The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Descendants of the Sun

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

Even though Descendants of the Sun is not very well-written and far from subtle, there are things to enjoy in this show, if you’re willing to close your eyes to its shortcomings. Things like appealing lead characters (most of them, anyway), character relationships, the romance and the bromance. And not forgetting Song Joong Ki in his most schmexy drama outing to date (ahem).

Flawed, but not without its charms.

Behold Schmexy Song Joong Ki. ❤

THE LONG VERDICT:

Whether you love this show or hate it; whether you think it’s the drama gods’ gift to mankind or the most ludicrous thing to ever grace our screens – heck, whether you even watch kdrama or not – you just can’t ignore it.

The Sunday right after this drama finished its run in Korea, a male friend of mine who doesn’t watch any kdrama whatsoever, but knows that I do, came up to me and asked with a cheeky, knowing grin, “So did you watch Descendants of the Sun?”

Why yes, I did watch it, actually, even though I have little interest in medical &/or military stories. Mostly, I dipped my toes in coz Show was generating so much (seriously, So Much!) buzz even before it aired. The reason I faithfully kept on watching through to the end, though, was mostly coz Song Joong Ki is so darn schmexy in his army fatigues.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

I know I might be upsetting some people by saying this, but the bald truth is, this show is far from well-written. The good news is, it’s possible to ignore this show’s weaknesses in order to enjoy its strengths. It might take some excessive eye-rolling and you might need to sometimes (oftentimes?) close both eyes in the process, but it can be done.

Just for the record, here are the things that gave me doubtful pause while I was watching the show.

1. The medical &/or military stuff

The medical and rescue practices in this show are.. dubious at best. Even as a person who has close to zero exposure to actual medical and military practices, some of these bemused me and caused me to raise an eyebrow or two.

[SPOILER ALERT]

One eyebrow-raising instance of strange medical practice, is in episode 7, when Mo Yun (Song Hye Kyo) whacks a patient’s chest repeatedly instead of performing actual CPR. I figure this was Show’s way of making her look cool, but I’m pretty sure that’s not recommended practice.

Another instance that had me scratching my head, is in episode 8, which had an extended arc where Chi Hoon (a very solid performance by Onew) goes into a troubled emotional funk because he abandons survivor Kang Min Jae (Lee Yi Kyung) when the building rubble they are in starts to collapse.

It’s supposed to be a deeply emotional arc exploring the vulnerability and humanity of doctors, but I was distractedly asking myself through it all, why the medical team was even entering the collapsed building to search for survivors to begin with, when in earlier episodes, the soldiers had taken care of that, and then brought the injured to the medical team.

Because the practices felt inconsistent, the execution of the arc felt manufactured and contrived, to me.

[END SPOILER]

2. The logic stuff

Years of watching kdramas have taught me that it’s often necessary to suspend disbelief, in order to enjoy the story that the drama is trying to tell.

In this show’s case, let’s just say that my limits were stretched more than I ever hoped would be required. Sometimes the lack of logic in this story world was so ludicrous that I couldn’t help but sputter audibly and roll my eyes.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are lots of examples that fit into this category, but I think none takes the cake as much as how Shi Jin (Song Joong Ki) basically comes back from the dead in episode 14, and immediately gets back into the thick of the action, while still bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. We’re not even talking about normal-people things; he gets into a stand-down with Ahn Jung Joon (Ji Seung Hyun) who’s holding Ja Ae (Seo Jung Yeon) hostage.

Plus, he proceeds to walk around the hospital, and then, while in recovery, he goes on to do sniper things as well. It’s completely unbelievable, but because I wanted to believe that Yoo Shi Jin is that special almost-superhuman sort of person, I just went with it.

But, I must say I rolled my eyes extensively, when Shi Jin flailed in his wheelchair upon his discharge and promptly fell off it, while Mo Yun rushed over to.. fuss over the wheelchair instead of him. I mean, seriously? A guy who could get up after being newly resuscitated to intervene with another patient, and then got up again to be a sniper on some other building’s rooftop, can’t save himself from a runaway wheelchair? Why was he even in a wheelchair, since he was walking around just fine while hospitalized? It’s all kinds of ridiculous, and clearly, just an excuse to have Mo Yun fuss over the wheelchair instead of Shi Jin. Which I found pretty lame, really.

…Which brings me to the next section, quite nicely.

[END SPOILER]

3. The humor &/or the cutesy

Whether or not you enjoy Show’s Intended Funny really depends on your personal taste, since humor’s subjective and all. Personally, I felt like most of the time, Show tried too hard to be funny, and the humor was too broad for my taste, generally speaking.

[SPOILER ALERT]

For example, all the sped-up footage of the soldiers preparing for the Commander’s visit in episode 9 was supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t particularly amused. Also, all the repeated double dating cutesy featuring our lead couples was just ok, for me. I mostly didn’t find it all that entertaining, but sometimes, if I squinted just right, it was.. ok.

Episode 14 stands out for me, as an example where Show tries hard to serve up a lot of Funny, but none of it landed well, for me. Nasty Doc getting her hair pulled by Chi Hoon’s wife while she goes into labor; Mo Yun talking smack about the Commander while the room’s bugged, and then trying to backpedal; the supposed comedy around Mo Yun having to pay for the hospital windows; the supposed funny around Dae Young (Jin Goo) and Shi Jin trying to pull a fast one on Mo Yun. I found all of these distinctly heavy-handed, rather clunky, and not very amusing at all, I’m afraid.

[END SPOILER]

4. The storytelling

Like the Intended Funny in this show, there is nothing subtle about the storytelling. A good amount of the time, it feels like stuff is put in place purely to facilitate a particular plot point.

I get that this technique is employed in (probably) every drama out there, but I hafta say, this connect-the-dots type of writing was really obvious in this show. [SPOILER] Like in episode 13, where Mo Yun tries to quit her job. This arc results in her being sent to the ER, which results in the Dramatic Moment where she receives Shi Jin’s motionless body, when he’s rushed to the hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. [END SPOILER]

5. The musical cues

Like the writing, the musical cues in this show are far from subtle. From the love ballads declaring “I love youuuu~..” when our lead couple had just met and barely knew each other, to the boppy instrumentals that informed us we were witnessing a Funny Scene, the music in this show was applied with a heavy hand.

It often felt like the music was used to help compensate for any weaknesses in the writing, so that audiences would know how they were supposed to feel at any given point in time.

Unfortunately, this tended to have the opposite effect on me. [MINOR SPOILER] In episode 10, there was a whole lotta big music around the missing narcotics arc, and to be honest, I really didn’t – couldn’t – care. Which made the disengagement I felt with the writing all the more glaring to me, unfortunately. [END SPOILER]

BUT STILL..

…in spite of all of Show’s flaws (and I wasn’t even being that thorough in this section, really), I found enough to enjoy, and enough to keep me coming back for another episode, and then another, all the way through to the very end.

Sure, the hook was stronger for me in the earlier episodes than in the later ones, but we can talk about that later. 😉

STUFF I LIKED

Song Joong Ki as Yoo Shi Jin

Let me state unabashedly for the record, that Song Joong Ki (Pure Pretty post here!) as Yoo Shi Jin was the thing that I enjoyed the most, in this show.

The superficial stuff

Let’s just say that Shirtless Song Joong Ki completely and utterly exceeded my expectations. I mean, I’ve long had affection for him as an actor (he is so delightful in Sungkyunkwan Scandal!), but I’d never thought of him as the buff type.

Well, it’s true that the military taketh away, but the military clearly also giveth back, coz – woah Nelly! – post-MS Song Joong Ki is altogether quite mesmerizing. Guh. The veins down his arms; the sculpted shoulders. I could hardly look away, seriously.

Plus, you already know that I find him completely schmexy in his army fatigues.

Song Joong Ki wears it all with just the right amount of swag; enough to make it seem like coolness is oozing out of his pores, but not so much that he feels overbearing.

The way he walks, the way he stands, the way he habitually puts his hands on his artillery belt, the way he squints into the sun and talks with a slight downturn of his lips, while putting strength into his jaw. All that, plus the hotness of the sculpted muscle, and the use of the lower registers of his voice. It just all comes together in a perfect package of sexy. ❤

The less superficial stuff

Over and above the superficial pretty, I also felt very drawn to Shi Jin as a character.

I love that Shi Jin is far from being a jerky male lead (a phenomenon that is way too common in dramaland, sadly). I admit that there are times that Shi Jin comes across as a little high-handed, [MINOR SPOILER] like the time in episode 1 where he knocks the phone out of Mo Yun’s hand while she’s got it raised to her ear. That did make me raise my eyebrows a little [END SPOILER].

Still, I rationalize that Shi Jin’s high-handed touch is at least partly a product of his military environment. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but at least I sort of get where it’s coming from. Additionally, the fact that Shi Jin comes across as a decent kind of guy otherwise, counts for a lot in my books.

One of my favorite things about Shi Jin, is that he’s straightforward and frank about his feelings. He doesn’t shy away from admitting his attraction to Mo Yun, and when it comes up in conversation, he faces it head-on instead of avoiding it. [SPOILER] Like in episode 3, when Mo Yun asks if he’s ever been bewitched, and he just levels his gaze at her and answers that he has, and that she should know about it. And when she asks him why they’re going to the beach when he’d said it was far away, and he matter-of-factly answers that it’s because he wants to spend a long time with her. [END SPOILER] So straightforward and unabashed; I love it.

I also love Shi Jin’s decisive streak, and his matter-of-fact way of facing all the consequences of his decisions. He doesn’t blame anyone, and doesn’t regret his actions – not because he’s too full of himself, but because he’d weighed his decision thoroughly, even in the split seconds that he was given, and he’s at peace with his choices. There’s something impressive and alluring and very sexy about that quality in him.

Add on Shi Jin’s strong loyal streak, his good humor, and the fact that he’s a total badass who’s very, very good at his job, and he just adds up to a really appealing package overall. Likey muchey. ❤

Plus, who can resist Song Joong Ki’s adorable amused face, right? ❤

Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young

I love Jin Goo as Dae Young, So Much. ❤

I really enjoyed Dae Young’s stoic vibe, and the fact that his gruff exterior can’t hide the sweet, kind, loyal, selfless and caring marshmallow that he is on the inside.

Each time we got to see some of that good-hearted sweetness at play, I liked Dae Young more. [SPOILER] Like the time Dae Young took troublemaker Kim Ki Bum (Kim Min Suk) under his wing and paid for his hospital bills even though he didn’t even know the kid. Or the time he worked so hard in order to be able to attend his ex-girlfriend’s wedding, purely to give her comfort that he was ok. Just, wow[END SPOILER]

Of course, I also love that Dae Young – like Shi Jin – is very much a capable, focused badass who’s very good at his job.

Kim Ji Won as Yoon Myung Joo

I really liked Kim Ji Won in her role as Myung Joo. Even though Myung Joo is written with a distinct prickly streak, Kim Ji Won makes her feel likable and real.

