The Channel 8 military drama is back with more action, romance, heartbreaks, laughter and tears than before.
Has it been that long? After a five-year break, your favourite (if not, only) local military-based drama When Duty Calls is back for a second season.
When Duty Calls 2, or 卫国先锋 2 (Wei Guo Xian Feng 2), is a MediaCorp production in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, commemorating 55 years of National Service (NS55).
The mandarin series stars local celebrities Desmond Tan, Paige Chua, Felicia Chin, Pierre Png and Kym Ng; and will be aired on Channel 8 from 15 Aug. MediaCorp gave a preview of the show's highlights as part of a livestream of a press conference on 3 Aug, attended by cast members.
Here are five of your questions answered about the upcoming drama:
1. Who's in it?
Desmond Tan reprises his role as 3rd Warrant Officer (NS) Loke Jun Guang, a self-employed baker who serves as an Operationally-Ready National Serviceman in an Infantry unit. His love interest Lieutenant Colonel Sim Yi Xuan (who had the rank of Captain in Season 1), played by Paige Chua, is also back – as commanding officer of a Landing Ship Tank.
Veteran actors Pierre Png and Kym Ng are back, playing married couple Corporal (NS) Daniel Tan Kim Poh "Jin Bao" and Loke Mei Guang respectively. Felicia Chin reprises her role as a combat medic, Military Expert (ME) 2 Peh Jing Yu.
They are joined by new faces Tyler Ten, who plays a Regular from the Army Deployment Force, Nick Teo, who plays a Super Puma pilot and Joel Choo, who plays an engineer from the Defence Science and Technology Agency.
2. What happens?
Similar to real life, the on-screen story takes place five years after the first season, beginning with an Army Training Evaluation Centre exercise involving Jun Guang (Desmond Tan), Kim Poh (Pierre Png) and Jing Yu (Felicia Chin).
It is Jing Yu's last exercise with the Infantry unit before she heads over to the Army Deployment Force and meets Chan Oon King (Tyler Ten).
Soon after, a tropical storm hits fictional country Yusloka causing massive mudslides and casualties. Jing Yu, Oon King and Air Force pilot Apollo Teo (Nick Teo) are deployed to take part in a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission.
The on-screen mission is in fact inspired by Operation Flying Eagle, a HADR mission that the Singapore Armed Forces took on following the 2004 Asian tsunami.
3. Who's who and who's with who?
While packed with action and realistic operations, no drama is complete without romantic tension and love triangles – and When Duty Calls 2 promises to deliver on those fronts.
Jun Guang finally pops the question to Yi Xuan and the newly-engaged couple starts making plans for marriage – but their happiness doesn't last long.
"Despite all the tough training we had to go through for the show, the love story was actually the hardest to film – because our characters' relationship went through so many obstacles," said actor Desmond Tan during the press conference.
In the meantime, Jing Yu sees a different side of her military rival Oon King when they take part in the HADR ops together and grow close. But just as she realises she has feelings for him, her best friend Apollo confesses his feelings to her.
While Season 1 ended with Jin Bao and Mei Guang (Kym Ng) getting married, this season shows their struggles in trying to conceive.
4. Why should I watch it?
With its fast-paced action and cinematic scenes filmed in actual on-site locations – and even on a naval warship during its sail – When Duty Calls 2 looks right out of a blockbuster movie.
Watch it for yourself (from timestamp 14:50):
There is plenty of love and laughter to entertain as well. Kym Ng said that she shared an intimate scene with Pierre Png, as part of their characters' efforts to conceive.
"I've always acted as an 'aunty' so I've never acted in an intimate scene before – and this time I was doing all the work instead of Pierre! I never thought I would do this in my career, it was very exciting," she said jokingly.
5. Sound great. How can I watch it?
The 20-episode series will air on MediaCorp's Channel 8 from 15 Aug to 9 Sep, from Mondays to Fridays at 9pm.
For those who prefer to binge, the first five episodes will also be available online on meWatch on 15 Aug.