Good Ol’ Review: “Like Flowers in Sand” a Heartwarming, Exciting and Memorable Series

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

Moderate spoilers. But should not affect how you will experience the series.

At first, I regretted watching Like Flowers in Sand (모래에도 꽃이 핀다) immediately after having watched a similarly themed and set drama. I was afraid having two series so similar would affect how I would enjoy and experience this one. Those worries proved to be unfounded as Like Flowers in Sand is able to proudly stand on its own merits as a warmhearted and inspiring series. Powered by engaging storytelling, compelling characters, stunning visuals and a talented ensemble cast; Like Flowers in Sand absolutely deserves end of the year consideration.

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

Like Flowers in Sand follows the journey of ssireum wrestler Kim Baek Doo (Jang Dong Yoon). The youngest in a family of ssireum champions, Baek Doo is contemplating retirement after facing challenges in his career. But his life takes an unexpected turn when he reunites with his childhood friend Oh Doo Sik (Lee Joo Myoung), now going by Oh Yoo Kyung, who returns to their rural seaside town of Geosan.

Yoo Kyung, now a detective, is secretly in town to investigate a recent murder with partner Min Hyun Wook (Yoon Jong Seok). And her arrival brings Baek Doo a renewed motivation while also refreshing faded bonds with other friends including ssireum coach Kwak Jin Soo (Lee Jae Joon), police officer Jo Seok Hee (Lee Joo Seung) and mysterious café owner Joo Mi Ran (Kim Bo Ra).

Like Flowers in Sand is a wonderfully vibrant character-driven series that not only vividly captures the exhilarating sport of Korean wrestling, but also explores themes of friendship, family and the pursuit of dreams.

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

Baek Doo, Doo Sik/Yoo Kyung and their four friends take center stage to help tell stories of growth and overcoming personal struggles. And how in part, that can be accomplished through the bonds and connections one makes throughout their life. The series does an excellent job slowly, but surely unfolding the many layers of these characters and their relationships with each other. All while also filling the world of Geosan town with a lively and eclectic community of characters who help make the series such a well-realized world on its own.

That sense of community helps to enhance the series’ heartwarming sincerity. Especially when it is able to touch upon deeper issues and emotions. The cast of unique and endearing characters are the perfect catalysts to legitimately engaging stories. With the characters and the overall narrative working hand in hand for a 12-episode experience that definitely invites you to stay longer than we might have time for.

There is a wonderfully refreshing authenticity in how the series is able to depict the everyday lives of a rural, seaside community. The characters are never simply caricatures. But fully developed, well-rounded characters. Multi-faceted characters. All of whom are integral pieces to the bigger story puzzle.

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

Like Flowers in Sand is able to use the idea that there is beauty in the everyday to tell some truly engaging and exciting human stories. All while also set in front of the backdrop of the thrilling world of ssireum.

The series is very much a love letter to the traditional Korean sport. And it does so in a way that is fully accessible to as wide an audience as possible, heightening the appreciation one can have for ssireum, whether it is your first time even seeing the sport or if you’re already familiar with it.

The mystery that runs through the series also helps to throw in some welcome suspense. But it never overpowers the human stories which always take center stage.

Like Flowers in Sand features an excellent ensemble cast.

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

As Kim Baek Doo, Jang Dong Yoon is able to bring a refreshing charm and vulnerability to the character. Perfectly expressing Baek Doo’s kind and carefree personality. Both simple-minded and thoughtful, Baek Doo’s multifaceted personality offers a lot of great material. And Jang Dong Yoon effortlessly delivers a standout performance. Absolutely one of his best.

Lee Joo Myoung similarly is able to balance the two sides of her character, arguably divided between the childhood Doo Sik and the adult Yoo Kyung. Both a badass and a softie at heart, Lee Joo Myoung takes a step into a lead role and also effortlessly delivers. She and Jang Dong Yoon also share an instant chemistry that helps elevate the already strong material for their characters’ relationship. Especially the romantic angle that is one of the most satisfying you’ll see in a Korean drama.

The rest of the ensemble, including talented young actors and recognizable Korean drama veterans, absolutely hit it out of the park as well. Or maybe more appropriately, score the needed winning points in the ssireum ring.

Like Flowers in Sand Korean Drama Review

Overall, Like Flowers in Sand is an absolute treasure of a series. A sincerely captivating storyline is supported and elevated by an excellent cast, well-developed characters and cinematic visuals. All to make for a heartwarming, exciting and thoroughly satisfying and memorable viewing experience.

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