Drama Casting & News
Heirs’ hitmaker writer to return with blockbuster human melo
by | February 18, 2014 | 74 Comments

The star writer of Secret Garden, A Gentleman’s Dignity, and Heirs will be back with a new “human melodrama” for SBS, which means SBS is probably already counting their chickens (or moneys) since writer Kim Eun-sook is pretty much a sure thing for them in terms of ratings. Love or hate her dramas, they still have a way of tapping into the zeitgeist and becoming pop-culture phenomena, kicking off trends, catchphrases, and jokes that linger after the shows are long off the air.

The new drama is titled Descended From the Sun, and the producers aren’t even trying to be modest: “It’ll be a human melodrama on a blockbuster scale, the likes of which have not been seen in Korean dramas before.” Yes, keep those expectations realistic. To be fair, it does have some hefty support behind it; the drama will be the first television series planned by film production company Barunson, which has produced a number of notable films, including The Good, The Bad, The Weird and Mother. It’ll be co-producing with drama production house Hwa & Dam Pictures (Heirs, Secret Garden). Kim Eun-sook will not be the sole writer, either, as she joins forces with Kim Won-seok, who penned the well-received drama Queen’s Classroom last year.

Descended From the Sun will feature a love story between two leads who throw themselves into disaster areas to save lives; the drama will depict their sacrifices in desperate situations and show as they bond and grow to care for each other. In a very notable change from Kim’s prior works, this drama will be entirely pre-produced—something I could have sworn Kim Eun-sook said she’d never do, because she’s known for thriving in the live-shoot system. Well, if anything I’ll be hoping for Descended From the Sun to be a big success in order to prove that pre-productions CAN make it in this industry (a statement that’s been hard to stand by given the bevy of pre-produced failures littering dramaland)—and if Kim Eun-sook can change her mind and embrace a production environment that allows for more editing, shooting, and sleeping time, then maybe there’s hope for the system overall.

Descended From the Sun will begin production later this year, which includes overseas location shoots, and will broadcast on SBS in early 2015.

Via Osen, YTN


74 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ivoire

    Thank you for the news! I am not sure I will be interested in watching this. She has not convinced me with her last three dramas.

    • 1.1 Ivoire

      I do like the idea of her drama being pre-produced, and I share JB’s sentiment that I hope for the drama to be successful, if only to show that a pre-produced drama can do well. The live-shoot system really negatively impacts the cast and crew. If that could be avoided, it would be great!

      • 1.1.1 Faye

        I agree about the negative impact of the live shoot system. It will be interesting to see if the pre-produced shoot leads to a better storyline.

        • bjharm

          trouble is has there ever been a k-drama that has before being aired, that has build itself up as something ‘great’ and really delivered?

          • Ivoire

            The drama “Friend, Our Legend” with Hyun Bin is said to have been really good, and it was 100% pre-produced. I have not watched it yet, however I have only read positive reviews every time I have seen it being mentioned. Apparently, it was entirely filmed before airing. Now, the ratings were low unfortunately, however ratings are not a reflection of how good (or bad) a drama is, neither are ratings a reflection of the quality of a drama (as in how well made the drama was).

            “Heirs” was a ratings high (in the second half of its run), however the story was paper thin and some of the characters were hard to root for. “The King of Dramas” was a ratings low, and yet the story was engaging. There were a lot of meta references about the Korean entertainment industry, and the world of Korean dramas. The acting was excellent, and the emotional and serious scenes were often undercut with funny ones.

            Some of us (actually it seems that many of us) were disappointed with the ending, however that drama gave us the phrase “what would Anthony do?” I have seen that phrase often in comments’ sections on this blog, used by the DB writers and beanies. I read this blog daily (several times), and I have yet to come across the phrase “what would Kim Tan do?” I think that says something, even though “Heirs” has been more popular than “The King of Dramas.”

