[Drama Review] Reply 1988 (2016, tvN)
KMazing – Let me start this review by stating the obvious fact: if you have never watched Reply 1988, you are truly missing out the beauty of K-Drama. Reply 1988 may be widely known as the second highest rated drama in the South Korean cable television history, but to many of its viewers it is more than that. This drama has the ability to make us laugh and cry within a few minutes and it’s not only because the casts’ ability to present their characters, but also because of its storyline – it’s simple at a glance, but at the same time captivating. Not only that, the drama is also filled with a few twists-and-turns that you have never seen before. Probably because of the fact that Reply 1988 is a masterpiece from director Shin Won-Ho and writer Lee Woo-jong who have previously handled various reality shows – giving them the ability to play with the heart of their viewers. Check out the trailer here then continue to read our review.
The drama takes place in Northern Seoul in the year 1988 and tells a story about the friendship of Duk-Sun, Sun-Woo, Jung-Hwan, Dong-ryong, Taek, and their families who live in the same neighborhood. The children. The five friends are always seen spending time together in Taek’s room since he is the only person in the group who doesn’t attend the same school since he dropped out of school.
Having dropped out of school, Taek is known as a popular go player who goes by the name God and is always rather quiet especially when compared to the other four. Duk-sun, the only girl in her five-persons group, is known to be someone who has the brightest personality and always appears happy despite coming from a poor family. Her family used to be very well off, but due to someone else’s debt which her father took responsibility of, they lost what they had and moved into a small semi basement hourse in the neighborhood. Duk-sun has an older sister named Bo-Ra whom she fights with all the time and in the finale is seen to get closer with one of the group members, Sun-Woo.
Sun-Woo himself is an incredibly smart and responsible guy, his father passed away leaving him with his mother and a younger sister. Another guy in the group is Dong-Ryong who, similar to Duk-Sun, has a passion for dancing and singing. The last one is Jung-Hwan, an aloof and sarcastic guy who’s into soccer – as opposed to Duk-Sun’s family who tragically lost their fortune overnight, Jung-Hwan’s family got rich.
Reply 1988 was very well-received despite the twists-and-turns leading up to an unexpected ending that surprised the viewers and upset some of them, it managed to record high ratings throughout and also recorded the second highest rating in history with 18.8% after Goblin. This television series literally create a 1988 fever where people relish their memories and share the unity in South Korea at that time. The simple yet intriguing story is the key factor in creating relatable story with the viewer.
Our Final Statement
Despite the controversial ending, Reply 1988 is one of those dramas that are very well written and executed. It’s filled with hilarious sequences and memorable scenes – the finale is one of the most poignant ending I have ever watched and I truly think it’s well-deserved. If there’s one complaint, to me, it’s not the ending – but rather, the fact that they didn’t explore more about Jung Hwan in the end. If you love a meaningful drama that can’t be predicted, you must watch Reply 1988.
The success of this series is the balance of attention sharing between all the cast even the supporting one, it created harmony and eliminate question about simple fact that sometimes neglected by the writer. You will find the ending a bit annoying but it is real and in life sometimes you don’t always get what you want. The franchise this time disperse the story evenly and getting the flow of the story as close to reality as possible. It’s charming and meaningful in our view.
Set in 1988, most of the soundtracks of Reply 1988 are a remake of a large number of old songs. Some of the notable soundtracks are Sanulrim’s “Youth,” Jeon In-gwon’s “Don’t Worry, Dear,” Lee Moon-sae’s “A Little Girl,” and Byun in Sub’s “All I Have To Give You Is Love.