May 23, 2020, 3:38 AM CDT
By Adela Suliman and Stella Kim
▲ Son Ye Jin (left )and Hyun Bin (right) star in 'Crash Landing On You,' series about an heiress and a soldier crosses Korea's north-south divide. Lim Hyo Seon / Netflix
The series features all the ingredients a viewer could wish for. A beautiful heiress. A swooning soldier. Danger. Forbidden love. All set in one of the most repressive places on earth — North Korea.
The series — "Crash Landing on You," on Netflix — has drawn a global audience of millions, many no doubt searching for entertainment as they while away their time in coronavirus-related lockdowns.
The premise is this: The gorgeous heiress has accidentally paraglided into North Korea, where she is aided by none other than the swooning soldier — with whom, of course, she eventually falls in love.
The series features the South Korean actor Hyun Bin, 37, and the actress Son Ye-Jin, 38 — both of whom are popular heartthrobs. It taps into taboos and offers a glimpse of life and love in the secretive state.
The show has attracted huge audiences from Australia to China and the United States. And nowhere has it had more impact than in South Korea, where few people can remember a unified peninsula. Korea split in two at the end of World War II in 1945.
But as secretive and repressive as North Korea is, for some South Koreans, at least, the series drives home one salient point: It just may be that there is more that unites Koreans than divides them.
"I watched the drama because it is not a heavy drama about the two Koreas, but a drama mainly focused on love," said Ashely Jun, a translator who lives in Seoul and is a big fan of the show.
"It is meaningful, in that it showed some ordinary concerns like love, friendship and family affection in North Korea," Jun said. "Viewers might think that North Koreans are not that much different from them."