Mr. Sunshine (South Korean TV series)

Mr. Sunshine (Korean미스터 션샤인; RRMiseuteo Syeonsyain) is a 2018 South Korean television series written by Kim Eun-sook and directed by Lee Eung-bok [ko], starring Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung and Byun Yo-han.[4][5] The series is set in Hanseong (present-day Seoul) in the early 1900s, and focuses on activists fighting for Korea's independence.[6][7] The series aired every Saturday and Sunday on tvN starting from July 7, 2018, and ended on September 30, 2018. It premiered internationally on Netflix.[8]

Mr. Sunshine
Mr. Sunshine (2018 TV series).jpg
Promotional poster
Hangul미스터 션샤인
Genre
Created byLee Myung-Han (tvN)
Netflix
Developed byJinnie Choi
Studio Dragon
Written byKim Eun-sook
Directed byLee Eung-bok [ko]
Starring
ComposerNam Hye-seung
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languagesKorean, Japanese, English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes24[1] (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersKim Young-kyu
Yoon Ha-rim
Camera setupSingle camera
Production companies
Distributor
Budget40 billion[2]
Release
Original networktvN
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseJuly 7 (2018-07-07) –
September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)[3]

The series is the sixth highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history, with its final episode reached 18.129% and netting an average rating of 12.955%, which is the second highest average rating ever recorded for cable television.[9] It received critical acclaim for its cinematography and storytelling but was also criticized for inaccurate portrayal of historical facts, with some even accusing it of being "pro-Japanese".[10]

SynopsisEdit

Mr. Sunshine centres around Eugene Choi (Lee Byung-hun), who was born into slavery in Joseon. After escaping to the United States after the 1871 Shinmiyangyo, he becomes a Marine Corps officer.

When he returns to Joseon for a mission, Eugene meets and falls in love with an aristocrat's granddaughter, Go Ae-shin (Kim Tae-ri), who is part of the Righteous Army. However, their love is challenged by their different classes and the presence of Kim Hui-seong (Byun Yo-han), a nobleman who has been Ae-shin's betrothed since childhood. Eugene also encounters Goo Dong-mae (Yoo Yeon-seok), a ruthless samurai, and Kudo Hina (Kim Min-jung), owner of the popular "Glory Hotel" where Eugene stays. At the same time, he discovers a plot by the Empire of Japan to colonize Korea and soon becomes embroiled in the fight for Joseon's sovereignty.

Historical backgroundEdit

Unlike most Sageuk dramas dealing with the Japanese occupation of Korea, Mr. Sunshine takes place before the Japanese annexation, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has a heavy focus on the Righteous Army and depicts the lives of people who fought for Joseon's freedom. Real-life historical events such as Shinmiyangyo, the Spanish-American War,[11] the assassination of Empress Myeongseong, the Russo-Japanese War,[12] Gojong's forced abdication, and the Battle of Namdaemun are portrayed or mentioned.[13]

Historical figures such as Emperor Gojong, Ito Hirobumi, Hayashi Gonsuke, Yoshimichi Hasegawa, Horace Newton Allen and the Five Eulsa Traitors[12] appear as recurring characters, with others, such as Theodore Roosevelt,[14] Ahn Chang-ho,[15] Sunheon,[16] Park Seung-hwan,[13] and Frederick Arthur MacKenzie, also making cameo appearances.

