Reply 1988 (2015-2016) | TV Series Review

Title: Reply 1988 (응답하라 1988 or Eungdapara 1988(2015-2016)
Written by: Lee Woo-Jung
Starring: Lee Hye-Ri, Park Bo-Gum, Go Kyung-Pyo, Ryu Jun-Yeol, Lee Dong-Hwi, Sung Dong-Il, Lee Il-Hwa, Ryu Hye-Young, Choi Sung-Won, Kim Sung-Kyun, Ra Mi-Ran, Ahn Jae-Hong, Kim Sun-Young, Kim Seol, Choi Moo-Sung, Yoo Jae-Myung, Lee Min-Ji, Lee Se-Yeong, Son Young-Kyung, Lee Mi-Yeon, Kim Joo-Hyuk, Jeon Mi-Seon, Woo Hyun, Yong Young-Jae, and Bae Yoo-Ram
Country of Origin: South Korea
Original Language(s): Korean
No. of Series: 1
No. of Episodes: 20 + 1 special episode
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Running Time: 90-110 minutes
Original Network: tvN

In 1988, Sung Duk-Seon (Hye-Ri), Kim Jung-Hwan (Ryu Joon-Yeol), Sung Sun-Woo (Go Gyung-Pyo) and Ryu Dong-Ryong (Lee Dong-Hwi) are high school students and Choi Taek (Park Bo-Gum) is a Go player. These five people have been friends since they were little kids. They all grew up together and are neighbours to this day. Their families are also very close to each other. They always hang around Taek’s room and spend time together.

Duk-Seon’s family is poor and they live in a semi-basement house. Duk-Seon’s father Dong-Il (Sung Dong-Il) lost money due to guaranteeing someone else’s debt. Nevertheless, Duk-Seon has a bright personality and enjoys singing and dancing. She always gets into fights with her older sister Bo-Ra (Ryu Hye-Young).

Jung-Hwan’s family became rich overnight. Jung-Hwan is crazy about soccer. He is stoic and sarcastic. He grumbles a lot but he is a very smart and studious student.

Sun-Woo is a model student in school, a good son and good brother at home. Sun-Woo’s mother has raised Sun-Woo and his younger sister alone after Sun-Woo’s father passed away.

Dong-Ryong likes dancing and hanging out with his four friends. He gives up going to a university due to his poor academic score.

Taek is a famous Go (Baduk) player known as God. Since he dropped out of school, Duk-Seon, Jung-Hwan, Sun-Woo and Dong-Ryong are his only friends.

When I knew about Reply 1988 is a family drama, I kind of holding back to watch it. Here’s the thing. Family dramas are not my thing nor do my favourite. Plus, this drama used 1988 as time setting and therefore, all the fashion and hairstyles and other things are kind of old and outdated. Historical drama is one thing. I like history and that’s why I like the idea of historical drama. However, Reply 1988 is more of a retro/old-fashioned drama rather than a classic historical drama. My sister hasn’t watched this so I don’t know what to expect from this drama either. Apparently, she has the same idea of not wanting to watch this drama because of the old-fashioned style and because according to her, the other two instalments of Reply series is boring. However, after seeing Park Bo-Gum in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (2016), I kind of curious to see his other dramas, especially the drama that made Park Bo-Gum gained even more popularity than he already has and the title of ‘Nation’s Little Brother’, before Park Bo-Gum became even a phenomenon and gain the title of ‘Nation’s Crown Prince’. So here I am, watching Reply 1988 and I have to say, I am definitely not disappointed at all. All those old-fashioned styles is no longer a big of a deal. It’s actually the plus point of this drama. Now I understand why Reply 1988 has become the highest rated drama in Korean cable television history, even more than Goblin: The Lonely and Great God (2016-2017). I don’t know about the other instalments of tvN’s Reply series because I haven’t watched them, but Reply 1988, as the third instalment, has definitely a very good story. A very great moral lesson in each episode. Even my sister has become curious about this drama and decided to watch it because I kept saying that this Reply is really good.