More than that, I respect that Myung Joo is written as a strong, capable woman who is not only crystal clear about what she wants, but isn’t afraid to make a stand for it. Even if it means stepping outside of her comfort zone; even if it means making the first move; even if it means going head-to-head with her father and Commanding Officer.

She chooses to be brave even when she doesn’t feel brave – [SPOILER] like when Dae Young is uncontactable in the midst of the rubble post-quake, for example [END SPOILER] – and I can’t help but respect her for that.

The Bromance

The bromance between Shi Jin and Dae Young was definitely one of the highlights of the show, for me.

On the surface, they regularly take delight in ribbing and trolling each other, with Dae Young being the strait-laced foil to Shi Jin’s wisecracking prankster. But beyond that, there is a great depth of loyalty, trust and respect between them; a fact that I appreciated very much.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I love that even though Myung Joo’s father (Kang Shin Il) makes it clear that he prefers Shi Jin as potential son-in-law material (which has got to deepen the sting from Dae Young being rejected as said potential son-in-law), that it doesn’t affect the friendship between Dae Young and Shi Jin.

I also love that these two miss each other when they aren’t together, and regularly call each other, even long distance. Or drop in on each other, like Shi Jin does (below) in episode 6, heh.

Most of all, though, I love the moment in episode 4, when Dae Young visits Shi Jin in the detention area, and tells him, “Today.. every call my superior officer made was right and justified. And today, every call my superior officer made.. was honorable.” Dae Young’s so stoic in that moment, and yet, so quietly supportive, while communicating his respect for Shi Jin’s courage. How much those words mean to Shi Jin is also clear, just from the gaze that they exchange. These two admire and respect each other deeply, and it shows, and I love it. ❤

[END SPOILER]

The secondary romance

Right away from episode 1, and all the way through the end of the show, I felt invested in the loveline between Dae Young and Myung Joo.

Even before we became acquainted with the obstacles in the way of their love, their connection felt rich and robust with meaningful angst, and I really believed that Dae Young and Myung Joo loved each other deeply, whether they were together or not. Almost every scene they shared was full of meaning and emotion, even if everything on the surface was played with stoic restraint. More than anything, I loved how steadfast, how unwavering, and how unhesitatingly and decisively I-choose-you they were, about each other. 

Such believable, heartfelt deliveries from both Jin Goo and Kim Ji Won, and such consistently palpable chemistry between them too.

Augh. So good.

[SPOILER ALERT]

While this relationship had a good number of melty moments (how about that reverse wrist-grab in episode 4 which resulted in that wonderfully stoic-yet-emotional hug (below)? So melty ❤ ), it was their depth of selfless care for each other that moved me.

That he’s willing to consider leaving the military in order to be with her; that she loves him just as he is, and is happy for him to stay in the military; that when she’s infected with a highly dangerous, infectious virus, his first instinct is to make straight for her and hold her close, with no thought to his own safety. It’s all so thoroughly poignant and so very beautiful.

Through it all, I felt that the conflict in their relationship was well-developed and well-played. It always felt real, and their decisions in the face of the conflict always felt motivated by love and a desire to honor the other person. I was totally on board this ship, and rooted for them all series long.

[END SPOILER]

Quick shout-outs to:

The other secondary couple: Sang Hyun & Ja Ae

I thought the loveline between Sang Hyun (Lee Seung Joon) and Ja Ae was amusing and really cute. Not only did they bring the show moments of levity, at the heart of it, they sincerely cared about each other, and I liked that very much.

The other bromance: Dae Young & Ki Bum

This bromance took me a little bit by surprise, and I found myself really liking the bond between Dae Young and Ki Bum. I love that Ki Bum cleaves to Dae Young like an adoring duckling to its mother, and that underneath the gruff surface, Ki Bum brings out Dae Young’s nurturing side.

Just, so adorable and so endearing, these two. ❤

Ahn Jung Joon

For a minor character, Ahn Jung Joon sure left a deep impression on me. So full of intensity and unspoken angst that I found his character intriguing enough to merit his own show. A movie, maybe.

STUFF THAT ADDED UP TO NEUTRAL

Song Hye Kyo as Kim Mo Yun

I know this might not be a popular opinion, but Song Hye Kyo as Mo Yun was rather uneven, for me.

Part of it is in the writing – I acknowledge that it is hard to write a female lead who’s very flawed and yet likable. In terms of the writing, I got the flawed part. The likable part was.. a bit slow in the coming. But I will say that I eventually warmed to Mo Yun as a character. I never loved her, but eventually, I stopped disliking her and felt that she was pretty alright, if sometimes bemusing.

The other part of it, is in the delivery – I also acknowledge that it’s hard to deliver a female lead who’s very flawed and yet likable. I’d say that overall, Song Hye Kyo’s delivery as Mo Yun was rather patchy, for me. I felt she did best when Mo Yun was grieved. I believed her sorrow, and those moments were the ones where I felt most engaged by her as a character.

At other times, though, like when Mo Yun was being funny, cutesy or prickly, I didn’t feel very convinced by Song Hye Kyo in character, I’m afraid. At times, it almost felt like she wasn’t convinced of the lines that she had to deliver either. Plus, there’s an intermittent vacuity in her gaze that I found bemusing. Added up, I just generally found it hard to connect with her as Mo Yun, quite a lot of the time.

In spite of these, I found myself eventually softening towards Mo Yun, which is why I’ve placed her in the neutral zone.

The OTP

Since the romance is the main draw of this show for a lot of folks, I know this is probably also an unpopular opinion. Still, I’m gonna just come out and say it: I didn’t think that Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo had great chemistry as our OTP, sadly.

I’m sure that my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to Song Hye Kyo’s delivery of Mo Yun as a character had some part to play in my perception of the OTP’s chemistry or lack thereof. But there it is.

All the melty moments weren’t wasted on me, however, since I very much enjoyed watching Shi Jin giving melty gazes, and generally doing swoony romantic leading-man things.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I did appreciate that our OTP spent time coming to terms with their very different philosophies and ways of life. I like that Mo Yun eventually comes to appreciate how honorable Shi Jin’s job is, in spite of the constant danger, and that she chooses him anyway. I love that in not-quite-kdrama-tradition, Mo Yun gets to make a love declaration to Shi Jin, which we see in episode 12. I love that she gets to tell him honestly how awesome he is, and I like that she does it in such a matter-of-fact manner.

On Shi Jin’s side, I really liked the moment in episode 7, when Shi Jin tells Mo Yun how he feels about her, as she tends to his wounds. It’s a moment that’s quiet, serious, perfectly muted, and completely sincere.

Amid the abundance of cutesy, bickering &/or swoony between our OTP, these moments of honesty were the ones that resonated with me the most.

[END SPOILER]

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Honestly, this show’s ending was a mixed bag, for me.

The upside: Shi Jin and Dae Young are alive, woot! I would’ve been rather sad if Show had left them as dead, since this never struck me as that kind of melo.

Additionally, I really liked that Ahn Jung Joon turns out to be our boys’ rescuer. It’s a great callback to how they keep paying one another back for naengmyeon and other small favors, with these big life-saving acts. I felt really pleased to see Ahn as their rescuer, also because it deepens my impression of him as a good guy. Plus, it shows that he’s alive, which is always a good thing to be.

I also liked Mo Yun’s all-over-the-place reaction to Shi Jin being alive. It made sense that her emotions would be leaping from one extreme to another, and I liked being able to witness that.

On the downside, I couldn’t help feeling rather bemused during the reunion scene between Shi Jin and Mo Yun in the desert. Seriously, Shi Jin’s a capable guy and everything, but how could he know which way she was facing, so that he could tell her to turn around? And, why did she look around, instead of reaching for the walkie, which was the source of the sound of his voice? A lot of things felt quite illogical about this scene, which took me out of the moment.

Back on the upside, I felt Dae Young’s reunion with Myung Joo was sweet, even though I cringed a little at the flailing fists. And I loved the reunions between the boys and their comrades. The hug that Commander gave; the cries of joy from their team; Ki Bum’s tears at seeing Dae Young. Loved all of that, so much.

The gag of the doctors and nurses assuming that they saw Shi Jin’s ghost was also well-played. I genuinely found that funny, and laughed out loud.

On the (other) downside, some of the rest of the stuff really was rather cringeworthy. Like the fishing trip and the supposedly flirty conversation between Shi Jin and Mo Yun. And the boys getting all excited and fanboying to Red Velvet. And the parallel interrogative conversations between the boys and their girlfriends, which was supposed to be funny. I.. found it all mostly pretty lame and very cheesy. Seriously, I could see the callbacks and cheesy lines coming from a mile away, and I found myself actually bracing for impact. The romantic dialogue, the bickering, the breaking of the fourth wall, and the ending where a volcano erupts (heh).

The last few minutes were over-the-top, eye-rolling and ridiculous, which I didn’t prefer, but it was an ultimately harmless cheese-fest, and I can see how that might appeal to some viewers.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

When all is said and done, I clearly didn’t love Descendants of the Sun as much as some viewers did, but neither did I dislike it like some did, either.

Sure, the whole medical/military set-up is basically set dressing, and the romance was always meant to be the Main Event. Yet, in spite of my head often telling me that all this stuff was overly melodramatic, and that there was way too much PPL in place, there were a good number of times that I couldn’t help but swoon anyway.

Which is a solid accomplishment, whichever way I look at it.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Cheesy, predictable and illogical, yet quite pleasant, in spite of it all. There are moments of fun and swoon to be had, if you’re able to switch off the ol’ brain.

FINAL GRADE: B

TEASERS:

MV:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

91 thoughts on “Review: Descendants of the Sun

  1. Awesome review as always!!

    Thank you, Fangurl for your thoughtful analysis; I did watch the Show and I completely agree with you-worth it if you can turn off the brain and enjoy Song Joong Ki!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mary, I’m so glad you enjoyed the review! And absolutely, it was Song Joong Ki that made this watch worthwhile – with a good helping hand for the lovely Jin Goo too, of course 😉

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  2. Following the amazing hype around this drama, I had been waiting for your thoughts on this, to see if they matched mine (which they always do). And yes, you felt the same! I found the drama a bit ‘duff’; far-fetched, often implausible and written very disjointedly (inspite of the ‘drama glasses’ always being worn for all K-dramas), but Song Joong Ki and Jin Goo’s characters, plus Dae Young’s relationship arc kept me watching each week. I, too, really liked the North Korean agent thread and how it tied up with the ending, and the cameraderie between the different soldiers, especially Dae Young and Bum Ki’s relationship. I liked the depiction of the different ranks showing complete trust and deference to their commanding officers; I found it very believable for Korean soldiers. And I liked the bit where Dae Young was so angry that Myung Ju had begged her father to accept their relationship on her death bed, when he wanted to earn that acceptance himself, not have it bestowed as a trade-off for Myung Ju’s recovery. It felt very believable for his noble character and I enjoyed watching how this worked out.
    Song Hye Kyo was mainly frustrating to watch (although I loved the part where she kissed SJK in the back of the truck, she did a great job! 😍), and as with all K-dramas, the English-speaking actors were mainly cringe-worthy and difficult to watch.

