and friendly. When she finds out that someone wants to hurt her, she makes a plan to lure them out. When Si-heon and In-gyu fight due to her, she tries to fix it. She's enigmatic on screen. It's easy to see why Si-heon started to like her.

Despite everything that she goes through, she doesn't grow or change. One would expect to change in some way after the hard ordeal but there was no difference in Jun-hee. The main character not having character growth says a lot about the show. A plot can be thrilling but it won't stay with viewers if we can't connect to the characters.

Kwon Min-ju

kwon min ju in a time called you kdrama
source: HanCinema

Also played by Jeon Yeo-been, Kwon Min-ju is a shy high schooler who seems like a loner. She and Jun-hee are like opposites. Min-ju is ignored by most people in school, doesn't have friends, and doesn't participate in activities. At home, her parents favour her younger brother more and often forget about her.

She has a silent crush on Nam Si-heon. Si-heon's best friend, In-gyu, likes her so they befriend her. The main reason for many of her actions in the drama is her crush on Si-heon. It flattened her character. In the end, she had a bit of growth but it was under-developed.

While Min-ju is not as likeable as the other characters, she is easy to understand. Her vulnerabilities and flaws play a major role. She made bad decisions but we can understand why.

Jeon Yeo-been had a hard job in this drama. She played Han Jun-hee, Kwon Min-ju, Jun-hee pretending to be Min-ju, and Min-ju pretending to be Jun-hee. Yeo-been acted really well. The two characters' mannerisms—speech, walk, posture—were distinguishable. It was easy to understand who was on screen. Other than a few minor inconsistencies, Yeo-been aced the acting.

Nam Si-heon

nam si-heon in a time called you kdrama
source: HanCinema

Played by Ahn Hyo-seop, Nam Si-heon is the second major character in the drama after Han Jun-hee. When we initially meet him, Si-heon is a charming and popular high school boy. He is talented in sports and manages to do well in his studies despite cramming right before exams. Although he looks to be careless, he is protective of his friends and would do anything for them.

He starts liking Jun-hee (pretending to be Min-ju) and is very cute in love. Watching his fluster over her and always smile at her was adorable. Despite liking her so much, he tries to suppress his feelings because In-gyu likes Min-ju.

He's... a perfect character. Which is why, again, he has no growth as well. Sure, he was sad after a bunch of sad stuff but he didn't change. He had no flaws throughout the drama.

Jung In-gyu

jung in-gyu in a time called you kdrama
source: HanCinema

Played by Kang Hoon, In-gyu is Nam Si-heon's best friend and likes Min-ju. He was raised by his grandmother and is a hardworking and smart boy. He's more reserved and thoughtful compared to Si-heon. His friendship with Si-heon was lovely to see.

Technically, he's one of the main characters. But he is only important in relation to the other three characters and doesn't get a personal spotlight. I wish that there was more focus on him. His story had no depth.

He does a few things that play a major role in the plot. However, it's hard for the viewer to understand why because we haven't connected with him. We barely know his thoughts and feelings. He was a plot device and nothing more. I wish he wasn't relegated to that.

Bae Chi-won (Kwon Min-ju's uncle)

bae chi-won in a time called you kdrama
source: Dramabeans

Played by Park Hyuk-kwon, Bae Chi-won is a fairly big supporting character. He is the owner of a charming record store and has Min-ju help him out at the store. He does not have a family of his own so he often supports Min-ju's family. Min-ju is often ignored by her parents but she is close to her uncle and can always call him for help. He supports Si-heon when he needs it as well.

Like In-gyu, Chi-won's role is to only support the main characters. We don't get to know him as a person and he doesn't have a story of his own. The only time we get something unrelated to the other characters is when he explains the choice behind his record store's name. That bit was charming and I wish we had gotten more about him.

the romance

The selling point of the main romance is that it's unique. I won't explain the circumstances because it'll spoil the story, but trust me, it's different than any other.

“I promise you, jun-hee. No matter what, I will find you. I don't care how long it takes. Even if I have to search through time and space for you, one day we will be together. I will come and find you, jun-hee, in a time called you.”

However, the chemistry is inconsistent. At one time, the chemistry is on point and sparking off the screen. Other times, it feels weird and awkward. Towards the end, I was questioning their pairing because it didn't seem like they had any chemistry. The romance is golden for a while and doesn't make sense the rest of the time.

The flashbacks of Jun-hee and Koo Yeon-jun felt rose-coloured. Flashbacks are peppered in between episodes a few times, to show the story before Yeon-jun died, but they were always nice. It was as if they had no fights or issues, and were always loving and picture-perfect. It felt unrealistic.