Main historical events described in Mr. SunshineEdit

  • The Battle of Ganghwa (1871): It was a major battle that occurred on June 10, 1871 between the United States and the Joseon Dynasty. On June 1, the American ships entered the Ganghwa Straits to establish trade and ensure the safety of the shipwrecked sailors of the SS Sherman, which was destroyed by the army of Joseon. However, they came under fire. The United States gave Joseon ten days to apologize, but they refused. As a result, on June 10, the U.S ships USS Palos and USS Monocacy fired their weapons against the Choji Garrison on Ganghwa Island and wiped out the Joseon army.[17] In Mr. Sunshine, the battle scenes are thoroughly described as its character Jang Seung-goo fought in this battle as a teen and lost his father. This battle was a pivotal moment for Seung-goo as it caused him to believe that King Gojong abandoned his own people and let them die.
  • The Japan-Korean Treaty of 1905: This treaty was made between the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire on November 17, 1905. Through it, Japan effectively overtook the diplomatic control of Korea.[18] While Mr. Sunshine does not demonstrate this treaty and its effects in detail, it contains a scene in which Kim Hui-seong takes pictures of the pro-Japanese Korean officials. Through these pictures, Hui-seong intends to let his descendants know the misconduct of the corrupted government officials.
  • The Battle of Namdaemun: This battle was fought between the Korean and Japanese armies on August 1, 1907. It took place at the Namdaemun Gate, in Hanseong and was a revolt of the Korean army against the order of disbandment that was issued through the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1907.[19] In Mr. Sunshine, the battle scenes are depicted in detail. The character Jang Seung-goo sacrifices himself to protect his soldiers. This battle is a turning point for Seung-goo as he sacrifices himself for a country and an emperor he dislikes.

CastEdit

MainEdit

Eugene Choi was born as a slave of Kim Pan-seo, the paternal grandfather of Kim Hui-seong. After witnessing his parents' murder at the hands of their landlord, Eugene managed to escape to the United States and in order to overcome the racial discrimination and become an American, he joins the Marine Corps and fights in the Spanish-American War. Later, Eugene returns to Joseon in order to carry a mission and falls in love with Go Ae-shin, a noblewoman who is secretly part of the Righteous army. Eugene has to choose between helping Ae-shin in her fight and maintaining his neutral position as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps.
A Joseon noblewoman who lost her parents as an infant. Ae-shin's mother and father were independence fighters and were both killed in Japan due to their colleague's betrayal. She is raised by her paternal grandfather, Go Sa-hong, who helps Ae-shin train as a sniper under Jang Seung-goo and become part of the Righteous army. She meets Eugene Choi, who looks like people from Joseon yet claims to be an American, and falls in love with him.
The son of a butcher who flees to Japan upon his parents' death and becomes a samurai and member of the Musin Society, which is part of an Yakuza group. Dong-mae returns to Joseon with a mission of tormenting the people and helping the Japanese army overtake the country. He believes that it is Joseon's unjust social hierarchical system that killed his parents. As a teen, Dong-mae met Go Ae-shin, who saved his life, by purposely hiding him in her palanquin.
An influential widow who runs a hotel in Joseon. She was married off to an old, rich Japanese man by her father, Lee Wan-ik. Upon her husband's mysterious death, she inherited the "Glory Hotel" and successfully operates it on her own. Hina is deeply ashamed of her father's misdeeds and reputation and in order to find her mother, she helps Lee Jung-moon in fighting against the Japanese government and the pro-Japanese officials.
A Joseon nobleman who is considered to be the richest after the Emperor in terms of land ownership. Hui-seong is emotionally tormented by his grandfather's past and lives for over a decade in Japan to avoid marrying the woman his grandfather chose for him. However, once he returns to Joseon, he discovers that his fiancée is Go Ae-shin and falls in love with her, only to realize that there is no place left for him in her heart. Unlike his father and grandfather, Hui-seong helps the Righteous Army in many ways to free himself from the sense of guilt.

RecurringEdit

Joseon GovernmentEdit

The ruler of Joseon, who desperately fights for the country's sovereignty.
An anti-Japanese Minister who is loyal to the Emperor. He secretly commands the Righteous Army.
A selfish and cruel pro-Japanese official who killed Go Ae-shin's parents. The father of Kudo Hina, he soon becomes Joseon's Minister of Foreign Affairs. He walks with a limp after a young Jang Seung-goo shot his leg during the Shinmiyangyo Incident.
A pro-Japanese nobleman who works as an assistant for Lee Wan-ik. He is Go Ae-soon's abusive husband.
The arrogant and corrupt Minister of Foreign Affairs whose actions indirectly led to the deaths of Eugene Choi's family.
A Japanese doctor secretly working for Lee Wan-ik.
An infamous pro-Japanese Minister and part of the Five Eulsa Traitors.

