태양의 후예 Descendants Of The Sun (Korean Drama)

Descendants Of The Sun

Descendants Of The Sun is a military-medical romance-melodrama that shook the Korean drama world recently in terms of ratings and popularity.

So have you watch Descendants Of The Sun (DOTS)? Are you a fan of Descendants Of The Sun?

Before we move on, just so you know that this post contains spoiler. So please don’t continue on if you have yet to watch DOTS. At the bottom of this post, I have set up a poll and Q&A session for DOTS fanatic (and non-fanatic).

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin In Descendants Of The Sun
Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin. So pretty!

Months before the premier of Descendants Of The Sun, there were already lots of talk + news about this drama. I was looking forward as well because I’m a fan of Song Joong Ki since The Innocent Man. Plus, it’s his first drama since being discharged from the military. When it comes to the leading lady; Song Hye Kyo I was a bit skeptical because somehow someway no matter how hard I try to like her, I just couldn’t. Yup even after the drama ends, I’m still not a fan of Song Hye Kyo. No doubt she is really beautiful.

Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun
Am I pretty?

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin In Descendants Of The Sun
Of course!

For Jin Goo, I’ve seen him in Ad Genius Lee Tae Baek and knew he can be really good. As I disliked Kim Ji Won’s characters in To The Beautiful You and The Heirs, I just couldn’t believe how quickly I like her character in DOTS.

Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young & Kim Ji Won as Yoon Myeong Joo In Descendants Of The Sun
Salute! Salute! Salute! Salute!

Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young Kisses Kim Ji Won as Yoon Myeong Joo In Descendants Of The Sun
Kiss you now!
This is my no. 1 favorite scene in DOTS. Beautifully shot (the falling snow!) and dramatic.
My no. 2 favorite scene is the smiling Yoo Shi Jin when Kang Mo Yeon comes running through because her secret is out.

For me (to be honest), Song Hye Kyo’s matured look doesn’t pair well with Song Joong Ki’s pretty boy soft look… no matter which angles I look (even upside down!). I tried, you know? And that is why I don’t really buy into Yoo Shi Jin and Kang Mo Yeon relationship. They look more like unni-dongseng (big sis-lil bro). Yes, DOTS fans… or more precisely Song-Song couple fans, you can smack me now.

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin Has A Movie Date With Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun
Unfinished movie date.

Instead, I’m invested in the MAN himself (= Song Joong Ki), his sidekick (= Jin Goo) and sidekick’s girlfriend (= Kim Ji Won).

Coming into this drama, I knew it has got to do with military. However, I thought it’ll be touching the military topic very briefly only but turns out DOTS is 85% military-related (also medical). I think this is one of the main reason why this drama garner such high ratings and fame in South Korea and Asia (because it’s unique). Other reasons I can think of are Song Joong Ki (of course!), Song Hye Kyo, the two second leads, the beautiful cinematography and awesome OSTs (I love all of them!). Also the simultaneous telecast (online) in China kind of seal the deal for DOTS success and Song Joong Ki’s hallyu status.

Story-wise, it’s not gripping enough for me. I wasn’t emotionally moved. You don’t really fear the worse because you know they’ll always bounce back. No doubt we all have seen lots of product placement in this drama. The two last episodes were particularly full of them. Sigh. Yup it kinda kills the flow of the drama. Overall, Descendants Of The Sun is a feel good drama with lots of pretty things. One cool thing I like in DOTS is the heavily use of -ibnida (전대말 formal speech in military and medical field). I thought it was sexy. Haha

Descendants Of The Sun is a pre-produced drama. In South Korea, such drama is really sparse… almost non-existence. Having grown up watching Hong Kong dramas which are all pre-produced, I didn’t have a clue that Korean dramas are carried out in the live-shoot format initially (few years back). I think it was the Spy Myung Wol controversy that really opened my eyes to the hardship of live-shooting system. Not to forget the messed up endings of what would have been otherwise great dramas (e.g. Big) which have something to do with live-shooting. I sincerely hope with the TREMENDOUS success of Descendants Of The Sun, more future Korean dramas will be pre-produced. Tsk, can’t wait for Uncontrollably Fond starring Kim Woo Bin and Suzy. Oh yes, another pre-produced drama. 🙂

Descendants Of The Sun

Tsk, there are longer synopsis out there but I prefer this one below because it doesn’t really explain anything. Hahaha.

