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'NCT 127: The Lost Boys': Growing up, leaving home, and finding it again

By Yumi Pascual Paras Published Aug 30, 2023 6:28 pm

The first time I discovered NCT 127 four years ago, I was 10,387 kilometers from home. 

My friend, who lived in the same apartment complex as I did, was the person who introduced me to the group, after spending days addicted to playing their songs on Superstar SMTown—a rhythm game much like Tap Tap Revenge. Not long after, NCT 127 (and NCT as a whole) became my comfort during my last few days of living abroad: I would play their music while cooking, watch their vlogs during my free time, and gush about them to friends. 

This didn’t end when I got home. Becoming an NCTzen became all too easy, and my adoration for all the members (and one, in particular—hi, Mark Lee) grew. It was around this time too that they had just come back with their latest track, Superhuman. Needless to say, I was hooked.

NCT stands for Neo Culture Technology, with 127 being the longitude coordinate of the city of Seoul, known across the world as the birthplace of K-pop. NCT 127 came on the scene in 2016 with the song Firetruck, and since then have released hit after hit under their company, SM Entertainment. 

But beyond their music and talents, what really drew me to 127 was the genuine connection the members seemed to have with each other. Their travel vlogs and tour videos allowed fans a glimpse into the members’ bond, whether in their Seoul practice studios or away from home. They didn’t seem like K-pop stars—it was like watching a group of friends hang out, and with K-pop’s parasocial pull, it felt like I was part of that group, too.

NCT 127 is a K-pop boy band under SM Entertainment.

It’s that same intimacy and connection that will draw viewers in when they watch the group’s new docu-series on Disney+, NCT 127: The Lost Boys. For the first time since their debut eight years ago, the members speak candidly about their childhoods, their journeys from trainees to idols, the hardships they faced, and the sacrifices they had to make along the way. 

NCT 127: The Lost Boys is a mix of both concert and behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and performance art that represents the members’ stories on the way to stardom. With each episode, the four-part series gives an in-depth look into the lives of the K-pop stars we already know and love. 

In the series, we get a glimpse of the varying backgrounds of group members Taeil, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, and Haechan. Yuta, for instance, passed SM Entertainment’s global audition at the age of 16 and had to move from his hometown of Kadoma, Osaka. Johnny was a Chicago native before becoming an SM trainee in 2008. Mark, meanwhile, joined the entertainment company after passing the global audition in Vancouver. Even the members who grew up in Korea had to overcome their own hurdles as trainees. 

NCT 127 talks about their childhood stories "through art, comprising plays, animations, and performances" in NCT 127: The Lost Boys. 

We also learn about the members’ feelings and struggles. Whether it’s searching for that feeling of belonging anywhere or overcoming the loss of loved ones, the interviews and performances are honest and authentic. It’s refreshing to watch them speak so candidly about their insecurities amidst an industry that requires them to be near-perfect practically all the time. 

More than just talking about themselves, the NCT 127 members in The Lost Boys talk about each other: about how NCT 127 is their pride and joy, and their dreams for the years to come. While the pandemic had put a halt on many of their plans, much like other artists, the group managed to come back with new music and even a world tour, with one stop in Manila just last year. All the while, they continue to look after each other, finding a home in one another. 

As someone who discovered 127 far from home, watching NCT 127: The Lost Boys brought me back that same comfort I had felt “meeting” them for the first time. In reclaiming their childhoods and talking us through their journeys, you feel the members’ sincerity in this documentary about dedication, ambition, and brotherhood. The performances weave together the members’ past, their present, and the future they want to build together—and it’s a future I definitely want to be a part of. 

For NCTzens like me and even those starting out on their K-pop journey, NCT 127: The Lost Boys is a docu-series you just can’t miss. 

NCT 127: The Lost Boys premieres on Disney+ on Aug. 30. Watch the trailer below.