Thailand's army, which is running the Thai government since seizing power in 2014 in a coup, is supporting for producing military-themed soap opera, which highly resembles South Korea’s “Descendants of the Sun,” as part of its plan to remake its image.
The series succeeded in attracting attention from the public with good looking actors and unusual subject of drug ring and terrorist mop-up operation. However, scholars are criticizing it as a propaganda tool to improve the junta’s image in the three-year-long army-run nation.
The military-themed series titled “Love Missions” began airing on Channel 7, which is owned by the army, from July 1. It is centered on the stories of four main characters, one for each branch of the Thai army, navy, air force and the police, who chase and sweep drug traffickers and foreign terrorists.
In particular, the first episode, “Pull the Trigger on My Heart,” featured the love story between a soldier fighting foreign drug gangs on the border and a female pphysician, who volunteered for medical services. The second episode, “My Beloved Royal Navy Officer,” also followed the romance between a naval officer cracking down illegal fishing and a female journalist and author.
The military junta did not directly fund the series, but has backed the project by providing props, such as helicopters and rifles, and allowing to use military camps as a filming location.
The series succeeded in attracting attention from the public first. Viewers tuned in to show’s pilot which aired on the 1st, becoming an instant hit among drama fans, with the episode’s title, “Pull The Trigger On My Heart”, becoming a trending topic on Twitter in Thailand.
As South Korean drama series Descendants of the Sun became very popular across Asia last year, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, head of the army, mentioned about its story stressing patriotism and sacrifice, saying, “We will support anyone who can make Thai people love government officials and one another by producing such TV series.”