tvN Period Drama Mr. Sunshine Garners Continued Directorial and Acting Praise as Ratings Break 12% in Episode 8

Four weeks into the airing of screenwriter Kim Eun Sook‘s latest drama opus Mr. Sunshine and she can rest easy knowing that her reputation as a ratings gravy train continues. The drama premiered on tvN with 8.852% ratings which was higher than Goblin’s first episode, and has gone up in ratings every single episode with the latest episode 8 breaking the 12% threshold with 12.330%. The reviews have been positive as well, with praise for the PD’s visual prowess and the acting of all the leads Lee Byung Hun, Kim Tae Ri, Byun Yo Han, Yoo Yeon Seok, and Kim Min Jung. But beyond that the audiences seem to connect with this story being set at the end of the Joseon beginning of the Korean Republic era, delving into the ordinary folks fighting for freedom and change. I haven’t started watching yet but every time I see screencaps I’m just blown away by how beautiful this looks.


tvN Period Drama Mr. Sunshine Garners Continued Directorial and Acting Praise as Ratings Break 12% in Episode 8 — 66 Comments

  1. While I do understand the praises of the cinematography and the acting, I really can say that the story is moving at a very very snail mode pace.

    Acting wise, I just couldn’t give praise to LBH. I know he is supposed to be a stoic man with regards to his painful past but his expression and the voice (what’s with him trying to sound like a Christian Bale’s Batman) really irritate me. And his Eugene is damn boring. There is no chemistry between him and KTR and he just don’t bring anything to the show.

    KTR is doing as much as she could but I am not so easily fooled by the strong woman vibe that KES trying to sell through her character. Ae Shin been chasing Eugene day in and day out and just to keep consistent that she is strong, they made her doing a little shooting once in a while.

    The only ones that kept me hooked are Yoo Yeon Seok and Byun Yo Han. Despite their limited screen-time, I can already feel their complexity without trying too hard. Kim Min Jung exaggerated her performance and I thank god for her lack of screentime.

    The scene where Ae Shin returned the American’s rifle really had me laughing because that was it. Just return it there and then when they were so much fiasco over it in the first place. And that useless Sgt Moore could even came out of nowhere asking Eugene what was happening and don’t even give a damn when someone actually sneaking into their building. And the triangle face-off between the three male leads in the final scene of episode 7? Really? So much intensity over a girl? What the heck?

    My takes so far is that those conflict, freedom fighter movement whatever crap there is just serve as a background to bring Ae Shin and Eugene in the same frame and the only thing KES cares to tell is “What is LOVE? Let’s do LOVE together! L is LOVE! E is for EUGENE”. I could foresee myself dropping this show (if not for YYS and BYH) by next week.

    • I honestly don’t agree with your take on the freedom fighter movement serving as a background story for the two’s love story.

      The whole love story didn’t actually begin until 8 episodes later and the story has been much focused on the politics.

      Even with the love story I’m each episode the two have like 2 or 3 scenes together in each episodes. If anything it feels like the three guys interact with each other more than any of them interact with the female lead.

      This doesn’t seem to be a story about freedom fighters. More like a story about everyone from slave to King to foreigner. Everyone story seems to be evenly told.

    • Kim Min Jung tends to overact a lot and her face annoys me. I feel sorry for Kim Taeri that her debut drama has to be a KES drama when she is capable of playing more complex characters. Byun Yo Han seems to be the most interesting out of them all. All in all, Goblin and DOTS were garbage and Heirs was trash when it came to storytelling. The thing is KES can’t write a believable plot. She has good concepts, her characters are compelling on paper, her lines and phrases are catchy but other than that, the plot of her dramas are always predictable and messy.

    • Agree. His growl is bothersome. I am losing patient over the plot that is barely moving. I only saw progression in relationship between the characters and then, the normal cheesiness as in KES dramas which is my reason for dropping all of her previous shows. The drama is impressive on the production value but poor in storytelling.

  2. 40 billion won just get 13% rating it’s really high for tv cable. Cinematography was beautiful but was slow and boring. I beat this will get 20% rating in the end.

