Shining Inheritance Korean Drama

Shining Inheritance (also known as Brilliant Legacy) was a huge hit back in 2009. This melodrama tells the story of Go Eun Sung (Han Hyo Joo), a young woman who loses everything.  After her father dies, her stepmother, Paek Seong Hee (Kim Mi Sook) and stepsister, Yoo Seung Mi (Moon Chae Won) take away all of Eun Sung’s money and her place to live.  Eun Sung and her autistic brother Eun Woo (Yun Joon Suk) are left on their own with nothing.  Despite everything, Eun Sung works hard to survive, but tragedy strikes when her brother disappears.

Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Han Hyo Joo  Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Ban Hyo Jung

Eun Sung eventually meets an older woman named Jang Sook Ja (Ban Hyo Jung) and ends up taking care of the lady after she develops amnesia.  It turns out that the woman is the wealthy CEO of a food company, and when she regains her memory, she invites Eun Sung to live at her large house with her family.

Sook Ja’s spoiled family is less than happy to have a stranger suddenly invited in to their home.  Especially unhappy is Sook Ja’s grandson Hwan (Lee Seung Gi).  He had already had several unpleasant encounters with Eun Sung that were pretty much his fault.  It also happens that Hwan has been friends with Eun Sung’s stepsister Seung Mi for years, and Seung Mi has feelings for him.

Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Lee Seung Gi   Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Moon Chae Won

As you can see, there are a lot of connections and complications in this drama!  It is a melodrama after all.  I actually consider this a lighter melo with a sort of family drama feel to it.  There is plenty of angst to go around and secrets and misunderstandings abound, but it never felt overdone to me.

Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Bae Su BinWe watch Eun Sung strive to be a good person and do as the grandmother wishes while everyone around her is against her.  She has a dedicated friend who is there for her and an amazing and charming second lead, Park Jun Se (Bae Su Bin), trying to win her affections.

Hwan is your typical cold rich guy who takes a lot of time to warm up.  Although very slow, his character growth was wonderful to watch.  He has a lot of growing up and maturing to do, and is given the opportunity by his grandmother forcing him to work for her company in order to teach him responsibility.


Shining Inheritance Korean Drama - Lee Seung Gi and Han Hyo JooHwan also hated Eun Sung at first, but as he got to know her, he was able to see what a genuinely good person she was.  And as Eun Sung’s stepmother and Seung Mi continually try to paint Eun Sung in a negative light, he realizes that the girl he knows doesn’t fit that description.  Hwan and Eun Sung slowly grow close and become a nice little couple to watch.

It takes pretty much the entire 28 episode drama for Eun Sung to finally reunite with her brother and discover the huge secret that her stepmother and Seung Mi was keeping from her…her dad was alive!  The audience is aware of this for the entire drama, but a lot of misunderstandings, lies, and near misses prevent the two from reuniting.  It’s wonderful when Eun Sung’s family is finally back together, and all of the lies are exposed.

All in all, Shining Inheritance was a wonderful drama with plenty of stuff of happening to keep things interesting.

What did you think of Shining Inheritance?

My Rating: 9/10

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15 responses to “Shining Inheritance Korean Drama Review”

  1. snow Avatar

    Even if the drama was very average, I really enjoyed it a lot. Like you said, it has a very family-weekend drama kind of feel to it. I loved Han hyo joo and Lee Seung Gi and their chemistry…and never got bored during the entire 28 (!) episodes. My favorite thing of course were the OTP scenes 🙂
    I also loved this song:

    1. Kay Avatar

      I love that song! My favorite thing was the OTP too. Of course, I adore Lee Seung Gi and have loved every drama he has been in (so hoping he does one more before the army!). At the time, it was my first time seeing Han Hyo Joo, and I really enjoyed her in this. Lots of good memories 🙂

  2. […] Shining Inheritance was Lee Seung Gi’s first starring role.  This family melodrama was his opportunity to play your classic spoiled rich guy who really doesn’t get along with his leading lady Han Hyo Joo.  But Shining Inheritance features one the best instances of character growth I have seen in a drama.  Watching Lee Seung Gi’s character slowly mature into an intelligent caring man was the true joy of the drama. […]

  3. […] I loved the classic romance between Lee Seung Gi and Han Hyo Joo. It never gets old watching the spoiled rich guy fall for the kind and hard working heroine. All in all, Shining Inheritance was a wonderful drama with plenty of stuff of happening to keep things interesting throughout. (Shining Inheritance Review) […]

  4. Fred Avatar

    So I ended up watching this. Good decision.

    When I started watching Kdramas around late December of last year (after a six-year hiatus), this was one of those dramas I wanted to re-watch. Though my head said NO due to the number of episodes, my guts/heart kept telling me to go for it. I should have listened to my guts at the start HAHA.

