THE SILENT SEA
The Dank Side Of The Moon
UK/US Netflix, streaming now Director Choi Hang-yong
Cast Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, Lee Joon,
With K-dramas currently on-trend among cult TV connoisseurs, Netflix is no doubt hoping to pique the interest of a post-squid Games audience with South Korea’s first ever series set in space.
The Silent Sea is hard SF, set in a near future where a dystopian Earth is blighted by drought. While other nations have abandoned lunar exploration, South Korea has been continuing research on the Moon. But its base in the Sea of Tranquility is suddenly abandoned, reportedly due to a radiation leak which killed the crew.
Five years later, there’s renewed interest in the doomed team’s research, so a mission is launched to recover some samples. Not that the mission team is given much of a clue about exactly what they’re recovering, their bosses at the space agency seemingly having come from the Weyland-yutani school of leadership.
Of course, the recovery mission rapidly hits problems. Of course, there’s a big conspiracy going on. Of course, the central secret has something to do with combatting Earth’s water shortage. Of course, the previous crew have left something all killer-y behind.
What we have here is that familiar sci-fi staple, the base under siege, and anyone who knows anything about the subgenre will be ready for all the familiar beats. There’s even plenty of crawling through ventilation shafts. To be fair, it’s all very competently put together. It’s effectively tense and scary in all the right places. The characters are just about interesting enough to carry you through. The effects and production design are impressive. It’s just all a tad old-fashioned and by-thenumbers, and unlike Squid Game, the series’ Korean origins don’t bring anything particularly distinctive to the mix.
Annoyingly, while there isn’t a cliffhanger ending, there are many unanswered questions. Chiefly, has creator Choi Hang-yong ever seen “The Waters Of Mars”? Doctor Who fans demand to know.
Ahead of playing an ex-soldier here, Train To Busan star Gong Yoo got a large neck tattoo to shake off his romantic image.