February has been a great month for Korean dramas. The three major K-dramas that started back in January — Moorim School, Madame Antoine, and Cheese in the Trap — continued onward with steady ratings. Even the latter receiving much backlash from fans because of its divergence from its source, the web comic by Soonki, could not dampen the K-drama success February had overall.
To be frank, the reason why February was such a good month for K-dramas is for two new dramas that made their debut that month. The first was Please Come Back, Mister, which marks the return of Jung Ji Hoon (better known as Rain) to K-dramas. Many fans anticipated Rain’s return because his drama made its debut with double-digit ratings in its debut for Seoul National Capital Area (TNmS Ratings).
However, it is Descendants of the Sun that really earns the praise of K-drama fans. It made its debut on February 24, 2016 with an average of 13 percent in the Seoul National Capital Area (average of TNmS Ratings and AGB Nielson). The next night, ratings went up an average of two percent. Apparently, those two episodes set up Descendants of the Sun as it dominated the competition with its third episode. With nationwide and Seoul National Capital Area for both TNmS Ratings and AGB Nielson, the K-drama earned over 20 percent viewership ratings.
For those who do not know what Descendants of the Sun is about, it is a drama about the love of people who get closer as they learn to be considerate of each other in desperate times. It is also about the sacrifices made by people who throw themselves into natural disasters. Captain Yoo Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) is the team leader of the Special Warfare Command of the United Nations Peacekeeping Troops. By request of the UN, he is stationed in the war-torn country of Uruk. There he meets Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo), a volunteer doctor with Doctors Without Borders. As they work alongside each other, they clash and fall in love.
Apparently, viewers love Descendants of the Sun because the ratings provided by both TNS Media Korea and AGB Nielson shows the K-drama earned over 20 percent in viewership rating for both the Seoul National Capital Area and nationwide. Specifically, TNmS was 21.8 percent nationwide and 22.7 percent for Seoul, while AGB was 23.4 percent nationwide and 24.6 percent for Seoul. All of them ranked second in viewership except for TNmS in Seoul, which ranked first. To put things into perspective, a fifth of South Korea’s population is 10 million people. Just a little over that number tuned in to watch the third episode of Descendants of the Sun.
Descendants of the Sun dominating the charts and placing high also dethroned tvN, as reported by Korea Times. The broadcasting system had shows on top of viewership rating charts for January and February. In fairness, the controversy surrounding tvN’s K-drama Cheese in the Trap may have hurt the broadcasting system as a whole, ergo hurting their other shows. But the fact Descendants of the Sun earned a viewership rating that actually beat the best of 2015, Yong Pal, means the K-drama is outperforming beyond expectations.
It is good that Descendants of the Sun is doing so well because its network, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), was having trouble for most of 2015. Anyways, for those who are interested in watching Descendants of the Sun, it airs on Wednesdays and Thursday at 9:55 p.m. KST on KBST. For those who don’t have access to Korean broadcasting, it can be viewed, which includes past episodes, on Viki.
[Image via Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)/Descendants of the Sun Promotions]