    I really liked Han Hyo Joo in this drama. This may be the reason why I had a good impression on her while watching W Two Worlds. Although my head already forgot why, my heart still remembered how I felt about her HAHA.

    If you think about it, the whole drama would have ended earlier if they had Facebook. Eun Sung’s father would have found her on Facebook and her lost brother would also be found much easier. Then they could compress the whole thing to the usual 16 episodes HAHA.

    It may not anymore be as perfect as it should be when viewed from the 2017 perspective but it still had that special feel that is hard to find in recent dramas. Hard to explain. Probably the other drama that has somewhat the same feel as this is My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. Obviously this is because they were from the same “Kdrama Era”.

    I do not know what changed exactly but dramas today have a different feel to dramas pre-2012 (not sure about this date). The older ones seem more special. Even though I really liked Kill Me, Heal Me the feel of that drama is different when compared to My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Brilliant Legacy. Or maybe this is simply because they were the dramas that introduced me into this “world”.

    1. Kay Avatar

      Oh good! I’m glad your re-watch went so well 🙂 I remember watching Shining Inheritance pretty early on so I wasn’t even phased by the episode count at the time. Of course as years past, I’m now usually thinking about how many shorter dramas I could complete in the same amount of time it would take to watch a longer one, lol.

      I really loved Shining Inheritance and really liked Han Hyo Joo. I’ve only seen her in two other dramas since that. But yes! Facebook would have certainly ended things a lot sooner, lol. That would have made everyone’s lives a bit easier 🙂

      It sounds like your kdrama sweet spot is about the same as mine. Many of my favorites come from about 2008-2013. I know what you mean by that era having a particular feel to it that is different from dramas in the last few years. I have quite a few newer dramas that I love, like Kill Me Heal Me, but I definitely have a certain nostalgia for that particular era.

      I think the style and overall feel of dramas runs in about five year cycles give or take. Because dramas from 2001-2007 then have another kind of feel to them. But Shining Inheritance perfectly fits with the feel of that era along with dramas like My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. It was definitely a great period 🙂

      1. Fred Avatar

        Yes it was a great period. I am happy that you feel the same way. If I feel nostalgic, I can ask for your recommendations. I am going to watch Princess Hours and Coffee Prince when I am in the mood. Though I remember you saying you are not fond of Coffee Prince. 🙂

        The five-year cycle you mention seems to make sense. The 2001-2007 era is the Meteor Garden Era. Although it is Taiwanese, the success of this drama forced the Japanese and the Koreans to make their own versions of the same story (Hana Yori Dango and Boys Over Flowers). In fact, I think Meteor Garden started the whole Asian Drama phenomenon. Without Meteor Garden, Kdrama might not be as successful as it is right now. Have you seen this drama?

        I do not know how you feel about Full House. I think this was the most successful Korean drama during this era but my memory tells me I was bored.

        Also, the older Kdramas had a lot of sad endings that pissed me off since I generally hate sad endings. Good thing Kdrama as a whole decided to be more optimistic in order to capture the non-Korean viewers. Although I like Kim Tae Hee, she had two dramas that pissed me off. They give you so much hope that the main character will achieve justice or happiness but then they kill the main character at the ending LOL.

        1. Fred Avatar

          Just a question: Do Circle Two Worlds and Signal have scary parts? Like those in the dark and there are surprises? I was planning to watch either of them because you recommended. But then when I viewed the trailers I thought that they might be a bit scary. Sorry, I easily get scared. If I watch a scary drama at night, I just sleep and continue it the next day when it is not yet super late. I even got a bit scared in some parts in W Two Worlds. Sorry I’m not proud about this haha. But do they have scary parts? I’ll watch I Miss You instead since it is your 2nd favorite. I’ll decide on the other two after. Depending of course on how scary they might be HAHA.

          1. Kay Avatar

            You know, W-Two Worlds had some very creepy parts. Especially with the faceless creator! I didn’t really like that, lol.

            Let’s see, I wouldn’t say Circle is any worse than W. It’s more tense with maybe a few minor creepy parts, so I think you would be fine with it. Signal has some incredibly tense crime style parts. Do you find typical crime stuff like bad guys doing disturbing things and the characters walking through dark alleys and houses scary? There’s a fair amount of that sort of stuff. Nothing really of the supernatural variety, but plenty of crime tension.