            You can read about “Friend, Our Legend” here: http://asianwiki.com/Friend,_Our_Legend

            Here: http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Friend,_Our_Legend

            And here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friend,_Our_Legend

    • 1.2 True2u

      I know that’s right. I loved some of her previous works and City Hall still stands as my #1 drama. But her last three drama was a major fail. I just couldn’t connect to the characters and end up dropping each. I really wanted to finish a gentleman’s dignity, but the female lead was just -_-.

    • 1.3 divyrus

      Same ! Definitely not giving a try !

    • 1.4 akamiso

      I think her dramas are more like a car wreck that you just can’t help but look at.

      Or maybe knowing your enemy well. (so I can hate it knowing exactly what I’m hating)

      • 1.4.1 Ivoire

        I think some of her dramas (“car wrecks”), I will be able to not look at. I haven’t watched City Hall, and I know I should watch that one, I have read a lot of good reviews about it.

        I have not been able to bring myself to watching all of SeGa, even though I really like Hyun Bin. I didn’t like her depiction of the characters (namely the male and female leads, the 2nd male lead, and the male lead’s mother). I watched part of AGD because there was a lot of buzz about it, and I wanted to see what the buzz was all about. I didn’t watch it in its entirety either. I only watched Heirs because of its cast, so I wanted to see what they could do. I went in with very low expectations, and that helped. And I don’t regret it, I was able to see what Kim Woo Bin could do with a character, and I did enjoy the other actors as well. I also learned some new things, language and culture wise.

        For this drama, I can’t think of a male and female leads I would so badly want to see, that I would just have to watch this drama. So, I don’t wish her ill, I am just not a fan or her writing, though many other people might be (and that’s OK).

  2. sara

    SBS is now talking hit dramas! Oh well, I can only envy those who will secure the lead spots!

    • 2.1 kuxi

      If we talk about barunson,I think they will cast barunson’s actress (moon chaewon or son yenjin). Moon chaewon has became cameo in disaster drama (Road no1) which pre produce also and son yejin also has acted in disaster movie (Tower)

      • 2.1.1 SP

        Not sure it’s the same company or they’re related since I doesn’t find their connection other than they used to have the same name. Anyway Barunson Entertainment which an agency for SYJ, LMJ and MCW have change its name to MS Team in 2012. So I’m not sure that it’s the same as Barunson Film Division.

        Anyway, I like the idea of this drama so if they cast SYJ or MCW I would happy even if I don’t like any of KES ‘s drama but I have high hope for writer of Queen of Class room.

        • erdbeer

          If not mistaken, it belongs to the same company.

  3. Faye

    Interesting! I’m generally not a fan of disaster area films or shows. But I almost want to watch this just to see how a pre-produced show differs from a live-shoot one. I think I’ll wait to see who the leads are.

  4. Orion

    I find her works overrated, I have to admit.

    But most of all, her saying she will not go pre-produced just to keep up with viewer demands and trends, even though she admitted the format is needed after she was asked during the Han Ye Seul incident, just rubbed me the wrong way.

    To me, a creator should care about the work and those who work for them first. If the people are capable, the result will be good. I expect channels to only care about trends and ratings, but a supposed artist? Placing being “trendy” above the needs of the story? How am I supposed to respect her work and want to watch her creations if she herself sees them as a business only?

    Seeing that she is now going for it, I guess she has realized how much better works can be made through this format and that quality is what matters in being remembered and appreciated. It’s something. I hope she has improved on her female leads and that this will help the industry see pre-producing shows can make a big difference in quality and conditions alike.

    • 4.1 kate

      I agree with everything.

      And I really find her work to be overrated. I disliked all her dramas with a passion of a thousand suns. I found Secret Garden to be the most decent compared to her other dramas. But regardless, I hate her dramas and I’ve given up on trying after watching Heirs and realizing, she’s not my favorite writer.

      • 4.1.1 Orion

        I actually disliked ‘Secret Garden’ the most. I don’t get my kicks with abusive rich jerks manhandling badly written female leads.

        I also don’t think she has what it takes for an epic revolutionary series like this. But we can hope. The ‘Giant’ and ‘Salaryman’ writers and PD haven’t done terribly well lately, but I’d trust that trio with such an epic project, if they found their groove again. Kim Eun Sook? I’ll keep my expectations low.