Righteous ArmyEdit

A skilled potter who helped a young Choi Yoo-jin flee to the United States. He is now the leader of the Righteous Army.
  • Lee Si-hoon as Ko Yoshino[33]
A Japanese man who works as an assistant for Hwang Eun-san.
A gunman who trains Go Ae-shin to become a sniper. He despises the Emperor, who Seung-goo believes abandoned his people, but eventually becomes the head of the palace guard to protect him.
A skilled archer and rower, who is also Jang Seung-goo's wife.
A young nobleman, who, eager to fight for Korea's sovereignty, joins the military.
A Korean-born geisha who is part of the Righteous Army.
A Righteous Army member who was close friends with Ae-shin's parents.
Go Ae-shin's uncle, who served as a Minister at the time of the Shinmiyangyo incident. He now lives in Japan, supporting the Righteous Army.
A jige carrier and a Righteous Army member who was briefly captured by Goo Dong-mae.
The bell keeper, who is secretly a member of the Righteous Army.
  • Lee Dong-hee as a baker
A Righteous Army member who is also the owner of a bakery/candy store.
  • Park Sung-hoon as a blacksmith
A friend of Seung-goo, who is skilled in fixing machinery.

Japanese Government/ArmyEdit

The first Resident-General of Korea for the Empire of Japan.
The Minister and de facto leader of the Japanese Legation.
A Japanese Colonel of noble blood. Sadistic and cruel, he has a heavy dislike for Joseon. He was Eugene's neighbour in New York, but Eugene is unaware of his true nature until he arrives in Joseon.
  • Gong Dae-yu as Sasaki
An arrogant Japanese Major serving under Mori.
The Japanese Governor-general of Korea under Ito Hirobumi.
  • Lee Jung-hyun as Tsuda[41]
A fanatically loyal Japanese Lieutenant who, when angered, will lash out at anyone near him.
A Japanese Lieutenant often seen together with Tsuda.
A Korean man who works as a translator in the Japanese Legation.
  • Jeong Tae-ya as Suzuki
A man working at the Japanese Legation who develops an enmity with Goo Dong-mae.

The Go Family HouseholdEdit

Go Ae-shin's paternal grandfather. He was a great scholar and the Emperor's teacher. A firm believer in the sovereignty of Joseon, he very reluctantly allows Ae-shin to join the Righteous Army.
The loyal maid of Go Ae-shin.
Go Ae-Shin's man-servant.
Go Ae-shin's aunt and maternal figure.
Go Ae-shin's cousin and the first wife of Lee Deok-moon. Unable to bear a son, she is regularly abused by her husband.

The American LegationEdit

A Major in the United States Marine Corps, who is both the direct supervisor and friend of Eugene Choi.
An English interpreter who works at the American Legation in Joseon. He later becomes the English translator for the Emperor.
A young boy who works at the American Legation, where he teaches Hangul to Eugene Choi. He is Soo-mi's younger brother.
The corrupt American Minister, who considers Eugene Choi more Korean than American.

Kim Hui-seong's FamilyEdit

A cruel nobleman who was considered to be the richest after the Emperor. He is responsible for the deaths of Eugene Choi's parents. He is also Hui-seong's grandfather.
Hui-seong's cowardly father.
Hui-seong's mother.
Joon-young's sister and Hui-seong's wife.

People around Dong-maeEdit

Goo Dong-mae's loyal subordinate in the Musin Society.
A mute Japanese fortune-teller who lives with Goo Dong-mae.
  • Hakuryu as the Boss of the Musin Society.

Glory Hotel EmployeesEdit

Do-mi's older sister, who secretly holds a valuable object.
  • Kim Si-eun as Gwi-dan
A maid at the Glory Hotel, who secretly works for Goo Dong-mae.

