Crash Landing on You (TV Series 2019–2020)

TVSeries


Crash Landing on You (TV Series 2019–2020)
Sa-rang-eui bul-sa-chak (original title)

The absolute top secret love story of a chaebol heiress who made an emergency landing in North Korea because of a paragliding accident and a North Korean special officer who falls in love with her and who is hiding and protecting her.
South Korea
IMDb  8.7 /10
Creators
Creator Jung Hyo Lee
Creator Ji Eun Park
Information
Release Date2019-11-23
Runtime1h 10mins
GenreComedy, Romance
Content RatingTV-14 (TV-14)
AwardsTop Rated TV #149 | 3 wins & 9 nominations.
CompanyCulture Depot, Studio Dragon
CountrySouth Korea
LanguageKorean
Ri Jeong-hyeok 17 episodes, 2019-2020
Yoon Se-ri 17 episodes, 2019-2020
Seo Dan 17 episodes, 2019-2020
Goo Seung-joon 17 episodes, 2019-2020
Pyo Chi-soo 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Kim Joo-meok 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Park Kwang-beom 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Geum Eun-dong 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Kim Jung-Nan
Kim Jung-Nan
Ma Yeong-ae 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Hyeon Myeong-soon 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Na Wol-sook 16 episodes, 2019-2020
Yang Ok-geum 15 episodes, 2019-2020
Hong Chang-sik 15 episodes, 2019-2020
Yoon Se-hyeong 15 episodes, 2019-2020
Jo Cheol-gang 15 episodes, 2019-2020
Go Sang-ah 14 episodes, 2019-2020
Go Myeong-suk 14 episodes, 2019-2020
Do Hye-ji 14 episodes, 2019-2020
Jeong Man-bok 14 episodes, 2019-2020
Han Jeong-yeon 13 episodes, 2019-2020
Go Myeong-eun 13 episodes, 2019-2020
Cheon Su-bok 13 episodes, 2019-2020
Yoon Se-jun 12 episodes, 2019-2020
Yoon Jeung-pyeong 12 episodes, 2019-2020
Park Soo-chan 11 episodes, 2019-2020
Kwon Dong-Ho
Kwon Dong-Ho
Purchasing Manager 10 episodes, 2019-2020
Jeon Gook-Hwan
Jeon Gook-Hwan
Ri Choong-ryeol 10 episodes, 2019-2020
Oh Han-Kyul
Oh Han-Kyul
Jeong Woo-pil 10 episodes, 2019-2020
Company House Villager 10 episodes, 2019-2020
Joon-woo Goo
Joon-woo Goo
Ma Nam-sik 9 episodes, 2019-2020
Geum-soon 9 episodes, 2019-2020
Manager Oh 9 episodes, 2019-2020
Na Ho-yeong 8 episodes, 2019-2020
Jung-won Woon
Jung-won Woon
Company House Villager 8 episodes, 2019-2020
Kang Young-Eun
Kang Young-Eun
Park Eun-byeol 7 episodes, 2019-2020

Crash Landing on You

Crash Landing on You (Korean: 사랑의 불시착; Hanja: 사랑의 不時着; RR: Sarang-ui Bulsichak; MR: Sarang-ŭi pulshich'ak; lit. Love's Emergency Landing) is a South Korean television series directed by Lee Jeong-hyo and featuring Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Kim Jung-hyun, and Seo Ji-hye. It is about a South Korean chaebol heiress who, while paragliding in Seoul, South Korea, is swept up in a sudden storm and crash-lands in the North Korean portion of the DMZ. The series aired on tvN in South Korea and on Netflix worldwide from December 14, 2019, to February 16, 2020.

It is the highest rated tvN drama and the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history.


Synopsis

Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin) is a South Korean successful entrepreneur and a chaebol heiress. One day, while paragliding in Seoul, a tornado blows her off course. As a result, she crash-lands into the North Korean portion of the DMZ. Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) is a member of the North Korean elite and a captain in the Korean People's Army. As he is patrolling, he meets Se-ri and saves her. Having decided to help her go back to the South, he hides her from other North Koreans, especially Cho Cheol-gang (Oh Man-seok) who is out to expose him. As they spend time together, they fall in love.


Plot

Crash Landing on You tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), a South Korean chaebol heiress to Queen's Group, and Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin), a member of the North Korean elite and a captain in Korean People's Army.