      • 4.1.2 True2u

        Have you ever tired City Hall?

        • charmcasy

          i tried n got tired of her writings!

      • 4.1.3 nomad

        Yup. I’ve actually told myself this: remember this name, only to avoid her future projects at all cost.

  5. canxi

    Well maybe if there is another writer the story will make more sense this time around, lol.

    I also hope the pre-production thing works out. If this is a hit, which it probably will be, then I think more people will give in to this method or give it a try…

    • 5.1 Cindy

      Atleast, the Queen’s Classroom made sense lol

      • 5.1.1 ilikemangos

        And more 🙂 — it was heartwarming.

      • 5.1.2 goldeng

        im a bit torn bout this one… Queens Classroom was awesome in every way .. I liked the funny bits in secret garden and gentlemans dignity but there was someone off with Heirs… they ha anexcellent cast but boy, that drama was beyond my understanding… I tried to read one recap because the hype was huge and had to stop so idk if Im gonna watch..

  6. Chandler

    As always, I’ll be sure to give it a try. Secret Garden was bizarrely entertaining, even if it was extremely lacking in some areas. I have nothing to say about her other one’s though. I enjoyed Heirs in the beginning, but stopped watching when each recap started off on a negative note. This does sound like it could possibly be good though…as long as that other writer contributes a fair amount.

  7. Stuart

    Heirs was a tedious bore apart from the delightful second couple but like many others I’ll be hoping this series rates well enough to persuade others to try pre-produced. Anything that might encourage Korean TV production to abandon the Joseon-era horror of live shooting is to be encouraged

  8. Sadie

    the story does sound interesting…and the “queen’s classroom” was a great drama…so maybe there’s hope after all?

  9. earthna

    Sounds good for now but I won’t keep my hopes up. Out of the three works mentioned, I only enjoyed A Gentleman’s Dignity. We’ll see next year.

  10. 10 tiny

    if it’s Kim Eun Sook then is it gonna have a jerk for a ‘hero’ again? i really really hate the manhandling her heroes do.

  11. 11 AuroraB

    After gritting my teeth, and watching all 20 episodes of Heirs, I almost want to say, “please, no, don’t put us through that again.” But hey, who knows, it just might be as good as Secret Garden and A Gentleman’s dignity.

    When they say “It’ll be a human melodrama on a blockbuster scale, the likes of which have not been seen in Korean dramas before.” It seriously scares me! haha All i picture is Heirs on Crack.

  12. 12 klir

    Look at her cast some hot young actors as the leads, probably the ones that are the IT thing in the industry. My money is on Kim Woo Bin,Lee Min Ki,Ji Chang Wook or Yoon Yeon Seok for the male lead and Moon Geun Young,Lee Yeon Hee, Yoona or Suzy for female.

    Or maybe she goes with the big guns and casts Hyun Bin and Shin Minah or something. That would be cool.

  13. 13 pogo

    I suppose it’ll get the ratings and still be boring and mediocre. What else is new, really? At least SeGa was some fun, Heirs had potential but slipped up because the main leads were so badly written and had so little by way of chemistry.

    Ah, well. At least the eventual leads will get lots of CFs out of it.

  14. 14 ann

    Shall we list her S.T.A.R. leading actor now!

    • 14.1 AnotherFan

      I hear she’s sent her love calls to So Ji Sub. I would totally go for that. SJS needs a good production and I see this actually be a good fit for him. Let’s just hope that it’s more than a simple sappy love story. Some more meat, please!

      • 14.1.1 kuxi

        I have mixed feeling if So Jisub accept this role,I’ll remember Road no.1,another disaster drama & pre produce which flop

      • 14.1.2 pogo

        It’s not like he’s short on choices, Master’s Sun was a hit and won him a LOT of praise for his acting against type.

        I wouldn’t mind this, though, as long as they pick a good leading lady and then write her semi-decently too (no Heirs/AGD/SeGa style wimping out, though maybe that’s too much to ask for)

  15. 15 hummie

    I’ve only enjoyed Secret Garden. A Gentleman’s Dignity was just meh. I haven’t given Heirs a chance because the premise just doesn’t interest me.

