Kim Eun Sook’s Upcoming K-drama Descendants of the Sun Moves Networks to KBS

This is pretty big K-drama news even if it doesn’t involve casting, yet again confirming that screenwriter Kim Eun Sook is one of those brand name scribes that generates headlines on her own without the need for big name stars. It’s been a year since Heirs with Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye aired on SBS last October but still the drama is bandied about and heavily streamed on many video portals. It remains frequently mentioned as a K-drama that failed in many narrative ways and some acting that didn’t live up to quality expectations, but at the end of the day it’s a bona fide financial and recognition success.

Kim Eun Sook’s works are always a hot topic since she’s known for doing something different enough to get people to talk – soul switching in Secret Garden or turning Lee Min Ho and all the leads in Heirs into really old high school students. Her next outing has already been revealed to be Descendants of the Sun, a sprawling big-budget drama about a bunch of doctors working in overseas disaster zones, imagine Doctors without Borders volunteers living a K-drama-esque story line. The big shocker to start the weekend is the news that Descendants of the Sun has moved networks and will now air on KBS in May of 2015 and all the financial production needs have now been secured.

Descendants of the Sun sounds so much more like a J-dorama concept, Japan does the doctors/first responders medica doramas quite well. Case in point Code Blue or even doctors in strange places stories like Clinic on the Sea, barely any romance while the focus is on the medical element and the character professional and personal growth. I’m wary of K-drama tackling the emergency medical triage field and turning it makjang to the point that the cases play second fiddle to the romantic love triangles and whatnot.

The drama reportedly has an immense overseas shoot with over 80% of the drama filmed abroad and requires a hefty financial investment right off the bat. Kim Eun Sook’s new drama moving to KBS really is major major news. All of Kim Eun Sook’s previous dramas have aired on SBS and she’s been a lock with the network for over 10 years. Both KBS and MBC have wanted to work with her but she’s notoriously loyal to SBS and for good reciprocal reason as SBS has been great to her. She lands the biggest stars for her dramas and gets whatever support she needs to make her ideas work onscreen. Curious minds want to know what really happened behind the scenes for this move?

With the move to KBS, suddenly all the casting suggestions go out the window and it’s a whole new ballpark as the big name KBS regulars have a greater chance of landing the project. I think the super big names who rarely do dramas like Kang Dong Won, Won Bin, Jang Dong Gun, etc. probably aren’t interested but who knows. Some KBS regular male leads include (this is just listing them, not necessarily an indication any are being considered): Lee Dong Wook (Hotel King, Fugitive of Joseon, Wild Romance, Iron Man), Jang Geun Seok (Mary Stayed Out All Night, Love Rain, Pretty Boy), and Eric (Strongest Chil Woo, Spy Myung Wol, Discovery of Love). I personally think Kim Eun Sook should go after Gong Yoo. He’s perfect as a field doctor!


Kim Eun Sook’s Upcoming K-drama Descendants of the Sun Moves Networks to KBS — 56 Comments

  1. Well… Japan also has its brand of makjang medical dramas.

    I’m thinking “Iryu ~Team Medical Dragon~”. That one is REALLY melodramatic and yet it was a success. I mean, they keep bringing it back! This year they aired a 4th season and everything!

    Anyways, I’m not interested in this Kdrama. I dislike the medical genre in general.

    • My bet? It won’t suck less than Heirs which was a train wreck of epic proportions & not only because of the script. SBS butchered the script of DoctorStranger too & now is finishing the job on MyLovelyGirl… I find that SBS did very questionable choices lately. Nothing lasts, nothing is sacred: I bet her conditions of work will improve there (I’d pay to read the contract she signed).

      • I’m a getting a huge sense that the story and budget is quite absurd and alsp tge trend next year is multiple personality disorder, doctors are out.

      • @dal: The trend is crap. I don’t like any of her dramas, but I’d still prefer watching Doctors without Borders compared to a guy with 7 personalities. I do hope that Kdramas can be more diverse. It’s as if they all decided on a theme every year and (almost) all the dramas will be based on it.

  2. OK, let’s try to keep calm… I don’t think it will necessarily be darling actors of KBS that will be taken. With such a huge project, she can ATTRACT valuable outsiders & maybe the deal is bigger than we think. Too bad for you SBS, obviously you did a big mistake(s) somewhere.
    May: I’m waiting for you, woohoo!

  3. Sounds to me like KBS is tired of the crappy ratings… KES is going to attract some big names for sure rather than going with the KBS crowd.

  4. I think you meant Doctors without borders.. :), you see..I’ve been obsessed with ebola news and admired doctors without borders doing all the volunteeering.

  5. It’s easily understood why KBS wants to get in bed with KES; they are in desperate need of success. They have being trailing SBS and MBC on both Monday/Tuesdays and Wednesday/Thursdays for years now. In fact, KBS hasn’t had a real weekday hit since Good Doctor.

    It’s less obvious why KES should be interested in KBS. No doubt they have been dangling a lot of money in front of her. But is this a wise move?

    • Why would she stay with SBS if they don’t let her do write the way she likes anymore? They sabotaged her last 2 dramas for god knows whatever reasons. She has enough $$, she could retire now if she wanted. She also has a solid fanbase and contacts in the biz & the production company she works with is independent. The only thing that could have made her switch is artistical freedom, choice of the time slot + picking her own cast.

      • I think you know more than me about the way SBS has treated KES. If she’s been “sabotaged”, as you write, that obviously makes the move much more understandable. Even if, in my opinion, it’s still something of a chance to take to let your new show air on the channel where dramas go to die…

      • Exactly,I have been following Mysitith comments taking as if she was in the same room when negotiations went on. Lol. Please

        Wish her the best of luck at KBS, even though I have had a bad feeling about the drama. I actually have a bad feeling about all the hyped dramas next year

      • Sounds like a lot of assumptions. It is just as possible that she is making the move to kbs for more money as it is that she is making the move for artistic integrity. She’s been writing for ratings for an awfully long time now, can’t put all that blame on sbs…

    • MBC should be the one freaking out now. In 2015 SBS still has Hyde, Jekyll and I and the even bigger budget 50 episode sageuk Six Dragons Flying, while KBS now has Blood and Descendants of the Sun. All MBC has is Kill Me, Heal Me which it can’t cast.

      • Well, as the ratings of, say, You’re All Surrounded, or Nodame right now, prove, you can’t be sure you got a hit on your hand just because you sign big name actors, or work with buzzed manuscripts. And usually tv stations don’t freak out over something that may happen in the future, but are very much concerned if they are in a actual happening, present slump. Like KBS is. And MBC is not.

        Of course, I won’t deny that MBC is likely brainstorming how they should respond to their competitors’ upcoming projects.

      • Well, they can use Empress Ki’s writers, didn’t they bring to MBC the best ratings since the Moon That Embraces the Sun?

  6. I really loved Season 1 of Code Blue. It was just so brutal, I wouldn’t say realistic (impossible with Yamapi’s acting), but believable. This is how I imagine what working in emergency services feels like. There were no miracle recoveries, people died and had their dreams crushed in every episode. It also had one of the best soundtracks ever.
    But for some reason they decided to ruin Season 2 with a bunch of sappy Korean style plotlines. This is how I imagine Desendants of the Sun would feel like. I hate to generalise, but Koreans just cannot produce anything but romance. Kim Eun Sook dramas are especially cliched and boring. It is a mystery to me why she is so popular.

    • Pi’s acting wasn’t THAT bad in Code Blue. XD Okay, who am I kidding, he was gorgeous but totally unable to act with his eyes when wearing a surgical mask so half his scenes were just the audience guessing what he’s feeling. I love Yamapi so I’m way biased but he was watchable in CB, but it wasn’t meant to be a romance dorama so my hope that his reunion with Gakki after Dragon Zakura would be more didn’t happen. Oh wells, I liked CB1 enough to know that even with limited actors like Pi, Gakki, and Erika, a nicely written medical emergency yarn can work when it stays true to its storytelling genre and roots. Totally agree about the soundtrack, it was fabulous though comes in second for me in Yamapi dorama soundtracks. To this day I listen to Buzzer Beat on a regular basis.

      • You are not the only one, I also have a soft spot for Yamapi desite his apparent lack of acting talent. I blame Nobuta wo Produce and Ikebukuro West Gate Park for that. He showed so much potential in his younger roles, so I wonder what happened to him. Just popularity I guess. Why try when you know that you are hot and will get lead roles anyway XD

      • Don’t forget Stand Up! and Lunch no Joou, he was fantastic in both as well. In a bit he’s like Jang Geun Seok, a way better child actor than he’s proven to be as an adult. But for different reasons. I think Johnny turns the boys vacant to keep them AnAn pinups rather than actors.

  7. I don’t get the awesomeness or the appeal of Kim Eun Sook. Personally for me, there is nothing fresh or unique about Secret Garden or Heirs. Am I missing something?

      • Media play, when the media started saying she’s the gifted writer, people buy it. It’s easy to buy people’s mind now days especially the teenagers, just used proper words, all will be a like a zombie.

    • this one would be different and she’s gonna team up with another writer,maybe we could expect something new?i’m not fond of her writings neither..

    • Her “awesomeness” doesn’t lie in the quality of the script but in the possibility to pull off high ratings. That’s about it I guess. Her characters are goddamn insufferable, especially the rude, overbearing, arrogant and dickish male lead. Except for Lovers in Paris, I can’t never watch pass 5 episodes of a KES drama.

  8. 1st .. I can’t believe it’s been a year since Heirs!
    2nd .. I think Eric would make a Hot Hard Ass Doctor! Just Saying 😉

    • Eric’s acting so much improve in his recent drama but I heard he won’t be in any drama during 2015 due to his group activities. As much as I love him in anything he wears, I prefer him as a bad boy type rather than polite-educated guy.. The worst his character the more I love him…LOL…

  9. I think medical Kdrama can be good if done right. I like Golden Time and Obgyn Doctors (except agreeing that the romance in Obgyn Doctors storyline is unnecessary). I still hope that the writer of Golden Time will write the sequel with grittier storyline.
    I also agree that I haven’t seen any K-medical dramas dealing with big events with many victims. I think J-medical dramas like Kyumei Byoto 24-ji and Code Blue did better job in portraying them.

  10. i want shin mi nah for female lead.i like MCW,but sometime she come off bland to me.while Shin mi nah is so good.its been long i saw her on small screen.

    • I don’t find her bland at all..tbh she is the only actress that interest me lately coz’ she played difficult and totally opposite characters of what she is in real life and would always show another side of herself as an actress and she always improved more in every production..Yeah just like the former said i think it’s just a matter of preference..but i think in real life maybe?she even said it before that she is boring in real

      • Yeah. That’s why I said it is personal preference. Me myself appreciate the subtlety acting of MCW.

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