Synopsis from KBS World:
“Healing romance set in beautiful Southern Country’s nature. Believing in love, not in miracle, they try to make a miracle from their love. Here goes the story of the heroes in our mind.” Every dream is bought for a fortune and some say that happiness is followed by success. Those who compromised only to succeed are extolled and those who fought against for justice are ridiculed for being reckless. The world is in which nobody is ashamed of saying “Greed is good.” That’s why we need a hero.

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin Kisses Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun

Korean title: 태양의 후예
Korean romanization title: Taeyangui Hooye
International English title: Descendants of the Sun
Running period in Korea: 24th February 2016 to 22nd April 2016
Runtime in Korea: Wednesday and Thursday 10pm
Running period in KBS World: 2nd March 2016 to 21st April 2016
Runtime in KBS World: Wednesday and Thursday 8.50pm
Special episodes: 20-22 April 2016 in South Korea and 27-29 April in KBS World
Total episodes: 16 + 3 special episodes (2 episodes highlights + 1 episode of BTS and epilogue)
Genre: Melodrama, romance

Song Joong Ki as Captain Yoo Shi Jin aka Big Boss
Song Hye Kyo as Dr. Kang Mo Yeon aka Beuaty
Jin Goo as Sergeant Major Seo Dae Young aka Wolf
Kim Ji Won as First Lieutenant Yoon Myeong Joo

Bromance - Yoo Shi Jin & Seo Dae Young In Descendants Of The Sun
I wish there are more bromance scenes.

Hunky Soldiers In Descendants Of The Sun
Alpha team. 😎

Alpha team members:
Park Hoon as Sergeant Choi Woo Geun aka Snoopy
Choi Woong as Staff Sergeant Kong Chul Ho aka Harry Potter
Ahn Bo Hyun as Sergeant Im Gwang Nam aka Piccolo

Tae Baek army:
Kang Shin Il as Lieutenant General Yoon aka Yellow Tiger (Myeong Joo’s dad)
Kim Byung Chul as Lieutenant Colonel Park Byung Soo
Kim Min Suk as Private First Class Kim Gi Bum (Platoon Sergeant at episode 16)

Lee Seung Joon as Song Sang Hyun & Seo Jung Yeon as Ha Ja Ae In Descendants Of The Sun
Cute couple – Lee Seung Joon as Song Sang Hyun & Seo Jung Yeon as Ha Ja Ae.

Haesung Hospital:
Lee Seung Joon as Song Sang Hyun (General Surgeon)
Seo Jung Yeon as Ha Ja Ae (ER Nurse)
Onew as Lee Chi Hoon (1st year resident of Thoracic Surgery)
Park Hwan Hee as Choi Min Ji (ER Nurse)
Hyun Jyu Ni as Pyo Ji Soo (Pathology Specialist)
Tae In Ho as Han Suk Won (Chairman of Haesung Hospital)
Park Ah In as Kim Eun Ji (Thoracic Surgery Specialist)
Jo Woo Ri as Jang Hee Eun (1st Year Resident of Anesthesiology + Lee Chi Hoon’s wife)

Charisma Characters In Descendants Of The Sun
Characters with charisma – Agus and An Jung Joon.

Uruk area:
Cho Tae Kwan as Danielle Spencer (Peacemaker Emergency Doctor Team)
Jeon Soo Jin as Ri Ye Hwa (Peacemaker Emergency Nurse Team)
David McInnis as Agus (Gang Boss, former Delta Force Captain)

Ji Seung Hyun as Senior Lieutenant An Jung Joon (North Korean army)

Notable Cameos In Descendants Of The Sun
Notable cameos by Lee Kwang Soo, Lee Jong Hyuk and Yoo Ah In.

Lee Kwang Soo as shooting arcade operator (episode 1)
Lee Jong Hyuk as Captain Kim Jin Seok (episode 2, 5, 10, 15)
Yoo Ah In as Uhm Hong Sik (episode 13 – Bank Clerk)

Cooking Soldiers In Descendants Of The Sun
Cooking for the girlfriends!

Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun
This is cool. I can see myself doing this. Haha

Filming locations of Descendants Of The Sun:
1. dal.komm COFFEE
Scene: The coffee place where Kang Mo Yeon broke up with Yoo Shi Jin.
Address: 1st floor, 160, Central-ro, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, Korea (인천광역시 연수구 센트럴로 160)

2. Taebaek Hanbo Exhausted Mine (한보탄광)
Scene: Fictional country Uruk
Address : 140-8, Tong-dong, Taebaek-si, Gangwon-do, Korea (강원도 태백시 통동 140-8번지)
Note: The set has been removed since filming wrapped up. However Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has plan to rebuild the set.

3. Samtan Art Mine
Scene: Disaster site (internal) of Uruk earthquake
Address : 1445-44, Hambaeksan-ro, Gohan-eup, Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do (강원도 정선군 고한읍 함백산로 1445-44)

4. Camp Greaves DMZ Experience Center
Scene: Soldiers’ base camp aka accommodation
Address : 137, Jeok Sib Ja ro, Gun Nae Myeon, Paju, Gyeonggido, Korea (파주시 군내면 적십자로 137)

5. Navagio Beach on the coast of Zakynthos Island, in the Ionian Islands of Greece (also known as Shipwreck Beach and Zakynthos Shipwreck)
Scene: Yoo Shi Jin and Kang Mo Yeon dated in this beautiful ‘shipwreck’ island (episode 3 and 16).

6. Monastery of Panagia Skopiotissa at Zakynthos Island, Greece
Scene: around/near Korean military camp in Uruk

7. Arachova, Greece
Scene: Yoo Shi Jin and Kang Mo Yeon town date where they met Agus.

8. Lemnos Island, Greece
Scene: some scenes for Uruk country

Hunky Soldiers In Descendants Of The Sun
Hunky soldiers! Phweeeeeep… owwwwww….
Don’t you wish the two main guys would strip off their tops as well? That would be picture perfect.

Descendants Of The Sun poll and Q&A:

The ‘See previous responses’ above is not working. Click here instead to see summary of responses.

Tsk, scroll down for the kiss answers.

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin & Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun
This is the BEST they look in the entire drama. White tops and black bottoms look so good on them.

Here’s the answers to the kissing questions:
Yoo Shi Jin & Kang Mo Yeon kisses 9 times (if you count the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as kiss), if not total is 8. Seo Dae Young & Yoon Myeong Joo kisses 4 times. Correct me if I’m wrong. I had a link to a youtube previously but the video no longer exist.

Song Joong Ki As Yoo Shi Jin Kisses Song Hye Kyo As Kang Mo Yeon In Descendants Of The Sun
Let’s kiss to celebrate the success of Descendants Of The Sun! 😚😚😚

Photos from KBS.

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  • Reply foongpc April 28, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I saw this show being advertised on Astro. LOL!

  • Reply Drama Fan May 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I am now even more convinced my taste and yours are aligned! Ever since I stumbled on your blog from messywitchen (making nian gao), I have read your kdrama reviews and agree with most of them. I watched Assemblyman based on your reviews and loved it.

    As for DOTS, I can’t believe you also do not like Song Hye Kyo and do not get into her character. I am totally disappointed with this drama after all the hype. They spent too much conversation talking about Song Hye Kyo being pretty. The actions do not make me tense. Kind of anticlimactic most of the times.

    Still love Song Joong Ki but hope they pair him up with someone else next time. Yes, the chemistry here look more like siblings to me. Good thing the second pairing won me over.

    • Reply Che-Cheh May 28, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Drama Fan, ohmygod that’s wonderful to know. Hehe I always thought my taste on certain K. dramas are weird because they don’t always agree with the masses. Good to know I have an ally. Hehehe 🙂

      • Reply Mitta May 29, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        Spot on! I totally agree with your review so you’re not alone. I had this show earmarked since it was in conceptual stage but have to say it did not meet my expectations for the points you mentioned above. Good entertainment but certainly no masterpiece.

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