If you ask me, one of Netflix “killer features” is being able to watch movies or shows you wouldn’t be able to watch otherwise, because they are produced in various parts of the world. I have to say I rarely watch “Hollywood stuff” on Netflix, except my old favorites (in my country we sometimes get those 90 action hits like Total Recall, Terminator or RoboCop) and a few new series (like Cobra Kai), because most of the time I watch horror or drama movies/shows from Thailand, China, Korea, and even a couple of series from Egypt, India and South Africa.
While I’ve watched some really obscure shows (meaning shows that won’t get tons of coverage), this time I will focus on a more “known” show: “The Silent Sea”, a Korean show produced by Netflix and adapted from a short film by Choi Hang-yoi. The series tells the story of a group of astronauts that go on a mission to recover a certain sample from a lunar base, after contact was lost with the crew of that lunar base.
While the setup sounds very familiar, and some things you expect to happen, actually happen (for example, what’s a “space mission show” without a series of events gone wrong?) the series itself has a very interesting setup and twists.
During the first 2 episodes, “The Silent Sea” sets up the basic storyline and drops hints of “something bad happened here”. On the third episode you discover what the “thing gone wrong” is, and on one side it’s refreshing to see it’s not your usual alien monster, but rather something that is a combination of simple and yet somewhat otherworldly.
And yet, as you progress, more twists are revealed, showing there was more to the lunar base than what the crew of astronauts was supposed to find out.
The overall quality of the show is pretty good. The places feel like “real places”, not like fake environments (a feel that can occur with low-budget shows, making everything feel like painted cardboard and such). Some parts of the show are also somewhat VFX-heavy, and, for the most part, the quality of the effects is also very good. Keep in mind this is not a VFX extravaganza like The Avengers, where half of the moon is destroyed or hundreds of digital alien creatures show up. The effects are more subtle, but even subtle effects (like a digital environment seen from a window) need a lot of work.
Unfortunately, I can’t talk about the work done in a very specific kind of visual effect without risking giving away too much, so all I am going to say is that there’s some very interesting physical effects, and also some very cool simulations.
The ending leaves a lot of questions open, including the actual nature of “the threat” but I am a fan of this, because I don’t like how some shows/movies feel the need to explain everything. For example, in Alien, you’re introduced to the Xenomorph but you never know what it actually is, but then Ridley Scott somehow thought it was a good idea to make moves that explain the origin of the Xenomorph, ruining the whole mystery behind it.
I am not sure if there’s going to be a season 2 of “The Silent Sea” but I hope there isn’t. The series ends with a perfect “oh, what’s going to happen now???” vibe and a second season would only ruin it (besides, part of me feels Netflix would force the creators to “explain” some of the stuff that happened on the first season, taking away the mystery that made it special).
With every episode running between 40 to 50 minutes, you can watch all 8 episodes in just one afternoon. If you’re into mysterious sci-fi, you should watch this one.