Gang Mo Yeon is a highly skilled doctor working at a hospital as a surgeon and seems to be the likely candidate for a promotion, but her idealism is taken away when she is passed over for another surgeon with connections at the hospital. Yu Si Jin is a soldier who is dedicated to his job because he believes he is protecting a good cause and the lives of his loved ones.
When the two of them meet, they are instantly drawn to each other and have a first date only to find out that their ideals and goals in life are totally mismatched, one of them working to save lives and the other's job is to take them. Then, one day, Yu Si Jin's team is sent on a 'holiday', an eight month deployment to Uruk without emergency missions. Eight months later, Gang Mo Yeon, who turned down the hospital's chairman's advances, is sent to the same location as the volunteer team's leader.
Descendants of the Sun is a show that demonstrates the many benefits of a fully pre-produced show in an industry that favours the live-shoot system. The story is successful in all three aspects of the trifecta: acting, directing and writing.
The show is well casted with regards to the four leads. Song Jung Gi runs away with charisma, remaking his career. Jin Gu plays off Jung Gi well, making for a great bromance. And the ladies also do great, having great chemistry with their respective partners.
The directing and cinematography is gorgeous, clearly reaping the benefits of having time to plan, shoot and edit the scenes. The scenery is beautiful, the shots smart, the editing allowing for the stakes to be felt and the emotions to run.
The weakest aspect of the show is the writing, in as much as there's no large overarching plot beyond the romance. There are big, impactful moments (both romantic and suspenseful) which make for an enjoyable watch, but the rest of the story is fairly insubstantially, existing more to get from impact moment 1 to impact moment 2. There's little character growth to be seen, but the characters start strong and stay strong, never become weaker images of themselves.
Descendants of the Sun is a show that you either love or hate, but regardless it will make you a fan of Song Jung Gi and the pre-produced format.
Both dramas were written and directed by the same people and feature similar type of playful language and concentrate specifically on the relationships between the characters in a similar manner. Although the genres are totally different, both dramas give similar vibes.