It may have been just a few weeks since the hugely popular Korean drama series Descendants of the Sun (DOTS) ended its run. But many of its fans including myself are still suffering from “post-DOTS depression”.
Hence, it was much welcome news when there were talks of a second season in the making.
Now, you may ask, what is the big deal about this drama series? And how is it different from other such boy-meets-girl lovey dovey storyline that has won the K-drama industry throngs of fans from the world over?
For a start, DOTS is one of the rare K-drama series that take place in a military setting. This 16-episode romantic drama series followed the difficult relationship of an army captain Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong Ki) and an attractive and intelligent army doctor Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo). Just when things were going on the right track for them, Captain Yoo was sent on a peacekeeping mission to (the fictional war-scarred country of) Uruk.
Fortunately, Captain Yoo’s unhappiness was short-lived when Doctor Kang was sent to aid the children in the camp where he was assigned to. How they nurtured their relationship amid their demanding work was simply thrilling for viewers to keep rooting for them.
Suddenly, dating a soldier becomes cool.
But, that alone wasn’t enough to steal our hearts. We must also recognise that the script played a part in it too. Initially, the drama was simply a story of doctors at disaster sites but props to scriptwriter Kim Eun Sook, who was also the writer of popular K-drama Secret Garden (2010), for saving the show. She may not be a veteran in the writing scene but she enhanced initial scriptwriter Kim Won Suk’s script by intensifying the plot, throwing in more romantic, military and disaster scenes. It definitely worked because after the first episode, I was hooked.
The third factor that spelt success for this series definitely has to be Song Joong Ki, the lead actor in the series. Apparently, Director Lee Eung Bok foresaw a burlier, more muscular male lead prior to the script amendments. All these Joong Ki was not. However, he proved to be the ideal choice because for whatever reason, he easily got viewers hooked by his cheesy yet charming pick-up lines.
The chemistry between Joong Ki and female lead Song Hye Kyo, who played the more reserved one in their relationship, was simply electrifying. I thought Hye Kyo played her character quite realistically as she made us feel her pain – that it’s not all a walk in the park dating an army man.
The relationship between second leads Seo Dae Young and Yoon Myeong Joo’s relationship was also engaging. I empathised with their journey towards love, being separated from one another and not being able to express their care for each other. Dae Young’s initial coldness towards Myong Joo, caused some annoyance in me at first but it actually played a part in the story’s progression as it strengthened the plot later on.
For the above reasons, Descendants of the Sun has stolen the hearts of many viewers, even non-Kdrama fans. And it has certainly raised the bar for future K-dramas with each episode filled with romance and the tingling rush of falling in love and overcoming challenges. So much so that many fans are still reeling from the DOTS withdrawal symptoms – myself included.