    Thank you for your reviews, I always love them and if I am not sure whether to watch something, I’ll check your verdict and watch accordingly (I was ready to give up Healer after 2 episodes, but then read your review… 😊). I can’t convince anyone to try K-drama so reading your thoughts is my equivalent fan-girling with a friend when a series ends 🙃.
    Looking forward to seeing what Song Joong Ki and Jin Goo do next…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there TorixBear! So great to know we feel similarly about this drama! 😀 YES, I also liked the arc where Dae Young wanted to earn Myung Joo’s father’s acceptance himself – I didn’t mention it in the review, but you said exactly what I felt about it. Basically, that it felt true to Dae Young’s character, and that it was understandable that he would be angry. As for Song Hye Kyo, I was bemused by her character a lot. It’s definitely partly the writing, but I also do blame her delivery. The cutesy just didn’t work for me, somehow. She was cute in Full House, but here, I just cringed through every cutesy scene she did. 😛

      Thank for reminding me about my Healer review! I still haven’t written it a proper review, so what you read was probably the short blurb I wrote in the Year-in-Review post. 😛 I hope to finish writing that review in the relatively near future..! I AM glad you gave it a chance though, coz I flipping loved it both times I watched it! ❤

      Also! Feel free to drop by whenever.. Most of us are online coz we can’t fangirl with our RL friends. You’re welcome to fangirl here anytime you like! ^^

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  3. I got to episode 7 before I rolled my eyes one too many times and stopped watching. Though I may return and do a skip-watch where I can fast forward any cringe or laggy parts and freeze frame on nekkid Joong Ki.:D

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    • Haha! Yes, a skip-watch sounds like the best way to get the best out of this show. If your eyes were working too hard with the rolling, I definitely recommending employing the FF button to help you along! Although, that might mean a very short watch of DotS for ya, Lol! XD

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  4. ahahaha!!! I have typed so many only to find out that i lost it!😂 wae???

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  5. Heh, I skipped this one alltogether. I can’t with KES’s writing any more so it’s better to leave be. I’m also one of approximately two people whom SJK does nothing visually. Jin Goo on the other hand… XD

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    • I am getting the picture that KES’s writing doesn’t do a whole lot for me. But I WILL say, that I liked this one wayyy more than I did Heirs. I actively hated Heirs (even though I watched it all – the things I do for Woob, eh? XD ), but I didn’t hate this. In fact, I thought DotS’ male lead was way more appealing than most of KES’ other male leads that I can remember. In that sense, I feel DotS was an improvement on Heirs, even though the writing is still gapey and clumsy.

      I can’t believe I didn’t specify in the review, but I DO think Jin Goo is hot! Very much so! Such a strong, manly aura. Mmm. ❤

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      • With plenty of other things to watch I decided long ago not to bother with dramas by writers whose style does not agree with me. Why torture oneself when you don’t have to?

        Yup, I tend to like my lads more manly, ha. SJK still looks like a little kid to me. Easy on the eye but that’s about it. I’ve never thought him to be hot or smexy. Jin Goo on the other hand… *g*

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        • Heh – I totally hear you about having so many things to watch! As I’m dipping my toes into TW and C dramas, I find less and less reason to spend time on a kdrama that doesn’t quite grab me. And since I know you’ve got quite the varied and eclectic watch list, I’m not at all surprised you gave this a miss ^^

          I like manly men too! I mean, look at my general track record (ahem).. It’s just, SJK pulled it off in this show, in character, in motion. As in, it’s less apparent in screenshots, but the macho is more obvious in actual clips. I found myself finding him pretty hot, all of sudden. 😉 Which definitely helped to sweeten my watch of this show!

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  6. Another absolutely brilliant review, thank you so much for your incredibly incisive writing. You’re the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your review pretty much matches my feelings. I am a sucker for a romance, especially one with no love triangle so I found the first episodes cheesy and flawed but somewhat addictive. However, by the mid-way point, I was committed to finishing it up but realized it was full of pretty but not much there there.

    The Pros: It’s full of pretty (though I saw that SJK has admitted that bod is a thing of the past already), no love triangles, lead male is not a jerk and in k-drama that is no small thing. Acting overall is solid though SHK while stunningly beautiful has a certain blank look in her eyes when she does dramatic scenes. In That Winter the Wind Blows I thought it was because she played a blind person…who knew! I do appreciate that they did something different career wise…for a country that has mandatory military service for all able bodied men, you don’t see the military portrayed in their dramas.

    The Cons: The slow mo camera work early on, the overbearing music, the contrived conflicts that led many fans to get annoyed at the lead female character because they involve her getting her head on straight and the guy just gets to be charming and flirty. Two writers and it showed, especially with the Argus story line…they could have skipped it. These are the main ones and one more….At the end of the drama I don’t really think these character changed. They went through stuff, found love but I never really felt either had gone on much of an emotional journey. That’s okay but it was going for some epic love story and many people took it as such and that’s fine. It’s great when people love a drama but SPOILER: when SJK is crying over a picture it didn’t work for me because the back story was so scant. REALLY BIG SPOILER And when late in the drama we are led to believe something really bad has happened, I sat dry eyed thinking, it’s episode 15….nothing bad has happened or there wouldn’t be episode 16. So that is a total failure in pacing in an entirely pre-produced drama. The real failure for me is it gets to the last two episodes and when it’s a cracktastic drama, I’m waiting on pins and needles and I had a choice to finish up this drama or finish binge watching The Walking Dead….no contest TWD won hands down and I shed more tears watching that than this drama. (This drama really could have ended around episode 12.)

    It sounds like I hated it and I didn’t but there was just so much potential and I feel it was kind of wasted. I will say – full disclosure – I married someone in the military and I really tried to suspend reality because you basically have to regardless of career field. However, some things that drove me crazy…. I liked the secondary couple eventually but officer/enlistment relationships are a no go in most military services and will get you kicked out if found out. When an officer slaps an non-com (even one she loves), it ruins your career…you can’t do that!!! Special Forces are not UN peace keepers, they’re just not. Oh and when your guy is leaving on a long mission, you friggin kiss him good-bye. Geesh!

    So long story, not so short if I want to watch a doctor fall in love with a warrior with no love triangle, I’ll go rewatch Kim Hee Sun and Lee Min Ho in Faith/The Great Doctor which though flawed (because time travel always is a bit wackadoo), is a much more satisfying drama for me (and oddly has a great secondarily love story as well).

    PS: Yes to the actor who portrayed the No. Korean soldier. To me he shined more than anyone else in this drama with a relatively small part and there was an article about the choco pie he ate…there’s a total thing about why that was a big deal so I’m glad that it got publicized or I would have totally missed it. Sorry to go on so long !

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    • You put it perfectly, Kat! YES, the early episodes were cheesy but addictive. And then.. it wasn’t. The show lost its hook for me somewhere in the middle stretch, and I was watching it mainly for Song Joong Ki, Jin Goo, and Dae Young & Myung Joo’s arc. It’s pretty amazing to me that this show has die-hard fans who feel that the story itself is awesome, coz I personally felt this show’s story was one of its weakest links. 😛

      It’s ironic that some people felt Song Hye Kyo’s gaze wasn’t blank enough in That Winter, coz here, it was way too blank for me. It felt like she was either back to playing a blind person at those times, or that she was spacing out while in character. It was the weirdest thing, and I was very distracted by it.

      And, I absolutely agree that the Argus storyline could’ve been dropped altogether. I felt it was too contrived. Especially the bits where he’s the one giving a kidnapped Mo Yun love advice. Like, whut?? XD That was just too weird.

      Your Real Life take on the military stuff made me giggle – since I don’t have the same RL exposure, your sharing is very educational for me! I can totally see how the RL military exposure would’ve made it even more challenging for you to ignore vocational inconsistencies! But you’re right, it’s true for all professions that kdramas tackle. It IS hard, I’m sure, for a writer to become acquainted enough with a character’s profession, to represent it accurately.

      Also, I missed the choco pie article, I think. Why was it a big deal?

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      • I tried to find the choco pie article but, alas, I can’t really remember which site I read it on. Anyway, my understanding going by memory is that when the North and South Korean governments let families have visits together, one of the things that the SKs need to bring are the choco pies…it’s a much beloved comfort snack food. So the fact that the pie was left had an underlying meaning. Upon trying to find the article, I ended up pulling up a lot of articles about netizens being mad because of product placement but the pie company says they paid not one cent. It certainly wasn’t like the obvious Subway product placement and seemed to work in the story. I actually don’t get too mad about product placement; gotta pay for these dramas some how but it is nice when they can weave it into the story well. In this case, it never even entered my mind, and I believe everyone’s denials.

        I read other comments about SHK’s acting in this drama, and I’m curious if you think there is a certain actress who could have elevated the part because truly the writing is questionable. I think the writers put all the burden of holding back the relationship on her character while every woman in the audience is screaming, “are you crazy woman!” LOL Unlike SJK character, I don’t hear that her role was ever offered to anyone else. I’m trying to think who could have elevated the material. Kang So Ra (I think that’s her name from Misaeng), possibly Park Min Young (and she’s popular in China) and I really like the gal from King of Dramas and History of a Salaryman.

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        • Aww. Thanks for explaining about the significance of the chocopies, Kat! That DOES add a lovely layer of meaning to the chocopie arc between Shi Jin and Ahn. In fact, the romantic in me would even go so far as to extrapolate that the gesture of giving Ahn that chocopie, implied that Shi Jin was acknowledging him as family, in a way. An idea which I LOVE. ❤ Thanks for this, Kat!

          I'm with you on the PPL.. I didn't think that the chocopie was PPL either. It somehow didn't feel like PPL, it was so intrinsic to the story. Those Subway sandwiches on the other hand, are a totally different matter! Those are showing up in almost every kdrama I check out these days, it's quite ridiculous. But, I'm learning to turn a blind eye, coz as you rightly pointed out, those bills have to be paid somehow. I'd rather put up with PPL than hear about cast & crew having to go without pay, or about producers committing suicide :/ PPL that's well woven into the story is bonus, of course.

          You ask an intriguing question about an alternative actress to SHK for the role of Mo Yun. I feel like Kang So Ra and Park Min Young are both good actresses, but might be too young for the character of Mo Yun, who's supposed to be in her 30s and older than Shi Jin. Jung Ryeo Won is a good actress, and is age-appropriate. 🙂 I'm also thinking maybe Oh Yeon Seo? She could plausibly play someone in her 30s, since she's in her late 20s, and I feel that she's the kind of actress who not only immerses herself very well in the role, but also adds layers and depth that may not be in the script. Plus, she's got a very special kind of beauty that would work with the role. Like, I could definitely imagine Shi Jin finding her beautiful. 🙂

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          • Yes! I just watched her last drama. OYS would have been great.

