Seems that Chinese audiences can’t get enough of the Korean TV drama “Descendants of the Sun.”
The 16-episode KBS series that’s grabbed over 2 billion views in China will reportedly be made into a version with Chinese actors speaking Chinese. Ethnic Chinese news outlet Yibaba said in an April 9 story that the drama distributor has found a partner in China who can help reproduce the mega-hit romantic tale of a South Korean special forces captain and a woman doctor assigned to a peacekeeping mission in a fictitious country.
It isn’t known if a Chinese version will be an copy of the original with an identical plot and Chinese actors playing the current Korean characters.
NEW, Descendants’ production firm, also is considering making a movie version of the drama whose episode 14 broadcast earned a 40.4% viewership rating in Korea on Thursday night.
The show’s current version is being simultaneously aired in Korea and China. It’s being broadcast in China over video-streaming website iQiyi. Descendants will soon be shown in Japan and a host of other countries.
“We have been receiving a lot of questions regarding remakes and optional publication rights, so it is true that we have been negotiating with several companies,” a representative of NEW told MBN Star on Thursday.
The representative is also quoted as saying that the company is keeping all options open. This means the result could be a movie or another drama.
These are some of the latest developments in a hugely successful TV drama that promises to be one of the most successful trans-cultural Asian entertainment productions of all time.
The drama, moreover, is drawing the attention of Asian governments and political leaders. South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha have both praised the series, while China’s government has warned Chinese viewers against over-watching the drama.
Descendants of the Sun’s popularity partly reflects a psychological and geopolitical shift for Asian audiences. Besides its appeal as a love story set against the backdrop of a dangerous and faraway land, it depicts heroic Asian soldiers in sharp military uniforms engaged in humanitarian peacekeeping operations in a mythical European country. (The drama was shot in Greece.) It contrasts with Hollywood films that traditionally depict Caucasian troops such as US Green Berets saving helpless Asian people in regional military conflicts.
To this extent, the drama reflects the fact that military units from Asian nations, including China, now play pivotal roles in peacekeeping operations worldwide.
As of December 2014, there were 1,053 personnel under 4 units of the South Korean Armed Forces, and 41 observers, staff and coordination officers deployed in 14 different countries in various operations. China is the UN Security Council’s biggest single contributor to peacekeeping operations. Pakistani and Bangladeshi troops serve in many UN operations.
South Korea’s special forces are also getting a huge image lift from Descendants. The phenomenon proves that time heals all wounds. South Korea’s hard-line Chun Doo-hwan regime dispatched “special forces” paratroopers in May 1980 to brutally put down the Kwangju Uprising in which hundreds were killed.
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