OthersEdit

A former friend of Ae-shin's parents, who betrays them to Lee Wan-ik.
A slave hunter who diverted and became the co-owner of a shop that takes care of any need.
A slave hunter who diverted and became the co-owner of a shop that takes care of any need.
  • Jason Nelson as Joseph W. Stenson
An American missionary who helps Eugene escape to America and is a paternal figure to him.
  • Ariane Desgagnés-Leclerc as Stella[53]
An American missionary working as an English teacher in Joseon.
A student at Stella's English School, who later works as Hee-sung's assistant.

Special appearancesEdit

The father of Emperor Gojong.
A gunner who is killed in the Shinmiyangyo Incident.
Ae-sin's father, who is killed while plotting to assassinate Lee Wan-ik.
Ae-shin's mother, who is killed by Lee Wan-ik.
Emperor Gojong's concubine, who is also a close friend of Hina.
A Korean independence activist living in America.

ProductionEdit

  • Netflix has invested ₩30 billion in the series.
  • The series is the third collaboration between writer Kim Eun-sook and director Lee Eung-bok [ko], after Descendants of the Sun (2016) and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016).[58]
  • The drama marks film actress Kim Tae-ri's small-screen debut.[59]
  • The drama was first pitched by Studio Dragon to SBS, but the latter passed on the project due to financial and advertising constraints.[60]
  • Kim Sa-rang was originally cast in the series,[61] but backed out in February 2018 due to scheduling conflicts.[62] She was replaced by Kim Min-jung.
  • Filming began in September 2017 and took place in various parts of Korea including Busan, Daegu, Gokseong, Gyeongju and Hapcheon. Several sets solely devoted to the early 1900s setting of Korea were built on a 20,000 m2 site in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, and another indoor set was built on a 6,600 m2 site in Daejeon. 1000 extras were hired for a battle scene.[2][6][63]
  • It was originally planned in 2009 to be a sports-themed period drama set in the 1920s and 1930s, also featuring an American lead character. Shin Woo-chul, Kim Eun-sook's collaborator for the "Lovers" trilogy, was attached to be the director at the time.[64]

