The action comedy show "The Brothers Sun" debuted on Netflix on January 4, 2024, but has gone largely unnoticed by viewers.
Netflix has been inconsistent in promoting its own content, with periods of activity followed by radio silence.
"The Brothers Sun" features a captivating performance by Michelle Yeoh, who plays the matriarch of the Sun family.
Every week Netflix drops a plethora of series and movies on the streaming service, and a lot of these programmes go unnoticed by the majority of viewers. Case in point: The action comedy show The Brothers Sun, which debuted on January 4, 2024. Considering the success of another action dramedy in the form of Cobra Kai, one would think the streaming giant would be pushing The Brothers Sun to the moon as the perfect alternative to tide fans over until Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence return for the final season, but nope. Instead, the show by Byron Wu and Brad Falchuk has required fans to do the discovery and subsequent heavy lifting for it.
Anyone in the media space knows how fickle Netflix is when it comes to promoting its own content. There are spurts of activity here and there, but then radio silence for weeks on end. (Heck, even Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire received zero promotion in South Africa – no screeners, no interviews, no love.) At the end of the day, only the people working for and at Netflix know the reason for some of the poorest marketing campaigns in entertainment, but it needs to be said that the streamer dropped the ball in a huge way with The Brothers Sun..
What is The Brothers Sun about?
The Brothers Sun follows the story of two vastly different brothers. Bruce (Sam Song Li) lives with his mother, Eileen (or Mama Sun), in Los Angeles, California, and dreams of becoming an improv actor. His life is turned upside down when his brother, Charles (Justin Chien), arrives from Taiwan after years of being gone. Charles isn’t here for a family visit, though, as Bruce quickly learns his brother and father are two notorious gangsters in Taipei. After the failed assassination attempt on their father, Charles is here to protect his brother and mother from an unknown threat. The worst part? Mama Sun knows all about the Sun family secret and kept it quiet from Bruce.
How do you not promote a show starring Michelle Yeoh?
Let’s face it: Michelle Yeoh is one of the greatest actors of our generation. While she built her reputation in the Hong Kong action genre, her transition to Hollywood star demonstrated to the world that she possesses a set of extraordinary skills. Most viewers remember her for sensational turns in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha, but it’s her Academy Award-winning performance in 2022’s Everything Everywhere All at Once that captures her full range as an actor.
The Brothers Sun features yet another spellbinding portrayal from Yeoh. Without getting into spoiler territory, Mama Sun is like an onion here, and the more someone peels back the layers, the more they discover about her. Sure, she is the heart and soul of the Sun family unit, but she also possesses her own identity. This becomes a core theme throughout the show as she develops from being seen simply as the matriarch to becoming her own person with specific wants and needs.
Inverse’s Jon O’Brien praised the show as a whole but also reserved special praise for Yeoh, writing: “We may only be a few days into the New Year, yet The Brothers Sun is already a strong contender for most entertaining new show of 2024. If that wasn’t enough, Yeoh may also have [the] most formidable character of the year sewn up, too.”
This is what makes Netflix’s blasé attitude toward this show even more perturbing. How does one secure an Oscar-winning actor and forget to promote it? Shameful.
Next-level action and new stars
The Brothers Sun tackles key topics such as the sense of obligation, following one’s dreams, and navigating family turmoil. All of this drama builds out a compelling story and rich characters to make the audience fall in love with, but the show also delivers a roundhouse victory in the form of heartstopping action.
From the first scene to the last, the show isn’t afraid to mix it up with a wide array of martial arts and gun fu combat. A number of actors show off their skills in this category, but it’s Justin Chien’s Charles who emerges as the breakout performer. After his action-centric performance, it’s tough to not see Chien becoming a sought-after actor in the genre. He has the look, the ability, and the charisma to lead and the sky’s the limit for him.
On another front, Sam Song Li’s charm as Charles’ brother, Bruce, cannot be understated. Li possesses an instant affable and easygoing nature that cements him as a likeable presence on screen. He’s someone the audience can root for and get behind, and don’t bet against Li receiving similar roles as the honest-to-a-fault best friend or lead in the near future.
While Michelle Yeoh is undoubtedly the most famous face on The Brothers Sun, the series does an excellent job of elevating new talent and showcasing a wealth of action. Again, it’s mind boggling how the streaming service didn’t see this from the start and do something more with it.
Will we see The Brothers Sun Season 2?
According to Tudum, The Brothers Sun ended up in the number five position in Netflix’s Top 10 TV shows for the first week of January. That said, it was eclipsed by Fool Me Once in total views, as The Brothers Sun mustered up just over 4.1 million views while the former achieved over 37.1 million. In comparison, Wednesday Season 1 received around 50 million views in its first week.
Now, no one knows what Netflix actually uses as a metric for success, since the streamer is about as transparent about this as a politician on the campaign trail, but it’s clear that The Brothers Sun isn’t pulling in the mega numbers, so its second season could be at risk of becoming a reality. All is not lost, though, since the show could prove to be a sleeper hit and quietly move up the charts as the word of mouth spreads. Sadly, it appears like it’s up to the fans to do all the work here since the streaming service did a massive disservice by not getting behind this show in the first place.
Tell us, do you think Netflix did enough to promote The Brothers Sun? Let us know in the comments.
The Brothers Sun
When the head of a Taiwanese triad is shot by an assassin, his eldest son, Charles `Chairleg' Sun, heads to Los Angeles to protect his mother and brother, who's been completely sheltered from the truth of his family until now.
Creator: Byron Wu, Brad Falchuk
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Justin Chien, Sam Song Li, Joon Lee, Highdee Kuan
Sergio Pereira is a prolific and recognised journalist and writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. His expertise encompasses the topics of comic books, film, television, and video games. For over 16 years, he has built up his reputation and knowledge in entertainment journalism by writing for and learning from the world's largest publications.
Sergio is also an accredited Rotten Tomatoes reviewer and has interviewed numerous celebrities, such as Andy Serkis, Ben Barnes, Idris Elba, Letitia Wright and Frank Miller. He is the author of the highly rated fantasy comedy novel The Not-So-Grim Reaper and numerous short stories. In addition, he is the co-writer of the South African crime drama film The Lifesaver. As a regular columnist, he contributes to Looper, Grunge, Screen Rant, Ranker, CBR, SYFY WIRE, IGN Africa, Thought Catalog and Fortress of Solitude.
For Sergio, all he wants in life is to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles eclipse the Justice League as the greatest heroes of all time. Then, he will sleep peacefully.