One day, while Yoon Se-ri is paragliding in Seoul, South Korea, a sudden tornado knocks her out and blows her off course. She awakens to find that her paraglider had crashed into a tree in a forest in the North Korean portion of the DMZ, an area forbidden for South Koreans. She then meets Ri Jeong-hyeok, who eventually gives her shelter and develops plans to secretly help her return to South Korea. Over time, they fall in love, despite the divide and dispute between their respective countries.

Back in South Korea, Yoon Se-ri's family suppresses the news of her disappearance out of fear that it will depress the stock price of the chaebol. Just before Se-ri went missing, her retiring father informed his family that he intended to announce her as his successor based on her abilities as a businesswoman, as shown by her successfully building her own company, instead of her half-brothers, Se-jun and Se-hyung, who struggled managing the chaebol's subsidiaries. The brothers are supported by their equally-ambitious wives, Do Hye-ji (Hwang Woo-seul-hye) and Go Sang-ah (Yoon Ji-min), respectively. In Se-ri's absence, Se-hyung outmaneuvers his siblings through unscrupulous means to win the succession battle to lead the family firm, while Sang-ah attempts to take over Se-ri's company.

Se-ri and Jeong-hyeok's story is intertwined with that of Seo Dan (Seo Ji-hye) and Gu Seung-jun (Kim Jung-hyun). Dan is the sophisticated daughter of a wealthy North Korean department store owner. She has been studying the cello in Russia for several years but returns to marry Jeong-hyeok, to whom she is engaged through an arranged marriage even though they have only met a few times. As she returns to Pyongyang, she crosses paths, not only once, with Gu Seung-jun, who had fled to North Korea (under the protection of corrupt North Korean officers) in order to escape from the pursuit of Se-hyung, under whose incompetent watch he had embezzled large amounts of money.

The first half of the story follows Jeong-hyeok's attempts to hide Se-ri and help her get back to South Korea. They are impeded by Cho Cheol-gang (Oh Man-seok), a corrupt and ruthless officer from the State Security Department, who had previously arranged for the murder of Jeong-hyeok's older brother, an officer who tried to expose him. Jeong-hyeok's attachment to Se-ri distresses not only Dan, his fiancée, but also his father, a high-ranking political figure, as the discovery of Jeong-hyeok harboring a South Korean could be used by rival officials to ruin their families.

In the second half of the story, Se-ri is able to return to South Korea and resume leadership of her company, surprising her family and others who had thought she was dead. While Cheol-gang is initially convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his crimes, he escapes custody through his criminal network and infiltrates South Korea to go after Se-ri. Despite opposition from his father who nevertheless reluctantly gives his support, Jeong-hyeok and his soldiers clandestinely arrive in Seoul to protect Se-ri from Cheol-gang's vengeance. Meanwhile, in North Korea, despite Seo Dan and Seung-jun's initial encounters being random and unpleasant, she shelters him when the corrupt officers betray him to Se-hyung's gangsters, and they eventually fall in love.


Cast

Main

  • Hyun Bin as Ri Jeong-hyeokLee Chun-moo as young Jeong-hyeok Kim Seung-chan as teenage Jeong-hyeok
  • Lee Chun-moo as young Jeong-hyeok
  • Kim Seung-chan as teenage Jeong-hyeok
  • Son Ye-jin as Yoon Se-riKim Tae-yeon as young Se-ri
  • Kim Tae-yeon as young Se-ri
  • Seo Ji-hye as Seo DanPark Seo-yeon as young Dan
  • Park Seo-yeon as young Dan
  • Kim Jung-hyun as Gu Seung-jun / Alberto Gu

Supporting

People around Ri Jeong-hyeok

  • Jun Gook-hwan as Ri Chung-ryeol, Jeong-hyeok's father, director of the General Political Bureau and vice-marshal of Korean People's Army.
  • Jung Ae-ri as Kim Yun-hui, Jeong-hyeok's mother. Like her husband, she still grieves Mu-hyeok's death.
  • Ha Seok-jin as Ri Mu-hyeok, Jeong Hyeok's deceased older brother and an army captain, who was killed in a staged accident for threatening to expose Cho Cheol-gang.
  • Yang Kyung-won as Pyo Chi-su, a sergeant major in Company Five, who enjoys drinking and antagonizing Se-ri because of his paranoia against South Koreans.
  • Lee Shin-young as Park Kwang-beom, a staff sergeant in Company Five, oblivious of his model good looks.
  • Yoo Su-bin as Kim Ju-meok, a corporal in Company Five, who uses his fascination with Korean dramas / the Korean wave (that he watches in secret) to explain South Korean culture to his team.
  • Tang Joon-sang as Geum Eun-dong, a lance-corporal in Company Five, who is the sole provider of his family and the youngest member of the unit.

