‘Love in the Moonlight’ shines through unexpected success

September 26, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) — It’s never easy to tell which dramas will be a success and which will flop. What worked for one may not apply to the next, keeping producers and actors on their toes.

In that sense, few expected the KBS fusion drama “Love in the Moonlight” to do so well, given that it didn’t fit the criteria of recent hit series such as “Descendants of the Sun” or “Reply 1988.”

Unlike “Descendants of the Sun,” this drama was not shot entirely in advance — a method designed to win the loyalty of viewers at home and abroad through simultaneous broadcasts in South Korea and China.

Nor is it like “Reply 1988,” which struck a chord with men and women across a wide age spectrum by invoking nostalgia for years gone by.

A poster for the drama "Love in the Moonlight"

A poster for the drama “Love in the Moonlight”

The 18-part series is a fusion of history and fiction with two somewhat “lightweight” actors in the lead roles. Park Bo-gum, who rose to fame through his role as a genius go player in “Reply 1988,” is Crown Prince Lee Yeong, who falls in love with a woman disguised as a eunuch, played by 17-year-old Kim You-jung.

The young actress’ acting has impressed many, judging from viewers’ comments online.

But the biggest attention grabber by far is 23-year-old Park, whose sweet and romantic lines have blended with his pure and innocent image to win the hearts of many women, young and old.

“I’ve fallen for Bo-gum magic,” wrote one netizen. “I’m struggling to come out of it because it’s a black hole.”

Park Bo-gum fever reached a peak during the recent Chuseok holidays, which are the annual fall harvest celebration women dread the most because it involves large amounts of cooking, traveling and spending time with the in-laws.

This image shows stills from "Love in the Moonlight." In the first still, Hong Ra-on bites a yakgwa placed in her mouth by Lee Yeong.

This image shows stills from “Love in the Moonlight.” In the first still, Hong Ra-on bites a yakgwa placed in her mouth by Lee Yeong.

In the episode aired a day before the holidays, Lee Yeong confessed his love for Hong Ra-on (Kim) while placing a traditional Korean cookie called “yakgwa” in her mouth. His line — “You’re my yakgwa” — generated an explosive response, as the cookie is often eaten during Chuseok.

“I want to become Bo-gum’s yakgwa,” a netizen wrote online. “I should have at least become a yakgwa! I’m doomed in this lifetime,” wrote another.

Others wrote that they went to buy yakgwa at a market and nearly died in the throng of people there. The cookie is made from flour, sesame oil, honey, rice wine, cinnamon and ginger juice.

“We didn’t know the drama would create a syndrome,” Jung Sung-hyo, the head of KBS TV’s drama department, said. “There’s a high degree of correlation between the actor and the character, and I think it was possible because Park Bo-gum has expressed his new character very well, rather than reproducing his earlier image.”

This image shows Park Bo-gum in the drama "Love in the Moonlight."

This image shows Park Bo-gum in the drama “Love in the Moonlight.”

In terms of viewership, the drama has hovered around 20 percent in recent episodes. It’s a far cry from the 40 percent level breached by “Descendants of the Sun,” but an impressive leap from the 2 percent low hit by its predecessor “Beautiful Mind” and double the 10 percent initially expected by KBS and Park’s management agency, according to industry sources.

The popularity of “Love in the Moonlight” is obviously good news for the broadcast industry.

Without a single product placement, the series has made a profit through advertising, and license exports are smoothly under way to China, Japan and countries in Southeast Asia and the Americas, according to its producer KBS Media.

By the end of the series, advertising revenue is expected to reach nearly 7.3 billion won (US$6.58 million) in total.




One Comment

  1. game killer

    September 27, 2016 at 1:36 AM

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