KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shining Inheritance (2009)

Shining Inheritance
찬란한 유산 / Brilliant Legacy
(Apr – Jul 2009)

who’s in it
Lee SeungGi (1N2D, Strong Heart, singer)
Han HyoJoo (Spring Waltz, Iljimae)
Bae SuBin (Painter of the Wind)
Moon ChaeWon (Take Care Of The Young Lady)

what’s it about
Let’s meet the contenders in the ring, shall we? On the one side, we have Han HyoJoo, who we immediately learn is a dedicated and good-hearted soul, one that is looking for her autistic younger brother who disappeared shortly after her father’s death, where she also suffered financial betrayal by her stepmother and stepsister (step-villains strike again!). She’d once lived a comfortable life but now she’s just a regular schmette like the rest of us trying to get by in this toiling world (schmette: female version of schmoe). In the other corner, we have the lightweight champion and her rival, Lee SeungGi, yes, the chipmunk-cheeked cutie-patootie Lee SeungGi of variety and ballad-crooning fame, who is in fact not so pleasant a guy in this drama. Still good-looking, check, just not so much on the inside, which I hear some people still think is important. I don’t know those people either (I joke). These two fated-foes vie for some major inheritance cashola that Lee SeungGi thinks should rightfully be his, you know, like, cuz he was born. If you think this sounds vaguely too vague yet familiar, it’s because you’ve seen a million variations of it in every context, genre, and language imaginable, it’s called Cinderella. Always a winning formula, though. However, no singing mice in this version. Shoot.
loooooong 28 episodes that the plot was not able to completely support


wildcard factor
SBS - they have the best dramas that have been airing lately, in my opinion. Even when the synopsis sounds rather hokey on paper, they manage to make it watchable. Possibly because the drama productions they choose don’t seem to be constantly chasing after a deadline already past.

after the first episode
I didn’t completely buy Lee SeungGi’s bad boy act in the beginning and, I don’t know, is it just me or does Han HyoJoo always play the same character? It’s baffling that its come to this, but I’ve seen A LOT of her work...and I’ve yet to become her fan. She works with a lot of handsome actors, this one. Lucky girl.

gave up

snoozer moments
Episodes 1-10, I’m serious, you can almost skip these early hours and you wouldn’t miss them, like vanishing dreams that visit us secretly in the night, only to evaporate in the dew of morning, whispering teasingly in the back of our minds that there might have been something worth remembering...something sweet but elusive. I digress.

There was a lot of emoting and constipated-angst but suprisingly they did not always reach for the bottle. On the whole, a pretty light show.

what didn’t work
The long haul! This sucker hit record ratings numbers when it was airing and brought broader recognition for the boy-who-does-everything Lee SeungGi, fame even beyond his ginormous 1 Night 2 Days success—so much so that it’s now doubtful there’s a thinking brain in Korea that doesn’t know this dude. Over half of the country was watching him at one point. But but but but even though his enormous fanbase and the ridiculous ratings completely disprove my point and pretty much mark me the idiot here, I still maintain the whole thing could have fit in a rational 16-episode format and been all the more wonderful.

what did
Bae SuBin and Moon ChaeWon...and yes, yes, simmer down now, Lee SeungGi, too. His acting was pretty decent considering he’s really a singer and this was his first role carrying an entire drama/movie. But Bae SuBin and Moon ChaeWon (especially) were great acting anchors for this one. It’s great to see supporting roles doing a great job.

what made me want to gouge my eyes out
Overdone, long drawn out, constipated expressions of angst. Just go to the toilet, already! And the side plot about her missing brother seemed a little too simplistic and overly manufactured. The storyline treated the kid as if he were nothing more significant than a plot device to bring Han HyoJoo and Lee SeungGi's romance to greater growth and fruition. I just didn’t care for that particular bit of contrivance, or rather, the way it played out and most especially the easy manner in which it was eventually resolved. It could have been explored better and developed more meaningfully.

what kept me going

Since it was pretty obvious how the whole shabang was going to conclude, I’d have to say it was Lee SeungGi’s likability and my desire to simply finish the marathon at all costs.

Other factors:
predictability YES
engrish I don’t think there was
originality NO
eye-candy Middling
hair and fashion Middling

is it worth trying to find?

total enjoyment factor 
Somewhere between 3 and 8 out of 10, depending on the episode. If I cared enough, I’d go through every episode to rank each one. Fortunately for myself (and for the sane), I saw this too long ago to care anymore.

total disdain factor

why this review is completely biased
I’m not really a fan of Han HyoJoo but I am a huge fan of variety show 1 Night 2 Days of which Lee Seungi is a cast member.

could a non-kdrama fan like this
Oh, ho-ho, no sir-ee, no.

I felt really proud of myself for finishing it actually and considered it a job well-done on my part. All in all, it was a pretty ok drama all around, but it won’t go down as one I’d re-watch ever. I think most people, however, will like it.


  1. Shining Inheritance in my opinion was brilliantly paced.The long drawn content u mentioned in eps 1-10 was character and chemistry building. A winning factor for most people is the great chemistry between LSG and HHJ. they're adorable together. heh i do agree that HHJ has been portraying the same role in all her previous drams but this time she is better than say compared to Spring waltz. the stand outs were Moon Chae Won and Lee Mi Sook ((: the evil duo =D

  2. I loved it! I thought the pacing was pretty good, the drama in it kept me watching it and it wasnt one of those ones that made me want to throw my computer out the window. I'm usually not bothered by angst, unless its misunderstanding between a couple that I ship.

  3. This drama was disturbingly addictive ...but OMG I wanted to leap into the tv and slap Lee SeungGi's sister. Her pouting and incessant whining drove me to distraction. Women do tend to pout and whine in Korean Dramas more than I'm used to, but she was way over the top.
    Lee SungGi is just cute. I couldn't quite figure out why anyone would call him handsome at first, but after seeing him in a couple dramas, he's convinced me he is.


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