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          • I think those are great choices, but the additional key for me would have been someone who looks young enough for SJK’s equally youthful appearance. I think OYS is beautiful, but she has a mature beauty, not a fresh young thing type of beauty.

            I will gently disagree with the writing thing too, because I feel like KMY’s lines were very good ones, so I think an actress who has a more natural delivery would have grounded it for me. IMO the KMY role needed a little bit more edge, with scorn in the lips and sardonic in the eyes. My vote is for Im Ju Eun, but she’s neither popular enough nor considered to be a beauty, sadly. Anyway, past is past.

            For the record, I do think SHK is gorgeous, so this discussion isn’t about who’s prettier, at ALL.

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            • That’s an interesting point, webby.. I picked OYS partly because Mo Yun is written as older than Shi Jin anyway. Plus, I don’t feel like Song Hye Kyo has a fresh young thing type of beauty either. I figured that with the right styling OYS could’ve made it work. Hypothetically speaking of course, since this isn’t even an option, lol. XD

              Oh my, I LOVE Im Joo Eun! She would’ve worked the scorn bit SO well! On the other hand, I’m gonna put it out there, that I still think Mo Yun wasn’t a character that was well constructed, in the sense that sometimes her actions felt weirdly out of place. I mean, I get that writer-nim was gunning for quirky, but it just felt off, to me. Like when Mo Yun was all cold & prickly in E1, then suddenly turned into a squealing fangirl while watching the CCTV footage of the boys beating up the gangsters. That felt really strange to me, and those kinds of odd flashes of behavior showed up consistently over the show. While I give writer-nim points for that consistency (like, at least it was deliberate & Mo Yun was supposed to be quirky), the choices of how that quirkiness was brought out, fell flat for me. A lot of that has to do with the delivery too, so a better actress could’ve possibly made it work better. But in my head, that still doesn’t make Mo Yun a better written character.. if that makes sense. 😛

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  8. …So i needed to be on-line and re-type everything!…last night i was using my mobile to jot down my comments….unfortunately, as i was sending the comments the wifi i am using suddenly went off-line….so here i am again typing…….!

    First of all thank you very much Kfg for bringing in your views regarding this drama. 🙂 As we knew already , DotS has been globally phenomenon that brought Song Joong ki to fame!…..sorry LMH and KSH because it’s Song Joong Ki’s time ;).

    I should say that i am one of the fangirls that made head over heels over Song Joong Ki for his portrayal as Capt. Yoo Si Jin….so that #songjoongkisyndrome is a surreal to me.

    I am with you that this drama is not well written and in fact has a lot of illogical funny issues. First, this isn’t the genre i love and i find military and medical stuff boring sometimes, i know nothing about military and medical shenanigan so i leave it to those who have more better understanding on these parts.

    What made me love this drama over the lacking?….It’s Song joong Ki as Capt. Yoo Si Jin of course, while there are other adorable characters like Jin Goo as Seo Dae Young, but i i firmly believe that the biggest carrier of this drama is SJK!..

    Watching DotS reminded me of another Kim Eun Sook’s drama “The Heirs”….both drama represents a good character presentation on both major leads. The only difference is that Kim Woo Bin as Young Do is the second lead and Song Joong Ki as Si Jin is the 1st lead. The good thing about DotS is you don’t have to feel sorry for the leads because it doesn’t have a second lead syndrome and you’ll enjoy both characters in a different level. I remember finishing “The Heirs” not only for the eye candies but honestly it’s because of Kim Woo Bin as Young Do, for me of all the characters that The Heirs had, Young Do stand out. I guess same reason applies in DotS….Song Joong Ki’s portrayal as Capt. Yoo Si Jin excel in the highest level. I am really awed with SJK transformation from pretty boy to manly type. How could he be so pretty and at the same time so manly?..;) ❤ ❤ ❤ i did dropped my jaw girl!!! 😉 ….I guess Kim Eun Sook did good in character presentations in both dramas but failed to give us a solid plot.

    But i think DotS has more depths than "The Heirs". I love the first half of DotS but it turns just mediocre on the other half…though i admittedly love some scenes from the second half randomly especially with the 1st couple behind those cinematic background!…..oh my! they both look marvelously pretty in HD screen!..<3 ❤ <3.

    Like what i have ranting over FB posts about this drama, I am a Song-Song couple all the way!and i love them both, i do also love the the 2nd couple but nothing as intense as the first!…I guess, as a viewer and as a fangirl, i already adjusted my lense and taste over the heroine, Mo Yeon, others might not agree with me and i knew as well that you don't like SHK here as Mo Yeon. For me, Song Hye Kyo's portrayal as a doctor and as lover of Si Jin is okay with me. She's a bit restraint and calm oftentimes but i guess it's because she wants to keep being proper because of her profession as doctor. What annoyed me is why KES made her character like a seesaw when it comes to Si Jin?…her being a push and pull many times over Si Jin made the viewers infuriated. I guess KES could have chosen another technique on this.

    As i read somewhere the original character for Song Joong Ki is a doctor also, but KES change it and made him a soldier instead…I guess it's a good choice. …i am thinking tho' this could have been more exciting and intense if KES made a twist on the leads character over their love story…….Jin Goo could could have been a good candidate for second lead syndrome if that is the case……:) ❤

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    • Aw, I’m sorry you lost your comment the first time, Evez.. I’m so touched that you came back and rewrote the entire thing, all over again! You really ARE the sweetest sweetheart that ever sweeted! ❤ 😉

      I absolutely agree that Song Joong Ki played a large part in carrying this show. And what a great parallel you've drawn between Heirs and DotS, Evez! It's true that Young Do was the most fleshed-out character in Heirs, and in this case, it's Shi Jin. I do think that KES has written a very appealing character in Shi Jin.. Quite possibly her most appealing male lead yet, since historically, she seems given to jerk-type male leads. Which is why I find Shi Jin so refreshing. He's not a jerk, even if he can be a bit of an ass at times. (Like the time he told Mo Yun he could see through her shirt, only after driving all the way back to the camp with her wearing it 😛 ) And indeed, Song Joong Ki does so marvelously as the manly, macho-yet-romantic Captain. No wonder so many of us can't help but swoon. ❤

      I think it's because you're such a sweetheart, that you don't mind Mo Yun's character. There were many times when I felt Mo Yun was unpleasant and self-centered. Sometimes, I found Mo Yun borderline nasty, even to Shi Jin. Like when she told him to apologize. The words were logical, but the tone had a biting edge to it which bothered me. I do wish Mo Yun had been better written and better delivered, overall.

      Yes, I did hear about the male lead originally being a doctor. I do think the switch-up to soldier was a good call. It gave Song Joong Ki more opportunities to show off his macho side, which I know I appreciated a lot (ahem!). 😉 And OMG if Jin Goo had been the typical lovelorn second lead my heart would've been so conflicted! How can one choose, between Shi Jin and Dae Young?? 😛

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      • Heeeee! i love that 3s!!! 😍 and thank you so much! the sweetest sweatheart ever sweeted is always here to support all your works! 👍💐💋you may not see me regularly here but i never forget to visit this page every now and then.

        On KES lead as you mentioned, I partcularly remember Hyun Bin in SeGa, Binnie’s character there is indeed jerky. Good thing Hyun Bin is a good actor that he executes the role nicely!.. KES really dolled up Song Joong Ki’s character in DotS, so beautifully made that it is hard to withdraw from the drama only because of Si Jin. But, i am in doubt whether of all those actor including our beloved Gong Yoo, who received a love call to be the lead on this drama can deliver the character portrayal in the same level as Song Joong Ki did.

        Song Joong Ki is not their preferred actor that time because they say they want someone brawny. But look now, the people behind this drama has something to be thankful for because Song Joong Ki nailed the role and he gave more than what they want! I am trying to picture all actors who turned down the role? How do they feel knowing DotS is amazingly popular?

        About KES new drama, we are excited because Gong Yoo will play the lead. It”s like the pressure is on! On Gong Yoo for being absent in small screen for too long! Four years are no joke and he will comeback with a lot of questions. Do you think Gong Yoo is still feeling the dilemma of returning back to small screen because of unsuccesfull drama from The Hong Sisters?… will KES give him a role that the drama viewers will love same as what she gave to SJK as Si Jin?

        For KES upcoming drama I just hope she will give a lovely character for the heroine opposite to what she has in DotS, and nothing as calm and sometimes uncertain as Mo Yeon’s.😂 And I wish too that there will be less illogical issues and since it’s a fantasy drama hope KES will balance the story well enough between the real and unreal. And she has to make this good because it’s Gong Yoo who will play the lead. 😊😊😂😘

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        • Absolutely, I do feel like Yoo Shi Jin could be KES’ most appealingly written male lead to date. I liked Shi Jin WAY more than Hyun Bin’s character in SeGa. I accepted all of his jerk tendencies only because Hyun Bin was so hot, heh. Shi Jin, on the other hand, is legitimately appealing, and I do love that. He was one of the big reasons I felt drawn to keep watching this show.

          It’s always such a funny thing, isn’t it, to wonder what another actor would’ve done with the same role? I think if Gong Yoo had taken the role, we would’ve had quite a different Shi Jin. Like if Jang Hyuk had done SeGa instead of Hyun Bin, we would’ve had a very different SeGa. Thinking about that still boggles my mind a little, since I can only imagine Hyun Bin in SeGa, and now I can only imagine SJK as Yoo Shi Jin. He was perfect as Shi Jin, no doubt about it! ❤

          I imagine GY must be at least a little bit nervous about taking on KES' next drama. After all, he learned a painful lesson with Big – that big name writers don't guarantee a good drama outing. But I do think that he's making a carefully considered choice. And I do expect that he's sufficiently inspired by the role itself, to be drawn back to dramaland after so long. And yes, I do hope that KES will write a better drama, and that we'll get a better heroine for GY. Guy deserves a drama break, after enduring Big! XD

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  9. allow me to add this song from Kim Junsu…my favorite OST from DotS…i am just sharing…hope you enjoy! ❤

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    • Ah, thanks for sharing this one, Evez! I did like this song too, on the OST. I just didn’t think to put it in the review, so thanks for highlighting it! Smooches! ❤

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      • I love Kim Junsu’s rendition of his voice here. Junsu’ s songs are usually soulfully strong but he did give a very light touch on this song and it”s so nice listen to.😊👍🎶

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  10. Spot on what I was feeling, particularly about Kang Mo Yeon. For whatever reason, I was feeling SHK’s portrayal, and until you said it, I hadn’t realized it was that intermittent vacuity.
    I popped in around ep 8, when Dramabeans said “oh, this is a pretty good episode”, and I did enjoy it. I really did. So I backed up to ep 4 to see if I’d like that too…. and the other shoe dropped. The plotline was exactly.the.same. I would have completely stopped watching, if not for the 2OTP. There was a Youtube channel that only showed their clips, and that’s where I lived for the rest of the DoTS run.
    Again, like you, I was BOUGHT IN to their relationship so hard, and JIN GOO omergash where has he been my entire drama-watching life, and KIM JI WON was such a milquetoast in One Fine Day with SJS, but in as Yoon Myung Joo she was spunky, funny, fierce and cute. To the point I am fanficcing about them, casually, but happily. 😀
    I also continued to indulge in my JinGoo crush, and I watched “Sensitive Couple” with Park Bo Young. Seriously, new guy crush with old girl crush – MUST watch for me. The ending was a bit shaky, but the premise was interesting, and we have Jin Goo, in glasses, being dorky, and geeky and just so CUTE.