People around Yoon Se-ri

  • Nam Kyung-eup as Yoon Jeung-pyeong, Se-ri's father, South Korean Chaebol and chairman of Queen's Group. After serving time for financial malfeasance, he looks to name one of his children heir to his chairmanship.
  • Bang Eun-jin as Han Jeong-yeon, Se-ri's stepmother. She struggles to reconcile her resentment towards Se-ri as a product of her husband's infidelity with Se-ri's sincere love and affection towards her.
  • Choi Dae-hoon as Yoon Se-jun, Se-ri's immature and hot-headed eldest half-brother, who sides with Se-ri against Se-hyung.
  • Hwang Woo-seul-hye as Do Hye-ji, Se-jun's materialistic but supportive wife.
  • Park Hyung-soo as Yoon Se-hyung, Se-ri's unflappable older half-brother, whose greed and naiveté allowed Seung-jun to embezzle funds from Queen's Group.
  • Yoon Ji-min as Go Sang-ah, Se-hyung's intelligent and ruthlessly-ambitious wife who covets Se-ri's company.
  • Go Kyu-pil as Hong Chang-sik, Se-ri's over-stressed team manager who, along with Su-chan, tries to find Se-ri's whereabouts after her disappearance.
  • Lim Chul-soo as Park Su-chan, Se-ri's insurance agent, who becomes obsessed with proving that Se-ri survived the paragliding accident.

People around Seo Dan

  • Jang Hye-jin as Ko Myeong-eun, Dan's wealthy mother who owns Pyongyang's largest department store and is eager to see Dan married.
  • Park Myung-hoon as Ko Myeong-seok, Dan's maternal uncle who is also a high-ranking officer in the State Security Department and supportive of both Jeong-hyeok and Dan.

People around Gu Seung-jun

  • Hong Woo-jin as Cheon Su-bok, a corrupt North Korean government official who helps people illegally enter and stay in North Korea.
  • Yoon Sang-hoon as Manager Oh, an intermediate broker who connects Seung-jun to the North Korean "keeping business".

North Korean military housing

  • Kim Sun-young as Na Wol-suk, the head of the village
  • Kim Jung-nan as Ma Young-ae, Senior Colonel Kim's wife
  • Jang So-yeon as Hyun Myeong-sun, Jung Man-bok's wife
  • Cha Chung-hwa as Yang Ok-geum, a hairdresser

Korean People's Army

  • Oh Man-seok as Cho Cheol-gang, a Lieutenant Commander in the North Korean Armed Forces' Security Bureau, who is the principal villain of the story. An orphan, he is corrupt and heads a vast criminal operation that stretches across the Korean peninsula, including harboring fugitives such as Gu Seung-jun while having no qualms turning them over to the highest bidder.
  • Kim Young-min as Jung Man-bok, a North Korean wiretapper coerced by Cheol-gang to facilitate criminal activities, which has made him feel guilty about his work. He is known as "The Rat" among members of the village due to his job, resulting in his family being ostracized. Forced to facilitate Ri Mu-hyeok's death despite being the recipient of his kindness, Man-bok hopes to atone for his betrayal by assisting Jeong-hyeok.
  • Kim Young-pil as Kim Ryong-hae, a senior colonel who is Jeong-hyeok's superior and Young-ae's husband. He dislikes Jeong-hyeok but, after knowing his real identity as the son of the director of the General Political Bureau, he tries his best to please him.

Others

  • Oh Han-kyul as Jung Woo-pil, Man-bok and Myeong-sun's son
  • Gu Jun-woo as Kim Nam-sik, Senior Colonel Kim and Young-ae's son who gets bad grades
  • Lim Sung-mi as Geum-soon, a market vendor in the marketplace who secretly sells South Korean goods
  • Yoo Jung-ho as Chief Kim, Chief of the National Intelligence Service and investigator. He understands the relationship between Ri Jeong-hyeok and Yoon Se-ri and helps to make their parting more bearable.

