Descendants of the Sun is a wildly popular drama with the final episode airing today. A star studded cast and a simple story line have made it an easy an enjoyable show to watch. A romance set in the medical and army spaces, there’s a little something for everyone here.
The drama has been breaking records as of late. Recently it has surpassed another mega hit “My Love from the Star” in both revenue, viewership ratings, and online streaming. Generating over 3 trillion won, it has reportedly paid off the production costs. Nielsen Korea reports show ratings to continually increase, having beat “My Love from the Star” in as little as 6 episodes at a 28% rating, and one of the later episodes generating as high as 40.9%. iQiYi, a Chinese streaming service reported total views to have exceeded 2 billion. It’s an understatement to say this show is performing well.
Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki) and Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) are sergeants for a Special Forces unit. On one of their days off shooting targets at a local carnival type game, the two encounter a thief who ends up getting injured. The incident brings us to our female lead Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo), a trauma surgeon. We’re also introduced to the army doctor Yoon Myeong Ju (Kim Ji Won) who doesn’t have the best relationship with Kang Mo Yeon. All our characters meet again a few months later in the fictional town of Uruk in the midst of war.
To get this out of the way, the drama has some fantastic shots. You’ll like it if you’re big into photography as they’ll cut in and out of scenes to give the viewer a different (and quite artistic) perspective. It takes a few episodes to get into the story though. The pick-up lines have been criticized to be too straight forward or even corny, and some action scenes only exist within the TV world. Getting to episode 3 is where the real story starts, allowing some time to get used to the storytelling and where you find out the larger overarching story.
As a romantic drama we’re involved in the interactions between Yoo Si Jin and Kang Mo Yeon. The drama does a great job in showing the conflicts that occur in romance, when the core values of the individuals differ. It’s done in a very upfront manner with Yoo Si Jin being a soldier and Kang Mo Yeon a doctor. Though the two may be interested in each other, it’s difficult to even just get the basics established. Repeated a few times throughout the series, a soldier is to protect their country and the people’s way of life, even if it means taking lives. At the other end of the spectrum the medical personnel have pledged and dedicated their work to save lives.
The drama has had easy social media wins, with some posts starting with the famous scenes of the army soldiers running topless during the morning exercises. Talk about motivation, I needed to get back to the gym at that very moment. I can only imagine other viewers’ expressions with 90% sporting a jaw dropped drool dripping mouth wide open.
Don’t worry though, Kim Ji Won graces the screen. She’s in a uniform for most of her scenes looking fantastic with a military beret and shoulder length hair. The few scenes where Kim Ji Won is dressed down are just a treat for the eyes, particularly when she attends a wedding wearing a white dress and letting that brown hair flow.
While “My Love from the Star” features the veteran Jeon-Ji Hyun, Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo are no strangers to the screen. You might not recognize him as well, but Song Joong Ki was part of the original cast of Running Man. That time his hair was a little longer and naturally a softer and more gentle personality. He was also in in the drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal and a few movies like A Werewolf Boy and The Grand Heist.
Song Hye Kyo appears in a long list of dramas, and up until Descendants of the Sun, the most popular having been Full House. Being 34 at the time of this writing, you would never tell as she looks just as good on screen beside her 23 year old female co-star Kim Ji Won. Finally Jin Goo who starred in “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” and “Northern Limit Line”, brings a great game face. He’s quite serious but also shows times of humour such as the more risqué joke in episode 2.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to catch up on this great show. Don’t get lost in k-drama history and be part of the moment! Tell us what you think of this drama, does it deserve all the hype and attention?