  3. I love this drama. Very smart. Im just like those koreans who love this drama so much. Im waiting fie every single episode cuz it’s worth watching. This one is literally one of the greatest beside Life On Mars. A daesang will be great for this drama. Best actors, best writernim, best pd, best cinematography…. Best of the best.

    Mr. Sunshine and life on mars fighting!!!!

    • I think life of mars is worthy of a daesang award. JKH is amazing in LOM. Actually all the characters are amazing. The script is tight and conversations engaging. The cliffhangers at the end of each episode makes me wanting more. The cinematography and lighting and also music compliments the scenes. The set and atmosphere is believably 1988. I am all praises for life in mars. Such an awesome drama, it deserves more attention.

      • LOM is based off an existing script and plot so its not as deserving of praise as Mr Sunshine which is completely original. The acting is good in LOM but only by the three main leads meanwhile the acting throughout Mr Sunshine is amazing. Even the supporting characters with very small screentime have left an impression.

      • Everything else is fine but LBH performance. He is a frozen delight. I could understand his shallow performance if he is a newbie but he is a veteran actor. At least he could bring out a better interpretation of his character but nah…his performance is so bland and boring.

        As to the overall quality, this drama is well made. The cinematography is amazing. I hope all kdramas has this level of quality. As to the storytelling, well it’s KES.. what else we can expect? The flow of the story is slow but I think Korean viewers love her style.

  4. I am beyond surprised this drama is boring people. It is such a touching story and someone made a comparison to Game Of Thrones, in a way that you almost wish you could live the world of Joseon through the way it is portrayed. As well as the attachment to every character including the minor ones.

    I absolutely Adore this drama and many praises to Kim Eun Suk for this gem. More than anything I have have more praises to the director of this drama because he knows when to pause on the moment perfectly.

    I’m in love with all three romantic interests!!! I wish all the episodes would be replaced at once.

  5. I agree with Yui…it is the best of the best. The cinematography is simply AWESOME. The costumes and wardrobe are both beautiful and stunning. Can’t wait for next episode.

  6. YYS’s character is breaking my heart! He is just so tragic from beginning to end, I really hope for a good ending for him.
    I got nexflix on free trial just to watch this show and I don’t mind paying until it ends then cancelling. It’s completely wooooorth it!
    Aside from the scenes between the main leads I sometimes forget that this is the same writer who wrote DOS.
    I’m not even surprised it’s doing well in ratings, netizens having been praising it too. (Aside from the petition to remove it off air lol).

  7. Honestly reading comments that say this drama is boring baffles me!
    This is honestly one of KES best dramas in recent times and I’m so excited for the episodes to come.
    The acting in this is phenomenal and I realised if any lesser actors were given the roles they wouldn’t have been able to produce the same quality.
    The story is coming together fabulously and its shaping up to be an amazing drama!

  8. I’m actually not surprised this drama comes off as boring for international audiences especially those whose countries don’t drill the notion of patriotism and loyalty into their bloods. This is a drama made entirely for the Korean audience and their strong sense of patriotic loyalty towards the motherland which the older generation especially takes very seriously. Not only that it also addresses the questions of class, slavery, citizenship and inequality in a changing world. This is very very different from what Kim Eun Sook is used to doing so I’m actually surprised with the amount of detail she’s put into this drama. This might just be the best piece of work she’ll ever write.

    • There are other great patriotic dramas with out draging slow motion and slow pacing of script. Using huge money and beautiful scenery to cover up the slowness and draggyness of her script. BRIDAL mask fast pace, gritty action, awsome script a whole new level of acting talent by villain and hero. Joseon gunman an absolutely realistic story about the fall of joseon no glorified super hero to save the day but how the hero lost the oportunity to save his country due to his weakness the most real drama i have seen there are many more patriotic dramas very good ones. This one is the WORST. Lee byun hyuns performance is underwhelming with all the botox. The star power of lee byung hyun and recently rose to stardom actress from hand maiden thats it. Unless she drastically improves her script
      nothing is here.