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    • Need to find somewhere to watch this, any ideas? Don’t remember this film showing up when I googled Jin Goo following being hooked after his few episodes in Falling for Innocence (Falling for SoonJung) last year.

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      • I watched it on Dramacool. If you’re interested, Northern Limit Line also stars Jin Goo as a military man… Navy this time. 😊

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        • Thanks you, I’ll watch that too, (think I have this film downloaded in readiness for when my internet conks out!), I do like Korean military films. Went on Dramacool the other day looking for Sensitive Couple but it diverts to a page full pdfs of court injunctions for unlicensed broadcasting ….😕 Won’t be able to watch things there 😦
          I’m sure maybe Viki or Dramafever may add it – they seem to add particular actors’ past films following a hugely successful drama that has resulted in renewed popularity for it’s lead actors. Thank you again 🙃

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    • Webby! It’s great to see you around here! 😀 And yes, so good to know we are in agreement about this show – including SHK’s vacuous gaze in it. Seriously, I was quite distracted by it, and wondered what was up with that. I didn’t recall she used to have this problem in her other shows (except for TWTWB, where she played a blind character).

      How smart of you, to watch only clips of Dae Young and Myung Joo! XD I loved their relationship arc, through all of their ups and downs. Their love and angst felt real and meaningful, rather than thin and manufactured, and I’m not surprised at all that you’re writing fanfic for them! (Where can I read it, if you don’t mind me asking?)

      Thanks for the tip on Sensitive Couple – it’s going on my list! ^^

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      • Hey Kfangurl! HUGS!
        So many people loved SHK and SJK together that I am hesitant to say any more. After all this time of shipping (actively, and passively), I can never explain why a couple appeals to one group of people but not to another.
        Which brings me to this YMJ/SDY fascination I have. I read a comment somewhere that 2OTP’s story is a more classic kdrama – different social class, parental objection, love overcomes – which made me wonder why I found it still so fresh. I think you’ve got it though, nothing about those problems they faced felt manufactured. Particularly the differences in rank, so clearly delineated in the army.
        I am nervous showing my casual fluffery to you, since I am writing strictly for fun! *squinches eyes shut and offers link* http://mywebfoot.tumblr.com/artofwar

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        • Ah, you definitely are way more well-versed in the shipping world than I am, dear Webby *bows in deference* Yes, you’re so right. It’s hard to explain why some people gravitate towards one couple and not to another. This is simply a case of me – and you, and other people like us – just not jiving with the majority, this time. I know lots of people love the romance in this show, and therefore the OTP as well. Just, it didn’t work for me as well as it did them, I guess.

          I’m definitely way more on board with Dae Young & Myung Joo as a couple. In fact, I hadn’t realized until you pointed it out, that their arc had so many elements of classic Hallyu in it! Just goes to show that it’s all about the execution, rather than about being inventive. I believed their conflicts, and that’s what made me buy into their relationship and ship them. That’s why they had my heart. ❤

          And by golly, woman! Your so-called casual fluffery is so darn engaging!! I read the first installment, and it's got that signature cracky quality that I remember from That Far Gone. You are a talented one, you are! ❤ Keep on writing, ok? You've got a loyal supporter right here! *raises hand & sits up straight* ^^

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          • AW. You’re such a sweetie. THANK YOU.
            Am still writing it….although life derailed me this week, but I will be back! *waves fist ineffectually at task list*
            And yes 2OTP had my heart too.
            Read through your One More Happy Ending review, and I agree that AGAIN the 2OTP was ridiculously appealing for me. Her breast cancer, his hesitation, just got me in the heart.
            In fact, lately, I find myself more often attracted to 2OTPs. Maybe its because they don’t bear the burden of carrying the show, so the writers can be more adventurous with their circumstances and personality quirks. I mean, YMJ in DoTS was quick screechy and demanding in the early scenes. In OMHE, the BFF was sick and about to divorce her estranged husband. I like them so much I find myself itching to complete their stories…. GAH.

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            • YAY that you’re still writing it, webby! I read your first 3 installments with greedy pleasure. You are SO GOOD at bringing life to the characters that you work with. Your rendition of Dae Young and Myung Joo fit perfectly with their characters onscreen in DOTS, while bringing more depth and insight into the workings of their minds. That is pure talent, my dear. You rock, so much ❤ You casual fluffery is something that many others could only hope to achieve, in terms of how engaging and deft your narrative is.

              And what an intriguing train of thought – that you're drawn to secondary characters because they're allowed to be different. As a reader, I'm stoked that you're inspired to complete the stories of these characters, since you've got a great imagination and the writing chops to go with it. Hopefully dramaland picks up on the fact that audiences are enjoying these more interesting side characters, and will allow their lead characters some of that space to be different. 🙂

              Y'know, there's talk of a potential sequel of sorts for DOTS, possibly focusing on the second leads this time. If I had my way, I'd want YOU to write the thing. Coz you would do such an awesome job of it, for sure ❤

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  11. I’m glad my major expectation in seeing this drama is Song Joong Ki 2.0. And because of that I enjoyed the drama a lot. Okay, so I was also looking forward to Song Hye Kyo as I also enjoyed Full House back then. Sad to say, the only times that I found her effective were, as you’ve pointed out, during moments of grief. Overall, SHK as Mo Yoon felt detached. With Heirs in mind, I wasn’t expecting any solid plot but I enjoyed the cheesy lines. Heh. I don’t know why but after this show I’ve been shying away from Kdrama save joining the kdrama discussion group I joined in a Healer rewatch. I jumped over to Japan for now updating myself on movies and my favorite J actor. Luckily, I’ve seen a couple of well written ones. 🙂

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    • Heh. I KNOW how good you are at focusing on the positive, my dear. After all, you watched Hidden Identity for Kim Bum, which is a way bigger commitment than watching DotS for Song Joong Ki, imo! XD

      It’s pretty cool that we agree so much on this drama, including on SHK and where she worked and didn’t, in this show. She did feel very detached, probably partly coz of that vacuity in her gaze. I don’t even know which is the cause and which is the effect, actually.

      I think more than a few of us are in a bit of a kdrama slump, lately. The recent kdrama offerings have been scant, and personally I’m detouring into TW and C dramas for a bit. It refreshes my mind, while I wait for the youth sageuks headed our way this summer. ^^

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  12. ONLY because of Song Joong Ki, Jin Woo, and Kim Ji Won did I continue to watch this drama…the writing was blah, but mostly, I couldn’t stand Song Hye Kyo’s acting and the character, or lack of, Dr. Kang. Couldn’t stand her from start to finish. Blech! She certainly did not appreciate our hero; furthermore, she had the libido of a rock. Come on, this is Song Joong Ki and she couldn’t been less interested in him as a man or even as a soldier. She was haughty, mercenary, and totally into herself…how many times did she go on about how pretty she is…she wasn’t even all that pretty. Jin Woo and Kim Ji Won, however, you could feel the solidness of their relationship and the love and desire they had for each other.

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    • Hee! You definitely had a strong reaction to SHK in DotS, Islander! XD Funny how you mention how she wasn’t all that pretty. I’ve always thought SHK as beautiful, and there were times in the drama she did look beautiful to me. But, at the same time, there were also times when she looked borderline ugly to me. I wonder if it’s due to my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to Mo Yun’s prickliness that caused me to see her as almost-ugly? Hmm..

      Oh yes, I totally agree that the 2nd OTP felt much more solid in terms of writing, acting and overall chemistry. I loved them, so much ❤ For the main OTP, I feel that SKJ basically carried it, all by himself. 😛

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    • LOL….. Song Hye Kyo – I think the directors/producers just love stressing how pretty she is? I agree, so lame lol…I mean she is cute and all but I didn’t think she was all that pretty either on the show?? But they tried to make her being this BEAUTY character? WTH I thought I was the only one who thought that was funny.

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  13. Hi Kfangurl 🙂

    Thank you for yet again a very incisive review. I agree with you. The story was flat for me. Yes, the cinematography and SJK were very appealing. But as I sat through every episode, it just didn’t move me except occasionally my heart would flutter at the sight of SJK and I would feel sad for Dae-Young and Myeong-Joo. Now I wish that the story had revolved more around them (DY and MJ). 🙂

    Anyway, SHK was unfortunately disappointing. She did have this blank stare, almost as blank as in That Winter, the wind blows. But unlike in that show, in DOTS she isn’t blind. I found the cute-acting cringe worthy. I thought it was inappropriate for the character and the story.

    Every after episode, I find myself longing for more contention. I was expecting more drama to put it simply since the situation included a war stricken place, military, elite forces, doctors, UN mission and North Korea. But the show just didn’t deliver. I had so much hope and very high expectations considering that people were raving so much about the show and it was even mentioned in MSNBC here in the States. Actually, I thought the introduction of Agus was going to be the game changer specially when he mentioned about the Captain’s “secret”. I was hoping that it was that “secret” that will turn the story into an engrossing one. I actually got very excited all of a sudden. But then episode after episode nothing gripping happened. And out of the blue, the “secret” was mentioned again as Dr. Kang was going through memory lane (I believe in episode 15 after Captain was proclaimed dead). I thought “Hmmm maybe there is something about this secret”. Maybe this secret is the one that will bring Captain back to life or had kept him alive. Unfortunately, it was actually NOTHING. There were no “secrets”.

    But anyway, I’m just glad that I’m not the only one who wasn’t crazy about the show. I tried to re-watched it hoping to have a change of heart and mind. But it just didn’t work for me. So disappointing. 😦

    P.S. We’re still waiting for your Healer review. 🙂

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    • Hi there basaynon! I’m glad we agree on so many points on DotS – seems like our response to it was pretty similar, really. Coz I basically had my eyes on SJK as Yoo Shi Jin (so much charming swag!), as well as Dae Young’s loveline with Myung Joo. Those two could’ve definitely done with more screen time; their connection and angst were rich enough to be expanded into a more robust plotline. I would’ve definitely found that more interesting than the Argus plotline, for example. 😛 And yes, I did find the cutesy unbecoming on Mo Yun as a character. The prickly and the cutesy did not sit well together, and that may have made SHK’s delivery more challenging. I definitely think SHK does better with sad scenes than cutesy, even though I thought she was great in Full House. I don’t know what’s changed.