EpisodesEdit

No.TitleOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"July 7, 2018 (2018-07-07)
Joseon stands firm against U.S incursion. Yoo-jin survives in America -- as Eugene. Ae-shin knows that great change is afoot with global ramifications.
2"Episode 2"July 8, 2018 (2018-07-08)
The empress has been murdered. For Ae-shin, words are useless against rapacious foreign powers so she'll take up arms instead. Eugene gets a new post.
3"Episode 3"July 14, 2018 (2018-07-14)
In an age of imported coffee and fashions, Ae-shin prefers her German gun, but wonders what the English word "love" means and whether Eugene is a friend.
4"Episode 4"July 15, 2018 (2018-07-15)
Suspicions run deep as U.S. troops lose a gun on a train. Ae-shin shows Dong-mae compassion, Hui-seong returns to Joseon, and Eugene considers revenge.
5"Episode 5"July 21, 2018 (2018-07-21)
Ae-shin meets Hui-seong for coffee at the hotel. Eugene deals with Japanese troops at the U.S. legation, and wants to know why Ae-shin defends Joseon.
6"Episode 6"July 22, 2018 (2018-07-22)
Ae-shin gets a new mission. Eugene, Dong-mae and Hui-seong have something in common. Eugene delves into his past, and finally gives Ae-shin his answer.
7"Episode 7"July 28, 2018 (2018-07-28)
Ae-shin learns love's real meaning and crushes a thug. Emperor Gojong asserts Joseon's authority. Eugene reveals his Korean name to Ae-shin.
8"Episode 8"July 29, 2018 (2018-07-29)
Despite being advised to lay low as a noble lady, Ae-shin undertakes a dangerous operation. Eugene makes a surprising move and Hui-seong probes his past.
9"Episode 9"August 4, 2018 (2018-08-04)
Eugene wants to know why Ae-shin can't pull back, but her path is with the Righteous Army. Hui-seong disagrees with Ae-shin and offers an alternative.
10"Episode 10"August 5, 2018 (2018-08-05)
The emperor seeks Eugene's aid, Hui-seong visits the tailor. Ae-shin feels conflicted after hearing Eugene's story, but later sees him on a snowy night.
11"Episode 11"August 11, 2018 (2018-08-11)
Ae-shin apologizes to Eugene, but he hopes that she'll keep fighting for her Joseon. Hui-seong takes a streetcar ride with Ae-shin and proposes a plan.
12"Episode 12"August 12, 2018 (2018-08-12)
Re-affirming her commitment, Ae-shin stands by her decision and settles on an unforeseen pact over castella cake. Eugene investigates an old photograph.
13"Episode 13"August 18, 2018 (2018-08-18)
Ae-shin and Eugene take a ride out to the sea. A nefarious traitor shows great interest in Hui-seong and Eugene. Lord Go meets with Hui-seong.
14"Episode 14"August 19, 2018 (2018-08-19)
Eugene gets devastating news. Dong-mae is apprehended, Ae-shin asks Hina for help and Hui-seong comes to the rescue when Eugene finds himself cornered.
15"Episode 15"August 25, 2018 (2018-08-25)
A disquieting sight vexes Emperor Gojong. Ae-shin defies Lord Go, Eugene refuses to forgive, and Hui-seong visits the Go family's estate.
16"Episode 16"August 26, 2018 (2018-08-26)
Hui-seong starts a newspaper and makes a personal sacrifice. Lord Go marshals support, Ae-shin imagines a different life, and Eugene goes to the palace.
17"Episode 17"September 1, 2018 (2018-09-01)
After giving up that which means the most to him, Hui-seong gets a friend for a gift. Lord Go leads an urgent appeal, and Ae-shin faces Japanese troops.
18"Episode 18"September 2, 2018 (2018-09-02)
Eugene contends with a viperous imperialist. Seeing Lord Go's incarceration, Hui-seong publishes a special edition. Ae-shin snubs a Japanese official.
19"Episode 19"September 8, 2018 (2018-09-08)
Lady Ae-shin loses a part of herself. Her grandfather counters mounting imperialist schemes, Hui-seong avenges Ae-shin and Emperor Gojong strikes down a snake.
20"Episode 20"September 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)
The Righteous Army retaliates against Japanese troops and Ae-shin seeks justice. War breaks out in Joseon -- and Eugene gets orders to return to the U.S.
21"Episode 21"September 15, 2018 (2018-09-15)
Called an American imperialist, Eugene later asks Ae-shin why she persists in a futile cause. Hui-seong helps Ae-shin out of a bind. An ally joins Ae-shin.
22"Episode 22"September 16, 2018 (2018-09-16)
Emperor Gojong tries to shield the nation but is thrust into an impasse. Finding herself behind the eight ball, Ae-shin concedes that words have power.
23"Episode 23"September 29, 2018 (2018-09-29)
Seeing the explosion, Hui-seong, Dong-mae and Eugene fear the worst. The world's indifference dismays Emperor Gojong, but Joseon's defiance gets bolder.
24"Episode 24"September 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)
Joseon remains steadfast. The Righteous Army perseveres on its course. Ae-shin keeps her flame ablaze, while Hui-seong, Dong-mae and Eugene try to help.

Original soundtrackEdit

Mr. Sunshine
OST
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
Released2018 (2018)
GenreSoundtrack
Language
LabelStone Music Entertainment
Hwa&Dam Pictures
Glove Entertainment
Original soundtrack (Part 1–15)

Part 1

Released on July 8, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."The Day" (그 날)
  • Park Hyo-shin
  • Jeong Jae-il
Park Hyo-shin4:52
Total length:4:52

Part 2

Released on July 15, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Sad March" (슬픈 행진)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • JELLO ANN
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
Elaine5:25
Total length:5:25

Part 3

Released on July 22, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Days Without Tears" (눈물 아닌 날들)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Hee-jin
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Hee-jin
Kim Yoon-ah3:46
Total length:3:46

Part 4

Released on July 29, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Sori" (소리)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
Lee Su-hyun (Akdong Musician)5:02
Total length:5:02

Part 5

Released on August 5, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Good Day" (좋은 날)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Jeong Dong-hwan
MeloMance5:31
Total length:5:31

