Rating:
Average user rating 5.0
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Sequel to blockbuster K-drama classic Sandglass in the works

 photo sandglass.jpg

Another sequel is in process. The Dramagods (aka Korean production companies, broadcasting stations, whoever makes the decisions up there) have seen fit to re-create the daebak 1995 hit Sandglass. This political-action melodrama catapulted the careers of then-budding actors Choi Min-soo (Jackpot), Go Hyun-jung (Dear My Friends), and Park Sang-won (My Daughter Geum Sa-wol, Healer), who played out a powerful story of youthful friends growing up into political enemies: a gangster, a mob boss’s daughter, and a righteous prosecutor.

Sandglass set the complicated love story between Choi Min-soo, Go Hyun-jung, and Park Sang-won amidst the backdrop of the 1980 Gwangju uprising, when student-demonstrators against President Jeon Doo-hwan’s authoritarian martial control were massacred by the state-sponsored military. Hyunmoo Enterprise has contracted the drama’s original writer, Song Ji-nah (also writer of Eyes of Dawn, Legend, Faith, and Healer), to create the sequel. It’s still in the very early stages of development so no details have been released, and given the popularity of the first Sandglass, people are trying to keep everything hush-hush until the big reveal. 

You know how nowadays, viewership breaking double-digits for a major broadcasting network is seen as pretty good, and for cable dramas, anything surpassing 2% is solid? Well, in 1995, Sandglass recorded an average rating of 50.8%, with its peak episode airing to 75.4% viewership, and the drama itself made a great impact on history. The captivated audience became mobilized by their outrage at the governmental abuses depicted in Sandglass and created a grassroots movement. The emotional retelling of the Gwangju uprising fueled protests that led to former president Jeon Doo-hwan standing trial for his unconstitutional use of military force. He was eventually convicted and incarcerated. While we don’t know the details of Sandglass 2 yet, if it is anything like the first one, we’ll be in for riveting performances and a powerful message.

Okay so we have four potential remake/sequels/adaptations floating around in Dramaland now: Sandglass, Winter Sonata, 1% of Everything, My Sassy Girl. Please oh please, let them live up to their originals!

Via Osen

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I remember watching this when I was a teen. Ahh fond memories. Hopefully they find a solid and talented trio for the leads.

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I was a teen too when I started watching it (years later). I must admit that it went over my head the first time so I stopped and went through the real history, the actors, director, writer and anything I could find about it before I went back and finished it.

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"an average rating of 50.8%, with its peak episode airing to 75.4% viewership"

OMG, what's the most rated kdrama? Anyone?

Today, the internet plays a part in a drama success unlike the times where its success relied mainly on tv broadcast. At the worst, they export those dramas with idols power (Love Rain, To the Beautiful You...)

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All time highest rating. First Love at around 65%.

If we don't go back as far 1992, Sandglass would be #2 at around 64%.

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I wonder about those ratings, because Wiki says something different:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_drama#Korean_dramas_with_the_highest_views_of_all_time

This says Sandglass's peak was 64.5% and the highest was First Love in 1997 with 65.8%. Apparently from AGB Nielsen.

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AGB Neilsen didn't exist back then until 2005. TNmS used to be TNS.
Wikipedia is probably using MSK or TNS's numbers. So it's maybe it's safer to say around X %. Confusing ha?

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From the sources I found, I believe the highest rated Korean drama of all time would be the 1996 drama, "First Love" starring Bae Yong-joon, Choi Soo-jong, Lee Seung-yeon, and Choi Ji-woo. The source I found says that it got 65.8%.

Number 2 is writer Kim Soo-hyun's 1992 drama, "What is Love" with 64.9%. Sandglass would be number 3 with 64.5%. These are from the AGB Nielsen ratings.

From my limited Korean, I think First Love received an 82% viewership from the same source where this article got the 75% ratings for Sandglass. I think these are the TV audience shares, I'm not too sure. These sources do not include the dramas that aired in the 80's which I believe got even higher ratings. Writer Kim Soo-hyun's 1987 drama, "Love and Ambition" reportedly had 76% ratings.

