K-Drama Review: ‘The Silent Sea’: Did It Successfully Pioneer a New Genre in K-drama?

The Silent Sea review

Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

The Silent Sea review
Credit: Netflix

The year 2021 will be remembered as the year when K-drama was recognized for its potential in the global market. Not only Squid Game, which had achieved incomparable success, but various projects have captivated viewers worldwide with their unique charms. Among them, Netflix’s Korean content in the second half of 2021, including D.P., My Name, and Hellbound, was more than enough to excite the drama buffs. And the grand finale, The Silent Sea, was led by Bae Doo Na, dubbed the daughter of Netflix, and Gong Yoo, who became an A-list star with Train to Busan and Goblin.

In 2075, when water, an essential resource, is depleted, the team that astrobiologist Song Ji Ah is affiliated with goes on a special mission and sets out to the Balhae Station on the moon. Their mission is to retrieve a sample of the resources left in the station, which was shut down five years ago. But the mission faces a rough ride from the start as things go wrong even from the moon landing. To make matters worse, the situation at the BalHae Station was completely different from what they expected. In complete isolation, the crew is killed one by one. In order to survive, the expedition team must find out what happened in the station five years ago.

The Silent Sea review
Credit: Netflix

The Silent Sea is Korea’s first space thriller set on the moon. The realistic background was the result of state-of-the-art technology in the industry. In particular, the drama introduced LED virtual production technology, which has been used in Hollywood for several years. With the advanced VFX technology, the research base on the moon and the devastated looks of Earth in the future were well portrayed. Through this, it instilled tension in the events taking place on the moon and convinced the unique imagination that sprouted in the backstory of water scarcity on Earth. The Silent Sea explains why the crew had no other choice but to take part in the exploration by showing how the government and the haves treat resources in the water-deprived future and how water scarcity affects individuals’ lives and choices.

However, the drama loses its power from the moment the mission begins in earnest. The whole idea of an extraterrestrial matter or creature killing off the people and the survivors trying to reveal a huge conspiracy is already familiar. And if the plot is familiar, the show needs to have a charm that could catch the viewers’ attention. First of all, the story progresses rather slowly. The drama concentrates on illuminating the confused states of the crew members when faced with an unexpected situation, gradually exposing the clues. However, the impact of these clues or shifts of events isn’t that impressive. The process of revealing the villain’s identity, an important twist in the plot, is also not so dramatic. The conflict between characters with different beliefs should draw attention. Yet, the tension between Song Ji Ah, who prioritizes the truth, and team leader Han Yun Jae, who prioritizes the mission, does not feel right.

Surprisingly, The Silent Sea becomes more absorbing in the latter half. This change begins from the point when the link of the identity of the resource sample that the mission was designed for, the identity of the mysterious creature that threatens the crew’s survival, and what happened at the station in the past is revealed. Finally, when there are no more hidden facts or information, the drama throws the question they wanted to ask. And it seems like the 8-part series was a bit too long to get to the final point. Nowadays, people rather watch different content as soon as they find what they’re watching boring. So who wants to watch a drama with a build-up that’s neither speedy nor intriguing? Maybe it would have been much better if the number of characters was reduced or had the series been shortened to 4 or 6 episodes.

Two minds collide while watching The Silent Sea. You might have started watching the show for its attempt to be the “first” or its gripping setting. But the overall composition of a dragging plot and the characters’ charms aren’t enough to capture viewers’ attention till the end. Yet, the drama is worth watching because of two things – the theme that appears in the second half and the hopeful ending scene. The Silent Sea discusses the things we must think about these days when scientific developments are being made at a brisk pace. The show’s decision to beat around the bush and take its time to get to the point is both understandable yet disappointing.


Verdict: The word “first” can’t be an excuse, but it’s still the start of something (4/10)


Editor Seo Hae Lan: I’m not picky and like all genres. I am in constant search of a balance between criticism and a fan’s heart.

Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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