Part 6

Released on August 6, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."My Home (Eugene's Song)"
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • JELLO ANN
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
Savina & Drones4:20
Total length:4:20

Part 7

Released on August 12, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Becoming The Wind" (바람이 되어)
  • Athena
  • Athena
  • eNa
Ha Hyun-sang4:43
Total length:4:43

Part 8

Released on August 13, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Stranger" (이방인)
  • Park Woo-sang
  • Park Woo-sang
Park Won3:53
Total length:3:53

Part 9

Released on August 19, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Shine Your Star (Prod. by Zico)"
  • Safira.K
  • Zico
  • Zico
  • Poptime
o3ohn3:35
Total length:3:35

Part 10

Released on August 26, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."And I"
  • Tenzo
  • LOOGONE
NU'EST W3:55
Total length:3:55

Part 11

Released on September 2, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."See You Again (Feat. Richard Yongjae O'Neill)"Ha Melli
  • POPKID
  • Safira.K
Baek Ji-young3:48
Total length:3:48

Part 12

Released on September 9, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Beautiful As Fireworks" (불꽃처럼 아름답게)
  • Nam Hye-seng
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Nam Hye-seng
  • Park Jin-ho
Shin Seung-hun4:30
Total length:4:30

Part 13

Released on September 16, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."Lover" (정인 (情人))HenHenSejeong (Gugudan)3:54
Total length:3:54

Part 14

Released on September 23, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."If You Were Me"Son Go-eun (Monotree)Son Go-eun (Monotree), NOPARI (Monotree)Ben4:25
Total length:4:25

Part 15

Released on September 30, 2018
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistsLength
1."How Can I Forget You" (어찌 잊으오)Nam Hye-seung, Park Jin-hoNam Hye-seung, Park Jin-hoHwang Chi-yeul4:41
Total length:4:41
OST Special Album
Disc 2:
No.TitleArtistLength
1."Mr SunShine (Opening Title)"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee5:58
2."Wildflower"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee4:30
3."What is love?"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee2:36
4."Sad Waltz"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee3:20
5."With a flame"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee3:25
6."A side-by-side walk"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee3:07
7."The Era of Romance"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee4:53
8."Glory"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee5:07
9."Waiting"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee1:11
10."Greensleeves (MusicBox Drama ver.)"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee2:35
11."No Tears (Piano ver.)"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee2:38
12."One more Step"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee4:19
13."Sad End"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee4:53
14."A Lady and Haman house"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee2:37
15."Black Bird"Nam Hye Sung, Park Sang Hee3:07

ReceptionEdit

Critics praised the drama[65] for its "deep storytelling" and its ability to raise viewers' awareness of history. The Korea Times applauded the drama for shedding light on those deemed peripheral in society, such as women and the lower classes, and for successfully laying out contradictions and hope in the fast-evolving late Joseon period; it also praised the show's strong female characters.[66] Time's Kat Moon chose the show as one of the 10 "Best Korean Dramas to Watch on Netflix" and argued, "Besides serving up stunning cinematography, the show introduces two of the most dynamic female leads from the K-drama world".[67] Collider's Devon Forward listed it as one of the 28 "Best Korean Dramas on Netflix Right Now".[65]

CriticismEdit

The series has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of Joseon's culture.[65] In particular, the character Goo Dong-mae, who is portrayed as a member of the Black Dragon Society, a pro-Japanese organization,[68] was criticized, with many feeling that the series tried to justify his actions against Joseon. However, the series has also been criticized for the exact opposite: enforcing stereotypes of the Japanese as villains and Americans as heroes.[14]

The production house of Mr. Sunshine responded to the criticisms by stating that the organizations and characters portrayed in the series are fictional and that they will modify the character description of Goo Dong-mae accordingly.[69] The Black Dragon Society was changed to a fictional organization, the Musin Society.[70]

ViewershipEdit

Mr. Sunshine recorded the 6th highest ratings for cable television with its final episode reaching 18.129% and netting an average rating of 12.955%, which is the second highest average rating ever recorded for cable television.[9] An 8.9% viewership rating was recorded nationwide for the series' first episode. At the time, it was the highest premiere rating in the network's history, but was surpassed three years later by Hospital Playlist 2.[71]

The drama aired on a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS).

