K-drama fans will never forget the night of February 24, 2016.
At 10:05 p.m., KBS2 aired the pilot episode of Descendants of the Sun. At 11, when the drama ended, it became a household name in South Korea.
Fans went berserk. Descendants of the Sun made headlines. Social media platforms were flooded with posts of DOTS, as the fans fondly called it.
Interestingly, there was nothing remarkable about Descendants of the Sun. The plot was simple — a military drama, which celebrates love, friendship, and patriotism.
The mandatory military duty was something every South Korean was able to relate to. Every home had a father, son, or a brother serving in the army. This plot gave the cast and crew the confidence that the drama would become a mega-hit in the country. But they were mistaken.
Descendants of the Sun exceeded expectations. Not only did it capture the hearts of South Korean audience, it also swayed fans across China, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Gradually, it gained global recognition.
Descendants of the Sun today is a phenomenon. It changed South Korea’s economy. It boosted tourism. It set the standard for fashion. Most of all, it created Asia’s most celebrated couple — Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, the lead stars who swayed the audience with their performance in Descendants of the Sun.
The hard work and effort put in by the cast and crew has paid off. Descendants of the Sun is now nominated for a Hallyu Drama award. The Seoul International Drama Awards ceremony will be held at KBS hall on September 8.
Kim Woo Taek, CEO of New Entertainment, who produced Descendants of the Sun, expressed his gratitude to the cast and crew. He particularly lauded the performance of Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo. He thanked the duo for accepting the role.
In an interview with Korea Star Daily, he said that he made Song Joong-ki wear a military uniform again.
“Song Joong-ki had just returned from the mandatory military duty. He could have opted to choose other roles. But he readily agreed to this one. I am glad that Song Hye-kyo too agreed despite her schedule. Because of them, I never thought about other possible actor and actress, They are the best team ever,” he said.
In an earlier interview, co-writer of Descendants of the Sun, Kim Won-seok, admitted that there were some parts he could have fine-tuned.
“I think there were many parts lacking in the script despite the time to make the quality show through pre-production. I think I could have paid more attention to the script such as emotional lines of the characters,” Kim said, stressing that he could have listened to feedback from the viewers.
Another reason for the success of Descendants of the Sun is the growth of smartphones and social media sites. Even defectors in North Korea watched the series, thanks to the internet.
According to Korea Times, a local daily Kyunghyang Shimmun spoke to a North Korean defector who said that a defector’s family in the North had watched the drama’s first eight episodes via the Internet.
“More smartphones have been distributed to people and better internet networks have been established compared to the past,” said a North Korean expert.
“Some North Koreans had begun to get love-sick with the drama,” the report said.
Right now, there are speculations about Season 2 of Descendants of the Sun. However, Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo may not be a part of it. While Song Joong-ki is shooting the Korean movie Battleship Island, Song Hye-kyo is waiting for her next big role.
Meanwhile, fans of Descendants of the Sun are praying their onscreen couple, Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, get together in life too.
Have you taken the Song Song challenge yet?
[Image via KBS]