Special appearances

  • Jung Kyung-ho as Cha Sang-woo, Se-ri's South Korean ex-boyfriend (Ep. 1, 5 & 7)
  • Park Sung-woong as a North Korean taxi driver (Ep. 4)
  • Kim Ah-ra as a house villager
  • Yoon Seol-mi as a train salesperson
  • Na Young-hee as a North Korean wedding dress boutique owner (Ep. 7)
  • Kim Soo-hyun as Won Ryu-hwan / Bang Dong-gu, a North Korean spy from Division 11, disguised as a village idiot (Ep. 10)
  • Kim Sook as a North Korean fortune teller (Ep. 11 & 16)
  • Choi Ji-woo as herself (Ep. 13), an actress whom Kim Ju-muk idolized from his secret viewing of Korean dramas.

Episodes

No.TitleOriginal release dateSouth Korea viewers
(millions)
1"Episode 1"December 14, 20191.508
Knocked out by fierce winds while paragliding through the air, Yoon Se-ri, a wealthy businesswoman and CEO from South Korea, wakes up on the north side of the Korean Demilitarized Zone and is discovered by Ri Jeong Hyeok, a captain in the North Korean military.
2"Episode 2"December 15, 20191.773
After talking Jeong Hyeok and his comrades into hiding her in his home, Se-ri gets a taste of his way of life. Gu Seung-jun buys refuge in a secluded villa in North Korea through a broker.
3"Episode 3"December 21, 20191.894
Se-ri is discovered hiding at Jeong Hyeok's home during an unexpected home inspection. Jeong Hyeok invents a bold background story for Se-ri as a recently-returned agent from Division 11, the secret division of North Korean military which has spies sent to South Korea. He calls Se-ri his fiancée, in his attempt to protect her. However, his rival, Cho Cheol Gang, isn't fooled. Seo Dan, Jeong Hyeok's actual fiancée for ten years, returns to North Korea after finishing her studies in Russia.
4"Episode 4"December 22, 20192.225
When her escape plan falls through, Se-ri turns to another idea. Dan heads to the village to see Jeong Hyeok. The villagers are confused on seeing Dan, as they were told that Se-ri is Jeong Hyeok's fiancée.
5"Episode 5"December 28, 20192.210
Jeong Hyeok agrees to marry Dan sooner, as his parents wish, but they must do him a favor first. Seung-jun discovers Se-ri is also in North Korea.
6"Episode 6"December 29, 20192.414
Dan is less than happy when she hears Jeong Hyeok and Se-ri are at a hotel together. Meanwhile, Seung-jun plays what cards he has to save himself.
7"Episode 7"January 11, 20202.510
A flight out of North Korea awaits Se-ri at the airport. But, unwilling to leave Jeong Hyeok while he's injured, she brings him to a hospital instead, thus missing her flight out of North Korea.
8"Episode 8"January 12, 20203.043
Keeping Jeong Hyeok away from Se-ri turns out to be much more difficult than Seung-jun anticipated. Cheol Gang stays on their tail.
9"Episode 9"January 18, 20202.941
Se-ri faces her kidnapper. Elsewhere, Jeong Hyeok is forced to spread a formidable rumor about himself in order to escape Cheol Gang's clutches.
10"Episode 10"January 19, 20203.927
Back to her cushy life in the spotlight, Se-ri takes care of business — though nothing feels quite the same. Jeong Hyeok goes after Cheol Gang in South Korea, who in turn is after Se-Ri in order to use her to blackmail Jeong Hyeok's family.
11"Episode 11"February 1, 20203.726
It is Jeong Hyeok's turn to adjust to a new world. Back in North Korea, Dan gives Seung-jun a place to stay after he loses his protection.
12"Episode 12"February 2, 20204.782
Hoping to meet Jeong Hyeok, his comrades attend an event hosted by Se-ri's company. Seung-jun opens up to Dan over a bowl of rice porridge.
13"Episode 13"February 8, 20203.998
Se-ri sends the comrades on a shopping spree, and plays hooky from work with Jeong Hyeok. Jung Man Bok encounters a dilemma.
14"Episode 14"February 9, 20205.119
While Jeong Hyeok keeps watch over Se-ri, his comrades make themselves useful. Seung-jun can't stop worrying about Dan.
15"Episode 15"February 15, 20204.898
South Korean officials try to figure out what's going on, but they're given conflicting stories. Seung-jun flees from his captors.
16"Episode 16"February 16, 20206.337
Before departing, Jeong Hyeok leaves behind a surprise that keeps on giving messages from Jeong Hyeok's phone everyday. The last message tells Se-ri where to find Jeong Hyeok. Dan delivers bittersweet justice.