This source is in Korean: http://tip.daum.net/question/40420625

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Today's current standard as far as ratings are recorded (AGB Neilsen Nationwide) would show Sandglass at 65.8%.
75% is the tv audience shares (you are correct).

If I understand correctly.

Ratings - refers to number of households.
Shares - refers to number of people.
(That's why tv audience shares is always higher).

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

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Opps Sandglass at 64.5% not 65.8%.

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Makes me wonder. Do dramas get higher ratings now? Or did they get higher ratings in the past?

Seems like many factors can play a part. With the internet not as many people watch live TV. But with the internet you have a lot more people aware of the shows. You also didn't have as many shows competing back in the 90s like you do now. Seems like cable has stolen a nice % of viewers from the major 3 channels.

From what I've been reading seems like cable is doing better then ever but the major 3 channels, except for a couple hits, are getting lower then average numbers.

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Oh wow. The other day, I was watching this and suddenly started wondering how it would be like if it were remade today. Well I am happy with a sequel. Hope it works out.

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I have always wanted to watch the original "Sandglass" but haven't bothered to look for it.

Just scrape "Winter Sonata". If "Uncontrollably Fond" is flopping then audiences aren't really in the mood for excessive melodrama.

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Yeah, I originally thought that it's weird they want to still go through with these remakes after the commercial and critical flop of UF.

But, I feel like there still might be a market for human melos, after all, That Winter did well and it's only a few years old. I feel like UF is failing because of combination of things, bad, outdated script, bad acting from the leads, and the fact that W is a super tough competitor.

I'm in shock that UF dropped soo much and went down to single digit ratings. By episode four or five, you're basically supposed to have a set audience, I thought they would at least maintain the eleven to twelve percent ratings and maybe increase as the drama progressed, even with W increasing.

I honestly don't remember the last time I saw a drama drop like this with six to seven episodes in. I've also been reading the reviews from cnetz about UF, and they've been terrible. It's not doing well in Korea or China.

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i haven't really been paying attention to ratings/reception of current shows. is UF really considered a flop?

i know W surpassed it in ratings this week, but UF was leading before that. W is the better show (episode 4 officially hooked me in)—while UF feels almost ridiculously dated, but i keep watching to admire suzy's prettiness. i thought her acting was all right in episodes 1 and 2, with some exceptions, but it seems to be getting worse this week and last...

i agree with you though, typically with a show like UF it should have kept the lead. episode count, it's at number eight while W is just at number 4. it has the buzzier stars in suzy and kim woo-bin. it was heavily hyped.

it feels for me like DOTS/come back mister situation but in reverse. while i enjoyed both of those shows, i strongly felt that come back mister was the better/more solid show (but with regrettable ratings), but DOTS had such huge stars and was the easier breezier watch, so it just ate up its competition.

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75%??? That means 3 out of 4 households with a tv were tuning in to it at some point. O___O Imagine how much PPL it would have if it airs now with those ratings...

I wonder if Song Jinah pulled out of Gaia/Picnic to work on this?

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I thought the same thing about Gaia/Picnic! I wouldn't blame her if that is the reason. As long as this is good! Song Ji-nah has a pretty good track record with Sandglass, The Legend, and Healer, so I have faith (ha... get it... Faith...).

Well, I haven't actually seen The Legend, but it was a decent hit, wasn't it? Although I read it didn't come close to earning enough to cover the 60 billion won budget lol.

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Sometimes I think I'm one of the very few that really loved Faith. All it needed imo was an ending kiss ;D

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I also love Faith- watch a few times

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I'm with you - I liked Faith too.

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And Story of a Man!

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Sandglass portrays a fascinating time in Korean history. I have yet to see it, although it's on DF so I have no excuse, but I'd definitely be interested in a remake or sequel. This has me a bit confused, is it a real sequel (takes place after the original) or a remake (a re-telling of sorts of the original)?

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Why do they always want to remake dramas that were critically and commercially successful...If I want to watch a drama like Autumn's Concerto, I'd just watch the original Autumn's Concerto.

