The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Descendants of the Sun


태양의 후예 / Taeyangui Hooye

Director -  Lee Eung bok
Writers -  Kim Eun sook, Kim Won suk
Network -   KBS2
Episodes -   16
Release -  2016, Feb - Apr
Genre -  Military Romance
Cinderella Plot -  No
Ken dolls -  not so much



CAST




SYNOPSIS


This story tells of doctors stationed in the fictional war zone of Urk (Uruk), and follows the love story that develops between a surgeon (Kang Mo yeon) and a special forces officer (Yoo Shi jin), both elite in their respective fields. The story tracks both their personal and professional struggles while exploring issues about the value of life.  ~~Dramabeans


REVIEW


Dan dan da dah!

It is O.V.E.R. people, and thus goes with it all of the hoopla, hullabaloo, and hype that now fade in a cloud of useless dust, save our various and sundry memories that may or may not live on just a bit longer.

Yeah, I liked it.

I really, really liked it -- just not as much as some people -- namely the Chinese [wink]

The hype that soon followed the release of this drama still escapes me, I'm sorry to say.



Heck, even the North Koreans hopped on this bandwagon and ran with it for the duration.

When I read articles that included things like this,

[~CNBC "Watching Korean dramas could be dangerous, and may even lead to legal troubles," the ministry warned in a Weibo post at the weekend. The department then cited some real-life cases of domestic violence, divorce and plastic surgery, all of which it related to an obsession with Korean dramas and accompanied with photos of similar incidents from various Korean television series." and from ~Wiki:  "It is part of a growing concern among Chinese officials who are wary of the growing influence of Korean pop culture on the Chinese populace since the similar success of My Love from the Star in 2014."] 

that's when I got all pissy and determined to find fault with the material being presented.

If people want to be stupid and do stupid things, that is their prerogative and none of my business, let alone the business of government or its attempt at intervention of said stupidity.

However, the hype also worked to do some good as well -- at least for the flagging KBS studios, and a certain brand of lipstick.

But, enough with the dumb stuff.

Here's why Descendants of the Sun worked to help transform not only a studio but the future of Korean drama:


Dude was smooth.


That's it!

This is what I've been talking about and begging for in a Korean drama over the past DECADE, and KBS finally delivered, albeit unwittingly, with Descendants of the Sun.

This was true romance -- even if they did do things on a South Korean level -- because the guy knew what he was doing, what he was about, what he wanted, and how to go about getting what he wanted without a lot of modern BS and politically correct nonsense holding him back.

Most of the male characters were MEN.

(well, there was that one baby-face doctor who did a lot of crying, whining, and acting like a child . . . )

Real men behaving the way men should behave.

In the truest sense of the word, and that, dear friends, is what made this such a hit



And the writing.

If you skip episodes 17 and 18 and go directly to 19, you'll get the inside scoop on the making of this epic, and what stood out most (to me, being a writer) was the simple yet IT WORKS fact that the director and the script writer insisted on staying true to the original work.

It came to my attention, and I was quite shocked, that a lot of these dramas are piecemeal because (get this) the producers allow the 'fans' to decide how the next episodes will turn out.

At least a majority of the actors had the balls to complain about such a stupid practice, and it is with great hope that Descendants of the Sun has now set the bar for all dramas to come.

It kind of pisses me off to know that I've been hoodwinked and never had a clue.

Now, I'm not privy to all of the inside scoop details on what goes down over there in Hallyu land, but over here, Military Romance Novels are still pretty popular.

I'm not crazy about them, but I've read my fair share (mostly as a favor to the author for an honest review), but Descendants of the Sun gave me the impression that the writer reads them almost as voraciously and with about as much interest as any other fan of said genre.

Which was kind of weird because I kept anticipating the lusty scenes even when I knew it wasn't EVER going to happen.

Which brings me to my reason for 4.5 and not 5 stars.

As darn close as this came to being a real ROMANCE drama, there still wasn't enough of it to satisfy me or my overall curiosity in that regard.

KISS already, and mean it when you do it.



Hug, hold hands, play footsies, and do the romantic stuff -- otherwise, let's just make this an action piece from a military perspective and send all the ladies home, shall we?

Yes, there were plenty of romantic moments, subtle as they were, which helped make this a winner in a lot of people's book including mine.

Korean women just don't make for great seductresses, bombshells, or sirens, much less exude honesty about their inner feelings or desire.

The guys do!

Song Hye ko as Kang Mo yeon was beautiful in a very typical Korean beauty way, and I liked that she was as down-to-earth as she was spunky and professional.

What she wasn't was romantic or romantically inclined.

yes, she's pretty

I've yet to see a single female actress in a Korean drama own her sexuality or behave in a romantic fashion.

Wearing a mini skirt, stilettos, and skin-tight jeans does not make a woman sexy or sexual.

Painting or manipulating ones face with the misguided notion of attracting the opposite sex is neither original nor enticing.

Male or female, you see what you like, want what you see, and you take steps to obtain it.

Owning ones self and being proud of who you are; not being afraid to convey what you feel with the sole intention of snaring your prey takes practice -- something I kind of doubt any Korean female has taken a single class in, much less graduated 101.

The cat and mouse aspect is always going to be juvenile, and despite every effort on the male lead's part, the game went slightly overboard, and that is always a bummer.

Annoying.

She thought he was dead, for crying out loud.

When it turns out he's not, human nature would dictate the innate need to RUN to the man, throw yourself at him, and vow never to ever let him go again.

Right?

When career, principles, and/or family come above and beyond everything and anything else in ones life, that's when the romantic exits and staid work-a-day enters the picture.

Either you feel something or you don't -- you are in love or you're not -- and pussyfooting around such an important life choice seems a bit off to me.

IF this is supposed to be a romantic melodrama, then sticking to the romance aspect is the logical thing to do.

Maybe someday the Korean female actress will want to or be permitted to behave in a way that more corresponds to her inner emotions than with outward appearances (more about the moment and less about what others might think) kind of acting.

Until then, we'll be forced to have to endure watching the same female character doing, thinking, and saying the same types of things minus an ounce of 'skinship' or internal emotion being acted upon.

The soundtrack wasn't unbearable, and I've still got one of the tunes floating around inside my head.

The second leads couple nearly stole the thunder, but here's where another oddity occurs:

First male lead did NOT seem capable of pulling it off and yet he managed somehow and against tremendous odds to come off as a genuine stud with some serious, deadly skills, to be one of the most thoughtful, romantic, and sexy leads EVER.

His female lead, not so much.



Second male lead had everything at his disposal: looks, bod, sex-appeal, manners, disposition, and moves yet his female counterpart was sexier than the other female lead but just as annoying, if not more.



Let's just say it took a really long time to warm up to the two female leads and then just as long to get it in my head that yes, they belong together because...


DUMB STUFF






but overall, this wasn't as big a pain in the ass to have to 'read' through as some, so there's that.


SCREEN SHOTS



I admired the cliffs, not the ship


sigh . . . a man in uniform




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