Production

Development

The premise of Crash Landing on You was inspired by a real event involving South Korean actress, Jung Yang. In September 2008, Yang and three others had to be rescued after bad fog had caused their leisure boat to drift "into the maritime boundary between North and South Korea." Park Ji-eun, the drama's screenwriter, was introduced to North Korean defector turned film adviser and writer Kwak Moon-wan, who became part of the drama's writing team. Kwak, who studied film directing in Pyongyang and had also been a member of an elite security force protecting the Kims, helped in crafting the drama's plot and in conceptualizing the setting and scenes in the drama portraying North Korean life.

Filming

The production process proved to be "painstakingly meticulous", owing to South Korea's relationship with North Korea where most of the story's plot ensues. The use of the honorific Chairman to refer to North Korea's leaders was avoided, and the North Korean lapel pins used by the cast members taking North Korean roles were one third smaller than their actual size. Props manager Joo Dong-man said the crew did not have a "guidebook on multiple hurdles he had to hop over — skillfully and delicately – to accurately depict the country while dodging criticism" and, thus, had to be careful "not to misrepresent the state". They worked with guidance from North Koreans living in South Korea and research.

The first script reading took place on July 31, 2019 in Sangam-dong, Seoul, and filming overseas started at the end of August 2019. North Korean scenes were shot in South Korea and Mongolia. Scenes that took place in Switzerland were shot on location.


Original soundtrack

Crash Landing on You
(Original Television Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedFebruary 16, 2020
Recorded2019–2020
Genre
  • Soundtrack
  • Ballad
  • K-pop
Length104:48
Language
  • Korean
  • English
LabelStone Music Entertainment

The following is the official track list of Crash Landing on You (Original Television Soundtrack) album. The tracks with no indicated lyricists and composers are the drama's musical score; the artists indicated for these tracks are the tracks' composers themselves.

CD 1
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."But It's Destiny" (우연인 듯 운명)Jung Gu-hyunJung Gu-hyun10cm3:51
2."Flower"
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Surf Green
Yoon Mi-rae4:12
3."Sunset" (노을)Park Woo-sangPark Woo-sangDavichi3:36
4."Here I Am Again" (다시 난, 여기)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Surf Green
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Surf Green
Baek Ye-rin3:54
5."Someday" (어떤 날엔)Kim Ho-kyung1601Kim Jae-hwan4:18
6."Sigriswil" (Crash Landing on You Title Full Version)
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
Kim Kyung-hee3:42
7."Spring in My Hometown" (고향의 봄)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:47
8."The Wind of the Day" (그날의 바람)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:58
9."The Song for My Brother" (형을 위한 노래)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:21
10."My Companion" (나의 동무여)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
5:15
11."Like a Wild Flower" (들꽃처럼)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:35
12."Time of Jeong-Hyeok for Se-ri" (세리를 향한 정혁의 시간)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
1:48
13."Moments We Walked Together" (함께 걷던 순간)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Go Eun-jung
2:34
14."Se-ri's Choice" (세리스 쵸이스)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
1:54
Total length:53:40
CD 2
No.TitleLyricsMusicArtistLength
1."Photo of My Mind" (내 마음의 사진)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Surf Green
Song Ga-in4:32
2."The Hill of Yearning" (그리움의 언덕)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Kyung-hee
April 23:54
3."All of My Days" (나의 모든 날)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • B.a.B
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • B.a.B
Sejeong (Gugudan)3:58
4."Like You" (좋다)
  • Lee Geon
  • Choi Eun-hye
Lee Geon
  • So Soo-bin
  • Sohee (Nature)
3:25
5."Let Us Go" (둘만의 세상으로 가)Dong Woo-seok
  • Dong Woo-seok
  • Yoo Jung-hyun
  • Jayins
Crush3:41
6."Give You My Heart" (마음을 드려요)
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Jin-ho
IU4:40
7."Yeong-ae and Villagers" (영애동지와 마을 사람들)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
3:14
8."Chi-soo and Se-ri" (치수와 세리)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
3:14
9."The Song for My Brother" (형을 위한 노래; orchestral ver.)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:35
10."Seo Dan" (단이)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
0:52
11."Same Sky, Different World" (같은 하늘, 다른 세상)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
3:18
12."Picnic" (소풍)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
3:12
13."The Season of Us" (너와 나의 그 계절)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
3:47
14."When That Day Comes" (그날이 오면)  
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
4:22
15."Sigriswil" (Opening Title Version)
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Kim Kyung-hee
  • Nam Hye-seung
  • Park Sang-hee
Kim Kyung-hee0:42
Total length:51:08

