Sea of tranquility (South Korea, 2021). Creator: Choi Hang Young. List: Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, Kim Song Young, Lee Joon, Lee Moo Saeng, Heo Sung Tae, Kil Hae Yeon, Choi Young Woo, Jung Soon Won. Available in: Netflix. Our opinion: good.
In the not too distant future, water became such a scarce resource that access to it is restricted and guarded with military zeal. That for the majority of the population, because the highest strata of society have gold cards and no load limits. That is the world in which it takes place Sea of tranquility, the new Korean miniseries now available on Netflix.
With the burden of being “the next The Squid Game”Behind his back, this new drama that uses science fiction as a narrative vehicle – just as its successful predecessor used the violent thriller to reflect social injustices – begins its march on the streaming platform with an unexpected advantage that can turn to a disadvantage in a second. Six months ago, few knew about the benefits and capabilities of the South Korean television industry and, therefore, did not pay too much attention to it or expect too much of it even when its programs appeared without pause on the platform. But of course, after the phenomenon of The Squid Game now all production of that country is nominated as its successor. And as the characters of that other television phenomenon know well, SuccessionFinding the heir of a giant is always a complicated and exhausting task for applicants. Thus, with the passing of already having the attention of everyone given, that fame can become an obstacle to being judged on its own merits.
At that crossroads is the new eight-episode miniseries that, like its predecessor and Heading to hell, Netflix’s other recent Korean premiere, features a production team from Korea’s celebrated film industry. In this case, from a short film that he directed, the director Choi Hang Yong developed together with the scriptwriter Park Eun Kyo, a regular collaborator of Bong Joon-ho, the story of a team of astronauts who are entrusted with the mission to travel to a lunar base abandoned by a nuclear accident that killed all its residents to recover material from the research of the scientists who worked there. With life on Earth on the brink of extinction due to drought, the group sets out on the journey even though none of them know what they will find there. The lack of information is not accidental: the government has plans for the item that it is sending to be recovered and prefers that those who carry out the procedure are not aware of anything.
The most uncomfortable with the characteristics of the trip -which in the near future does not seem more complicated than flying to Europe-, is Dr. Song, a specialist in astrobiology, who after the accident at the lunar base in which she lost a loved one, chose to change careers. Even so, her knowledge is required by the director of the agency who convinces her to accept the job in exchange for a gold card for the water load. Actually, the scientist’s interest has more to do with a message she received from the moon before the accident. To interpret it appears Bae Doona, an actress recognized throughout the world for her work in films such as Barkings Dog Never Cry, his film debut, and the excellent The Hostby Bong Joon-Ho, among others and his participation in the films Cloud Atlas Y Jupiter’s fateby the Wachowski sisters. On TV, she is the protagonist of two of the most outstanding Korean series in her country, Stranger Y Kingdom, available in the Netflix catalog. Talented and capable of transmitting the moral integrity and emotional breakdown of her characters with just a sigh, the actress achieves a magnificent performance of the lonely Dr. Song, ready to do anything to discover what happened in the place.
With a script that at times tends to underline and the obviousness of this type of story – you can guess from a distance who will be the first victims after the moon landing – Bae Doona’s expertise helps to raise the narrative tension and manages to catch the viewer with a combination of science fiction, mystery, horror and police. Arrived at the station, the astronauts quickly realize that the story of the nuclear leak that killed more than 80 of its inhabitants was pure fiction, but that something more sinister is hidden in the endless corridors of the place. And not only that: it soon becomes clear that the material to be recovered is so coveted that the mission may have been compromised with a mercenary in search of financial gain. A possibility that the strict Captain Han does not quite accept. Portrayed by Gong Yoo, a TV star from his country and recognized worldwide for his role in Zombie invasion, the military man presents himself as the perfect adversary for Dr. Song. Always ready to follow orders and stick to plans, he too has hidden motivations for accepting the near-suicidal mission, a backstory that unfolds as the chapters progress.
Although the miniseries does not provide much novelty in narrative terms, it does manage to entertain and keep the viewer interested in what happens on screen, especially thanks to the work of its main actors and the contribution of the excellent supporting cast in which Kim’s performances stand out. Song Young, as the ship’s medic, and notables Lee Joon, as Lieutenant Ryu and Lee Moo Saeng, who plays the tough boss Gong. More observant viewers will also recognize Heo Sung Tae, the actor who played the violent Gamer 101 in a minor but pivotal role in the plot. The squid game. Another point of contact between this miniseries and its predecessor and an inevitable point of reference.
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Sea of Tranquility: Netflix’s New Korean Miniseries Has a Known Story, Sustained by an Exceptional Cast