Taiwan’s Version of “Descendants of the Sun” is a Huge Disappointment

By on September 6, 2017 in NEWS, TV Dramas

Taiwan’s Version of “Descendants of the Sun” is a Huge Disappointment

Taiwan’s military-themed television drama Always Be With You <最好的選擇>, hailed as Taiwan’s version of the hit K-drama Descendants of the Sun <太陽的後裔>, is a huge disappointment.

The military idol drama stars Allen Chen (陳禕倫) as special force soldier Yu Jing-jie and Phoebe Yuan (袁艾菲) as his love interest, Jia Yun-xi, both relatively unknown stars in Taiwan’s entertainment industry.

Despite the hype surrounding the series and hopes that it’ll live up to the popularity of Descendants of the Sun, viewers immediately voiced their disappointment on the show after the series premiere on September 2.

Most of the complaints were directed at the show’s poor production value and weak cast. Descendants of the Sun’s NT$19 million per episode budget allows them to invest in larger, more realistic set pieces and overseas photography, including an important action sequence that took place in Greece. Always Be With You, on the other hand, had a budget of only NT$15 million for the entire series, and with 16 episodes produced, resources had to be stretched thin.

Instead of taking the film cameras overseas, Always Be With You had to stay in Taiwan due to its budget. The theme of the show went from taking down international terrorists

(in Descendants of the Sun) to taking down Taiwan’s own triads and organized crime gangs. The cheap budget of the show became especially apparent in an airplane hostage scene—it was obvious that the scene was shot in a studio.

The weak cast was also noted. Although Allen Chen, a former model, is convincing in his role as a special soldier, his image isn’t very suitable for an idol drama unlike Song Joong-ki (宋仲基), who played the male lead in Descendants of the Sun. Phoebe Yuan, who plays Song Hye-kyo’s (宋慧喬) counterpart in Always Be With You, is no longer a surgeon but a music teacher. The change in roles could possibly be because of the low budget; Song Hye-kyo’s original role in Descendants of the Sun was a cardiothoracic surgeon practicing in Uruk.

The Taiwanese idol drama also tried to remake some of the more iconic scenes from the original Korean drama, but its small budget made the scenes more cheesy than memorable. One particular scene that both dramas have shared was the female lead’s abduction scene—in Descendants of the Sun, Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) was abducted by an international terrorist ring and had explosives strapped around her body. Always Be With You’s Jia Yun-xi (Phoebe Yuan) was merely threatened by a fork.

Always Be With You airs every Saturdays and Sundays on TVBS.

Source: HK01.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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Taiwan’s Version of “Descendants of the Sun” is a Huge Disappointment

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  • 10 comments to Taiwan’s Version of “Descendants of the Sun” is a Huge Disappointment

    1. coralie says:

      T-dramas are dying. all their good actors/writers are going to the mainland to dig gold, leaving behind newbies with questionable talent and thus, not a lot of focus or investment. but I have hope that the industry will eventually revamp.

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      • emerald5forever replied:

        @coralie Hello, would you say Mainland Chinese dramas are worth watching? I watched many HK dramas (TVB) throughout my adolescent life, but generally steered clear of Mainland ones because I do not like dubbed Mandarin voices (in addition, I feel like they are always either costume dramas or about the CCP). If there are worthy dramas, which ones would you recommend? I would prefer it if they are not complete copies of South Korean dramas.

        Hope to hear from you! 🙂

        Login or Register before you can reply to emerald5forever
        • coralie replied:

          @emerald5forever if you don’t like costume dramas, are you looking for something modern? like, current era-dramas?

          mainland dramas are more mature than T-dramas, but their plots are often all over the place and go on for 40+ episodes. however, once in a while, they do come out with good productions. but a lot of it is focused on ancient/costume times.


          Boss & Me/Here Comes Shan Shan – if you are a fan of slow and cutesy, this is the one to see.

          Divorce Lawyers – I never finished this but found it very intriguing and cute when I saw the first few episodes


          Go Princess Go – Webdrama; very funny and really short; semi-modern in that there are “modern” components to the storyline since the female lead traveled from the past. (Warning: ending sucks but the rest of the drama is worth a watch.)

          Wuxin: The Monster Killer – Webdrama; short but cute; great chemistry between cast; not exactly ancient era, so somewhat modern. (Warning: ending sucks also lol.)

          Nirvana In Fire – Not lovely-dovey, very character-driven, slow but developed well. A lot of political machinations, but understandable.

          Sound of the Desert

          Scarlet Heart

          Empresses in the Palace – Tons of harem strategies, but done very well and very sad. But very good.