      As for Argus and the “secret” – I actually think it was a more of a reminder to Mo Yun that Shi Jin would never be able to tell her the truth about a lot of things to do with his work. That’s why he’s man with many secrets. I never did get the impression that there was a secret that would keep him alive..

      The entire military/UN etc setting was purely set dressing, which didn’t surprise me, considering the writer. It’s true that a lot more could’ve been done with the story, given the setting. But that was never on KES’ agenda; this was always all about the Romance with a capital R. How well that sits with you will determine how much you’re able to close your eyes to the fact that this drama world is set up to appear complex, but at heart, is so simplistic. 😛

      And yes, I haven’t forgotten that I need to write my Healer review!! Thanks for your patience – I hope to get back into writing it soonish!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. No chemistry? Yeah right! Then all those people who were SOOO affected, including me, are blind? Something must be wrong with our eyes. When will I ever read an unbiased review here, I wonder? Honestly I’m not a fan of SHK. But your review about her performance is not really that accurate. You’re obviously one of her anti-fans, like with so many others, who agreed with what you said.

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    • Hey Jecky, chill. I think kfangurl was just stating her reaction to SHK. It’s her blog, so I think she’s allowed to be honest about her own reaction. The world is big enough for a multitude of opinions to co-exist.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Jecky, I am a fan of SHK in That Winter, The Wind Blows. I thought she played her character really well. Unfortunately, I kept finding a peck of the blind Oh Young in Dr. Kang throughout the show. I thought it was just me having failed to completely flushed TWTWB from my system since I watched it only a few weeks before I begun watching DOTS. But after reading some of the reviews online (not only from this site) I realized that my observation indeed had some merit. It wasn’t only me. ✌🏼

      Liked by 2 people

    • @Jecky, hello and i think this is your first time in Kfangurl’s page?….if you have read all the reviews and comments here you’ll probably know now that I am one of the DotS fanatic who dearly loved the Song-Song couple, hence with Kfangurl’s review she is just imparting what she feels on Song Hye Kyo’s portrayal as Mo Yeon. If you will clearly read the reviews on SHK’s role, it isn’t all about the negative ones. Kfangurl is a legit blogger and one of the bloggers i admired, she will clearly state her mind in a constructive one in a way that the reader can easily understand and interact with. There’s no anti-fan or something in here so i hope you’ll learn not to be more emotional and just be a happy fangirls like the rest of us…..peace!..<3 ❤ ❤ 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think it’s best to read the About portion of the authors before reading the reviews, it does clearly states the her views are completely hers and she already admitted she’s “probably biased ”

      Peace ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there jecky, it’s clear that you were (are?) upset to read that I didn’t fully enjoy SHK’s performance, or find that she and SJK had good chemistry.

      I assure you that I wasn’t writing it to anger or offend anyone, and was merely trying to share my personal response to both things, with as balanced an approach as I could. You’ll notice that I do point out the things that I found were good, in both areas, albeit briefly. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t enjoy the show as much as you did, but it doesn’t mean I begrudge you your enjoyment either. I’m glad you enjoyed the show, and SHK in it. 🙂

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  15. Reblogged this on Confessions of a Korean Rock Fan and commented:
    can’t wait to see this…..schmexy!!! bring it on.

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  16. I have been away for a long time….you never disappoint. I had to read fast and skip the SPOILERS!!! thank you. I have to ask….what’s schmexy?? i’m missing out on something-right? I love both main characters and will watch them whenever I can.

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  17. I watched it b/c I was on dramabeans and they were saying how popular how much they already made from selling it to over to what 50 something countries when it barely even finish airing? So I knew I wanted to give it a shot on a few episodes. Beginning fight scene was the best for me since I am more of a action film kind of gal than the romance stuff. I am more of a fan of the full house girl than the girly main male lead but I actually find Full House girl a bit boring to watch here and like i said above I didn’t find her particularly BEAUTIFUL/SO PRETTY as the plot keeps on stressing about her character all thru the episodes. I actually find her much much cuter and prettier during her full house days not that b/c she’s aged alot more now. It’s just she really doesn’t look at that attractive in DOTS but it’s just me I am sure as I guess 9 out of 10 people probably find her and the whole drama to be great or it wouldn’t have been such a big hit but for me it was just an average hit but it did have a refreshing plot and some parts were pretty nicely done since it’s a tv drama but the dramatic earthquake and the special effects were actually pretty well done.
    Like kfangurl’s review, most of the scenes she pointed out are some of the ones I find ridiculous as well.
    I especially hated the part where this ONEW they call him I think doctor backed out from saving this guy and felt guilt more than anything else was totally weird to me. First, they are doctor so what if he got scared and when you couldn’t are you suppose to kill yourself as well if danger hit and you knew you couldn’t save him and that guy is ungrateful too just cuz he left him. The stupid guilt and that ungrateful dude was totally ridiculous to me and would a newlywed wife let him go volunteer in the middle of nowhere??? Of course, this is just a drama so whatever they like to put in is what we will watch. Lol
    I don’t find the stupid jealousy scenes of exes that funny either. My favorite characters are actually that HOT villain guy who speaks almost fluent English. Daniel also is pretty HOT and I don’t even know who he is as I have never seen him in anything else. After Ojakgyo Brothers, I watched Heartless City, City Hunter & Fated to love you that’s about it so never seen this Daniel person anywhere else.
    Another thing is dislike was the kissing scenes hahha lol.. Oh lord, really Other than Fated to love you w/o some really good kissing scenes and Heartless City one good kissing I have never really seem good kissing scenes in a korean drama????? Seriously, I feel none of the kissing in DOTS were good, none from the main or 2nd leads?? Aww…and not that we wanted to see sex scenes but it’s like they have no intimate in dramas either. Too freaking chaste if you ask me hahaha LOL…I felt like it was really good after the disaster hit after epi 6 and it was still going strong thru epi 14 but after that the last 2 episodes I found it to be extremely boring so the ending was even worse for me. I didn’t feel w/that kind of nice beginning and ending it so disappointingly. Not that i wanted to see happily married and 2 kids at the end that’s never my thing but i was expecting that kind of lame ending. If you guys watch some TVB Hong Kong dramas, sometimes most of the times they do have that kind of lame endings as well and I don’t know I found it disappointing….like starts w/a bag and ends with a awwwww? haha LOL….

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    • I meant starts with a BANG……..LOL

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    • Hi there kiki! Looks like we have pretty similar reactions to DOTS.. and to Song Hye Kyo in it 😛 Like you, I found her freaking adorable in Full House, but found that in DOTS, she somehow seemed to have lost a lot of her charm – on me, at least. In fact, at certain points in the show (I can’t remember which ones now), I found her borderline ugly (sorry to all of SHK’s fangirls, eek!). Also, I must agree that the whole arc around Chi Hoon feeling super guilty for leaving Min Jae in the building was quite strange and completely overdone.

      Also, since you mentioned kissing scenes, recently I was completely taken with Eric’s kisses with Seo Hyun Jin in Oh Hae Young Again. It’s also shaping up to be an excellent drama so far, so maybe you might want to consider checking it out? 🙂

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      • Hi Kfangurl,

        Yes, that’s just one of the scenes I found overdone w/that young doctor feeling guilty. There are certainly many more scenes I found absolutely ridiculous thru out the episodes but I don’t remember them all right now. I guess I am trying to say I don’t quite get the popularity hype of this drama? Other than some really intense action scenes at times I am really shocked to learn so many countries love this kdrama.
        Full house girl… I don’t know what it is. Some might say hello perhaps she’s 12 years older than full house days but that’s not the case here. Another thing is I think hairstyles have a lot to do with it too. That hairstyle does not look flattering to her at all and the way they keep on stressing how person beautiful she is I mean at least they should make her to super attractive to fit the title but in there I am sorry I don’t seem to get the ohhhhh so beautiful doctor in this drama.
        But then again I don’t understand how the cute forever young looking main male lead can get so famous either? haha lol…. My sis who was in korea one time tells me even all adjummas love him I mean seriously? He can still pass as 18 – beginning 20s w/that face? I don’t get it. haha lol….
        Anyway, I finally goggled the rest of the character just now and found out the HOT villain’s name is David McInnis…Too bad he does nothing much…Ohh..so he’s mixed …no wonder he looks hot. lol
        and can’t find anything on Daniel other than his Jasper cho real name. Hum….
        Anyway, love your blog …Nice reviews you have….

        Like

        • Aw thanks, glad you’re enjoying the blog, kiki! 😀

          And yes, isn’t the hype around DotS just amazing? I’ve had so many friends come up to me and talk to me about it – friends who don’t watch kdramas, mind you! XD It certainly is the kdrama Event of the Year, sorta like how You From Another Star took the world by storm when it came out. I must admit that I enjoyed YFAS a lot more than DotS, even though I found DotS a pleasant enough watch.

          As for Song Hye Kyo.. She’s ingrained in k-consciousness as one of the most naturally beautiful actresses (ie, untouched by plastic surgery), so that background might help remove some of the mystery for you, around why everyone in the drama kept saying she was so beautiful. I do think the Korean definition of beauty is quite different from Western definitions, for example.

          Song Joong Ki does have a youthful look and vibe, and I was originally a little concerned that he wouldn’t be able to pull off being a tough badass. But I thought he did very well as an alpha-type male lead. He’s always struck me as a very talented and dedicated actor, and he’s known for being genuinely nice to everyone, and very smart to boot. That’s probably at least part of the reason everyone loves him in Korea. 🙂

          I came across an interview that Jasper Cho did for Han Cinema and thought you might be interested to read it, since you mentioned that you couldn’t find anything much on him 🙂 Link is here. I hope that helps! ^^

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  18. You put the words straight into my mouth, kfangurl.