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AS K news sometimes mixes up their words / intentions could someone PLEASE clarify if it is to be a remake or a sequel.

They are different.

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Torn between NOOOOOO and WTFFFFFF.

Fuck this noise. Her extreme decline into becoming a shallow hack over the last 20 years is sad enough, now she and the network actively going to destroy her legacy?!?!?!? (and without Kim Jong-hak too. pfffft good luck)

Anyone who thinks this is a remotely good idea, needs to go back and educate themselves by watching Sandglass. Or better yet, Eyes of Dawn. You'll never watch a modern drama like it, and Song Ji-na is not some old soul like Jung Ha-yeon or Kim Woon-kyung that you can still trust. She turned her back on that kind of honest storytelling a long time ago.

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Don't you think it's a little too harsh? Her recent dramas may not have been as iconic as her old ones, but I think they were still pretty enjoyable (in my opinion). Much better than some stuff we are foreced to endure in drama land.

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Eyes of Dawn has a pretty good argument for the best drama of all time, and Sandglass is definitely in the top 5-10 of all time. She's a bit better than your typical drama writer, which is not only not saying much, but also a hell of a long way to fall. The same pen that gave us the kind of once-in-a-lifetime beauty and pathos Sandglass and Eyes of Dawn exude is now settling for material off the modern kdrama 101 assembly line. Which is sad and disappointing enough, but now it seems she wants to piggyback off of her early success in what is pretty hard to interpret as anything other than a ratings/publicity stunt, considering Sandglass was a complete work on all fronts (thematically, historically, emotionally, down to the smallest details in the story) and left nothing open or unsaid.

And on top of all that, her partner PD Kim Jong-hak, who turned her scripts into living, breathing masterpieces, killed himself years ago, so doing an unnecessary sequel is in pretty poor taste as well imo.

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I couldn't have explained it any better. PD Kim Jong-hak was a talented visionary director/producer. He assembled that almost perfect cast (Park Geun-Hyung especially) and made a masterpiece out of her scripts. Not once but twice.

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Didn't see your post earlier but I'm speechless that she is actually going to do this.

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I'm definitely not speechless (my comment is probably a bit much lol), I'm very very pissed off. Maybe I'm being dramatic, but I don't feel like she should even think of doing this without Kim Jong-hak's knowledge or consent, and since he's dead, she should just let their work together be. Sandglass was his baby as much as it was hers. It's the equivalent of getting The Beatles back together in the 80s without John, and then doing Strawberry Fields.

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Not at all. I agree with you. I just don't know how to vent in English haha.

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You sound so rude not only downgrading Song Jina work but calling out the PD who already died in peace O,O Sure call all Song Jina's work aside Sandglass is flop or whatever you want to call it for, tbh, but really what's wrong with sequel, it can be come from Song Jina or the broadcast channel, but let's blame Song Jina only O,O

Hope the drama will turn out better so you can take your word...

I'll leave here /excuse me

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I agree, I was being rude. I could have said this a lot more gracefully, but at the end of the day, I don't think I was wrong. I just want to be absolutely clear, I never "called out the PD." I pointed out that I found it disrespectful of her to reopen the book on a work that was as much his as it was hers, after he had died and was no longer able to participate or consent.

If you don't mind me asking, have you seen Sandglass? It isn't just any old drama. It was an extremely special event drama that was not only socially but historically significant to the Korean audience--it helped them heal from the Gwangju Massacre, and galvanized the government to prosecute Jeon Doo-hwan, who was responsible for it. I will always respect Song Ji-na for writing that drama, but I can't respect her for returning to it years later, without her partner, after she has spent the last 15 years patently disinterested in telling stories the hard way, in what again is extremely hard to interpret as anything other than a ratings ploy. If you have seen it, then you would realize that there is not a single detail about Sandglass that leaves an opening for a sequel, nor is there any need for one on a thematic or historic level. If people want serious political dramas about the 21st century, I would urge them to give newer writers like Park Kyung-soo (who incidentally got his start through Song Ji-na) or Jung Hyun-min a chance.

