This story tells of doctors stationed in the fictional war zone of Urk (Uruk), and follows the love story that develops between a surgeon, Kang Mo Yeon, and a special forces officer, Yoo Shi Jin, both elite in their respective fields. The story will track both their personal and professional struggles while exploring issues about the value of life.
Where to Watch Descendants of the Sun
Cast & Credits
I think the biggest problem I had with this show is that it tried to mix in three genres without a coherent plot to bring it all together. It's part rom-com, part military drama, and part hospital sitcom. The love story is probably what makes most people excited about the show, the military scenes are a cool action bonus, and the hospital sitcom keeps things from getting too heavy and depressing. Unfortunately, because the script is so weak, I was too disconnected to keep caring about the show, and it started to become very boring. I kept watching for one reason only Song Joong Ki.
Song Joong Ki is oddly cast in a lot of ways. He has a super baby face, and boyish charm, but still managed to be a believable [email protected] soldier. I would easily rate his character/acting 10. Not only did I develop a 16 episode crush on him, but I really cared about his assignments. The show would have been a million times more enjoyable for me if they just let his story be the center, or rather, the bromance between Shi Jin, and Dae Yeong. Their relationship was my favorite part of the show. Their characters didn't have much depth individually, but their bromance was solid.
There is also great chemistry between Song Joong Ki, and Song Hye Kyo, but not much to their overall story. Every moment with them is exactly the same - they flirt, they separate, she gets mad, he's extra charming, they flirt again. Early on, I really started to dislike Dr. Kang Mo Yeon, which made it hard to sympathize with her anger at him. Eventually I started to like her a little more, but no matter how cute their flirty scenes, or how strangely amusing their brink of death dating was, their story is still repetitive, which gets old quick.
The 2nd leads also had a romance, that had a few more obstacles thrown their way (parents, distance, almost dying), but was just as repetitive - fight, confess, spontaneous affection, fight. It's like each story just filled in the same blanks for each episode. It was actually the older minor characters who had the most interesting love story. I thought Seo Jeong Yeon and Lee Seung Jun were really cute, and deserve an honorable mention.
The supporting cast was pretty good. Some were much better than others, and some were almost completely useless (the head of the hospital... that ditzy doctor... ugh). I had to bring the acting down to an 8 because of that, but the cast is really the only good thing this show has going for it.
What was the point of this drama? At first it seemed like a way to show how hard it can be to date a soldier, but because the show didn't take itself seriously, it was hard for me to take that too seriously, even with that emotionally manipulative 15th episode. The conflicts at the hospital were ridiculous, and mostly filler. The best episodes took place when the medical staff went overseas to Urk, but once that was over, the show seemed to have no clue what to do. Did they run out of travel budget, so they decided to just wing it for the last episodes? Even in Urk, the plot was super predictable, and totally unrealistic, but it was still very entertaining (yummy Cheese!!!). When they returned, my feelings about the show went downhill, and I was no longer excited about watching the next episode. Then suddenly things got very serious out of nowhere, only to end with the silliest (and worst) last episode I've ever seen in any drama (yes THE worst!). I wonder if episode 15 was the original ending, and then it was changed last minute to avoid a backlash. That's the only thing I can think of as an explanation for why it was so bad.
The music? meh. The scenery? epic. The english spoken? decent. The shirtless men running? Daebak.
Would I rewatch? Not unless someone makes an edited version of only scenes with Song Joong Ki.
Overall It's like they rolled a kdrama dice and just threw stuff in at random to get people hooked, then they just focused on all the ways they can successfully incorporate product placement. Maybe that was the real point, to see how many ads they could sneak into a drama.
Even though there were moments I really enjoyed, I can't recommend this drama, especially after sitting through that ending. I wish they cut it down to 10 episodes, removing all the unnecessary fluff, and sneaky ads (subway, hyundai, make up, coffee, snacks, hiking equipments, travel apps... umm... except for the self driving car, because that scene was actually cool ) then maybe it would be a drama worthy of all the hype.
Or maybe you can treat my review like lactaid. Now that you know what to expect, maybe you can better digest all the cheese this show has to offer.
The story itself actually had a nice, steady pace. From my drama watching experience (and I have watched quite a lot), the show usually gets draggy around episode 10 to 14. This was NOT the case. From the very beginning it was so action packed and fast paced I wondered how the writers were going to keep this interesting for another 15 episodes. They proved me wrong though, and every episode felt like 3. The story itself, granted they did have the advantage of a unique setting, does not use the same plot devices as other dramas. It was just a perfect mix of humor, suspense, romance, and action. Those are very different genres but they managed to do it really well. There didn't seem to be a central storyline, but instead it was quite episodic which would usually turn me off. The drama, however, had such a good flow that I didn't even notice, and although the conflicts are episodic the romance and relationships between the characters were developed consistently.
The cast did so wonderfully. Not only were the main actors amazing, every actor breathed life into the supporting characters. They were not just there to support the leads. Each one of them actually had their own distinct personalities and characters that added so much substance to the show. The chemistry between the leads and the second leads was one of the best I've seen. Because of the setting and the dire situations they're put in, you can clearly see the development of the characters. And as a side note, though some of Song Joong Ki's lines may come off as cheesy as hell, he pulled it off so well I almost didn't even notice how cheesy they really were. In fact, they just added to his character.
The music is just so so so good. Usually I only find one or maybe two good songs per OST, but right now I have the entire OST on replay on my phone. It's that good.
That said, I would definitely definitely rewatch it. Normally I would have a couple critiques on my reviews, but honestly I couldn't have asked for a better show. Sure, the show has become really mainstream and may come off as overhyped, but that doesn't mean it loses it's value. If you're hesitant about trying it, don't be. Of my 140+ dramas, it's climbed to number 3. You won't regret it!
Now I'm just going to go into my little corner of post show depression :')