The other romantic aspects of the drama weren't good as well. Si-heon loving Jun-hee and In-gyu liking Min-ju didn't make sense.

We can understand why Si-heon found Jun-hee attractive but the falling in love part wasn't shown. When do they bond? How do they fall in love? It wasn't shown! We're supposed to believe that, in no time, Si-heon is so in love that he'll do everything for her.

The same problem existed with In-gyu and Min-ju. In-gyu has never spoken to Min-ju. The only "bonding" moment we saw was a scene where she fed a kitten. How did he like her so much that it affected the rest of his life tragically? How did the feelings develop?

As I mentioned earlier, this is a plot-heavy drama and it comes at the cost of other aspects. Relationship development was, unfortunately, one of them.

There was a short-term love triangle in the drama which annoyed me. I hate love triangles and everything that comes with it. Thankfully, Si-heon and In-gyu communicated and resolved things soon but I hate that the love triangle was present even for a little bit.

still from a time called you kdrama showing han jun hee kissing nam si heon on the cheek
source: HanCinema

discussion (includes spoilers!)

If you don’t want to get spoiled, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.

I don't have much to say so here are some quick points with thoughts:

  • It was heartbreaking that Nam Si-heon and Han Jun-hee both experienced the loneliness of being the only ones with memories.
  • Si-heon fell in love with Jun-hee when only she had memories and Jun-hee fell in love with him when only he had memories! So sad.
  • Interesting way to deal with Min-ju's sadness and attitude about life and help her with it. The part where Jun-hee gives a speech about Min-ju expecting too much from the world was confusing. Where did it come from? Why was it there? Was it a point that the drama tried to make?
  • In the end, Min-ju felt better because she realized she wasn't alone because In-gyu was with her. She didn't feel better because of a change in herself and she didn't like herself. She liked that a boy was with her?! I mean. What was the point of showing her smiling because her brother listened to her when she yelled at him? Her growth was weird enough that it didn't count.
  • What a convenient way to not deal with Yeon-jun—just kill him off before the time travelling starts 🙄
  • When Jun-hee saw present-day Si-heon and asked who are you, I felt that question. Who had she fallen in love with? Who stayed by her throughout?
  • At one point the uncle was juggling 2 Si-heons of different ages and in different bodies! It would have been complicated to keep track. He had to feign innocence and keep things going. When Si-heon, after waking up in Yeon-jun's body, came to the uncle and revealed it, the uncle already knew from the Si-heon who had died and come back into his own body! He lied that he didn't know what happened after the accident. He had to worry and support Si-heon in Yeon-jun’s body even after he found out how things would turn out from the injured Si-heon.


It is a good drama to watch. It is engaging and entertaining. The mystery is not predictable. The romance is unique. But it's not a drama that will stay with you for long. It has many flaws.

I recommend it if you want a quick, interesting watch. If you want a drama with well-developed characters and romance, this isn't the one for you.

poster of a time called you kdrama

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let's chat!

Have you watched A Time Called You? What did you think of it? Do you have any points to add that I missed? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • anoushka says:

    i've never seen many books/shows do the time loop trope well, SO I KIND OF WANT TO WATCH THIS JUST FOR IT. but also, um the characters being flat is kind of a HUGE downside because i swear i wouldnt even care if there WAS no plot if everything had fabulously realistic characters all the time okay. but ohmygosh i LOVE the detailed review sumedha and how coherently you've described everything!!!! the "The romance is golden for a while and doesn't make sense the rest of the time." part had me cackling

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      while the time loop is done well, it doesn’t make up for the lack of everything else. altho i’ve heard that the original Taiwanese drama is much more fleshed out so i’m thinking to check it out once!

      thank you, anoushka!!

      Reply ➔
  • Anjali says:

    I enjoyed this drama too. I don’t know if it’s because I missed it or if it wasn’t explained but I wanted to know what happened to the villain at the end. I felt like it wasn’t explained as well.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      oh yeah the ending was rushed and not done well. if you mean how it got solved, destroying the cassette broke the entire time loop. si-heon couldn’t go to the future to meet her so she couldn’t come back and she wouldn’t end up telling the villain and he wouldn’t get the chance to do what he did. it could have been shown better.

      Reply ➔
  • Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity says:

    I'd been on the fence about watching this one anyway as I was uncertain about the time travel aspects and I just didn't think I'd be convinced by the story and although it sounds like the romance is strong and there are things done well here I just don't think I'll invest my time in this drama. There are so many k-dramas out at the moment and I think I'll give this one a miss and focus on others on my list.

    Reply ➔
  • jan says:

    lovely review!! i'd seen this drama being talked about and I wasn't sure if i wanted to start it, and i appreciate your thoughts!

    Reply ➔