    First off, I loved Song Joong Ki since I first laid eye on him in episode 1 of Running Man. Yes, he has to leave but loved him nonetheless! 😉 Now unto the hype that is Descendants of the Sun, I felt that it was a bit overrated and I know my opinion conflicts that of the majority. Case in point, I disliked the constant appearance of product ads in almost every cut. You can say I’m frustrated on that aspect. I find it unnecessary. Heh. BUT despite its flaws and inconsistencies, Show’s got this irresistible charm that compels you to simply enjoy the ride. Just like you, I also rooted more for our 2nd OTP and I wholeheartedly agree that Kim Ji Won and Jin Goo brought their A Game to the table. If its true that a second season is in the talks I would love to have it focused on our 2nd OTP. Winks*

    Overall, it was not the romance of from the main OTP but the interaction and relationship of every character, from the leads down to the supporting casts, that made me go through some sleepless nights for this show. I did not finish it in a heartbeat because honestly I’ve watched better, well written dramas than this. I guess those years of kdramathon taught me to relax and not focus too much on the logic and plot. Nevertheless, DOTS is an entertaining watch and would definitely look forward if indeed a second season is to be produced. 🙂

    Thanks again, kfangurl! Brilliant review as always! ❤

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    • Xia! Great to see ya! And yay that you enjoyed this review, AND that we are in agreement on this show ^^ This really is more hype than actual substance, but is still enjoyable overall, if you close your eyes and switch off your brain just right 😉

      I LOVED the loveline between Dae Young and Myung Joo, and if they get a well-written spinoff I would be a happy camper indeed! In the meantime though, have you checked out mywebfoot’s casual fanfics for them? She’s so good, seriously. She says this is her casual fluffery, but I found the installments engaging and thoroughly in-character for both of them. Check it out here: http://mywebfoot.tumblr.com/artofwar

      It’s probably wise of you to enjoy this show at your own pace, Xia.. I often find that if I watch a show more slowly, I get more out of it. When I’m marathoning like there’s no tomorrow, I tend to miss details. ^^

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  19. Thanks for the review! I actually started watching this drama solely for Onew, but the first episode got me bored so I dropped it. I think I probably should consider watching it to the end.

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    • Onew did a solid job of the role, I thought, even though some of his character’s moments ran a little overdramatic. This show wouldn’t be one of my top picks, but it’s got its good moments. 😉

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  20. Hi kfangurl! I’m new to your blog, but I’m loving your reviews, even though we don’t always agree 🙂 It’s always interesting to see different opinions about things one liked and didn’t like 😀 Thanks for continuing to do these reviews! They’re really well done 🙂

    Just wanted to comment on the thumping on the chest part of the medical side of things 😛 I totally agree that the medicine wasn’t the most accurate (made me roll my eyes more than once), but there is something called the pre cordial thump, which is where a trained professional thumps on the chest when there isn’t a defibrillator around fast enough 😀 The way they did it in the show was definitely NOT the way you’re supposed to do it, but nonetheless, the technique does technically exist 😛

    Thanks again for such a comprehensive review!

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    • Hi there saphimire!! 😀 Welcome to the blog!! I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying the reviews, even when we don’t always agree. That’s part of what makes the dramaverse a cool place to hang out, so I’m very happy to make your acquaintance!

      Thanks for sharing about the pre cordial thump – not having much medical knowledge myself, I wasn’t aware that that was an actual Thing. Thanks too, for letting me know that how Show did it is NOT the recommended execution! XD I learned something new today, thanks to you!

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  21. This is the most objective and sensible review I’ve ever read abt DOTS! Well, I’ve been searching through the internet, and I only found that this drama was overrated. It’s true that the the plot was not strong, no twist, nothing to be revealed till the end (that’s why I didn’t mind looking thru for spoiler back then), and of course bad ending. (Its popularity was just about media hype and thank the promotional team for bringing up good ambience&sentiment around viewers and media — apart from its pre-produced process)
    Thank you for the review. There should be more ppl write from this angle. lol.
    P.S: I think I find your reviews trustworthy. 🙂 Keep writing!

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    • Hee, thanks Frey!! Your compliment made me giggle a bit, because I’ve gotten some strong reactions from hardcore fans of the show, for my “objective and sensible” comments on the show! 😉 Thanks for your encouragement on the review, it’s always good to know that the reviews are appreciated! And yes, I am completely with you – this one was way overrated. But, it had its upsides. Like schmexy Song Joong Ki. I did enjoy that. 😉

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  22. Nice review with some interesting points there, especially about SHK. I personally think she is pretty, but the wardrobe and hairstyle are not doing her any favors in this show. What’s the look they’re aiming for, dowdy? If so, they’ve succeeded. She does cry very prettily, though… As for he sometimes blank eyes, I think it’s the real her showing through. In the behind-the-scenes special, one of the cast members said she’s kind but cold. I’ve seen her last in Autumn In My Heart, and I feel that her acting was so much more heartfelt back then. Or maybe like you said, she does better in sad scenes.

    SJK really did make this show. This was the first SJK show/movie I’ve seen, and he hooked me right from the start. If SHK is cold, SJK is the exact opposite… he exudes warmth and sincerity. Idk what Descendants of the Sun is supposed to signify, but to me it was about how SJK’s face and personality shine bright like the sun 🙂

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    • That’s possibly it, that SHK’s just the detached sort. That might explain the vacuity in her gaze. But I do think that works against her as an actress. I definitely watched this mostly for SJK, and he made it worth my while, along with some nice assistance from Jin Goo and Kim Ji Won 😉

      I never did understand the title of this show. Maybe it’s supposed to mean that our main characters are empowered and shine brightly like descendants of the sun? I don’t know – that was a total stab in the dark. XD

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  23. Amazing review!!
    Even with its massive flaws I really liked the drama. In unrealistic scenes I just kept telling my self that this is a movie so they have to show stuff that will get them their money back too.
    In the romance department I found my self more interested in Myung joo and Dae young story than they main couple. I was excited Kim ji won played Myung joo girl was amazing in Heirs and I completely fell for Dae young distinct yet catchy humor. Another couple that really got my attention were Daniel and Ye Hwa and I was really disappointed they didn’t really show us much of their love story and relationship. And since this drama tried to be different it was disappionting that the couples were so stiff with ‘skinship’ I expected the Adults to be more Adult in DOTS.

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    • Thanks raspberry, I’m glad you enjoyed this review!! 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed DOTS. Even though I’m personally a little mystified at just HOW much hype this show has generated, it definitely had its enjoyable points. I definitely was feeling the Dae Young-Myung Joo loveline more than the OTP, although I know there’s an entire camp of viewers that loved the OTP to bits. I guess kudos to the show for satisfying both camps? 😆 As for the skinship, I guess there’s the truck kiss – I think that was one of the better kisses in the drama, even though I honestly wasn’t feeling the moment as much as most other viewers. 😛 In terms of being more adult, I actually wanted more intensity, less cutesy with the couples. Every time things got cutesy, I got cringey, but that’s possibly just me. 😁

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  24. Hi there!!^^
    I really enjoy your review and agree with you at some points 😀 But i have my own opinion also:
    1. About Kang Moyeon. Her character is like a ‘real’ person who has flaw but likeable. I mean, you can find that kind of character everywhere in real life and i think song hyekyo did a great job. And i think the writer make that kind of character because YSJ is a perfect man, so the writer wanted to make it ballance.

    2. SHK’s blank face. Yeah, she showed a lot of blank yet mysterious face, make us wondering what’s inside her mind or feeling. And that suit a ‘real character’ of Kang Moyeon because in real life, you don’t know what’s inside people’s mind. Well, there are reasons why they casted Song Hyekyo. It’s hard to portrayed a real yet likeable character.

    3. The chemistry. I agree the chemistry of the first lead couple is pretty awkward. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because YSJ and KMY is a new born couple (?) Or maybe because they’re a a real couple. I mean, they’re a kind of couple that you can find in real life. They’re in love to each other, fight to each other just like real couple. While GooWon couple is the dramatic couple.

    Okay, that’s all opinion from DOTS’s fans 😀 However, i agree that this drama has some flaw points but at the same time it has more interesting points 😀

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    • Hello gazehayu, it’s nice to meet you! 😊 Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspectives on DOTS.

      I do agree that the writer was trying to create a flawed but likable character in Mo Yeon, and that’s probably why Mo Yeon is given such disparate qualities. However, I personally feel that this concept wasn’t carried out with subtlety, and that’s probably why I found many of Mo Yeon’s contradictory moments hard to watch. Like the scene of her suddenly cheering like a schoolgirl while watching the CCTV footage of Shi Jin and Dae Young beating up the gangsters.. that was meant to be cute, I can see that, but the way it was executed felt clunky. One moment she’s a cold and prickly doctor, and the next moment, she’s a squealing schoolgirl? I felt that needed more subtlety in writing and in delivery. Basically I get the concept; I just felt the execution was lacking. For me, anyway. 😊

      I know that lots of viewers actually enjoyed Song Hye Kyo in this role, and while I personally didn’t, I fully acknowledge that others do. And that’s very ok. 😊 There’s enough room in the dramaverse for all of our differing drama experiences and opinions – that’s one of the fab things about it. 😘

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  25. I’m so late to the party but whatevs.

    I finished DOTS just last weekend and I enjoyed it. I laughed out loud, cried and was completely mesmerised my that demigod Song Joong-ki.

    Personally, SJK has always been that too cute, too pretty and too small (no pun intended!) guy for me. But dayum, what two years MS can do to a man! A man he did become! This must be the first time I am thankful for Korean compulsory MS.

    I agree with almost everything you say. But I’m more forgiving towards the funny than you😉

    One thing that stood out very big for me was how it felt like it could be the ending on every episode after ep 12 (i think – after returning to Korea). The story was so inconsistent it drove me bonkers. Like that time Si Jin came back and went straight to drink with Dae Young without contacting Mo Yon. Like, WTF?! I find that so hard to believe considering how he’s absolutely crazy abt her. I won’t go into others because that would be quite a list.

    I find it surprising that you did not mention SJK’s acting. Hot damn can he act! I love love love his confession while she tended his wounds. That face! That voice! So unapologetic and honest.

    SKJ as YSJ has got to be the most charming character I’ve ever come across. I believe that that has a LOT to do with SJK himself because no matter the charm on paper, the actor has to bring to life. And boy did he bring to life! He was charming incarnate without effort nor consciouness about it.

    As for the writer, let’s just be thankful that this hero is not as domineering with little to no sense of boundary as her previous heroes (binnie in secret garden, woo bin in heirs,etc.).
    It’s so ironic that the writer who created the inconsistent Kim Tan is the same writer who gave me my love Yoo Si Jin.

    I love your honest thoughts and your constructive criticisms.

    Thank you for this post.

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    • Thanks Viola, I’m glad you enjoyed this post!! 🙂 You’re right, it WAS so weird that Si Jin diddn’t contact Mo Yeon and instead went for a drink. Just, SO MANY odd choices in the writing. 😝 But it was definitely Song Joong Ki that helped me hold on to the very end, with some capable help from Jin Goo, of course. Oh my, did I not mention SJK’s acting chops? Oopsie – I think I might’ve been too distracted by the hawt. In my head, that alone is testament to his acting ability, since he’s never had to act the strong alpha male before this drama. I compare him in DoTS, and him in SKKS, and I’m blown away by how thoroughly convincing he is, in both roles.

      So true, about the writer and her male leads. I hated Kim Tan with a passion, and loved Si Jin to (almost?) the same degree. For the fact that she wrote Si Jin as such an attractive, appealing personality, I’m willing to overlook a whole of bad writing. I think that, and SJK’s lovely charming delivery is what carried me through to the end, for this show! 😉

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      • Hey kfangurl,

        I forgot to mention one of the reasons I was not crazy about Mo Yeon.

