Cover From left: Gong Yoo and Bae Doona in 'The Silent Sea' (Photo: Netflix)

Here's a binge-worthy series to end the year with

The first Korean science fiction mystery thriller series on Netflix, The Silent Sea, is a story set in the near future of an elite team on a special mission to an abandoned research base on the moon, as resource depletion has devastated the Earth, threatening all life on the planet.

Korea’s Space and Aeronautics Administration finds the answer to the survival of mankind and plans another moon exploration mission led by an elite team comprised of astrobiologist Song Jian (Bae Doona), team leader Han Yunjae (Gong Yoo), head engineer Ryu Taesuk (Lee Joon), team doctor Doc Hong (Kim Sun-young), head of security Gong Soohyuk (Lee Mu-saeng), and spacecraft pilot Kim Heesun (Lee Sung-wook).

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Their destination is Balhae Lunar Research Station, which closed down five years ago due to an accident. They take off with the important mission to “retrieve an important sample in the station and return to earth,” but are faced with an immense challenge as their spaceship makes a crash-landing on the moon.

Through its eight episodes, The Silent Sea promises to take its audience on a wild ride through space. If that's not reason enough for you tune in when it premieres on Netflix on December 24, 2021, here are three reasons why you should make it the centre of your universe.

What lies behind the mystery?

The Silent Sea’s original premise and unpredictable development will keep you on the edge of your seat! Set in the near future, it follows an elite team on a special mission to an abandoned research base on the moon, as resource depletion has devastated the Earth. 

The series is expanded from an original short film directed by Choi Hang-yong, titled The Sea of Tranquility, which was acclaimed for its unpredictable plot set on an abandoned research base on the moon. Jung Woo-sung, who saw infinite potential in the 37-minute film, joined the production of this longer series.

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Screenwriter Park Eun-kyo, whose past works include Mother and Crush and Blush, expanded the story and intensified the suspense. Director Choi Hang-yong commented, “unveiling each mystery one by one is made more exciting with the extended running time,” speaking to the intrigue of the mysteries that present themselves as the elite team members get closer to their goal. 

Not given any prior information, the team heads to Balhae Lunar Research Station, which permanently closed down five years ago, to find new means for mankind’s survival. They witness a mysterious death, and the mission takes a new turn. What secret does Balhae Lunar Research Station hold?

Outstanding ensemble cast

The stellar performance of these seasoned actors who unravel this mystery is another element to look forward to. 

Bae Doona and Gong Yoo, who led the K-zombie wave with Kingdom and Train to Busan, transform into astrobiologist Song Jian and team leader Han Yunjae respectively. Tension is heightened with the conflict between Song Jian, who strives to excavate the truth of Balhae Lunar Research Station, and Han Yunjae, whose only goal is to complete the mission at all costs and return home. Lee Joon, Kim Sun-young, Lee Mu-saeng, and Lee Sung-wook take on the roles of head engineer Ryu Taesuk, team doctor Doc Hong, head of security Gong Soohyuk, and spacecraft pilot Kim Sun respectively, showcasing superb on-screen collaboration.

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Each with a different story, the elite team members aboard the spacecraft are confronted with life-and-death decisions and paths that evoke various thoughts and emotions. The realistic visualisation of the actors wearing spacesuits for the first time and exploring the moon is also noteworthy. Actors trained relentlessly before filming to portray zero-gravity and low-gravity movement on the moon. The weight of each movement is different depending on the gravity levels, adding to the detailed and immersive experience.

It's the first Korean mystery series set on the moon

The Silent Sea features powerful and realistic visuals, from the unfamiliar moon and the research base located on it, to the image of Earth in the near future. Just as producer Jung Woo-sung said, “everything was a new challenge” for The Silent Sea to become the moon, which required much time and effort.

The first challenge was depicting the moon and the surface of the moon, which no Korean has ever stepped foot on before. The production staff studied data and images released by NASA to illustrate the texture of the moon’s surface and recreated different backgrounds required for each of the scenes. Huge filming sets were constructed across five studios for the vast visualisation of the desolate moon, the crash landing of the spacecraft, and Balhae Lunar Research Station, where all of the mystery begins.

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The crash landing of the spacecraft, which captivates viewers with its impact from the beginning of the series, took three months to create. Balhae Lunar Research Station, where the majority of the series takes place, was designed to look like a secret-filled military base with reference to brutalism architecture, which was popular from the 1950s to the 1980s. 

Since the series takes place in space and on the moon, the role of VFX was critical as well. Blue screens were replaced with LED walls for the actors, who had to film based on their imagination of the vast moon and space, to help immerse themselves in the setting. Viewers are brought to the centre of the moon through the detail-oriented and realistic visuals achieved through two years of pre-production and about one year of post-production.

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