Home > TV and anime > Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 1 to 4

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 1 to 4

When you’re watching the development of actors, it’s always better to watch their performances in order. But, as those of you who read these reviews will know, I’m driven by opportunity not logic. In this instance, my local terrestrial station decided to show Dong Yi and followed it with Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan. That’s why I got to see Han Hyo-joo in Iljimae and then Dong Yi. Similarly, I’m travelling back in time with Bae Soo-Bin. Ah well, such are the joys of scheduling in terrestrial broadcasting.

Han Hyo-Joo playing the romantic lead

So, here we are with another romantically inclined Korean drama. This time all the pre-match marketing draws a comparison with Cinderella. So let’s see how the claim stacks up. At the age of 11, Ko Eun-seong (Han Hyo-Joo) and her younger autistic brother, Ko Eun-Woo (Yeon Jun-Seok), lose their mother. Following the plot, her rich father Ko Pyeong-Joong (Jeon In-Taek) then marries widow, Paek Seong-hee (Kim Mi-Suk). Unfortunately, she’s only interested in his money which she spends liberally to maintain her image as the most important person on the local social scene. To complete her conquest, she plans to marry her own daughter, Yu Seung-Mi (Moon Chae-Won) to Seon Woo-Hwan (Lee Seung-Ki). He’s the spoiled brat of an equally rich, but higher status, family which depends for its fortune on a food manufacturing business and traditional beef soup restaurant chain owned by Grandmother Jang Suk-Ja (Ban Hyo-Jeong). This boy is something of an enigma, protecting Seung-Mi from school bullies, confessing an affinity with her because they have both lost their fathers. With all that clear in our minds, Eun-seong’s father dutifully “dies” — he’s bankrupt which is deeply embarrassing to his wife and so, when the opportunity presents itself, he’s able to pretend death, ironically, on the day the angry creditors come to grab the furniture as security for the debts.

Lee Seung-ki as Seon Woo-Hwan

Wait a minute! Only pretend death? And then the evil stepmother throws Cinderella (and the young brother) out of the house. She does what? No working as a slave to earn the nickname Cinders by clearing out the ashes from the fires? Ah well, so long as this is a story where our heroine with a character embodying absolute goodness (but a quite violent temper) is the victim of unjust treatment at the hands of her evil stepmother and stepsister(s), and then rises to marry a Prince (and thereby get revenge on her stepmother), this will have to do.

I almost forgot. In the British pantomime version of Cinderella, there’s a character called Buttons. He’s really nice, loyal and supportive. Whenever Cinders is down, he does his best to cheer her up but, of course, he’s doomed never to get the girl. She’s destined for the Prince. This is Park Jun-Se (Bae Soo-Bin) who’s obviously being set up as the other side of the triangle with Seon Woo-Hwan. As punishment for falling in love with our heroine, I suppose he’ll end up with the ugly sister. That said, in Dong Yi, Bae Soo-Bin managed to remain unattached. He seems forever doomed not to persuade Han Hyo-joo to love him, except as a brother. He really should talk firmly with his agent and resolve this problem. Anyway, in this role he’s also goody goody, helping out at Grandma’s soup kitchen for the down-and-out. Not surprisingly, his father, Park Tae Soo (Choi Jung Woo) is a senior manager at Grandma Suk-Ja’s company.

Bae Soo-Bin losing out in the love stakes again

Now Dead Dad has finished putting his new wardrobe together from collection bins, he’s realised the family has gone AWOL. So this comes full circle in the cycle of coincidences necessary to get the plot underway. Coincidences? you ask. Well, given that Woo-Hwan and Seung-Mi have been “friends” since childhood, you would expect that he had met Eun-seong. Well, you’d be wrong. They sit next to each other on the plane back from America, he gets off the plane with her bag, and when they emerge into the arrivals hall, Seung-Mi hides. Fortunately, Eun-seong is being met by her online stalker — a young man whose only interest is to marry her for her money. He has borrowed his “senior’s” car to drive the three of them back into town. Needless to say, his senior is Park Jun-se. We now have a silly car chase and failed attempts for our two young things to swop their bags back. Interestingly, Eun-seong proves she has a right hook to match the roundhouse kick delivered by Geum Jan Di to level Goo Joon Pyo in Boys Over Flowers. It seems all spoilt boys deserve a clip round the ear in Korean drama — as his Grandma Suk-Ja later demonstrates.

Ban Hyo-Jeong as Fairy Godmother Jang Suk-Ja

We now get the evil stepmother act in its full glory. When her husband is declared dead by the authorities, who is she to point out the error. There’s an insurance policy to collect that will set her and her daughter back on the road to social glory. I confess myself completely baffled as to how no-one of importance knows of her husband’s “death”. There’s a funeral and then she’s back round to see Woo-Hwan’s mother to push for an early marriage and ask whether she might become a franchisee in the beef soup chain. Relevant news seems not to have reached anyone in her circle and she’s able to “send her husband abroad on business” as a cover story no-one challenges. Not even the failure of the family business seems to have surfaced. It’s distinctly weird. Putting that to one side, she throws stepdaughter and son out on the streets. Then, when the autistic son gets into trouble and he volunteers her cellphone number, we have her dumping the poor boy in the night-time street of a distant suburb. That just seems gratuitously cruel except, I suppose, she wants to avoid the two annoying stepchildren coming back and broadcasting the embarrassing news of her “missing” husband’s bankruptcy and death. Needless to say, she changes her cellphone number.

Kim Mi-Suk as Paek Seong-hee, the stepmother

Eun-seong is devastated by the disappearance of her brother. Fortunately, the ever reliable Park Jun-se is there to help her search and set up in a new place to live. As to the spoilt brat, he’s sent to work in one of the restaurants and manages to alienate everyone. Grandma Suk-Ja is so disappointed when she hears her grandson proclaim he will sell the business the moment he inherits, she takes off into the suburbs to relive her youth when she sold rice cakes on the streets. By yet another coincidence, she sets up her pitch next to Eun-seong who’s selling dumplings to make ends meet. Such is life in Korean drama.

Well, we have all the usual elements in play and, allowing for the inevitably contrived start, the cast seems to be delivering credible performances. Kim Mi-Suk is nicely calculating as the stepmother obsessed with money and status (in that order). Her daughter played by Moon Chae-Won is weak-willed, obviously wanting to do the right things but dominated by her mother. The men have not had to do anything special yet, Lee Seung-Ki playing the moody brat and Bae Soo-Bin being, well, passively nice. As we might expect, Han Hyo-joo is out in front showing off an impressive range of happiness, frustrated anger, despair and resolution to pull through (in that order). Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan is all set up well. Let’s hope the scriptwriters give up on the coincidences and get on with a straightline narrative from now on.

For all the reviews, see:

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 1 to 4;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 5 to 9;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 10 to 14;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 15 to 20;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 21 to 24;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 25 to 28;

Brilliant Legacy or Shining Inheritance or Chanranhan Yusan — episodes 29 to 33.

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