Mr. Sunshine : South Korea viewers per episode (millions)
SeasonEpisode numberAverage
123456789101112131415161718192021222324
12.2342.4262.5852.8982.8253.2572.9613.1472.9223.7463.3143.4423.4614.0403.3083.8321.8223.8333.5804.3053.6474.1444.1444.6313.354
Source: Audience measurement performed nationwide by Nielsen Media Research.[72]
Average TV viewership ratings
Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
AGB Nielsen[73]
Nationwide Seoul
1 July 7, 2018 8.852% (1st) 10.636% (1st)
2 July 8, 2018 9.691% (1st) 11.511% (1st)
3 July 14, 2018 10.082% (1st) 12.386% (1st)
4 July 15, 2018 10.567% (1st) 11.865% (1st)
5 July 21, 2018 10.835% (1st) 12.717% (1st)
6 July 22, 2018 11.713% (1st) 13.481% (1st)
7 July 28, 2018 11.114% (1st) 12.563% (1st)
8 July 29, 2018 12.330% (1st) 13.912% (1st)
9 August 4, 2018 11.695% (1st) 12.763% (1st)
10 August 5, 2018 13.534% (1st) 15.400% (1st)
11 August 11, 2018 12.792% (1st) 14.227% (1st)
12 August 12, 2018 13.399% (1st) 15.378% (1st)
13 August 18, 2018 13.327% (1st) 15.576% (1st)
14 August 19, 2018 15.626% (1st) 18.126% (1st)
15 August 25, 2018 12.893% (1st) 14.686% (1st)
16 August 26, 2018 15.023% (1st) 17.370% (1st)
17 September 1, 2018 7.694% (1st) 8.140% (1st)
18 September 2, 2018 14.722% (1st) 16.387% (1st)
19 September 8, 2018 14.114% (1st) 14.775% (1st)
20 September 9, 2018 16.500% (1st) 18.178% (1st)
21 September 15, 2018 14.280% (1st) 16.013% (1st)
22 September 16, 2018 16.588% (1st) 18.749% (1st)
23 September 29, 2018 15.419% (1st) 17.272% (1st)
24 September 30, 2018 18.129% (1st) 21.828% (1st)
Average 12.955% 14.747%
Special September 22, 2018 8.937% 9.404%
  • In the table above, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2018 11th Korea Drama Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Byung-hun Nominated [74]
Best New Actress Kim Tae-ri Nominated
Best Original Soundtrack "Days Without Tears" (Kim Yoon-ah) Nominated
6th APAN Star Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Byung-hun Won [75][76]
K-Star Award, Actor Won
Drama of the Year Mr. Sunshine Won
Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Yoo Yeon-seok Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Min-jung Won
K-Star Award, Actress Nominated
Best New Actress Kim Tae-ri Won
K-Star Award, Actress Won
3rd Asia Artist Awards Grand Prize (Daesang) Lee Byung-hun Won [77]
Artist of the Year Won
Fabulous Award Won
Korean Tourism Appreciation Award Won
Artist of the Year Yoo Yeon-seok Won
Best Actor Award Won
Best New Actress Kim Tae-ri Nominated
2nd The Seoul Awards Best Actor Lee Byung-hun Won [78]
Best Supporting Actor Yoo Yeon-seok Won
Best New Actress Kim Tae-ri Nominated
2019 55th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Drama Mr. Sunshine Nominated [79][80]
Best Director Lee Eung-bok Nominated
Best Actor Lee Byung-hun Won
Best Actress Kim Tae-ri Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Yoo Yeon-seok Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Kim Min-jung Nominated
Best Screenplay Kim Eun-sook Nominated
Technical Award Kim So-yeon (Art) Nominated
Lee Yong-seob (Special effects) Nominated

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit