Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: During a perilous 24-hour mission on the moon space explorers try to retrieve samples from an abandoned research facility steeped in classified secrets.
Review: With the exposure through streaming services like Netflix and the success of both films and televisions shows alike, Western audiences have been thirsty (“sea” pun intended) for more and more South Korean-made media entertainment. I for one am super excited by this and I love the fact that most of these actors and actresses, while I may not know their names by heart, are now instantly familiar to me as well as to other viewers.
I was riding high on the thrills found in Squid Game and the existential drama of Hellbound, so to say I was pumped to watch The Silent Sea is a bit of an understatement. Therein may have lain the problem. On the one hand The Silent Sea is chock full to the brim with talent. Actors such as Bae Doona (Cloud Atlas and she was my favourite character in the Wachowski’s series Sense8) Gong Yoo (Train to Busan, Squid Game), Heo Sung-tae (also from Squid Game), Joon Lee (Vampire Detective, My Father is Strange) and Kim Sun-young (Herstory, Three Sisters) all deliver good performances. The production value is solid with both the costume designs and the space station evoking films like Moon, Alien and even had me thinking of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the premise was intriguing especially when you consider the very real possibility of a lack of clean drinking water being unavailable in the near future.
Where things start to get messy is in the pacing of this entire series. I struggled and I mean STRUGGLED to make it to the end of what is only an eight episode season (never a good sign) as scenes would build momentum only to grind to a complete stop while characters have what seem like inane conversation we didn’t need to be a part of. To be fair, a lot of Asian television shows have this type of narrative. If you’re a fan of anime you’ll be very familiar with this as sometimes an entire episode will be devoted to watching two characters verbally spar with each other, so this isn’t something I’m unfamiliar with. But to balance this out you need to have the rest of your story deliver in spades and The Silent Sea fails to do this at every turn.
The series also throws way too many sci-fi tropes at you instead of picking one (or two) and sticking with it. This story wants to be a thriller, a mystery, a spy espionage action flick and of course a horror story. It’s just too much and sadly the genuinely intriguing premise gets lost in a mess of tropes and sub-genres. There’s a great story in here but in my humble opinion this would’ve fared better as a two-hour long movie than a stretched out television series. Sadly even if this gets a second season I don’t see myself returning to it but that said I recommend checking it out for yourself and maybe you’ll find enough to keep you invested in The Silent Sea.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
And you can check out more Korean genre content on Netflix below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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