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Totally agree with you about Park Kyung-Soo and Jung Hyun-min.

Park Kyung-Soo (SBS) has written 3 solid dramas from the get go. He is amazing for a new writer. I became an instant fan after The Chaser.

Jung Hyun-min (KBS) is my last hope for conventional and well written sageuks like Jeong Do-jeon. Solid from beginning to end and the man knows his politics well.

Can't wait for their next projects.

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Me too :) At least we know Park Kyung-soo is working on something.

I read on Mr. X's site that Jung Hyun-min worked as a political aid for 10 years before becoming a writer, which could explain a thing or two ;) Jung Do Jeon is a master class political sageuk (and it was only his first one, too!). It makes me want to take another look at Assembly--the cheesy directing drove me away last time before the story really got into full swing.

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Why can't they just leave this masterpiece alone? Nothing will come close to the original. The golden age of television is long gone. Great talents like director Kim Jong-hak is long gone.

We still have Song Ji-na, Park Geun-Hyung, Choi Min-soo, Go Hyun-jung as a reminder and that's good enough.

SBS learn from MBC's Heo Joon. It's not going to help the ratings.

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Thank you. You said this a lot more gracefully than I did.

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Agree. The times, the mindset, the spirit moving the people who made it all of that is important. And we have these dramas to revisit, they are not lost. Now it becomes at worst cashing in on nostalgia and at best re-presenting it to modern auds. For the latter I wish people had scripts that allowed original footage to be incorporated instead of a remake.

I was watching Christmas in August the other day. Still holds up. Truly a golden age and I shudder to think of it being remade.

I love these posts because the commenters also add a good deal to it via their personal knowledge of the old shows.

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Will it be Song Ji-na writing?

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I have heard about Sandglass but I never watch it. I don't know the remake or sequel for a very successful drama is a good idea or not. But this is classic, and very popular, if if they really want to do remake / sequel of old drama, why not they do the unpopular one. Oh no, just do the new drama without bothering with the remake or sequel thing.

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It would be great if they remake bad and less popular dramas and make them better.

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She wrote sandglass and healer?? Gotta love it!

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Oh, please, no. Has she lost her marbles?

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I don't care when people remake stuff, I know people hate remakes the most but I barely care. Remakes don't take away from the original, and if I don't want to then I just won't watch it. They're easy for me to ignore.

Sequels, on the other hand, are really what piss me off if they're terrible because it's a continuation and it becomes part of the legacy. So people better be sure this will be good or not make it at all.

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Sandglass was successful and influential because it was set against a tumultuous political backdrop that stirs people's sentiments. Without the real political context, it would've just been a piece of wonderful writing and acting. I wonder if the sequel will be about Jeon Doo-hwan's downfall, or something a bit more relevant to recent times.

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i nominate:

moon chae won

song joong ki

CHAEKI REUNION, pls.
lol, i know, in my dreams. but regardless, i nominate either of them (together or not)

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I'm surprised they are considering doing a sequel to Sandglass. The political environment of the 90's was way different than the political environment of today. They won't make a meaningful drama today without pissing off a chunk of the government and the broadcast censors.

Eyes of Dawn and Sandglass were masterpieces because Song Ji-na and Kim Jong-hak went hard on exploring the political corruption of the government and in Eyes of Dawn's case, the Japanese occupation to the split of Korea. They didn't hold back on showing the gritty details of Korea's history.

Due to Hallyu, we will never get a drama like Eyes of Dawn without the fear of pissing off the Japanese and the Chinese markets. A sequel to Sandglass would get neutered by the censors and sponsors. Also, going by Song Ji-na's current track record, I doubt she has the heart to do another drama as honest as Sandglass nor will she be able to top her masterpieces.

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While I'm sure we are less likely to get dramas like Eyes of Dawn now, I wouldn't completely rule it out. Many actors turned down Gaksital for fear of how their Japanese fanbase would react, but Joo-won went for it (he was still quite fresh then, probably didn't have much to lose) and it was a hit domestically.

