A gripping new K-drama The Silent Sea, released on Netflix on Christmas Eve, follows the story of a deadly space mission on the moon.
« There are no waves in this sea » and « neither gravity nor air »…but « there are hidden secrets here that no one knows about, » says the voice of Gong Yoo (one of the show’s main cast members who was recently seen in Squid Game as the Salesman character) in a video for Netflix Asia.
Marking South Korea’s first sci-fi K-drama series set in space, The Silent Sea is based on a short film by the series director Choi Hang-yong, which was featured at South Korea’s Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival back in 2014.
The director, who was inspired to write the piece due to his fascination with the moon, said the latest series is ultimately about « the survival of humanity. »
Choi told Netflix Asia: « There weren’t many films about the moon at the time. It’s the closest to the Earth and yet we don’t know much about the place, which was fascinating to me. It’s a survival story of a crew in the disused station—furthermore, the survival of humanity. »
The original Netflix series was written by Park Eun-kyo, the writer behind the masterful South Korean murder mystery Mother from Bong Joon-ho, the director of the Oscar-winning film Parasite.
Park aimed to unpack a number of existential questions in the latest sci-fi thriller.
« When the survival of all humanity is threatened, what risks are we willing to take to ensure our survival…what method of survival lets us maintain our humanity? » were among the queries the writer wrestled with while writing the script, Park told Netflix.
Among other big names attached to the show is Jung Woo-sung, a major South Korean actor who is the executive producer.
Explaining the potential he saw in The Silent Sea, Jung told Netflix Asia: « When I first saw the short film back in 2014, I thought it could give readers a huge shock. »
The Silent Sea Cast
Below are some of the main cast members of The Silent Sea.
The Korean actress (known from Netflix’s Kingdom and several other K-dramas and Korean films) plays Dr. Song Ji-an, an astrobiologist and ethologist who is determined to uncover the truth behind an accident that took place on the abandoned research station on the moon.
« She’s more like an outsider who observes the crew, » Bae told Netflix Asia.
The Korean actor known from a string of popular K-dramas, such as Guardian: The Lonely and Great God in 2016, plays Captain Han Yun-jae, the leader of the mission team and the youngest ever expedition leader working for the country’s space agency.
Describing his character, the Squid Game actor said Yun-jae is an « extremely capable » and « cool-headed » leader who « wants to carry out the mission assigned to him without fail, » putting the safety of his team before that of himself.
But « it’s hard to tell whether he’s ultimately a good guy or evil, » the actor told Netflix Asia.
The Squid Game actor (who played Deok-su, contestant no. 101, in the series) plays Kim Jae-sun, the manager of the Korea Aerospace Exploration Agency’s resources team.
The Korean actor and former member of the K-pop band MBLAQ plays Captain Ryu Tae-seok, an elite member of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense who volunteers for the mission in a bid to escape the stifling environment of the ministry.
The Korean actress plays Dr. Hong Ga-young, the expedition team doctor.
Kim says Ga-young is « very outgoing » and the opposite of Ji-an. She often feels « hopeless over given situations and agonizes over them. » But she does « see eye to eye with Ji-an » in wanting to uncover the secrets behind the abandoned station, Kim told Netflix Asia.
The Korean actor plays Gong Soo-hyuk, the head of the security team and Captain Han’s closest subordinate. « He is a soldier of integrity who always keeps it together and is the most devoted to carrying out the mission he’s been given, » Lee described.
The Silent Sea Plot
The Silent Sea is set in a future where the Earth has undergone « desertification, » during which the average annual rainfall hits yet another low and the world’s water supply is projected to be reduced by 40 percent in the next 10 years.
A special expedition team is sent to retrieve a mysterious sample from an abandoned research facility on the moon (known as the Balhae Station). But there is a less than 10 percent chance that the crew will survive the mission, Ji-an says.
Viewers are thrust into uncertainty right from the start of the first episode, which opens in a state of chaos, with the spaceship flipped over and Ji-an hanging upside down from her seat, seemingly unconscious.
As the team sets out to complete the mission, they come across several mysteries (such as an eerie hallway piled with dead bodies), raising several burning questions.
Ga-young asks: « What in the world has happened here?…there are too many oddities…too many secrets » and « what if the government report wasn’t true? »
The Silent Sea is available to stream on Netflix now.
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