Tuesday, March 1, 2016

First Take: Descendants of the Sun

Possibly one of the most highly anticipated dramas of the year, Descendants of the Sun came in with a slow burn. The premiere week of the show only teases what potential intensity will come in the future. I wasn't overly excited about it, but it has yet to disappoint me, which is a good enough start. If anything, I'm mostly excited that Song Joong-ki is back on screen again, and with him he brings a herd of beautifully muscular half naked men and that is always good in my book.

Captain Yoo Shi-jin (Song Joong-ki) and surgeon Kim Mo-yeon (Song Hye-gyo) met at a hospital where one was looking for a thief and the other is treating that said thief. Their meeting turned into what could be a sizzling romance, but due to their demanding jobs, they decided to say their goodbyes. Time went by and unexpected for them that they meet again as a peacekeeper and a volunteer medical team leader in a far-off country.

The first two episodes of Descendants didn't really get me as excited as some dramas have recently. Not saying that exciting beginnings will result in exciting ends, but with the current drama market, it seems the only way to make an entrance is with a bang. Technically Descendants did achieve that, what with Shi-jin's mission becoming the very opening of the show. The rest of the episodes went pretty low on the action though. It makes sense since the premiere episodes are always about introductions of the main characters, and Descendants did its job with laying the foundation for the promised intense plot that will follow.

The most exciting thing about this drama is perhaps the return of Song Joong-ki, who was previously absent from the entertainment industry due to being in the military. It's rather odd that he left from his service as a real soldier and came back as a pretend soldier. Not really sure if that was a brilliant idea or just a convenient choice. One that took a fan's wish of watching Joong-ki as a hot soldier in their TV. I can't really judge from the two episodes if he still has it or needs to sharpen things a bit, but just his very presence is good enough. I'm interested if he can top off his Maru from Nice Guy who was such a fascinating guy in a fascinating show.

Oddly enough though I'm more gravitated towards Jin Gu who plays Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young. However much I love Joong-ki, he doesn't necessarily exude the tough special force guy as much as Jin Gu does. Not to say that you can't be cute and tough at the same time, but there's a reason actors tend to get type casted for their looks. I also think Dae-young's back story might be more interesting, especially with his possible background as a former gangster and his complicated relationship with army doctor Yoon Myeong-joo (Kim Ji-won). We have yet to see any story of Shi-jin's background, but I'm hoping they don't force a tear-inducing back story just because he's the lead. I'm probably asking for too much.

Since the drama is a romance, I will comment on that a little. I am thankful that the drama did try to portray an adult relationship with little push and pull and that Shi-jin and Mo-yeong did act like adults in that brief relationship. Don't know what will happen in the future though. I'm also not too keen on Song Hye-gyo. I think Mo-yeon as a character is interesting enough, but despite being absolutely gorgeous, she doesn't have the charm I expect from a senior actress like her. I'm hoping she's like this drama, going for a slow burn. Basically I have yet to root for the Shi-jin x Moo-yeon romance but am totally intrigued by the Dae-young x Myeong-joo relationship. Mostly because of the mysterious Dae-young but also because of how Myeong-joo acted around him in the short time they were together. There's a lot of things to uncover from this couple.

Considering the drama is 100% pre-produced (thankfully a growing trend), I have hopes the story will at least make sense, even if it's not the most exciting thing in the world. And since the drama is also simultaneously broadcasted in China, where a drama needs to be inspected prior to airing, I'm assuming it's also fully edited. Which means we won't get any drama behind the drama for this one. Keeping my hopes up, since Joong-ki does have a history of picking good projects and I just hope his stint in the military didn't reduce that ability by too much.

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