Descendants of the Sun has become a ratings powerhouse in Korea. It’s breaking viewership ratings left and right; it’s also breaking a lot of hearts. (Namely mine.) I’ve become swept up in this drama, and while I just don’t have any kind of schedule to do a full episode recap of any episode, I decided to settle for a ’10 Reasons’ post for now.
I have plenty of plans to post about Descendants of the Sun, but it won’t be full episodes. It will mostly be my thoughts on our beloved characters and what they’re going through. I’m big on discussions, so if you really like to discuss your dramas in details, I’m that person.
- Not all k-dramas have the privilege of a blockbuster-scale budget. On that note, Descendants of the Sun is one of those dramas that uses its enormous budget to make a very high quality and satisfying show. Whether it’s the filming locations or the overall feel for the drama, they didn’t skimp in a single area.
- Our leads have chemistry and depth! While Joong Ki and Hye Kyo have great chemistry and play off of it very well, I think it’s their smaller, more subtle, intimate moments that resonate with me the most. The way that Yoo Shi Jin looks at Kang Mo Yeon gives me goosebumps. Even when he’s joking around in a serious situation, he constantly manages to calm Mo Yeon with a quick quip and a smile.
- Compatibility. On the surface, what can Shi Jin and Mo Yeon possibly have in common with their vastly different jobs? The answer is: a lot. In order to avoid ‘spoiler territory’ here, I won’t go into details. What I will say is that these two have a lot more in common than meets the eye.
- No dreaded love triangle here, folks. Okay, a love triangle might be implied, but it’s one mess we get to escape with this gem of a drama. Score!
- Our second female and male lead are perfection. It’s not always a given that I’ll love secondary characters, but these two are hard not to like. And they don’t feel like dreaded ‘plot devices’ that are here to make things more difficult for our leads.
- While it’s not perfect, we have some foreigners that speak decent English. Some will make you cringe, but there is one character that they cast perfectly. He’s so evil and his English is fantastic. Really, the casting was spot on, and I’m thrilled to see that not a single cent was wasted on this production.
- Joong Ki is so different from his Innocent Man days. I’ve only ever seen him in that drama and the movie Penny Pinchers. I’d like to think that his acting has even improved. It must’ve been very stressful to book his first drama after completing his mandatory enlistment. I mean, it was two years that he was gone. I’m sure there was a lot of pressure to do his best, and while I don’t know how this drama fell into his lap, I’m sincerely grateful that it did. This guy’s popularity has soared. I think I read that he’s the most popular Korean celebrity in China right now. And while I’m sure his looks have contributed to that statistic, it’s hard to deny how phenomenal his acting skills are here. He seems so calm and at ease on screen; he looks so natural. Even more than that, I believe that he’s Shi Jin. Sometimes I need to take a step back and realize that this a drama and that Shi Jin is a fictional character. That’s how much I revere Joong Ki as this character.
- Song Hye Kyo was also a pleasant surprise. My first melodrama was That Winter, The Wind Blows, and it emotionally gutted and exhausted me. I don’t always get emotionally invested in my drama. Some I enjoy, some make me bawl my eyes out, and some are a combination of both. If a drama can make me laugh and cry, it’s off to a good start, and I think Song Hye Kyo does a pretty decent job here. It won’t seem like it’s anything spectacular right out of the gate, but that’s just the nature of her character, Mo Yeon, who is tough and a bit prickly at first. The more you watch, the more she grows on you, and the more that Hye Kyo grows on you.
- The OST has some strong contenders. I don’t love them all, but there are quite a few that are really great and add emotional impact and depth to our tender, serious moments.
- This drama is very character driven. It’s not that we’re really following any one plot line, but it’s more like we’re following these characters and seeing the situations they experience. There is a lot of room for growth, and if there’s nothing more that I appreciate in a drama, it’s seeing our characters experience life and learn from their mistakes. At the end of the day, the character is the most important aspect of a drama to me. If they can make me laugh, cry, and root for them to achieve their dreams and wildest desires, then I’d say the writing and action has done the story justice.
- Beyond our second leads, we have our secondary characters. We have the doctors/nurses and the other soldiers/military personnel that add intrigue to the series. It doesn’t feel like they take away from our leads. It feels like they add more layers to the story. I can’t say how often it is that I love many characters in the same drama, but Descendants of the Sun is a shining example of doing our secondary characters a lot of justice.
- It’s fast-paced and action-packed. If you have people in your life that you’re trying to coax into watching a drama but you don’t think they’ll go for a rom-com, this is a perfect choice. I love the balance of the action and the romance. It has a nice give and take. If you’re looking to impress your non k-drama friends in a big way, I think Descendants of the Sun will deliver and capture attention. Who knows? It might be just the drama that starts them down the road to k-drama addiction!
- The bromance between Shi Jin and Dae Young. There is nothing I appreciate more than a quality friendship portrayed on screen, and these two are flawless. They both have such different personalities, but, somehow, they fit.