            I Miss You isn’t scary at all though, lol. There’s a TON of angst though. It’s about as melodramatic as it gets. I still find it weird that it’s my second favorite drama considering you couldn’t really get more different from My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and even my third fav Kill Me Heal Me. For some reason I just fell in love with its angst filled world and characters, hehe 🙂

          2. Fred Avatar

            HAHA yes there were creepy parts which I did no like. Ok that’s good. I will watch Circle after. But I decided to watch Love Rain (sorry I keep having last-minute changes HAHA). I have been constantly postponing this since I could not find the right mood for it. But then I suddenly felt like it. So I’ll just watch this instead. I have been intrigued by your review of this drama for some time. HAHA

          3. Kay Avatar

            I love Love Rain! I got so wrapped up in that drama. Such a retro feeling romance melo. People seem to love or hate it though, lol. I certainly loved it! Best of luck with it. And glad to hear you’re going to give Circle a try too 🙂

  5. Jon Avatar

    Just watched it on Netflix. A bit late lol… I enjoyed the show but hate that Jun Se didn’t end up with Eun Sung. I feel for him. He did everything right. He was clearly the better man for her. She thinks she had fallen in love with the moody mysterious bad boy (guess this happens too often in real life too), one day she will realize what she lost. Haha…

    Am I obsessed but does the director tend to focus the camera on the feet of the actresses. But the 2 lead ladies feets are really beautiful, lol!

    1. Kay Avatar

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Shining Inheritance. It really is a classic 🙂 Haha, yeah, the girl’s in dramas tend to go for those mysterious bad boys. It certainly makes the journey entertaining though!

  6. MyKDramaticLife Avatar

    I know I’m quite very very late of talking about Shining Inheritance, but here it is! 😀

    My K-Dramatic Review on Shining Inheritance (2009)

