Disclaimer: This Crash Landing On You review is entirely of my own emphatic opinion; all views expressed in this write-up are strictly personal and are NOT intended to be factual, or anything along that line.
Discretion is advised.
Reader Bao: You added that because you’re afraid that Descendants of the Sun fans will throw rotten eggs at you, right?
Ar bo then.
There’ll Always Be A Better One Landing On You
For ages, Descendants of the Sun has reigned supreme as the go-to drama whenever you have serious military withdrawal symptoms.
And it’s not exactly hard to see why. Packed with endless bouts of high-octane action, sweet romance and break-ups that tear your heart to pieces, Descendants of the Sun, for lack of a better phrase, has it all.
Yet, as the Wise Old Man once preached: “There’ll always be a better one landing on you”. And how appropriate is it that in 2020, an all-new title will be crash landing on DotS’ previously undisputed accolade…
Lest you’ve been living under a cave, Crash Landing On You‘s all the rage right now, and the statistics definitively attest to its popularity: the series finale of the hit drama set a new record for the highest viewership ratings in tvN history, with an average nationwide rating of 21.683 percent and a peak rating of 24.1 percent.
Essentially a twist on the age-old Romeo and Juliet trope, Crash Landing On You tells the story of two star-crossed lovers, Yoon Se-ri (played by Son Ye-jin), a South Korean heiress, and Ri Jeong-hyuk (played by Hyun Bin), a member of the North Korean elite and captain in the army.
Since its premiere, it has been lauded by audience and critics alike: after its final episode on 16 Feb 2020, Crash Landing On You officially boasts a remarkable 9.1 rating on MyDramaList, as well as a 5 Star approval rating on Google. It also holds a spectacular 9.0 rating on iMDb.
The drama has also proven a real hit outside South Korea, with many A-List celebrities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand confessing to “binge-watching the drama”.
Crash Landing On You has also attracted positive reviews from actual North Koreans, receiving praise for “for its portrayal of everyday life in the North, even down to accents and words.”
Of course these North Koreans are defectors lah.
Why Crash Landing On You Is So Much Better Than Descendants of the Sun
And so the question begets;
Why, or rather how, is Crash Landing On You so much better than Descendants of the Sun?
“Stop comparing things,” Ms. ParkSeoJoonIsHotAndICantLie says. “Why must we always compare things? Why can’t we just appreciate things as they are? This is why Singaporeans will never measure up to Koreans. Koreans are so much better than Singaporeans.”
Well, she’s not wrong. And that’s why I’m reiterating my earlier point: this article’s entirely of my own emphatic opinion; all views expressed in this write-up are strictly personal and are NOT intended to be factual, or anything along that line.
And now that we’ve got that part cleared up, let’s proceed.
1. It’s Even More Of A Tear Jerker
Descendants of the Sun might’ve its tear-inducing moments but I’m telling you; Crash Landing On You could be renamed to Tears Falling On You and nobody would bat an eyelid.
Prior to my own Crash Landing on You binge adventure, I was warned by my girlfriend in no uncertain terms: “You’re gonna get wet.” And because my mind was 110% in the gutter, I headed into the drama with my heart held on my sleeve…
And found manly tears rolling down my manly cheeks in a manly fashion.
“HOW MANY GOODBYES DO YOU GUYS WANNA SAY?” I screamed as I clutched my chouchou for comfort. “STOP IT ALREADY. I CAME HERE FOR ADRENALINE NOT EMOTIONS.”
Suffice it to say; I was drained. Korean dramas are all about tear-inducing moments…
And Crash Landing On You is one hell of a prima donna example of that.
2. It Takes Itself Way More Seriously
Despite my fervent admiration for Descendants of the Sun, I had just one gripe with it:
It doesn’t take itself seriously enough.
Now do not misunderstand me; I’m not calling DotS a joke. Rather, I’m referring to DotS’ awkward balance of serious-comedic moments.
Despite being coined as a military series with groundbreaking conflicts, Descendants of the Sun, more often than not, finds itself on the receiving end of subjective slapstick comedy. As a result I found it hard-pressed to transition from a moment of laughter to an expression of ill-concealed shock, as the pacing of jokes is way too irregular for my taste.
On the other hand, Crash Landing On You takes itself way more seriously, and somehow slots comedic humour into entire situations seamlessly. Unlike DotS, COYS does not separate comedy from intensity; it merges them instead. As such, everything comes along smoothly, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find yourself having a mood swing… drama-terally.
3. Romeo And Juliet
Throughout the course of Descendants of the Sun, you get this vapid feeling that things are going to end well, regardless of how circumstances suggest otherwise.
Perhaps it’s a dose of fate, but everything just seems to cruise smoothly into the paths of Dr Kang and Captain Yoo: they never seem to try to make things work, instead opting to leave things to fate.
Call me a realist, but that part just doesn’t score any points with me. Life’s way too harsh to grant everyone a magical roller-coaster ride, thank you very much.
Crash Landing on You, however, does away with such notions. Sure, the tornado at the start might be a testament to a writer’s imagination, but the rest of the story makes sure to steer away from the stereotypes of fate.
Throughout the course of the story, we see Hyun Bin’s character brave all kinds of obstacles for his woman. Circumstances might not allow it, but he never once let it get in his way. As a result, we get a tale of ‘will they, will they not’, instead of a smooth-cruising story of fate-decided love that DotS went with.
And Yet… In The End
Notwithstanding all the similarities and differences between the two dramas, one just can’t help but admire the brilliance of both. Where DotS paved the way for military-themed romance, COYS built on it and made it just a little more refined. And so, let’s enjoy the dramas for what they’re worth…
And relish all the brilliance that come with them.
On an ending note, how about a crossover, eh?
Captain vs Captain, that should make a really good match-up.