      • Exactly. Even the late Joseon plot in Chicago Typewriter has more substance and ripped your heart out by the finale. This show simply has no heart. And this coming from me whose country was colonized by Britain and Japan.

      • Bridal mask was less politics more action. Chicago Type writer was less politics and more romance.

        This time period KES is writing about is so sensitive to everyone everyone is watching her every moves. She has less freedom than other writers to be creative because the Korean audience want to actually know facts not romanticize everything hence why the petition to take it off air is going around.

    • This is nonsense. There are many dramas and movies out there which portray important Korean history but the writers still are able to write a proper story, interesting character and have a good pacing.

      KES isn’t talented in writing dramas. She should stick with movies, so she doesn’t have to write over the cause of 16 to 20 episodes. Her plots never fill those hours.

      • Okay then name a historical drama that created a national controversy to the point where historians were involved and a large population petitioned it off tv.

        I’ll wait.

  9. LBH is old and ugly. I lost all respect for him after his allegedly scandal. I’m surprised he still gets leading role.

  10. I’ve watched every single one of KES drama and I can honestly say that this is definitely her BEST drama to date. The story is gripping. The era it’s set in is so interesting, with so many things changing in Joseon at that time.
    The acting by all 4 leads have been fantastic so far. I’ve never seen LBH or KTR in anything, but they are knocking it out of the park with their subtle facial expression changes!!! Their eyes are conveying so much when they talk!! I don’t think many actors in Korea can speak English that well, so casting LBH as Eugene is perfect! I love his portrayal of Eugene.
    YYS is amazing as well with his constant smirk and everything. Can’t wait for his story arc to develop more.
    KES writes love story, we all know that going in. What I like best about Mr. Sunshine compare to her last 2 work is how slowly the feelings are developing, which is how I like it. I feel that it sizzles more when the feelings are not forced down my throat.

    • For the most part, I can’t understand his English. I have to refer to the subs. IMO, Lee Seo Jin speaks wayyyy better English and he can still be expressive without those botox. LBH performance feel so forced.

      I never liked amy KES dramas including the last 2 which were cheesy as hell. I was intrigued to watch MS because I thought it would be different since it is in sageuk format. Suffice to say, it’s just flashy with very very minimal substance.

      • Had not come across comments or viewers who said that they cannot understand his English so maybe it is an isolated problem with yourself alone.

      • Lol. Try google some more… You will find viewers complaining over his pronounciation. Obviously you didn’t google enough.

  11. I look forward to seeing this, even if I fully expect to be buried under mountains of sentimental Korean nationalism.

  12. I think LBH has hired keyboard warriors to lobby his chances for Best Actor despite his robotic acting. I could understand he has one dimentional facial expressions on his hollywood projects as he usually portrayed characters with no history. But for heavens sake Eugene had an intense past. People sugarcoat poor performance with subtle facial expression. It’s not subtle, it’s one-tone expression.

    Looking at him with the same expressions even the same expressions when his photographs at the airport or somewhere as himself. Geez even robot Namshin3 delivers a little expression, he smiles & you can tell by his look when he is proccessing information.

    • He must be super rich because international fans have been praising him too.

      His character is meant to be a cold and detached character which is how he acts. So I literally don’t understand why it’s being pointed out as problematic. We have all seen LBH in movies and other drama before and this is a different personality from the others. Which is evidence enough that he is portraying this character differently. He expresses plenty of emotions through his eyes and he does enough for the audience to understand his feelings.

      • But he does not look detached, he simply look frozen with the same facial expression all through out. Even not a single facial muscle is moving.

      • Even his eye expressions looks dull to me. He simply delivers a very bland performance.

      • To each their own I guess. I can clearly feel every emotions his eyes are expressing and it sounds like the Korean audience do too. It works for him and that’s all that matters.

      • To each his own exactly. It works to some yes. But to me hsi performance is just bland. I could find this style in few good newbie or undevelop rookie actors but for a veteran actor, his performance is just too shallow.