    I think the live-shoot system is very taxing on cast and crew. During interviews, actors are always saying stuff like, “the cast and crew lost 10 kilos.”

    I like the idea that writers are able to tweak the script if the audience response is not positive, etc, but, I believe that some shows get ruined because of too much fanservice ruining the plot/believability.

  16. 16 Mini

    I hope queen’s classroom writer can improve the other writer, I hope they both have equal say in the drama writing

    • 16.1 peeps

      Me too. I hope Kim WonSeok is good in creating overall plots and strong basic character outlines because hell, everyone knows Kim EunSook sucks at those (no comment on city hall though. I’ve never watched it). Kim EunSook shines in rapid dialogue and details (although what is ‘do I like you?’) but it’s like sometimes, she doesn’t know how to get there, so her over all stories fail.

      Anyway, all the best for this production.

  17. 17 mea

    Her dramas have high ratings because of melodramatic stuff and big starcast. So it’s not surprising they are always hits.
    What i don’t understand is that why her male lead characters are so adored in Korea? They are still parodying Kim Tan and Young do in Gag concert and other variety programs. For me, they have got the worst traits one could find in her boyfriend. Is it just because of cheesy lines or that actors who played them are attractive?

  18. 18 JeliesS

    Please, Oppa’s and Unnies, don’t answer the siren’s call. Hoping against hope that no one I love gets cast so I can blissfully ignore this drama.

  19. 19 kanz

    After Heirs disaster, I’m not ready to watch another KES drama. But it sounds interesting and most importantly pre-produced.
    It sounds cool! Let’s hope the drama actually has some story and not another chaebol love story

  20. 20 Chrissy

    Mmm interesting. I wonder who are going to be the leads. Are they going to cast way early like they did with the Heirs? Since she went from Hyun Bin, Jang Dong Gun, sooo who is next in their list of friends? LOL

  21. 21 Fab

    I miss Secret Garden! Gosh I watched all of the pictured dramas, and by faaaar SG is the only one I enjoyed and it wasn’t even flawless.

    Yeeeey for the changes in the production. Though I am not really impressed about the big talk, imma keeping my expectations very low… Why not.

  22. 22 fun-lugha

    From heirs to sun…something something….ha! Talk about extremes!

    • 22.1 fun-lugha

      And like someone we all know I’ll be asking the drama, do I like u?!!

  23. 23 bebeswtz

    sounds like the drama version of the movie “Love 911” a.k.a. “Bandage” starring Go Soo and Han Hyo Joo– a movie which I loved and still love =) … Albeit, the premise for this drama sounds quite vague … I dunno, I guess we’ll just have to see once it hits the airwaves =)

  24. 24 Emma

    Oh good lord. I can’t imagine the Kim Eun Seok’s vapid writing “skills” delivering anything close to a compelling melodrama. The premise does sound interesting, but then again I find her dramas completely plotless, so I can’t imagine she’ll actually craft an interesting story out of it.

    I have pretty much despised half her filmography – Heirs, Secret Garden and A Gentleman’s Dignity were all terrible imo (City Hall was decent). She’s got to be one of the most overrated kdrama screenwriters, and yet somehow I never learn and always try and suffer through her shows anyway, expecting more of her than such shallow characterisation and rampant sexism that infiltrates her work (this in particular constantly infuriates me). But hey, whether it’s casting someone I like (or in this case collaborating with someone I like – Kim Won Seok), she always keeps me coming back for more. Goddammit, I’m such a masochist :/

    If they lock her in a room while Kim Won Seok writes the script then this has a pretty good chance of being watchable. Otherwise, nah. Pass. I can’t subject myself to another one of her crappy shows.

  25. 25 kopytko

    KES? to me, she’s the writer behind A Gentleman’s Dignity and I almost jumped on my chair when I saw the title. If she were to give me a drama as enjoyable as AGD, I would be more than happy and excited.
    BUT I like her for fluffy, carefree stuff. I am not really into serious, dramatic stories. I got tricked into Heirs against my initial judgement (school for rich kids in their 20’s? yuck!), so I am far from enthusiastic, just in case. Probably, I will check it out anyway, hoping for KES’que dialogues and characterizations.