First of all, I love the friendship that was happening in Reply 1988. Duk-Seon, Taek, Sun-Woo, Jung-Hwan, and Dong-Ryong are certainly what they called friendship goal. If you think Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl (2007-2012) are friendship goal, think again. Not even the trio Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley in Harry Potter series can beat the friendship of Duk-Seon, Taek, Sun-Woo, Jung-Hwan, and Dong-Ryong. They are neighbourhood friends and childhood friends as well. Their friendship is more realistic and can be more of a friendship goal. They really care for each other, especially when they have known each other since they were a kid. They knew each other and understand each other perfectly well. They knew how to entertain their friends when they were feeling down. They are so loyal towards each other and very supportive. They always there when one of them is in trouble. Either cheering each other or just be there for support. They even taught each other to be a better person and scold one another if they did something wrong. They really are very supportive towards each other. It’s amazing to see such friendship. The chemistry of their friendship really shown in the drama. All five of them have executed the chemistry perfectly. I like the fact that they can come to another one’s house without knocking first and feel and treat themselves as if they’re in their own home because they are so close and have spent times in each other’s houses since childhood. They would come to Choi Taek’s house and spent their days in his room even though he’s not at home at that moment. Clearly, it shows how close they are. Their friendship is really nice and exemplary. With everything that has happened between them, all five of them are what we call as true friends, after all.

Not only the five of them, but their parents also developed a very great friendship as well. Well, when you’ve been a neighbour for more than 20 years, friendships like that might happen. It’s the warmth of a neighbourhood that I don’t see anymore these days. Perhaps because I don’t live in a housing complex anymore but in an apartment, so I don’t know if there is still such warm neighbourhood like in the drama or the people nowadays has got more ignorant.  When I still lived in a housing complex, we all knew all the neighbours. Not as close as in this drama but pretty close to enjoy dinner a couple of times every month or celebrate birthdays or new years together. Nowadays, not so much. People get strange these days. At least from what I’ve seen. Nevertheless, Reply 1988 has shown me back the warmth of a neighbourhood once was. It’s heartwarming and exemplary. The way they helped each other right away when others needed help or the way they supported each other at every moment are just amazing. How they often share their food with the neighbours or how often they spent time eating dinner with the neighbours or celebrate things with the neighbours. It’s how my parents and grandparents used to do with the neighbours. Just like what happened in Reply 1988. The chemistry between the children and their parents or their friends’ parents are also really good and nice. It’s like watching real parents interacting with their real children. The way the parents showed their love to their children and the way they can be wise at some points yet ridiculous at other times, Reply 1988 has built a strong basic story of parenthood too.

In terms of the story, Reply 1988 definitely has a very great story with so many moral lessons. In every episode, you will definitely learn something. Either about love, friendship, or family. To be honest, there is something about every episode that made my eyes tears. Not because the story is sad, but it’s so touching and so true. That’s why I can’t stop myself from crying. Reply 1988 is not like other romance drama because it doesn’t focus on the romance part but because they have a family story to tell too. I thought it would be boring because I don’t fancy a family drama. Never was, actually. However, I can tell you Reply 1988 is an exception. With so many moral lessons that I got from this drama, I wonder if the other instalments of Reply series are this good too. I don’t mind seeing the family problems because apparently, it was told beautifully. It did show the love of parents towards their children or the warmth of friendships or neighbourhood, even the love-hate relationship between siblings. Things that could happen in real life too. That’s why Reply 1988 has stories that closed to the heart of the viewers, or at least mine. Of course, in the beginning, I watched this drama because of Park Bo-Gum but why I kept on watching it wasn’t because only him but also because of its good story. Surely I would still prefer the scenes with Park Bo-Gum in it, but now, that’s not the only reasons to like this Korean drama. Reply 1988 has indeed delivered a very good story. A great one indeed.

Although Reply 1988 doesn’t focus on romance story, there is still romance in the drama. The pace is slower than the usual romance drama but still, it’s sweet in some ways. The plot reminded me of How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014), where the audience has to guess who’s the real mother in the future. In Reply 1988, we have to guess who is Duk-Seon’s future husband. Some clues were given, but it could be misguided because you will keep on guessing who’s actually the husband. One time you guess person A, then another clue showed that it’s person B, but then again, it could be person C. It’s still unclear and unpredictable until nearly the end. Though I did have my guess in the middle of the whole series, I wasn’t really sure until the last few episodes.

“Seriously, your personality is perfect and you perfectly… suck at chopsticks. Who the heck would lose to you in Baduk?” – Ryu Dong-Ryong

Of all the characters, my favourite one is Choi Taek, played by Park Bo-Gum. Don’t get me wrong. As much as I love Park Bo-Gum, it’s not the only reason why I love the character of Choi Taek. Even if it wasn’t Park Bo-Gum who played the character of Choi Taek, I would still love the character. However, I can’t really imagine other actors playing the character of genius Go player—or in Korea, they called it Baduk player. From the beginning, I am definitely Team Taek, even though some people disagree with making Taek having feelings towards Duk-Seon because he definitely didn’t show it in the beginning. I don’t mind, really. Since there are so many characters in the drama, they have to develop the other characters first too. They needed the viewers to see and understand the other characters before jumping to another and deeper stories.

Some people might be in Team Jung-Pal (Jung-Hwan), but I myself is Team Taek. Once again, not because Taek was played by Park Bo-Gum but because of the personality of Choi Taek himself. Surely Duk-Seon and Jung-Hwan have their sweet moments and Jung-Hwan has shown his love towards Duk-Seon in sweet ways more than a couple times, but still, I like Taek more because he’s more honest and more determined. He doesn’t hesitate when it comes to Duk-Seon, while Jung-Hwan seemed to always hesitate. Taek is not afraid of showing his friends that he likes Duk-Seon, while Jung-Hwan seemed afraid that his friends might mock him for liking Duk-Seon, the only girl in their pack that often wasn’t treated as a girl by the others because they have known each other for so long.

Taek is very kind towards Duk-Seon and treats her like a gentleman treats a woman, while Jung-Hwan often mocked Duk-Seon in order to conceal his true feelings. Taek never tried hiding his feelings. He will call Duk-Seon if he wants, or hug her if he needed the hug or feels that Duk-Seon needed one. He will pat her head every now and then. He would say Duk-Seon is pretty when others always teased her. That’s why even though Jung-Hwan has shown signs of liking Duk-Seon from nearly the beginning of the series, I still prefer Taek. Jung-Hwan can be sweet too, but let’s face it, Taek is better. Taek is honest and straightforward, while Jung-Hwan has a lot of hesitations. That’s why from the beginning, I always root for Taek. It’s not like Jung-Hwan is all bad but if compared to how Taek treated Duk-Seon, I will choose Taek all over. Not only Jung-Hwan and Duk-Seon, Taek and Duk-Seon were also given some sweet moments too. However, we still have to guess who is Duk-Seon’s future husband. Whether it’s Taek or Jung-Hwan, we wouldn’t know until a few episodes near the end. I can’t really predict who Duk-Seon will end up and when I knew, I am pretty satisfied with the result. After watching the whole drama, it does make sense. Although most people were questioning how Duk-Seon end up with his future husband, but hearing the explanation, I think it really does make sense. The director and the writers already decided from the beginning whom Duk-Seon will end up with and there’s no changing of the script in the middle of the road. I am very glad about it because I don’t think I like the idea the writers changed the script just because one character is more likely to be loveable than the others or something like that. In the end, they really have executed the story in a good way—a very good way, indeed. Plus, the chemistry between characters is really good. Either as friends or as someone they love. The chemistry looks and feels nice and sweet. From the way Duk-Seon treated Taek, we would wonder whether she’ll end up fall in love with him or not because Duk-Seon really treated him as a dear friend. Then again, they all are.

“How can someone who plays Baduk get lost on the road?” – Ryu Dong-Ryong

Taek is very special to their friends. They treated him like a treasure. Well, he kind of is the treasure of the neighbourhood, being the most famous of all because of his Baduk skill. He won many Baduk tournaments. Either national tournaments or even international. That’s why they all cherish him. Plus, he kind of having difficulties in doing everyday stuff and his friends often call him an idiot. However, he’s not actually an idiot. In truth, he’s the most genius of all and the most competitive. With a very high IQ, Taek is very good at games or solving riddles. Not only Baduk, Taek is very good at other games as well, like rubric games, monopoly, or arcade games. It still is a mystery how he’s very genius in such things but sucks at small things like using chopsticks, opening a can, cooking ramen, tying his shoelaces, or other everyday stuff.

Although he’s looking innocent nearly all the time, Taek is the most mature of all his friends. Perhaps because he has played Baduk and faced adults since he was a kid, Taek grew mature faster than his friends. His personality is unique and unpredictable. Taek may be very famous and very rich since he always win hundreds of millions Won every year, but he always humble and his friends never treated him differently. That’s why Taek can always be himself around his friends. Taek can ask for anything to anyone because of his popularity but he doesn’t really like to ask a favour nor being asked a favour. However, when it comes to his best friends, he’ll do it right away. That’s why Taek is such a good friend. In summary, Choi Taek is a very sweet guy. He’s a genius yet at the same time so innocent and so pure and can be little bit idiot, but he is very kind, sweet, honest, loyal, not selfish at all, and very considerate towards his friends. That’s why Choi Taek is my favourite character in Reply 1988, not just because of Park Bo-Gum, but because of his traits and personality.

Despite his positive traits, Taek is still a normal human being with some bad sides. For example, he actually smokes when all his friends don’t and he’s only 18 at that time. He took a lot of sleeping pills so he can sleep or take painkillers to reduce his headache. Choi Taek is definitely not a morning person and can look sleepy nearly all the time. Even he’s asleep, he mostly slept carelessly and his friends or father have to cover him with blankets or changed his sleeping position into a proper one. Taek doesn’t eat well. He’s hardly ever eaten if he’s already concentrated in playing Baduk or in a tournament. His father or his friends have to remind him over and over again. He seemed like going to pass out at any moments because he worked so hard in learning Baduk since he desperately wants to win all the time. That’s why he can be really sad and feeling down if he loses. At that time, when all the parents seemed to act like nothing happen so that Taek won’t feeling more depressed, but then, his friends will mock him up. Not in a bad way, but in a way so that Taek could cheer up. They kept telling Taek that it’s okay to lose and that they don’t mind if Taek loses. They always try to make Taek feels better. All five of them knew just how to cheer each other up. They have such a good friendship that you will jealous because you will want to have friends like Taek, Dong-Ryong, Sun-Woo, Jung-Hwan, and Duk-Seon. When one of them was caught up in trouble like run away from home or being caught by the police or getting sick, they would all go and save or meet their friend right away, no questions asked. They never hesitated in terms of helping their friends. Such friendship is worth fighting for. That’s why I keep saying that the friendship showed in Reply 1988 is amazing and deserved the name of what people would call as friendship goal. At any rate, Taek is everyone’s favourite. His friends treasured him so much and so did the parents. And of course, he’s also my favourite character! 😍 😍

Choi Taek may be a genius Baduk player but when it comes to real tournament or match, we wouldn’t know the final results. Of course, we hope Taek would win all the time but it’s not always the case. Like real life events, sometimes, Taek also could lose. No matter how genius someone is in Baduk, you would lose. Just not as many as other players. Taek did hold the record of getting straight wins and have the lowest percentage rate of losing, but he still lost a couple of times too. That’s why the story seemed more realistic because people can’t always win. The tension of every match can be felt because we wouldn’t know whether Taek would win or lose. That’s why it’s never boring to wait for the match results.

I also like the relationship between Choi Taek and his father. It must be hard for a single dad to take care a son alone. But Choi Moo-Sung did well in raising Taek. They showed their love towards each other in their own ways. Many times they showed us some sweet and touching moments that would make you cry just a little bit. I like the fact that Park Bo-Gum can easily shed some tears for his character. His expressions when he was sad are just spot on. It’s very touching and it showed us that the vulnerability of Choi Taek. He did it more than a couple times in the drama and each time Park Bo-Gum did it perfectly. Either shed some tears or looking very sad with teary eyes, Park Bo-Gum nailed it all. I think Park Bo-Gum is one of the actors that always do great in doing crying scenes. It’s not a bad thing, really. It’s actually a good thing because from what I’ve seen so far, not every actor can do crying scenes as perfectly as Park Bo-Gum and showed so much emotion in his eyes. Therefore, the viewers can feel the emotion of the character more and feel more empathy towards Park Bo-Gum’s character. Anyway, with so many touching moments happening in Reply 1988, the other actors and actresses also did great during crying scenes. They’re not exaggerating the cry but just enough to make the audiences shed some tears too because we can feel the sadness and the hurt that they felt.

“Before all that though, Taek… Let’s fix your clothes. Unbelieveable. I just don’t understand it. Why do people lose to you at all?” – Ryu Dong-Ryong

Now I understand why Park Bo-Gum was named ‘Nation’s Little Brother’. He is just so cute in this drama. His character as Choi Taek is like everyone’s little brother. Everyone really cares about him. Only Park Bo-Gum can pull off the helmet hairstyle and still look charming and handsome and far from nerdy. Even if it’s nerdy, it’s the handsome type of nerdy. I once thought only Ji Chang-Wook can still look good with his nerdy spectacles during his role in Suspicious Partner (2017). I was totally wrong. Park Bo-Gum also managed to look very good and handsome with his nerdy spectacles when playing Baduk. Those spectacles worked so well on Park Bo-Gum. He really nailed the look. After seeing Park Bo-Gum playing a playful and adorable Crown Prince in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, I was so excited to see him as a genius Baduk player. A genius yet adorable and cute Baduk player. I like how Park Bo-Gum can bring out the charm of Choi Taek perfectly. His aura seemed different whenever Choi Taek was playing Baduk. He has the charisma. It’s a different charisma from when Park Bo-Gum played the role of a Crown Prince, but he still looks as charming as ever. The way Park Bo-Gum can always bring out all of his characters’ charm and charisma is something that needed to be praised a lot. It’s amazing how Park Bo-Gum can shift his charm and charisma from a mature, professional, and serious Baduk player to a cute and adorable teenage boy right away. Even the way Park Bo-Gum changed the tone of his voice is just amazing. He will sound firm and full of authority when he’s competing, but then, he will sound purely innocent and adorable when he’s not competing.

Anyway, Park Bo-Gum really did practice playing Baduk so he would look and do good in playing Baduk in Reply 1988. There are certain ways of how a Baduk player should place their stone. The hand gesture, the attitude, or even where Park Bo-Gum has to put the next stone. He really practised it beforehand and really did well in the drama. Even the way he played rubric shows us that Choi Taek is indeed a genius, though sometimes he doesn’t seem to like one, seeing how bad he is in doing day-to-day tasks. He could memorise the instructions of monopoly board game but hard to remember when people asked him to do some things or even the street to new places. That’s why his friends kept on wondering how he can have high IQ yet sucks at simple tasks. Choi Taek is just so adorable and Park Bo-Gum has portrayed the character really well. The gesture, the mimics, every facial expression, Park Bo-Gum nailed everything about Choi Taek. Park Bo-Gum’s eyes really speak everything. You can see all of his emotion through his eyes. Either happy, sad, angry, confused, or in love, everything can be seen through Park Bo-Gum’s eyes. His eyes really speak a thousand words. Like really. Just looking at his eyes, you’ll know how he felt at the moment. His eyes really speak everything. They are very expressive. Not to mention his sweet smile too! I can’t imagine other actors played the role of Choi Taek as perfect as Park Bo-Gum. The role is really made for him. Park Bo-Gum has done a great and perfect job. I was hoping that his character would show up more but since there are so many characters in the drama and so many stories to tell, it’s understandable that he didn’t show up as much as I wanted. Besides, Choi Taek 6-dan—or people call and refer him as Master Choi or Master Choi Taek—is a busy Baduk player who often went abroad to compete, so it’s kind of understandable. Fortunately, I can see him more and more as the story went by, so I’m still glad. I just love seeing Park Bo-Gum whenever he’s on screen. He’s such a great actor. He delivered his performance flawlessly and perfectly in every way.

Although Ryu Jun-Yeol is very good at portraying Kim Jung-Hwan, I still like the facial expression of Choi Taek given by Park Bo-Gum. Perhaps it’s because Jung-Hwan’s character is more expressionless than Taek and therefore, I don’t see too many shifts in his facial expressions. Jung-Hwan’s personality is very good. He certainly has his moments. However, I still like Taek’s personality better. Still, Ryu Jun-Yeol portrayed the character really well. I love the friendship that developed between Jung-Hwan and Taek. Rather than competing for who got the girl, they chose to be considerate towards one another without speaking it out loud but showing it with their actions. They chose their friendship first instead of their love story. It doesn’t often happen in real life, you know. That is why I like their friendship. I also like the relationship between Jung-Hwan and his older brother, Kim Jung-Bong. It’s unique and their chemistry is nice. No matter how ridiculous Jung-Bong could be, he is still an older brother and therefore, there are times when he gave some good advises and touched the heart of the viewers.

“Have you ever seen Taek play? He’s on a different level than us, is what I’m trying to say.” – Sung Sun-Woo

At first, I thought Sung Sun-Woo, played by Go Kyung-Pyo, would have a bigger role in Duk-Seon’s life but then the writers have their own plans for Sun-Woo. His love story is more complicated even more than Duk-Seon’s. It’s a bit disappointing in this part because I was hoping Duk-Seon’s love story took a bigger role. However, in the end, somehow Sun-Woo’s love story got more attention and more complicated than Duk-Seon’s. Don’t get me wrong. I like how complicated Sun-Woo’s love story was. It does make things interesting and gave the audiences some enlightenment of how things happened back in the 90s in South Korea. However, it’s so unfortunate that his love story seemed to be the highlight of the drama when it’s supposed to be Duk-Seon’s. Then again, since the love story is good and nice, I think I can forgive that. I don’t remember Go Kyung-Pyo much in Flower Boy Next Door (2013), but in Reply 1988, he has definitely portrayed his character really well. Of all the five of them, Sun-Woo is perhaps the most normal one. He is smart, diligent, and a very good son too. Like all the others, Sun-Woo is also a very good friend. I’m guessing all the others, Sun-Woo is the closest one to Choi Taek, seeing how many times he cling to Taek and vice versa more than to the others. At some points, Sun-Woo seemed to understand about Taek more than the others. Their bromance and friendship are really cute and lovely.

Ryu Dong-Ryong, played by Lee Dong-Hwi, is the most playful one among all five friends. However, he could be very wise when times needed. Dong-Ryong understands his friends very well and often give wise bits of advice. He always takes care of his friends too. Unlike his friends, his parents are hardly at home because both of them are busy working. That’s when the conflicts got in and eventually, Dong-Ryong too has his own problems. He might not have some kind of sweet love stories like Taek, Jung-Hwan, Duk-Seon, or Sun-Woo, but Dong-Ryong did have his own problems at home. Problems that eventually would be a lesson to us, as viewers. At any rate, Lee Dong-Hwi managed to portray his character really well. His facial expressions are just spot on and his ridiculous actions are funny. By this time around, all five of them know each other’s life better than anyone. It’s like no secret between them. But like all normal friendship, there are secrets among themselves too. It’s not a secret that would hurt each other. It’s more a small secret that they prefer not to tell though eventually, it was really funny when they found out that they weren’t being told. Their reactions are so cute and funny. The more reasons to love their friendships.

My second favourite character after Choi Taek is Sung Duk-Seon, played by Lee Hye-Ri. It’s not because she is the most beautiful girl in the drama but because of her personality. Lee Hye-Ri’s acting got better as episodes went by. I am not saying that her acting skill is bad in the beginning. It’s just that through the episodes, her acting just got better and better. Perhaps it’s also because of Duk-Seon’s personality got better and more mature. At first, her reactions were a bit exaggerated but as time went by, her character got more mature and her reactions seemed to be more normal. She is still cheerful and lively but we can see she’s maturing too. Despite often looking ridiculous, Duk-Seon is a very kind and warm-hearted person. She cares about others more than she realised. When needed, Duk-Seon can be really reliable as well. No wonder many people like her. Of course, the downside is that she couldn’t study. She is smart but she seemed to lack the capability of studying, making her grades really bad. It’s very different to her elder sister, who is very smart. However, in terms of personality, Duk-Seon is the better person because she is kinder and everyone loves her. I think Lee Hye-Ri has done a great job in portraying Duk-Seon. Either looking ridiculous or sweet, Hye-Ri nailed it all. I do like how Hye-Ri wasn’t afraid of looking ridiculous and still managed to look sweet and cute.

I think of all her brother and sister, Duk-Seon has the warmest heart. Even though Sung Bo-Ra can be kind, warm, and wise, she often gets angry all the time. She is very fierce. No wonder people are afraid of her. Ryu Hye-Young really portrayed her character well. Her grumpy expressions were just spot on. Bo-Ra is indeed annoying but I like how the writers really made her ‘human’ by giving her sweet and warm sides too, though not as good as Du-Seon’s, but still, there’s a side of Bo-Ra that the viewers would love. Choi Sung-Won who played Sung No-Eul, Duk-Seon’s little brother, has also nailed his part. I wonder why they chose Choi Sung-Won as the youngest sibling when in real life he’s the oldest of them all. It’s funny, really, because Choi Sung-Won doesn’t seem like the youngest of all yet he can still bring his character just fine. He managed to play his character really well and showed us that No-Eul is indeed the youngest sibling despite his ‘old’ face.