    • Its understated acting that all movie actors tend to do. The main male lead in Padam Padam received the same criticism when the drama aired but he’s a top star in movies. Its just how movie actors are trained unlike tv actors who are taught over acting. Kim taeri also holds back her expressions to a large degree but she’s starting to adopt tv actor level acting for the recent episodes. Even if he was criticized for his acting (which would never ever happen in Korea because they revere his acting) he would still win every single best actor award simply because the drama is pulling in high ratings. He doesn’t need any keyboard warriors his agency has the power to buy him whatever awards or roles he wants for the rest of his life.

      • Lol buying an award is the worst, which he is capable of based on rumors about him,but he needs good feedback from viewers, fake or not, to back it up. That is why they hire keyboard warriors.

        But who knows the producers will buy the award for him despite his lackluster performance.

      • Have to agree with u about how actors in dramas over act. Subtle restrained acting is equated as non acting in dramas. Flashy showy scenes like yelling and exegerated pitiful ugly crying are considered award winning materials. There lies the difference

      • I have to agree as well. People who only watch tv dramas don’t know what real acting is because tv actors are mediocre compared to movie actors. Movie actors are a class of their own which is why LBH is so sought after in Korea as well as in Hollywood. You can’t compare tv actors to movie stars because the latter can fill out theaters with just their name. Movies earn more money than tv ever will so don’t underestimate the power or acting of a movie actor.

      • LMAO. Since when is LBH a sought after actor in Hollywood? U must be living in a different planet. The only reason he is in Hollywood movies are because he lobbied hard for the roles and yes, the shitty roles. That’s it. If you want to talk about classy Asian actors, at least you should mention Ken Watanabe and Rinko Kikuchi who have netted Oscar nominations. And what award has LBH won on international stage? The great Tony Leung has won Cannes Best Actor but no, LBH never did. He only collected awards in SK. That says a lot.

      • LOL, @Jinn. I totally disagree with your comment about movie actors or actresses being in a class above TV actors. Tony Leung for example started in TV and moved into movies. In fact many movie actors started their careers in TV. A good actor is a good actor whether they are in theatre, TV or movie. I wouldn’t say Jackie Chan is a good actor and he only does movies.

  13. Naver

    +3884,-133 Kim Tae Ri’s forces…..Whether is Lee Byun Hun or Yoo Yeon Seok, she overpowers all of them…She’s really an actress thats interesting, but overflows with charms……

    +3593,-96 Writernim, do you have to make our hearts flutter with alphabets

    +2348,-188 I’snt Lee Byun Hun’s acting skills seriously insane

    +999,-36 Each and everyone of the main characters are all sad. The footage and acting skills that brings out the synergy is the best…!

    +1223, -10 All of their eyes are sad and deep,so they have the acting skills of making it somewhat sad but makes you fall deep into it..

    Just in case if anyone wanted to know how the Korean audience feels about the drama. To those who think Lee Byun Hun bought keyboard worriors, his reputation in Korea is so bad that all the likes on the comment should match the dislikes if people really hated his acting.

    • Thank you. Not interested. And I don’t give a fark what the Korean feel about this drama. I don’t think Korean actually checking out this blog either. As i-viewer, I see this drama as money and bling bling but lacking content. Sure, plenty raved over it but I agree with Javabeans at Dramabeans, this drama is just too trying. Too forced. And what I discovered so far areE as in Eugene, L as in Love, H as in Hug and next week will be K as in Kiss. Yeah, that Kim Eun Sook totally.

      • You cared enough to respond with a whole paragraph sis. Plenty of Koreans read this blog, my friends and I do. Again this is a Korean drama for Korean audience. I’m sure your they are not losing sleep over your opinion either. So win win situation there.

      • @SuzyisMoneyMaker
        Oh, I care enough to know that those format is normally translated from naver, and before I care to reply, I definitely need to know what I am replying to. I don’t know about you, may be you are the kind to simply reply without bother reading? How shallow!

        Ofc it’s a Korean drama and for Korean audience. But didn’t Koala asking opinion of the international viewers here? So, go sulk at the corner that I don’t share the same appreciation as you are for this drama. And I watched it enough for me to give a legit opinion that you may choose to disagree and I care nothing about anybody losing sleep or not.