  26. 26 Waiting

    “…and will broadcast on SBS in early 2015.”

    This means that we’ll be seeing a flurry of notices starting any day now a la Heirs.

    Of course, now I am wondering what cast she’s going to try to pack in there.

    I like the premise though.

    I wonder, can first responders wear fluffy blue sweaters and floral brocade jackets? I guess if that caught fire it could be considered a “hot” wardrobe, no?

  27. 27 Lils

    Ugh. It still pains me how much the actors/actresses were wasted in Heirs. Since that’s the case, I’m hoping no one I like will get cast in this drama.

    Was Heirs really such a big hit in South Korea? I don’t understand how/why… *doesn’t compute*…

  28. 28 Mrs.Jang Guem Suk

    I’ll watch it she has a good cast like Kim soo Hyun or Jang guem suk something like that

    • 28.1 peeps

      I’ve been meaning to tell you this but I haven’t because I’m not sure if it was a typo or something but it’s Jang Geun Seok, not Jang Geum Seok, unless you really are referring to someone I don’t know, then I’m sorry.

  29. 29 j2hr

    Since this drama is pre-produced, will SBS air it from Mon-Thurs like its own hit Sandglass?

  30. 30 AnotherFan

    I am probably one of the few who really enjoyed AGD. I liked the episodic story telling with fluffy situations and characters and the good dose of humor. However, I did not like Secret Garden and was confused at the enormous ravings. I don’t speak Korean so maybe a lot of subtly is lost in translation. I forced myself to watch Heirs (I hated the concept, I hated the premise, I hated the overhyping and product selling) but I saw glimpses of the warm & fuzzy which I noted in AGD, but that was when I had very low expectations and did not take things with any seriousness. The take-away from Heirs was that Kim Woo-bin is a talent to be reckoned with. But I don’t think Heirs was necessarily her brain child but more of strategic move for popularity and product selling purposes. She was as much “used’ as some of the cast members, IMO.

    I guess what I am trying to say is I have mixed feelings about the writer and her past works. This simply plot summary actually sounds much more interesting than rich kids or man-child falling in love with candy girl stereotype. So I find myself actually looking forward to checking out this production, and I am ready to love it. So please, be good!

  31. 31 Chiaki

    I still do not understand how HEIRS became a hit. That drama was 100% TERRIBLE. I think the only reason why that drama was a success was because it had so many popular actors/actresses. That drama was a HUGE LETDOWN in my opinion.

    I hope the writer can create a better story this time

  32. 32 Thatgirl

    I will watch from the sidelines; watching you all while you all watch this drama. I for one swore off KES since Heirs. I’m not going back there. I no longer trust her.

  33. 33 petmink

    I want her humor and quick witted dialogue with someone else’s story. This might actually be a good combination.

  34. 34 mskololia1

    Knew nothing about the writer, but I stopped trusting her writing after SG and knew that decision was the right one for me after trying AGD. Signed, not a fan of brand of KES’ storytelling.

  35. 35 ilikemangos

    As long as she doesn’t say fuck you to the audience and kill off one or both the main leads in the end… I would hardly consider her a bad writer. Just a very mediocre one that unfortunately bears the weight of the word we like to use nowadays: overrated.

  36. 36 chickenwing

    Gentleman was entertaining (if only for Lee Jong Hyuk and Kim Min Jong). The others were meh.

    Formula seems to be-> collect current rising stars, dump them into a pot, write in annoying weak damsel(s), empty the whole bottle of angst = blockbuster drama

  37. 37 minozyeh

    I am an huge fan of the writer…I love all her dramas..They may not the best dramas in Kdrama Land, but all of her dramas always makes my heart flatter.

    I really hope Yoon Eun Hye and Lee Min Ho can be paired in this drama..They are both pefect for melodrama in my opinion..Beside, two of them are my bias..Kekekeke..

    but it will be impossible due LMH’s hectic schedule…So YEH with So Ji Sub or YEH with Cha Seung Won will be good too..