        In episode 2 when she broke up with him, I felt like she came with a heavy heart and was already pissed with everything (which in itself would be understandable given the circumstances). However, I think that that was such an immature thing to because it was not like she did not know anything about him. The fact that she was in a bad mood was clear when she did not smile and looked super glum when they met outside the cafe.

        I’m not saying that that was the only reason she broke up with him, but I hate the vibe she gave at that point because the immediate previous scene showed how happy Si Jin was to see her (on the TV). I couldn’t help wonder had she been given the position she wanted, would she still break up with him? Because the mood, feel, vibe, etc. suggested to me that she was taking her anger out on him.

        AND NO GIRL SHOULD EVER TAKE OUT HER ANGER ON SONG JOONG-KI WHEN IT’S NOT HIS FAULT!

        I for one could understand Onew’s (?) character being super guilty because some people are just like that. But I did hate the witness/victim guy because the way he took out his anger was so not productive! (Help me come up with a better word!

        I also love the love line between the old-ish doctor and nurse. It was adorable. However, the whole folder-pictures for every decade thing creeped me out a little. Did he REALLY wait thaaaaaat long to confess? How long did it take him to collect the pictures? Something did not add up. But then, it would not be KES’s drama without disappointing traits in the male characters, right?

        I literally LOLed when I read through the comments especially about SHK not being pretty. I’m Asian and I find Asian guys sexiest among all races (!) but find Asian girls so bland. I.DON’T.KNOW.WHY. As for SHK, her face looked super weird to me when she asked Si Jin if he was fired from the army and did the eye flutter. All I could think was “Her eyes look super taunt. Botox?!” I’m sure it’s just her rigorous skincare routine that all Korean women are accustomed to, that keeps her look not old, but personally, she holds zero sex appeal for me. And do not say that that’s because I’m straight because i can totally understand why men would go gaga over say, Su Ae.

        But, my bottom line for DOTS will always be this: SONG JOONG KI. SONG JOONG KI. SONG JOONG KI. He was the drama. He was everything!

        Oh btw (why am I going on and on? I feel like we’re old friends now!), I just finished Train to Busan. The story was great. Gong Yoo was magnetic. I cried.
        I can’t wait for your review.

        Also, I am currently watching Sungkyunkwan Scandal because a good fangirl should always look into new Oppa’s previous works and boy oh boy! I watched it till about ep 3 around 2011 (after my obession with City Hunter) but stuff got in the way. But this time, I intend on finishing it although I can’t do the one drama, one day thing. My main problem – I’m so much more invested in Yoo Ah In and SJK and not the main couple. Oh well.

        Anyway, I’ll rant on the SKKS review when I do finish it so brace yourself! You’ve been warned.

        I’m sorry my points are all over the place just like my hormones thanks to SONG JOONG KI.

        Thank you for being so interactive.

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        • I forgot to ask:

          I don’t speak korean and the subtitle said, “The timing is strange” when Si Jin gave the necklace to Mo Yeon before their double date. In fact, he kept on saying that especially in that episode (when he came to the hospital and he met with gross Chairman). Could you please enlighten me on the actual meaning beacuse I feel that that might be literally translated and thus losing the actual meaning in the process.

          Also, in the truck kiss scene, the subtitle showed they were referring to each other in third person. Does that mean they spoke to each other in jondae till the end? Did they ever switch to banmal?

          Just one more thing. What’s up with the extremely insufferable bad foreign actors?! OH MY GOSH! One of my theories is that they chose those poor souls so that they wouldn’t outshine the korean actors! lol. As if you ever had to wonder or worry about that when you have Song Joong ki…hmnnn…LOVE….

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          • To answer your questions, “the timing is strange” is translated correctly. I went back to check on the necklace incident, and the only sense I can make of it, is that Shi Jin had plans to give her the necklace, but she was throwing a bit of a jealous tantrum about his interaction with the other pretty doctor, and therefore the timing was strange. I don’t recall the episode when Shi Jin met with Gross Chairman though.

            As for jondae & banmal, you are correct, they used jondaemal with each other throughout the show. This doesn’t necessarily mean that their relationship wasn’t supposed to be close, because as I understand it, it’s completely possible for a husband and wife to choose to use jondaemal with each other, as a form of respect. Also, Shi Jin’s character was using a more formal level of jondaemal than is mostly used socially, because that is the norm in the military. Therefore Shi Jin’s use of jondaemal was more indicative of his military man training than the degree of formality he wanted to have with his girlfriend.

            Regarding the terrible foreign actors, it’s a total Thing that you will start to notice across almost all kdramas, that almost all foreign actors hired as extras, as Very Terrible. As I understand it, this is because they hire actors who aren’t part of a (the?) actors’ union, in order to save on costs. Unfortunately, it seems like the actors who fall into that category are mostly terrible. 😆

            I hope that helps!

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        • Tee hee! I love that you feel like we’re old friends, Viola!! 😀 And your train of thought is fun to read as well, so don’t apologize!

          I have to absolutely agree that I disliked Mo Yeon’s attitude. The way she treated Shi Jin, like he had offended her, when she’d been the one to say that she didn’t want to date him – that was just annoying and entitled. If she’d turned him down, she should have the sense not to take out her bad feelings on him, since he was just adjusting himself to her decision. Ugh. I really disliked her for that.

          Also – where I’m concerned, Song Joong Ki definitely was THE main thing that kept me going with DOTS. I really liked Jin Goo too, of course, and together those two boys made DOTS a much more appealing watch.

          YAY that you’re watching SKKS!! I loved SJK in that, he was so delightful! He plays a completely different type of character than in DOTS, but he’s equally convincing, and that’s evidence of what a good actor he is. Yes, I can totally understand you being more invested in SJK’s arc with YAI – but that’s why those two won the Best Couple award that year, after all! 😉 I hope you enjoy SKKS as much as I did!

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  26. When I first read your review (I was mid-way through finishing the show), I was a little confused because as my first k-drama, it came across as so great and wonderful. And then when I finished the show and thought about it, I have to say, I agree with everything you’ve said here. The show looks good and the premise is cool, but I don’t think it completely lives up to its potential. The medical logic had me scratching my head a lot and I also didn’t find the main couple that alluring. Like you said, the bromance and Song Joong-Ki made the show (he was just so COOL in the role!!). It was definitely a solid B. Great review! Really enjoyed reading!

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    • Aw! Thanks for enjoying the review, even though it bemused and confused you the first time around, gupta! I can totally see how someone who’s new to kdramas would find many things in DOTS fresh, novel and quite cracky. I mean, everything – including tried and tired tropes – is new and shiny, I absolutely can’t fault you for finding it wonderful, really. So I’m extra impressed that you’re able to agree that this show didn’t live up to its potential. You definitely strike me as a level-headed, open-minded person! 🙂

      If you’re up to exploring more kdramas – and there really are some lovely ones out there! – you might find my Full List of reviews helpful. It’s not as comprehensive as I’d like, since I haven’t reviewed every show I’ve seen, but it’s a handy way to get an overview of all the shows I’ve written about on this site. You can take a look at it here, and explore individual reviews that spark your interest. I hope that helps, and that you’ll find more kdramas to love! 🙂

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  27. I keep on saying now that I am a KDrama noob because these are some of the shows I watched while exploring KDrama. I watched this show without much expectation but with acceptance that since I am venturing in the KDrama world, I should just drop any expectations and accept it as it is.

    I did not know any of the actors when I watched DoTS. But Joong-ki, awesome as he is, easily captured my attention. Friends kept on telling me that DoTS is an easy to watch, feel good drama and I guess they were right. For me it was epic (by my noob standards) when I finished it. It was unexpected for me to watch this kind of Korean drama when from what I know so far, KDrama’s are mostly cutesy and lovey dovey. Lucky for me, there was Joong-Ki in military garb.

    I was laughing so much reading yet another awesome review from you. I do agree at times the story line was illogical and corny. And yes, the OTP chemistry was just ok. Mo-yeon showed more passion in her work rather than with Shin-ji while Shin-ji was equally passionate to Mo-yeon as with his work.

    DoTS was fun to watch. I enjoyed the character’s adventures and the soldier’s camaraderie more than the OTP I must say. Overall it was just over rated. I think W was better and its not even comparable to Moonlight. But unfortunately, this is not the popular opinion. I am curious though who will take the Best Couple Award in the Year end Drama awards. I know Song-Song is the most popular OTP but for me the OTPs from W and Moonlight are more stronger contenders.

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    • Ah, I can see why you’d enjoy DOTS, as a relative kdrama newbie. I mean, it’s quite cliched and uses a lot of kdrama tropes – but when everything’s brand new, not a lot is cliched or tropey to you, and it’s all novel and fun. 😊 I absolutely agree that DOTS is an easy watch for a kdrama beginner, and I’ve heard of many other people who never watch kdramas, but got on the DOTS train and enjoyed their watch immensely. You’re definitely not alone!

      And yes, Song Joong Ki did a fine, fine job indeed. He was the main reason I enjoyed my watch of DOTS, even though I was rolling my eyes a lot of the time. 😁

      PS: It might interest you to know that the awards shows mostly aren’t a true reflection of quality. It’s more of a ratings and popularity thing, with each station rewarding their best ratings performers, typically. So don’t be too sad if your favorites don’t get the awards!

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  28. Pingback: Year In Review: 2016 | The Fangirl Verdict

  29. I am an Indian viewer who watches a lot of kdrama. I love that this show was pretty simple and sweet. there were no villains in particular that needed handling throughout the show.( except private ryan , he wasn’t shown to be big deal anyway so let it go). It was a refresher and something i can keep coming back to for a dose of romance. joongki was absolutely amazing. i loved song hye kyo also . Writers made her be very uncertain about what she is saying quite a lot of times but that is ok and so was pulled off perfectly by hye kyo. altogether it was a show with a story i wish i was a part of….

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  30. I agree with this review! Although I think I found the show funnier than you did, I also think that most of me thinking I liked the main romance was actually just me liking Song Joong Ki! I was surprised when it turned out he and Hye Kyo are getting married.

    A quick note about the moment when their two characters are reunited after she has believed Shi Jin to be dead: I found her honestly painful to watch in this scene. They tried to make this reunion (which should have been heartfelt and purely emotional) into a sort of comedic mish mash. The way they had quick shots of all her different reactions (I love you! I don’t need you! I missed you! I’m an independant woman! etc…) felt really cheap to me, and undermined the scene. Maybe the writers/director were scared to go full-on sentimental in case viewers didn’t buy it or people thought it was cheesy? I don’t know, but either way I think the way they handled that scene really didn’t do justice to the characters or the story.

    We’ve just watched her mourn the loss of her boyfriend for a few episodes. Seen her hallucinate him, cry over him, feel depressed, miss him like crazy… we as the viewer are supposed to feel pain for her. I actually thought the actress was good in these moments (as did you!), but then we’re finally given release and it rang so hollow. After that the show just felt really weird and off-kilter, which was a shame.

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