7 Dramas that Made a Huge Hit Despite the Worries: ‘Squid Game,’ ‘Moon Embracing the Sun,’ ‘Descendants of the Sun’ and More

‘Entertainment Weekly’ revealed the Top 7 dramas that made a huge hit despite the many worries.

Credit: KBS

Seventh place went to Squid Game, which recently became a global sensation. It is said that there were many ups and downs before the series was released to the world. Director Hwang Dong Hyuk once said, “I started planning this project around 2008 and 2009. Many said that it was considered strange, difficult, unfamiliar, and cruel at the time. So they doubted if it had market potential. I couldn’t get any investment because it was too difficult and abstruse.” Meanwhile, Squid Game had raked about 1.6 trillion KRW (about $1.36 billion).

My Golden Life came in sixth. Writer So Hyun Kyung created My Golden Life after seeing her competitor’s work and changing the network. Many showed concern soon after Shin Hye Sun took the lead role. However, with her solid acting and Chun Ho Jin’s outstanding performances, the weekend drama broke the 45% ratings mark, becoming a huge hit.

Sassy Girl Chun-Hyang ranked fifth. Sassy Girl Chun-Hyang joined the roster as a substitute last minute, which led to difficulty in casting. Yoon Kye Sang, Jo Han Sun, Park Kwang Hyun, and Han Ga In all refused the offers. And in the end, Han Chae Young and Jae Hee, who were relatively unknown at the time, played the lead roles for the first time. Yet, the series only saw a rise in popularity since the premiere and recorded 30% ratings, beating out all the other programs aired at the same time.

Credit: KBS

Fourth place went to Moon Embracing the Sun. Though there were some disappointments when the child actors were replaced with adult actors, the ratings soared to 40%. The advertising earnings were also outstanding. With each episode, the drama made about 430 million KRW (about $365,020) in profit. Moreover, Moon Embracing the Sun earned about 13 billion KRW (about $11.04 million) by the end, including reruns and special episodes.

Third place went to I Can Hear Your Voice. It was programmed at the last minute when the initially scheduled series got canceled, and the casting was confirmed two days before the table read. The drama, which started with zero expectation, ranked first in the ratings chart for its solid plot and actors’ exceptional acting.

Credit: KBS

Kill Me, Heal Me landed at No. 2. The production started off rocky as many showed reluctance to play a role with seven different personalities. Only one more before the premiere, Ji Sung got the role after Hyun Bin and Lee Seung Gi reportedly turned down the offer. Despite the plagiarism controversy, the series took home 13 awards at the award ceremony.

Lastly, first place went to Descendants of the Sun. The series faced two hindrances even from the pre-production stage. Writer Kim Eun Sook discussed her project with SBS but was turned down. To make matters worse, the crew had difficulty casting the male lead. Additionally, the filming had to be suspended when Song Joong Ki got injured. However, despite all that, Descendants of the Sun recorded its all-time high ratings every episode, even breaking the 45% mark.

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Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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