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Daily Helping for February 7th, 2021 – Descendants of the Sun

A promotional still from the TV series Descendants of the Sun, wherein lead actor Song Joong-Ki is tying the shoe of lead actress Song Hye-Kyo in the middle of a disaster zone.

Well, all I can say is that it’s time for some more all caps screaming about how much I love something. After December’s post about The Untamed, a recommendation came in to give K-dramas a try, meaning Korean television shows. A podcast I listen to had previously recommended Descendants of the Sun, and after discovering it was on Netflix, I decided to dive in. Now, all I can say is wow. I mean. Just, wow. Where have these shows been all my life?

To say that I devoured this show would be the understatement of the year. It would be more accurate to say that I inhaled all 16 episodes in one go. I then promptly went looking for more, but I also immediately starting researching K-dramas themselves. I wanted to know if they are all like this one. Are they all this addictive? This emotional? This hysterically funny? The answer, it would seem, is yes, they are. And I am 100% on board with this.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to summarize the plot of Descendants of the Sun, and the best I can come up with is this: It’s Grey’s Anatomy meets The Hurt Locker meets a Spanish telenovela, and basically all the plot happens. And I mean that quite literally, because this show has So. Much. Plot. There’s action and drama, natural disasters and hostage taking. Outbreaks of deadly viruses and tense medical standoffs. Dangerous minefields and cars hanging off cliffs. And that’s all in just the first 12 episodes. I’m not joking. I actually wondered at the end of episode 12 how it was even possible that there were still four more episodes. How could there be anymore plot left? And yet, miraculously, there was.

I know what I describe above doesn’t exactly scream comedy, but in and amongst the action and drama, this show was surprisingly hilarious. In every episode there was at least one moment that had me howling with laughter, and that’s even with the language barrier. I’m also very much aware that it doesn’t sound like Descendants of the Sun has much room for character arcs in and amongst all the action, but once again this show goes all out. There’s breakups and reconciliations, personal crises and emotional breakdowns. And probably one of the most adorable declarations of love I’ve ever seen in a television series. It comes near the end between two of the supporting characters, and it may be my favourite moment of the entire show. And that’s saying something.

I’ve since learned that K-dramas are usually self-contained story arcs of 16-20 episodes each, and I cannot stress enough how much I love this. I actually had to take a break from watching television in recent years because I couldn’t handle the endless seasons and drama. Now I can have all the drama I want in a compact story arc with a concrete end. No more needless cliffhangers to keep you coming back for another season. Just one story to inhale as quickly as you can press play on the next episode. I love it so much.

So yeah. I have officially descended (pun very much intended) into the wonderful world of K-dramas, and I don’t see myself coming out any time soon. Please join me. I’d love to be able to shout about these shows with someone other than my computer screen.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!