It’s been almost a week since the last episode of Crash Landing On You graced our tv screens and yet no one can seem to move on from this series. My newsfeed is still filled with articles and photos shared by the media and by people I know. News about Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin’s dating rumor, features on the designer clothes worn by the lead stars, fun facts about the supporting cast and subtitled behind-the-scenes clips, you name it, the internet has it all. It’s the kind of popularity that probably welcomed new dwellers in K-dramaland. A validation that it was loved by many. Myself included.
What exactly is the secret formula that propelled this cross-border drama into becoming a K-drama classic? My thoughts? It hit us all in the right spot where we are most vulnerable.
Admit it or not, we are a sucker for love and the concept of ideal romance. The perfect man meets the perfect girl, the world goes against them, they fight for their love, they suffer in between but in the end finds a way to get back in each other’s arms. It’s a tried and tested way of storytelling for K-dramas. But what set Crash Landing On You apart from this sea of melo-romantic dramas? Allow me to write my two cents on things.
The strong chemistry of the lead actors was complemented by a great supporting cast, each with a character that left an imprint in the hearts and minds of the viewers . If you got hooked in watching the drama, chances are you know these people by heart: Company 5, Norkor Ladies, Cho Cheol Gang (Oh Man Sok’s portrayal is too effective to forget), Se-ri’s sisters-in-law, Seo Dan’s Mother and Uncle, Mr. Park and even that dashing NIS Officer. Every actor that appeared in each episode has a story to tell, no matter how trivial it is.
The drama while it dealt with the usual “us against the world” plot touched a very sensitive topic in South Korea, their relationship with that of the North. Ri Jeong Hyeok and Yoon Se-Ri’s story is that kind of impossible love made possible by courageous yet sensible script writing. It gave us a glimpse of something that is not achievable at the moment but can be done using creative storytelling. A fiction with a dream, I suppose.
After working together in the movie, The Negotiation, it came as a surprise when Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin agreed to play the roles of North Korean elite soldier Ri Jeong Hyeok and the conglomerate heiress Yoon Se-ri in this drama. With a dating rumor in the mill, the decision to be paired up on-screen again can either fuel more or downplay the news about the real score between them. Whatever their truth is, what holds true now is that they delivered a good project and it was well-received by many. A modern Romeo and Juliet so they say, the love story of Captain Ri and Se-ri was created with such attractiveness and weight because the barrier that comes between them is beyond warring families or forced marriage, it is withstanding current history. Infusing a dash of comedy, reality, and tragedy plus the trademark cliffhangers of K-dramas, viewers are caught binging for more. For most of us, weekends had a different meaning when Crash Landing On You was aired.
What I love most about about this drama is that it gave birth to empowered female characters who later on became enamored by the people they came across with. Yoon Se-ri, used her painful past as her motivation to create a name for herself. She’s confident, she’s secured, she’s comfortable being on her own but learned along the way that living is also becoming a person for others. Aside from beating the odds for Captain Ri, the heart of this story also is her relationship with the people she met in North Korea.
Seo Dan and Gu Seung Jun is probably K-dramas most talked about second lead couple at the moment. The build up of their chacters in the story created a strong sub-plot that is equally loved by the viewers. A strong, straighforward North Korean meets a South Korean businessman (who embezzled money) finding escape in her country. We rooted for them, we cried for them. We cheered on Seo Dan when she decided that the best way to move on is to stay loyal to her one true love while keeping a sense of herself. She defined a new positive outlook to being single.
And then there’s Hyun Bin, how can I ever make this part short and simple? How can one appreciate him less when he gave us more in this drama? Like wine that gets better with age. Bulking up for the role, learning the North Korean accent and exuding machismo as Captain Ri. He is PERFECT in every sense of the word. Not to mention his unquestionable chemistry with Son Ye jin. A sight to behold on his own and looks even better when sharing a scene with Yoon Se-ri. He made us love him in Kim Sam Soon and Secret Garden but he made us love him even more in Crash Landing On You. A good soldier, son, brother and leader but most of all a great man with a brave heart who is willing to do anything for his love.
Adding to the charm of this drama are the filming sites which are perfectly captured by great camera work. Shot in multiple locations (Korea, Mongolia and Switzerland), the production team worked hard to achieve an almost real picture of North Korea and made each scene more romantic by featuring the scenic greens and blues of Switzerland.
Rounding up the success elements of this drama is the OST. With artists such as IU, Davichi, Yoon Mi Rae and 10cm contributing in the soundtrack, every scene gave us all sorts of emotions. Those feelings of love, hope, yearning and losing.
I may seem over exaggerating because I have nothing but the best words for this series. The ratings have proven it, the reception of fans have spoken it.
There’s no “thank you, next” with this drama.
But yes to “thank you, next drama together please” for HyunBin and Son Ye Jin.
This story. This craze. This love expressed by many sure meant something.
Thank you for crash landing in our tv screens. As a K-drama fan, you gave me the best weekends of my 2020 so far.
Catch the complete episodes of Crash Landing On You on Netflix.