          Eternal Love

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        • terry123 replied:

          @coralie @emerald5forever Well I’ll say Taiwanese dramas and TVB dramas during the 90s (and perhaps 80s) will always be the best. I grew up watching them then (my adolescent life). The plots might not have always been perfect, and then-Taiwanese dramas had a lot of cryings too, but they actually had depths. The actors/actresses were mature and good-looking. The acting was wonderful then too. These days, I don’t have time to watch a lot of dramas anymore, but I see that Korean dramas are very decent/good in their own ways (hence they are popular), but the feeling isn’t the same anymore when I watch them. Perhaps, it’s because I’m older now. I don’t get a lot of access to Chinese dramas as there aren’t many Eng sub available, but a glance through it doesn’t give me a lot of attraction. Also I prefer modern dramas with a mature plot, but there seems to me a lot more ancient dramas compared to the modern ones (perhaps ancient dramas are just more popular and more exposures, and that is one reasons I get even less access to CDrama). Besides the ones you recommend above, is there any other good modern CDramas? I see Alyssa Chia starred in a drama last year called “Angel/Invisible Wings”. Have you seen it? Do you know if there are Eng sub to that one anywhere? I thought the synopsis sounds intriguing.

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        • bearbear replied:


          Agree with Go Princess Go, Wuxin: The Monster Killer,
          Nirvana In Fire, Scarlet Heart, Empresses in the Palace.

          Wuxin 2 has been released. Haven’t watched it yet, heard that while it is not as good as 1, it is still watchable.

          Caught episode 1 of River God, another China web drama, seems interesting so likely to continue with it.

          Login or Register before you can reply to bearbear
        • msxie0714 replied:

          First Half of My Life is a very popular modern drama about adults. Also recommend Ode to Joy, When a Snail Falls in Love.

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      • msxie0714 replied:


        c-dramas are now very popular in Taiwan, which is a complete reversal from a few decades ago. Empress in the Palace and Nirvana in Fire had several re-runs due to popular demand.

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    2. nomad822 says:

      TDramas have always been touch and go.

      Some make it, but many don’t. And for the minority that do – the leads have super chemistry so it gels. Or the scripts have heart and the actors work magic so viewers overlook the fluff and cringe factors

      Many of the filler peripheral actors are often pretty loud and bad, and totally skip-worthy (ie you can FF all their parts) – esp the moms and dads, and the over-exaggeration.

      1) they overdo the cringeworthy. humour is cheesy and overdone s’times, as well as tasteless
      2) script can be a little incredible, and villagey.
      3) some of their ‘Ah-Beng’ (loafer wannabes in Spore jargon) caliber actors … totally cannot hold a candle to those from the Kdrama crowd, that they try to imitate. Down to fashion sense, and style
      4) taste = little or none. they tend to overdo it, and it’s often gaudy. worse are the ex ‘ge-tai’ crowd turned actors.

      Cdramas and movies – some are very gd, and an interesting watch for the social street commentaries/evolving lifestyles in China. Esp the contemporary ones addressing social issues. (I totally dislike the high-pitched dubbed voice-overs when they makeover dubbed Kdramas in Singapore, but somehow it is toned down in Cdrama).

      Login or Register before you can reply to nomad822
      • bubbletea replied:

        @nomad822 I do agree with what you said. I have to say that the writers of decent Taiwan dramas have left the building. It has been awhile since I saw a T drama that was half decent.

        Long gone are the days of Prince who turned into a frog. Autumn’s concerto, Sunny happiness, The good wife and It started with a kiss. These are dramas that had good story writing, love, passion, heartbreak, fun. They moved you. They made you want to come back for more. The leading men and women also had wonderful chemistry.. There are a few more as well.

        Please do not put Devil beside in there. Mike he’s acting was disgusting and all Raine yang did was scream, throw tantrums and crunched up her face. It came across as a poor attempt to show some riff raff show with gang wannabes for future and current gang wannabes. It got high ratings because of the delusuonal fambots, not because it had any depth or essence. It was tasteless, to say the least. The best thing about it was Mike’s face, that is, if you like young men with girly type good looking faces, not manly handsome faces.

        It would be good to see the likes of some of the glory daysTaiwan dramas, but alas, it looks like those days are over

        Login or Register before you can reply to bubbletea
        • happybi replied:

          @bubbletea love “it started with a kiss!” Also love “my lucky star.” Problem with a lot of tdrama are the main leads are pretty good but the 2nd lead and the side character are normally super annoying!!

          Login or Register before you can reply to happybi