    Shining Inheritance focused on the story of Go Eun Sung, a compassionate and kindhearted woman, who once lived in wealth who suddenly lost her father that turned her life from riches to rags, and Sunwoo Hwan, a chaebol who is short-tempered and spoiled brat type of guy who doesn’t want to inherit his grandmother’s food company but also doesn’t want to live without luxuries.
    I didn’t know I’ll like this classic drama very much! I’m always fond of family dramas but tend to not watch them because of the whooping 50 episodes of most of them. But the younger versions of Han Hyo Joo and Lee Seung Gi (and Moon Chae Woon as a bonus) is so tempting and having access to this phenomenal drama by copying it from my coworker made me get excited to have the chance to binge watch it.
    I get to like Han Hyo Joo as Go Eun Sung. She’s kind and pure-hearted that made me root for her the whole time of this series. She’s also very independent and versatile. She suddenly turned poor when her biological father died and had been kicked out by her evil stepmom and had nowhere to go with her younger brother who is autistic. This kind of plot is really very makjang (over-the-top)! But I couldn’t contest more since this one is an older drama and I guess makjang melodrama was a trend those days. Go Eun Sung was effortlessly able to stand strong and able to find job with no complaints despite her wealthy background. I like how she tried very hard to be able to find ways how to survive the vast world and give her brother a decent life. Her wholeheartedness and purity won me over as we all know that Eun Sung comes from a family with nice background, but she’s down-to-earth and didn’t even mind working as a waitress to support herself and her mentally-challenged brother. Although Eun Sung is strong-minded, she’s still always soft-hearted. And I just really really like Han Hyo Joo in this drama. I know her character as Eun Sung is very ordinary but Han Hyo Joo was able to interpret her very well. She’s sometimes screamy and crybaby but it didn’t feel overacting. Overall I found her character such a memorable and good one. (SPOILER ALERT!) Her life was filled with trials and surprises when her younger brother went missing. Furthermore, her life would be changed dramatically when she helped a dying grandma on the street who is actually a rich grandma looking for her inheritor. (SPOILER ENDS)
    Lee Seung Gi (in his innocent days :D) is Sunwoo Hwan. Living his life with no financial worries as he always depended on his grandma’s money, he never worked his whole life and never knew the feeling of working hard day and night just to serve meals on the table for one’s family. (SPOILER ALERT!) After his grandmother’s hard-thought decision of inheriting to Eun Sung all her assets and inheritance, he was a bit alarmed that his grandma’s company and assets would be inherited to some stranger, and so do his mother and sister. At first he thought his grandma is only making Eun Sung an excuse for him to mature and care more for the company, but didn’t. His grandma was so serious of giving it to her. So he’s challenged! Challenged to change for the better, to a more considerate, affectionate, people-oriented and more human Sunwoo Hwan. I didn’t know that Lee Seung Gi could be this innocent. (Now I’m all excited to see him in My Girlfriend is Gumiho, but still don’t know when would I ever have the chance to. 🙁 I still have four-page long watchlist. 😂) I mean, I first saw him in playing badboy in Hwayugi and Vagabond. So I was quite flabbergasted by how different he is in Shining Inheritance. Although this is not my favorite Lee Seung Gi drama (Vagabond is still the best for me 😍), I still sincerely enjoyed him in Shining Inheritance and really really liked it much.
    Moon Chae Woon is Yoo Seung Mi. She’s Hwan’s ‘labeled’ girlfriend, and Go Eun Sung’s stepsister. She’s pretty and smart, but hides inferiority over her stepsister. She only has eyes for Hwan, and is quite obsessive of her love for Hwan. And I’m just so thankful I’d watched Moon Chae Woon’s later dramas first (Criminal Minds, Flower of Evil). If ever I saw her first in Shining Inheritance, I think I would be having a hard time liking her the next time I would see her. Hahaha. Her character here as Yoo Seung Mi was something else. I mean I had tough time of liking her in this show. I really tried to understand her for the past 18 episodes. (SPOILER ALERT!) Until in episode 19, when she ‘totally’ conspired with her evildoing wicked mother and tried to set-up Eun Sung and made her to appear bad in front of Hwan and Hwan’s family. That for me was the give-up time! I concluded I never liked Yoo Seung Mi, despite all her explanations and reasonings and whatsoever. (SPOILER ENDS) Nonetheless I thought Moon Chae Woon is great, and no doubt that this drama was the steppingstone in her acting career.
    We also have Bae Soo Bin as Park Jun Se. Bae Soo Bin WAS one of the actors I did hate and avoid for years (just because I hated him in the first drama I saw him – in Secret Love, along with Hwang Jung Eum and Ji Sung) until I watched this show. At first, the age gap between him and Han Hyo Joo bothered me a bit. (He’s actually ten years older than our other three main leads.) Along the way when I got familiar with his character, I learned that he’s a good and a warm guy. And that I felt a bit sad that he did not up with Go Eun Sung. (SPOILER ALERT!) I even liked this guy more when he was caught up with very hard situation in his life – when he had to betray his father (who at that time was about to do bad things to fulfill his greed) and had to embarass him in front of the Jin Sung Foods’ (Hwan’s grandma’s company) shareholders. I liked how he ended up deciding the right thing.
    Our main four characters were all unique and nice characters in their own ways. I am going to miss these guys as well as this great drama.
    Shining Inheritance really captured my entire attention from the very start of the show. It had use some kdrama cliché tropes, but didn’t mind it. (Well it’s an older drama, so I think if have seen this drama when it aired I think I would have been very very amazed and impressed by its plot and twists.)
    The drama’s main concept lies more on family while having romance as a sideline. It’s an over-the-top family drama that featured stepparent/stepsibling relationship, a riches-to-rags concept, a jealous stepsister, an evil heartless stepmom, a conglomerate immature grandson, a rich grandma with a spoiled arrogant family, a battle for the inheritance, and many more! And I just loved its OTT thingamajigs. And despite it being a little draggy, I just kept on patiently waiting for the big reveals to come. And it was more than worth the wait, and I loved it! But because some scenes were draggy and there were some repetitive scenes before the drama arrived to its revelation moments, I sometimes felt frustrated and very annoyed by how some characters decided and reacted to things. It specifically happened during episodes 20-25 I think when I had little issues for the first time. However, episodes 26 till its finale made up for it. And I still really really liked it overall.
    The drama also has so many good supporting characters. But since this review’s getting a bit longer than my usual reviews, I’m going to sum them up quick. We have the childish mom and daughter, Young Ran, and Jung. They are Sunwoo Hwan’s mother and younger sister who are awful characters that I ended up liking though. 😀 They were always disagreeable and uncooperative especially to President Jang (Sunwoo Hwan’s grandma and Young Ran’s mother-in-law) and showed no interest and zero support when it comes to her decisions for the company. Then we have Lee Hye Ri, Eun’s Sung loyal and devoted friend. She also helped Eun Sung a lot especially when Eun Sung had nothing in life. We also have Jin Young Seok, Hwan’s friend, and Lee Young Jin, Jung Se’s friend. These two gals are both handsome guys. Hahaha. I was hoping they would have been given cute lovelines to compensate with the angst and seriousness of our main characters. It would have been good if Young Jin would end up with Hye Ri or Young Seok to have moments with Jung. Hmm.. Just my thoughts. 😀
    Then we have President Jang, who is earnest and warmhearted, despite her sometimes cold personality. I so liked how she did not end up totally giving up to her spoiled grandson. And I also liked how she never suspected her trust to Eun Sung. I liked her for the whole run of the show. And then we have Eun Sung’s father and younger brother. I didn’t care much for these characters. Both of them parted ways with Eun Sung living her alone and hopelessly hopeful. They were the causes of Eun Sung’s sadness and unending troubles in life. However I thought too that without these two, the drama would be less interesting.
    And lastly, there is Baek Sung Hee, Go Eun Sung’s stepmom. I just hated this woman from start to end. And that’s all. 😑😀
    I’m so glad to have watched Shining Inheritance, inspite of all the newer dramas on my plate. It’s a warm and heartfelt drama though there were few draggy moments and romance of Sunwoo Hwan and Go Eun Sung was understated. On the good note, it has so many great characters, and it has the overall vibes of hopes and positivities, despite the fight for love and inheritance.


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