  14. This drama is Slaying my liiiiiife!!!!!!!!!!

    Love Lee Byun Hun’s broody and cool soldier. I love YYS’s intensity and the female lead is such girl power!!!
    I seriously needed a drama like this right now. Why do I have to wait a full week!!?

  15. It is beautiful. The directing and cinematography are quite good. And I love what I am seeing from Kim Tae Ri (I’ve never seen her before and I can only say WOWWOWOWOW), Byun Yo Han and Yoo Yong Seok (when don’t I love those two). But Lee Byung Hun ALWAYS leaves me cold and this drama is not changing my opinion at all. I hate that because I think this could be much better if the lead were either of the other main actors. Also, Kim Min Jung’s character has been woefully underutilized so far to the point where I don’t really know why she is there? Which is sad because she is a good actress and the character seems interesting. I hope they give her more to do soon!

  16. Not all dramas are for Everyone. This drama is catered to a Korean audience who obviously seem to be loving it therefore it’s doing its job. Everything else is just noise in my opinion.

    You can’t change people’s opinions, might as well just enjoy the drama for yourself.
    Personally I am proud of Kim Eun Suk and her success. She continues to win and I AM ALL FOR IT!

  17. To get people who do not like history to know about history is what kim eun sook is doing and achieving now.

    This drama is the only drama i’m looking forward right now.

  18. I don’t care what other people say. Based on my own judgment, as a person who has stopped watching Kdramas because of all the cliche things going on with the releases from last year (I only watched Chicago Typewriter which was TOTALLY AWESOME), I find this entertaining.

    Sure, it can be slow for some people but the purpose is to explain everything, to explain the background of each character of the story and for us to see how complicated their lives have been entangled in Joseon. Kim Eun Sook and the PD must have wanted us to relate and sympathize with each character and to feel the tension that they must have felt that time.

    In this drama, it’s not just LBH or KTR. All other characters are of same importance and that’s what makes this beautiful for me.

  19. I’m an Australian Chinese n I love this Mr Sunshine. Love the actors, the cinematography,the story n everything. Just enjoy the drama. Don’t understand what the fuzz is about.

    • Nothing much realy except the male lead. His face is just too frozen for the part for some reasons – blank, bland and boring. Well you may love boring character interpretation, then there is no problem at from your side.

  20. Lee Byung Hun is not bad. In every scene you could tell exactly what he is feeling. But overall, his character doesn’t have aura.

    • That is what im saying. Lee byung hyun has lost his aura. Dont tell me diifference between subtle expressions of movies and drama. He had a strong screen presence in iris his expressions were dope the way his face muscles moved were awesome too but here no no he seems more conscious that his age and wrinkles will show if he expresses more in short he reminds me of lee jun ki in some parts of lawless lawyer but the problem was was not jun kis acting but his body language. People called him thin to the point that he became overly conscious of his body and his body language seemed awkward in few scenes.i think the same with lee byung hyun he became too conscious about age gap people were mentioning

      • Why would Lee Joon Gi be concious being lean when is happy being that way? He worked hard to get that body frame for the role so it’s absurd to say that he was conscious.

      • I dont think lee joon gi got that body frame specifically for this drama. Lee joon gi increased 10kg for resident evil and suddenly lost more than 15 kg for scarlet. Weight fluctuation like this in short period of 7 seven months is dangerous. I can bet his physician advised him to maintain a certain weight for more than a year to have good health so he is doing this. In three or four scenes of LL he was awkward trying to hide his lean frame dont tell me no one noticed his awkward posture in few scenes of LL.

      • That is entirely your opinion as that is not what he says. He explicitly expressed that he prepared the way he looks for the drama. He looks thin in the drama but it does not mean he lost weight since Scarlet Heart. He simply gained lots of muscles & that what it is. He probably weigh the same or gained a little due to the muscle gain as you are probably aware that muscles are more heavy than fats.

