‘The Silent Sea’: Netfilx Sci-Fi Series Drowns in Its Working Size

Gong Yoo and Bae Doona Han Sejun | Netflix

As the streaming era proceeds to blur the line between film and tv, it is pure that the compromise in between the two varieties, the confined collection, would be flourishing. Virtually every streaming system truly worth its salt unveiled a buzzworthy miniseries in 2021, from Amazon’s The Underground Railroad, to Hulu’s Dopesick, to HBO Max’s Station Eleven. Netflix dominated the dialogue final yr with Squid Sport, which writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk had at first pitched as a two-hour film just before growing it into an 8-hour miniseries. For Squid Match, the added time investment compensated off huge time, but not each and every premise advantages from a luxurious runtime. In the scenario of Choi Cling-yong’s The Silent Sea, the new Netflix miniseries centered on his 2014 short film The Sea of Tranquility, much less may possibly essentially have been far more. The Silent Sea boasts potent performances and an imaginative premise, but spends significantly of its 360 minutes treading water.

The Silent Sea is set in the late 2060s, a ten years into a worldwide drought. Lakes, rivers, and reservoirs all around the planet have dried up and desalination vegetation simply cannot produce enough drinkable drinking water to satisfy need, primary governments to enact severe, unjustly stratified rationing measures. (The show’s depiction of a massive water disaster in this century is a dramatization, but not an creation this is an challenge you should be fearful about.) From this backdrop, astrobiologist Dr. Music Ji-an (Bae Doona, Kingdom) is recruited to take part in a salvage mission at Balhae Station, the lunar outpost where by her sister was killed in an incident 5 yrs previously. Dr. Tune and a crew of 10 other astronauts led by straight-laced Captain Han Yoon-jae (Gong Yoo, Teach to Busan) journey to the derelict moon foundation, only to locate that practically nothing they’ve been instructed about their mission is true. 

Bae Doona is at household as an expert scientist whose stillness portrays equally agency skilled self esteem and deep, soul-sucking melancholy. Dr. Tune is one-minded in her pursuit of the truth, but her investigation is also an act of mourning. 5 many years and an endless cleanse drinking water pass have accomplished very little to console the soreness of her sister’s decline, but understanding the demise might lastly give her closure. Standing in her way is Captain Han, who wishes to total the mission as instructed and get back again home so he can use the water offer he’s been promised to are inclined to his ailing daughter. The stakes alter for each of them when the crew discovers a little something aboard Balhae Station that could finish the drought. Or drown all of humanity. 

The sci-fi conceit of The Silent Sea marries the kissing cousins of room horror and submarine thriller. Outer house and deep h2o are identical settings loaded with equivalent fears, isolating figures in enclosures that are equally claustrophobic but only safety from an setting that can kill them extremely, extremely swiftly. Except the vacuum of space has a genuine weak spot as a movie antagonist: it’s invisible. Director Choi Dangle-yong and screenwriter Park Eun-kyo devise a risk (the character of which I won’t spoil) that lets water stand in as a more visually appealing hazard even in a room setting, mixing in some awful human body horror elements for superior evaluate. The Silent Sea surely owes a credit card debt to Alien (as practically just about every spaceborne thriller does) but which is just a single of quite a few components in its imaginative recipe. 

But the series falls quick as a thriller. To perform nicely, a thriller is dependent on the interplay of suspense and shock, on the storytellers’ watchful parseling of information and facts to both the people and to the audience. If the viewers understands anything before the protagonists, it need to heighten the risk and make suspense. Will the hero recognize there is a bomb below their seat prior to it goes off? What is the villain hiding in that head-sized box? The difficulty with The Silent Sea’s mystery is that the viewers and the protagonists acquire most of the significant information at the same time, and the story plods alongside at these kinds of a deliberate pace that the audience has considerably too much time to consider the proof and draw conclusions, often hours just before the figures have caught up.

It is not that The Silent Sea is not worthy of 8 45-moment episodes—in truth there is a fantastic deal of untapped tale potential in the miniseries. Of the 11-strong crew that comes at Balhae Station, only two (Dr. Song and Captain Han) get flashbacks to their lifestyle ahead of the mission. Most of the figures are launched through a solitary clumsy scene that permits every person to shake arms and give a single line of backstory. Their schooling alongside one another as a workforce is skipped around, presumably to get us into the plot sooner, but then it all decompresses as if Choi and Park were being struggling to meet up with an anticipated size. A subplot of political intrigue back again on Earth gets glancing attention, and a shady corporate antagonist is spoken of but under no circumstances observed. Most likely the manufacturing did not have the price range to manifest these strategies on display, but they absolutely had the time.

Would The Silent Sea worked much better as a six-part miniseries, alternatively than 8? Need to it have been a a few- or 4-hour motion picture, in its place? Is there a functional variance involving these two alternatives in a streaming context? Cinema, possibly digested total or in chapters, has under no circumstances been additional malleable, and one hopes that platforms like Netflix will inspire storytellers to in good shape the medium to their information rather than vice-versa.

‘The Silent Sea’: Netflix Sci-Fi Series Drowns In Its Running Length