Reply 1994 Korean Drama Review (TvN, 2013)

Most of those who loved Reply 1988 starts watching Reply 1994 thinking it is the sequel of the highest rated television drama in history yet, but is it? Truth is, Reply 1994 is not a sequel. It is an entirely different drama with a new plot as well as story-line that adopts a few notable characteristics previously used in the Reply 1988 franchise. So does that make it boring?  In a short way, the cast outshine the plot and their performance make us neglect several occasion where the writing is uneven and the pace is too slow to grow on viewers. it’s not perfect but Reply 1994 is much more engaged and captivated than it’s predecessor Reply 1997. Enough with the intro, let’s get to it.

The Plot

This romantic comedy drama tells a story about seven college students who live at the same boarding house in Seoul – coming from the suburb, they struggle to grow up on their own and adapt in the big buzzing city. Their struggles make them grow closer and the next thing they know, they have become the best of friends who do not only share laughter, but also pains of their own. Reply 1994, just like its predecessors, is told in a non-linear type of storytelling – constantly switching from their 1994 days to the present days in the 2013. This is done to spark viewers’ interest and curiosity as to which one from the group will the female lead, Na-jung, will eventually marry in the future.

Na-jung herself is the daughter of a married couple who owns the boarding house, Dong-il and Lee Ill-hwa, majoring in Computer Engineering, her easy-going and bright personality really keeps the whole plot interesting and fresh to say the least.

The Cast

The super talented cast saved the face of the franchise. The dynamic of having every-cast live beneath one roof and the performance of the actor that bring out emotion of real people with genuine relationship really boost up the series. The relationship is the core of this show, without the progressive and driving interaction between the cast member the show might not be getting the popular reception.

The Reception [Ratings]

The rocky start and for some people it’s too long (it marred the sensation of enjoying a good ) is several reason this Reply series is having a depressed start. Despite many viewers voicing their dislike and expressing their negative commentary about the show, from a few week episodes to the drama’s resolutions, Reply 1994 has successfully recorded 11.9% on its finale night. Quite an impressive number given the fact it was aired on a Cable Network which is famous for its relatively small number of audience.

The Final Verdict

This hilarious and sweet Korean drama is not only entertaining, but gives us that nostalgic feeling. Although this drama and its predecessor can be considered as fundamentally different from one another in terms of storyline, the overall narrative structure is pretty much the same. The episode kicks off with a teaser of the present day Na-jung and her mystery husband – this is then followed with an introduction to the 90’s storyline.

What I like so much about the franchise is the fact that we can watch each of the character develop over time and feel involved to the point that by the time the finale is ending, you’ll feel like you are a part of the family. It’s a drama about the struggle and confusion in the beginning of adulthood, which all of us can relate, and it definitely makes us feeling nostalgic. The only thing I dislike about the drama is the fact that the central story of love triangle lacks a little impact. It adds so little to the plot and doesn’t propel the story into something more, a bit disappointing on that part to say the least. With that being said, it doesn’t mean this series isn’t worth a watch, it is and you should. It would have been better if they took the love triangle part a bit more seriously, though.

All in all, it’s lovely little show with a nostalgic foam spreading around the timeline during the progress of the story. Far from perfect but worth your time to watch.

Notable Soundtracks
  • Seoul Here by Roy Kim

  • Happy Me by Lim Kim

  • Can’t Have You by Hi.Ni

  • With You by B1A4

 

 

Reply 1994 Korean Drama Review (TvN, 2013) | Novice Tyro | 4.5