Singles included on the album were released from December 15, 2019, to February 16, 2020.

Chart performance

TitleYearPeak
positions
RemarksRef.
KOR
Gaon
KOR
Hot
"But It's Destiny" (10cm)201910872Part 1

"Flower" (Yoon Mi-rae)2220Part 2

"Sunset" (Davichi)4732Part 3

"Here I Am Again" (Baek Ye-rin)202046Part 4

"Someday" (Kim Jae-hwan)1817Part 5

"Photo of My Mind" (Song Ga-in)3531Part 6

"The Hill of Yearning" (April 2)187Part 7
"All of My Days" (Sejeong (Gugudan))5031Part 8

"Let Us Go" (Crush)37Part 10

"Give You My Heart" (IU)13Part 11


Reception

Commercial performance

With 1.75 billion online views, Crash Landing on You outperformed the prior leader, Mr. Sunshine, for most viewed drama clips by 200 million views as of February 17, 2020. The success of the drama helped to boost brand items due to product placement. The lead characters portrayed by Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin ate Gold Olive Chicken, a product which had a 100% sales improvement due to the show. There was also an increase in sales of the Swarovski earrings worn by Son Ye-jin.

Critical response

Variety Magazine named Crash Landing on You one of "The Best International Shows on Netflix," and Time Magazine also ranked it as one of the best Korean dramas on Netflix. Elle Magazine ranked it #1 (out of 10) on the October 2020 10 Best K-Dramas To Binge-Watch On Netflix list.

Jo Walker of The Guardian's "Stream Team" called it "addictively off-the-wall, heartbreaking and hilarious," while Aljazeera stated that it is a hallyu success. Adella Suliman and Stella Kim of NBC News also suggested that the drama "features all the ingredients a viewer could wish for" and has "drawn a global audience of millions, many no doubt searching for entertainment as they while away their time in coronavirus-related lockdowns."

It was an immense success in China. The hashtag for the drama's final episode has received over 460 million views on China's Twitter-like Weibo. The streaming website for the South Korean drama, which holds the copyright in China with Chinese subtitles, crashed on the night it aired the final episode due to the enormous number of users. It was also very popular in Japan during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic via Netflix. While the Korean Wave is a historically prominent component of media within Japan, Crash Landing on You has been uniquely influential there, in part due to its portrayal of daily life in North Korea. The series was also a massive hit in the Philippines where many viewers noted similarities between the plot line and the political narrative of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representation of and reception in South and North Korea

General

Although the series is a work of fiction, it has received some positive reviews from North Korean defectors for its depiction of everyday life in North Korea. At the same time, some details, such as the availability of food, relatively warm behavior of the army and the ease with which the characters cross the border have been criticized. One of the extras (who portrayed a North Korean villager) is a writer and actress from North Korea who states that she felt "like was actually back in a North Korean village." Kwak Moon-wan, a North Korean defector, who had served with the Supreme Guard Command (which protects the ruling Kim family) worked as an adviser for the series, providing the writers with details about life in North Korea as well as North Korean governmental agencies that added credibility to the show. He acknowledged some of the criticism, admitting that he has taken liberties with the depiction of North Korea (such as not mentioning food shortages), but rejected the claim that he was glamorizing the regime or drawing a false equivalence, saying that the show also depicted some of the darker aspect of life under the regime, such as the issue of kotjebi (child homeless) and the frequent power cuts. Some North Korean refugees, such as Chun Hyo-jin, who defected from the border village of Hyesan at the age of nineteen, tend to agree: "Even if what they say, that it glamorizes North Korea, is true, would they choose to live there? I don't think so". Even though the drama leaves political matters aside, which are essential to the North Korea issue as she sees it, she says it still is of great significance: "Its depiction of North Korea is a bit far from reality but it has made the people interested in North Korea". The drama's producer Lee Jung-hyo said during a press conference in Seoul in December: "I know some people are uncomfortable about our subject, North Korea, but we don't portray a wholly authentic North Korea in our drama. Most settings are closer to a fantasy, although some aspects do reflect real North Korean life".

