The MBC period drama “Queen Seon Deok” (or “Queen Sun Duk”) posted its highest rating of 34.8% on July 28, topping the ratings chart in South Korea.
With the end of the chart topper SBS drama “Brilliant Legacy” (aka “Glorious Heritage”) last July 26, Queen Seon Deok is now the No. 1 show.
Queen Seon Deok also posted a high 32.8% rating last July 21. The drama stars Ko Hyun Jung, Lee Yo Won, Myung Se Bin, Nam Ji-Jyeon, Seo Young-Hee, Yoo Seung Ho and ex-Family Outing member Park Ye-jin.
Brilliant Legacy has been hailed as a phenomenal success. What was its secret formula?
Here’s an article from Joong Ang Daily:
The latest episode, which aired on July 12, posted an audience rating of 41.3 percent, the highest rating for a show so far this year. The show that previously held that distinction ? another SBS drama, “Wife’s Temptation” ? registered a 40.4 percent rating in late January.
Brilliant Legacy’s overwhelming success is rather unexpected and, therefore, significant. Most popular dramas cast hallyu, or Korean wave, stars in lead roles. But Brilliant Legacy features two actors, Lee Seung-gi and Han Hyo-joo, who were relatively unknown before.
The show’s story line also revolves around the theme of “good overcoming evil” and a poor girl meeting her Prince Charming ? well-worn concepts that seem too obvious and overplayed to lasso in huge audiences.
So just what is it that enables this seemingly mediocre melodrama to outshine its counterparts?
“Brilliant Legacy successfully positions a dramatic conflict among characters, which is a must for dramas, as well as an interesting plot touching on universal topics such as family and love,” Jeong said.
The show follows a family led by Jang Suk-ja, an old and able woman who runs Jinseong Food Co.
Jang, a strong-headed CEO with solid morals and business ethics, one day announces a surprise decision: She will bequeath the family’s fortune not to her grandson Sunwoo Hwan (played by Lee Seung-gi), who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and behaves as he pleases, but to a girl, Koh Eun-seong (played by Han Hyo-joo), who is reeling from her father’s apparent sudden death and other issues but maintains a bright outlook. (FYI: Eun-seong helped Jang in the past and earned her confidence.)
It turns out that the move was also an effort by Jang to help her grandson change his outlook on life. Hwan, who was a man about town, starts to take things seriously. He tries to defend his rights as heir to the fortune against Eun-seong. But something happens along the way. The two, who quarreled with each other at every chance, begin to develop a new and close relationship.
“What I think is special about this drama is that it displays the power of senior citizens, through the character Jang, in an aging society where an increasing number of older citizens are economically active,” said Na Kyung-jin, a housewife in her 50’s who is a self-proclaimed ardent fan of the drama. “In addition, it shows that people who are truly able and qualified can inherit a legacy, not just members of well-to-do families.
“There is also this lovely romance between good-looking younger people, which is a bonus to all viewers. Considering all these factors, I think this is a drama that appeals to both men and women of all ages.”
Indeed, men are a big part of the audience as well.
“Usually I’m not a fan of soap operas, but I’m watching this one quite regularly, as I found it offers something different from other typical dramas,” said Kim Tae-il, a middle-aged man in his 50’s. “It deals with the issue of a bequest involving a family, which is quite new and interesting. And it also touches upon various social issues including family, giving viewers an opportunity to think over the issues in their lives.”