Korean dramas are nothing like American or British sitcoms. Comparing the two, or pitting them against each other would be foolhardiness as there are some very fundamental aspects which distinguish the plot, characters, story-line, acting and production. However, Korean dramas have gained a considerable fan following in many countries in the west as well as the east. Riding on the ‘Hallyu Wave’, actors essaying popular roles have become overnight stars, sky rocketed to stardom by merely one or two acting stints. Although the Korean entertainment industry has largely emulated and incorporated the ‘western’ cultures and concepts in their shows, they are yet to permit the somewhat extreme liberalism and permissiveness which the west advocates, and have thus retained many of their core values and ethos of reserve and decency. Modern, refreshing but which rightfully depicts contemporary Korean lifestyle — is the motto they unequivocally uphold. The fact that Korean creativity has not surrendered itself to the cultural aggression of the west, and has still managed to enthrall their diverse audience with original, scintillating content is exemplary, especially when people are deluded by the myth that anything from the west is the best.
“The moon that embraces the sun” is set in a historical backdrop dating back to the Joseon era, an epoch marking the ascendancy of monarchy in ancient Korea. Feudalism, oppression, bigotry, discrimination and coercion of the those belonging to the lower echelons of the society by the so called blue blooded royalty has been brought into the limelight, as well as the socio-political and cultural hypocrisies that existed during the regime were very boldly embodied by the actors. The perennial objectification of women in ancient chauvinist and patriarchal societies, was a concept brilliantly manifested by showing oriental women being enslaved and assaulted, which deserves to be commended. Ancient superstitions, taboos and stigmas incited by blind faith in elements of paganism and sorcery, was questioned and condemned, simultaneously captivating the viewers with their realistic approach in creating emotive characters, and the actors truly breathed life in them. Minor flaws in terms of weak, schmaltzy scenes which were redolent of trashy Bollywood films, can be forgiven for the sake of all aforementioned plaudits.
The plot revolves around a royal lineage traditionally fraught with poignant issues of rivalry and political shenanigans. Conspiracies, coups and ploys added to the thrill and suspense whereas the parallel existence of compassionate protagonists was a conspicuous setback in terms of the very trite ”good vanquishes evil” concept being reiterated. Kudos to the negative characters who did justice to their roles as conniving and villainous criminals masked by the glamour of aristocracy. Sanguinary blood sheds and cold blooded murders triggered by vengeance was a bone chilling delineation of man’s vices in the form of avarice, greed and selfishness. The viewers will be kept glued to their seats by the final showdown, till the very last episode.
It is a must watch for those who are acquainted with the fair, handsome Korean actors and actresses with flawless complexion, since the cast includes some of the hottest celebrities of the thriving entertainment industry. For those who are experimental enough to try out something new, are in for an unforgettable experience.