  38. 38 Viki

    Hoping them to cast some wonderful actors and actresses again. I always love the actors/resses selected…like Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden, Kim Ha Neul and the 4 gentlemen (and Kim Woo Bin, omg!) in A Gentleman’s Dignity, and obviously the young star cast of Heirs.

  39. 39 mozhi

    i really hope yoon eun hye and song seung hoon or yeh and lee min hoo can paired in this drama,,,i love to see them together

  40. 40 kooriyuki

    melo? pass
    kim eun sook? pass

    now SBS gimme something light and funny please!

  41. 41 Mindy

    I’m pretty sure her next target to STAR actor will be either Kim Soo Hyun or Lee Jong Suk.

    Well, usually TV station will go after their star rating actor and their drama to do a next hit. For SBS, its Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Jong Suk and.. probably So Ji Sub.

    So, my bet for Kim Soo Hyun OR Lee Jong Suk.

    One thing I like about this project is the idea of pre-production. Fighting!

  42. 42 Janey

    Okay, this is just a wild guess.

    A couple of months ago, my Korean teacher mentioned that Kim EunSook is in our country (the Philippines). We weren’t even sure if it’s true. It was during the time the country was suffering from the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. We thought she’s just having a vacation or something. But after reading this article, I guess she was there to make some research? I don’t know. I can’t stop but make a correlation. Heh. Unless of course, the disaster areas their talking about are within Korea only.

    I won’t hope much for the drama since The Heirs is just a disappointment. 🙁

  43. 43 Abbie

    Kim Eun-sook’s dramas can be hit or miss with me. I loved A Gentleman’s Dignity, and just recently finished re-watching it. Heirs I liked well enough, but mostly I watched for all the pretty people, not so much the story. Secret Garden was just so boring that I could not watch past episode 4. So my expectations for this show are fairly low. Maybe given a year in which to wait for it will up my expectation, but I doubt it. At least dramaland is coming to its senses and seeing that pre-produced shows are better to do because there are few health risks involved. Let’s hope it becomes a more desired approach to filming.

  44. 44 korfan

    Similar to what others have expressed here already, I’m somewhat curious as to how the whole pre-production thing is going to pan out on this one.

    The fact that a film production company is involved also adds something else into the mix.

    We certainly can’t predict what’ll happen, but it’ll be interesting to follow.

  45. 45 Rushie

    You had me at Kim Eun-sook. I’m still coming down from the high that was Heirs and I just recently watched City Hall. Heirs may not have been a lot of folks’ favourite drama from last year but it was totally mine and it had nothing to do with my love for Lee Min-ho. I was really in love with the story and the lead pair. I look forward to this.

  46. 46 cuteyy doll

    🙂 since I’m into all “Word Magician Kim Eun Sook” dramas,I’m so excited about her upcoming project!

    Lee Min Ho & Han Hyo Joo as the leads! :))
    They look great together!
    I REALLY wanna LMH 2 have the opportunity 2 be the lead actor of KES’s ORIGINAL SCRIPTED drama!!
    I’m MinHO oppa’s huge fan so when some say “the heirs” isn’t original & is plodding,I get sad!

  47. 47 blairxkitkat

    I didn’t like her previous dramas but I’ll give this a shot because “human melo” is my favourite genre.
    .For male lead I want either:Park ki woong,kim jaewook,or jung kyung ho and for female lead:Moon chae won,yoon eun hye,or park se young.

  48. 48 riri

    The summary sounds like it’ll be a good drama but then again her latest work, Heirs, sucks

  49. 49 maya

    Hi, I think the role is well-fitted for songhyekyo and song seung heon as well as with songhyekyo and hyun bin.they are one of the best korean loveteam. I’m sure with a nice script and songhyekyo’s loveteam, it will be a big hit,not to mention that it’s been so long since songhyekyo make a drama with this two talented and handsome actors.I’m sure many fans who awaited this loveteam for so long will truly be excited and will support this drama.goodluck God Bless everyone.

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