Ten years ago, the Arab world was affected by Turkish dramas. Like a fever, there were lots of dubbed series that helped us learn so much about the Turkish lifestyle and customs. Fast-forward to a few years later, Desi dramas rose in popularity and developed a cult-following.
If you think about it, this is the best way to spread your culture and develop tourism faster. After years of popularity on TV, the rates of tourism to Turkey from Arab nations increased significantly.
Four years ago, a new country’s dramas hit screens across the Middle East: South Korea. Suddenly, the Arab world began to quickly learn about Asia – particularly, South Korea – in the best way possible: amazing dramas and programming.
One of 2016’s most amazing series, Descendants of the Sun, had high viewership rates around the world. This incredibly popular K-drama attracted high numbers in its first week of programming – not only in the Arab world, but globally, too.
This amazing drama has broken viewership records, winning plaudits from even the likes of President Park Geun-hye, who said it would help spread South Korean culture and boost tourism significantly.
This is not the first K-drama viewed globally, but what makes it unique is the military setting. Not only is Descendants of the Sun focused on a love story between the soldier who kills to protect lives and the surgeon attempting to save lives, the series also shows the true effects of war and natural tragedies. On top of that, it features Da’esh terrorism, and realistically shows relations between Arabs and immigrants.
The show is mostly set in the fictional war-torn Mediterranean country Uruk, where a Special Forces Captain, Yoo Si Jin (Song Joong-ki), juggles peacekeeping duties and meets the Doctor Kang Mo Yeon (Song Hye Kyo). Right away, their romance begins.
Of course, this is not the only love story in the drama. There’s another one, between Seo Dae Young (Jin Goo) and Yoon Myung Ju (Kim Ji Won), the daughter of Lieutenant General Yoon, commander of the South Korean Special Forces Brigade who refused to allow their love and threatens Dae Young with two options: continue with his relationship with Myung Ju or risk being removed from the army.
Of course, love wins.
Of course, having an addicting K-drama doesn’t come without a price. In fact, Chinese authorities warned of the dangers of watching K-dramas, especially after the story of a woman who nearly went blind binge-watching K-dramas emerged. Her 18-hour marathon session triggered acute glaucoma.