      • If you think he tried to hide being thin is new to me as I watched the drama too. I always thought Lee Joon Gi to be usually thin but this time as Bong Sang Pil he gained loads & loads of muscles that in the process he lost his facial fats, that is why he looks leaner. I thought gaining muscles slowly overtime is more healthy way than regaining the 15kg back thru binge eating. Besides, the way he looks suit him as Bong Sang Pil which made the character looking unique compared to his other characters in his previous projects. Besides the point that his every character looks distinct from one another.

  21. I have only watched 4 episodes so far and have not read the comments here yet.

    I really like this show, mainly due to the way they balanced everything in it. Melodrama, action, romance, comedy all the in the right dose and mixed well. I’m loving how the show plays with my buttons and I give the appropriate responses.

    The production is amazing, the best I have seen at a S. Korean show so far. The cinematography, the sets, the costumes, make up all are very good.

    Here is the only thing I don’t like about this show.

    LBH is normally an actor I really like (despite not liking his behaviour in his private life) and he usually gives great performances. This may be the only time I have seen him not being good. This doesn’t work and he is (and looks) too old for the part. I know that they have worked the timeline and all but he sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise compatible cast. Some actors can pull it off with the strenghth of the performance but not here. His acting is weak (especially in comparison to his previous performances) and he has zero chemistry with the rest of the cast. He doesn’t look right either

  22. I seem to be the only one who is enjoying Lee Byun Hun’s acting here. He is very stoic, self aware, broody, confident. The scene on the hill where he is not sure exactly where his parents are buried seriously made me cry with him. He is able to control the scene with his emotion and his eye expression are strong enough to convey how he feels.

    Through this drama I am able to see that he is more of hollywood actor than a Korean actor. I am not a spiritual person so I don’t understand or see auras. I honestly never understand how others see them while I don’t.

  23. I am enjoying LBH’s acting. I also agree with you when you say LBH is more a Hollywood actor, sometimes Korean actors/actress tend to overact, that’s the main reason I have dropped dramas but LBH do not do so and his eyes convey feelings. I have always liked his performances.

    From what I have gathered reading different posts on different sites some people find LBH too old, some others get carried for his past scandals, others are used to overacting therefore they find LBH’s acting boring.

    At the end of the day, it is a matter of preferences. This is a KES drama and so far I am enjoying it, I like the mix of older and younger actors, they are doing an amazing job, good for the cast and crew.

  24. Referring to comments above, what award has LBH won on international stage. Not Cannes or Oscar nominations, yet but just a couple of recognition outside South Korea.

    Best Actor at the 7th Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2013 (APSA) and Best Actor at the 10th Asian Film Awards 2016 (AFA) for Masquerade and Inside Men, respectively.

    To assume that he bought the awards is unfair, then he would be assured winning every time nominated which is not the case. It also insinuates that other Best Actor (and Actress, etc) winners resorting to the same tactic.

  25. LBH is hot and no I haven’t kept up with watching it and KTR IMO looks like a kid and that said it’s on Netflix NZ so all good I’ve got legit access to watching it when I’m in the mood to down all 16 eps in one hit. Hopefully that petition that’s apparently going around in Korea doesn’t gain momentum for whatever reason.

  26. LBH to me is among the best actors in S.Korea (I don’t think he is a Hollywood actor at all, despite being cast in secondary roles in action films). I had never seen him give a bad performance until Mr. Sunshine. And I have watched a lot of his films (and some of his TV shows). There is an old film called Bungee Jumping of Our Own, I think it is the first time I watched him and I was blown away by the performance (it is a very hard role). Then I watched him play the villain, the gangster, the romantic all with great success. Now I don’t like his entertainment persona and that he is a horny old goat in real life but I could get past it since he didn’t really hurt anyone I’m able to get past it.

    But in this drama he doesn’t work. Maybe it is the action direction he is been given (but he worked with different directors and he always had been good) or something else but he just doesn’t work. Do not get me wrong this is not the worst performance I have seen or any thing like that, I think LBH is better than a lot of actors even he is not 100% but he just doesn’t blend as well as the rest of the cast.

    • If we include the newbie actors, of course, his performance here is still alot better than many performances but if you factor his length in the biz, definitely his performance is at the bottom amongst experienced actors.

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