Whether you consider Gaksital anywhere near the same level as Eyes of Dawn is, of course, up to debate, but I think it shows that writers/directors/producers/actors are willing to take some risks still.

I don't know much about Korea's modern-day political environment compared to the decades before, but what you say sounds so sad and unfortunate. Censorship is the enemy of every creative mind. It's disappointing to hear that it's bad enough now that it would prevent a writer from exercising her full potential like that.

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I mean the censorship today is much better compared to the censorship Korea experienced when it was under a strict military dictatorship in the 60's to the late 80's. However, when you compare the current Korean dramas to the ones from the 90's and mid 2000's, there is a difference as to what they were able to get away with back then. Plus there weren't as much of the silly types of censorship like the blurring of knives, wooden sticks, tattoos, product placement, cigarettes, etc.

Korean politics has a rather complicated history, thus is a complicated topic to talk about. This is an over-simplification but I guess I shouldn't say that censors will completely butcher or take over a drama. But I think that a writer today would at least receive a huge amount of pressure from government groups, sponsors, producers, etc. to avoid exploring the taboos that Song Ji-na and PD Kim Jong-hak were able to explore in the 90's, during a time when Korea had just broken away from the military dictatorship to the current democracy.

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I completely agree with the assessment above re: Korea's current political and economic climate. Sadly, there may never be a drama like Sandglass again, or at least within the next decade.

I rewatched it a few years ago with my husband (was a teenager when it first aired) and it does actually hold up. The chemistry between the 3 main characters (Go Hyun-jung is a revelation and absolutely stunning, pre-surgery that is). The nuanced political intrigue. That tall CIA man, his quiet hand in all the dark maneuvers--whose name I don't know--still haunts me.

Having spent time in Korea over the past decade, I see now how revolutionary this drama was when it aired--a true cultural incendiary device igniting a whole country--and also why it could never be produced today.

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Can Ji Chang Wook postpone his military service and do one more Song Ji Na's drama please?

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the problem is, if this drama airing now, it's going to feel like a makjang drama with mobster daugher and all...
the trend is different now. i hope the sw will write something different and following the trend now.

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I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about a sequel/do-over/remake of a legendary show like Sandglass.

The historical period in this particular drama is full of heroic actions and idealistic young people. Is SK's modern society ready to embrace their past and face their present situation? Can ideals and morals go against today's hunt for wealth and high posts? Is the writer able to overcome the industry's certain focus on China's market and luck of good ratings?

To be honest, I'd prefer Healer's backstory. The 4 college students, the betrayal, the imprisonment, the fight for not just Democracy but also justice could have a universal message and intrigue the local audiences too.

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is this the drama with green eyes? CMIIW based on what i remember from watching reply 1994

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lol no. That one was called M. Reply 94 did talk about Sandglass, though--iirc, they showed one of the ending scenes with Choi Min-soo's character, made a few jokes about the girls crushing on Lee Jung-jae, and played the soundtrack a couple times.

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Sandglass has been on my list to watch for some time and now I'm really intrigued to watch it. Healer, Faith and Legend are top favorites of mine, as well as Gaksital, Signal and Misaeng. It seems like a remake of Sandglass could be re-made for a new generation and potentially be amazing. I'd have great faith in the possibility if tvN produced it.

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where I can watch Sandglass with subtitles. Since watching reply 94 and gentleman's dignity I wanted to watch it.

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Thanks Dopefish

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Best cast for this. Actors are teen so kim yoo jung, yeo jin goo and ji soo. Would be great casting

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I'm currently watching Sandglass and I like it so far. Though the quality is not the best (in some parts) due to it being so old, it's watchable and it's nice to see just how far some of these drama cliches go back.....lol.

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I've been dying to find an online source with Sandglass subtitled in English for years. Anyone know where to find one? I'd love to be able to watch it before sequel comes out.

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Never mind! I see Dopefish's response with info where to find it. Thanks Dopefish!

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I think the sequel would be about North korea and the impostor Kim family claiming themselves as gods in North Korea

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