Kang Nara, a North Korean defector who advised the show's production team, stated that about 60% of North Korea's depiction in the show is accurate: "The richer families in North Korea like to show off their wealth by adding lace curtains to their windows. So that was pretty well portrayed". She also appreciated the detail about kimchi caves: "Since rural North Korea doesn't get electricity, they don't have refrigerators. They have kimchi caves where they store kimchi, and that was also recreated well". House checks are also a regular affair. She revealed that she once had to hide inside a furnace at the house of the broker who helped her to escape to avoid detection. In the drama, the heiress had to hide in the kimchi storage area when security forces came knocking one night. As depicted in the drama, North Koreans are allowed to choose only from a fixed list of hair styles - 18 for women and 28 for men. "There's a punishment for you if you don't comply" Kang said in an interview with YouTube channel DKDKTV. On the other hand, as she explained in a YouTube video, the characters were able to slip across the border much more easily than in real life: "I had to pay a broker 10 million won (US$8,400) to swim across the Yalu river while being shot at from behind by soldiers". Cartoonist Choi Seong-guk, who defected to the South in 2011, also said the drama set is 60% accurate. The portrayal of jangmadang, or local markets where all kinds of goods, including imports from South Korea, are sold is especially real, he told The Sunday Times. However, he felt that the drama "glamorized the soldiers too much, almost to an uncomfortable extent". He said North Korean men enter the military when they are 17 and serve for 10 to 13 years. "During this time, they are... ruthless and harsh, robbing homes and raping women at night". Still, he hopes the drama will make its way to North Korea and go viral: "I hope the North Koreans who see this drama will realize how positively the South Koreans think of them and learn to change".

There were also critical responses to the themes of the drama in both regions. In January 2020, The Christian Liberal Party (CLP) filed a complaint in South Korea against tvN at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, accusing the network of glamorizing North Korea through this series, in violation of the National Security Law. Then, in March 2020, a few North Korean media outlets criticized unnamed South Korean programs and films that explored relations between North and South Korea. While Crash Landing on You was not directly mentioned by the media outlets, it was perceived to be among the referenced works. Another is the 2019 film, Ashfall, although that film was also not directly cited in the articles.

Scholarship

Stephen Epstein (Victoria University of Wellington) and Christopher Green (Leiden University) suggest that while Crash Landing on You is formulaic, it also "is a crucial text for evaluating ongoing change in South Korean popular representations of its neighbour. Indeed, given the concerted use of North Korean backdrops in Crash Landing on You and the size and global extent of its audiences, the show is likely the most noteworthy South Korean popular culture representation of North Korea yet produced.” Yun Suk-jin, a professor at Chungnam National University concurs, noting that the series "changed the stereotypes on North Korea and candidly showed that it too is a place where people live." Sarah A. Son, Lecturer in Korean Studies at the University of Sheffield also agrees, noting that Crash Landing on You responds to the "socio-cultural divide" between the North and the South, which academic scholarship cites as one of the biggest obstacles to future unification. Son argues that "through the re-framing of stereotypes, albeit with some creative licence, Crash Landing on You arguably humanises the North for its audience in ways that inter-Korean dialogue has not in recent years. Despite its soft-focus romanticisation of the political situation, Crash Landing on You brings the pain of the division to a personal level for a generation of Koreans who, unlike their grandparents, have no memory of what it was like to be a single nation."

Joanna Elfving-Hwang, associate professor of Korean studies at the University of Western Australia notes that “North Korea tends to appear in our imagination as the ‘axis of evil’, we think of nuclear weapons and human rights abuses...this drama has dared to think about North Korean people differently and represented them as quite human and quite Korean.” Steve Hung Lok-wai, a Korean affairs expert from Chinese University of Hong Kong states that the drama sidestepped larger political issues through a narrative that did not end with the male lead's defection: "Lots of people questioned whether the male lead, the North Korean soldier, would end up defecting to the South for love, but they were able to sidestep that scenario and gave it a plausible ending where the two would meet in Switzerland". Thus, he argues, it's "quite smart because they avoided all the real taboos but made it believable enough where it would make people think about these political problems." John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University, praised the series for its decision to draw parallels between powerful families in both the South and the North, and to humanize North Koreans beyond generic stereotypes.

Ratings

This series aired on tvN, 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). Crash Landing on You is the third highest-rated South Korean TV drama in cable television history. Early in its run, Crash Landing on You was the fourth highest rated Korean cable drama. The final episode's ratings made it the third highest rated Korean drama in cable television history, surpassing fellow tvN dramas Reply 1988 and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.

SeasonEpisode numberAverage
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11.5081.7731.8942.2252.2102.4142.5103.0432.9413.9273.7264.7823.9985.1194.8986.3373.331
Average TV viewership ratings
Ep.Original broadcast dateAverage audience share
(AGB Nielsen)
NationwideSeoul
1December 14, 20196.074% (1st)6.558% (1st)
2December 15, 20197.845% (1st)7.841% (1st)
3December 21, 20197.414% (1st)7.689% (1st)
4December 22, 20199.499% (1st)9.409% (1st)
5December 28, 20199.730% (1st)9.794% (1st)
6December 29, 20199.223% (1st)9.535% (1st)
7January 11, 20209.394% (1st)9.738% (1st)
8January 12, 202011.349% (1st)12.031% (1st)
9January 18, 202012.516% (1st)12.355% (1st)
10January 19, 202014.633% (1st)15.903% (1st)
11February 1, 202014.238% (1st)14.648% (1st)
12February 2, 202015.933% (1st)16.413% (1st)
13February 8, 202014.097% (1st)14.620% (1st)
14February 9, 202017.705% (1st)18.612% (1st)
15February 15, 202017.066% (1st)17.406% (1st)
16February 16, 202021.683% (1st)23.249% (1st)
Average12.400%12.863%
SpecialJanuary 4, 20204.810% (1st)4.253% (1st)
SpecialJanuary 5, 20203.975% (1st)3.252% (1st)
SpecialJanuary 25, 20204.180% (1st)4.283% (1st)
  • In the table above, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
  • On December 31, 2019, it was announced that the series would take a temporary hiatus and postponed the episodes that were scheduled to air on January 4 and 5. It was in order to protect the cast and crew from unsafe filming conditions due to the cold winter weather. Instead, tvN aired reruns of previous episodes that were specially re-edited for viewers.

Honors, awards, and nominations

In May 2020 the show's scriptwriter, Park Ji-eun, was named "Person of the Year" by South Korea's Unification Ministry, for contributing to "unification education."

YearAwardCategoryRecipientResultRef.
202056th Baeksang Arts AwardsBest DramaCrash Landing on YouNominated
Best DirectorLee Jung-hyoNominated
Best ActorHyun BinNominated
Best ActressSon Ye-jinNominated
Best Supporting ActorYang Kyung-wonNominated
Best Supporting ActressKim Sun-youngWon
Seo Ji-hyeNominated
Best ScreenplayPark Ji-eunNominated
Popularity AwardHyun BinWon
Son Ye-jinWon
Bazaar Icon AwardSeo Ji-hyeWon
15th Seoul International Drama AwardsBest Mini-seriesCrash Landing on YouNominated
Outstanding Korean DramaWon
Outstanding Korean ActressSon Ye-jinWon
Asian Academy Creative AwardsBest Drama Series (Korea)Crash Landing on YouWon
Best Drama Series (Grand Final)Won
Asia Contents AwardsBest Asian DramaNominated
Best CreativeNominated
Best WriterPark Ji-eunNominated
Korea Cable TV Broadcasting AssociationGlobal Award (VOD Category)Crash Landing on YouWon
Tokyo Drama Award 2020Overseas Drama Special AwardCrash Landing on YouWon
2020 Mnet Asian Music AwardsBest OST"Here I Am Again" (Baek Yerin)Nominated
3rd Annual Global TV Demand AwardsMost In-Demand Korean Drama SeriesCrash Landing on YouWon