“Loving someone doesn’t mean you don’t hate them but it means you can’t hate them.” – Sung Bo-Ra

I like how there are no small parts in Reply 1988 because every character gets their own story, even the parents and the siblings. By now, Sung Dong-Il and Lee Il-Hwa have played the character of parents third time in all of the Reply series. I don’t know about the other Reply series but in Reply 1988, they surely have their own stories and problems as a family and as husband and wife. Surely the acting of Sung Dong-Il and Lee Il-Hwa (the characters’ names are the same name of their real name) don’t need to be questioned because by this time around, they have played many roles and of course, they nailed their roles in Reply 1988 too. Kim Jung-Bong, who is Jung-Hwan’s older brother, played by Ahn Jae-Hong, also got his own love story as well. Not much, but just enough to entertain us more. Not to mention Jung-Bong is also an interesting character as well. He looks unreliable at one time, but at other times, he can be reliable enough. All of the cast have done their characters really well. Perfectly well, indeed. Not just the old ones but the young ones too. I enjoy all of their actings. They are not afraid of acting ridiculous or look vulnerable and shed some tears too. How they made the characters’ life story closed to our hearts, how they gave their perfect facial expressions in every moment, how they manage to touch the audience’s hearts and gave us so many moral lessons. It’s a combination of great acting skills from all the cast and great story from the writers.

Like I’ve said before, I wasn’t so keen on watching Reply 1988 because of the time setting. Everything looks old and a bit outdated. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to admit that I was wrong. The old-fashioned and outdated styles are the plus points of this drama. I like how they used the same clothes repeatedly, making it more realistic because it doesn’t seem real if they have different clothes from the beginning until the end. Eventually, as years went by, they gradually changed the clothes according to the era too, including their hairstyles. It’s amazing that they really paid attention to that kind of details, thus making the story more realistic. How they managed to make those clothes and hairstyles or how they got all the news or songs or films happening at that time are actually not a big of a deal, but then how they managed to get the old technology like the old walkman, television, telephone, videocassette recorder, pager, cars, computers, or other old stuff that made me wonder. They even got the old furniture and decorations just right. How did they manage to get those old things? I was born in 1992 so I didn’t experience some of the technologies myself but some others, I did experience it and I kind of miss them. Seeing those things in Reply 1988 feels very nostalgic. The nostalgia and meticulous attention to detail is really one of this drama’s appeal. Reply 1988 really told the story of the times when there’s no internet or smartphone. I too wondered how the hell I spent my times back then without all those modern technologies. Reply 1988 has made me missed my childhood memories when I used to play with my neighbours, going to their houses, knocking their front doors and not calling them via chat messages. It feels so nostalgic. That’s another reason why I love and enjoy Reply 1988. Not only it has a very great story with so many moral lessons, but it also gives the audiences, especially those who were born on the 1980s or 1990s, a feeling of nostalgia. I really love it.

From Reply 1988, we would see how all the characters grew up from teenagers to adults. Where they used to spend a lot of time together, later on, they went separate ways because they weren’t in high school anymore. They have their own job. Seeing them grew up like that, it’s just hit me. Life always goes on, no matter what. When there’s hello, there’s always goodbye. No matter how close you’re with your best friends, when you grew up and have a job or even a family of your own, you will go separate ways with your best friends. You no longer can spend time a lot of time with them, let alone every day all the time. It’s possible but it wasn’t the case every time. You won’t be able to spend time as much as you did before. It’s sad but it’s true. And Reply 1988 really remind us of that kind of life lesson. Seeing these characters grew up made me happy but at the same time, kind of sad either. That’s why Reply 1988 is a great drama because it has a very realistic story. Reply 1988 is mostly about the filial bond within the characters. It’s about family with a small portion of Duk-Seon’s love story. I usually prefer a drama with more love story or action or thrilling story, but for Reply 1988, I will gladly make the exception. This drama really touches my heart deeply.

“I could not return to my youth or that street either. Time always flows. Everything passes by and ages. That might be why youth is beautiful. Because it shines, blindingly bright at a brilliant short moment. But you can never go back to it. A time when many tears was shed–like my youth.” – Sung Duk-Seon

All in all, Reply 1988 is a very great drama and definitely, a must watch one. I don’t think I would love this drama so much besides the fact of Park Bo-Gum played a role here, but I was wrong. I do love this drama not only because of Park Bo-Gum but also because of the overall drama. However, I can’t lie that I love Park Bo-Gum even more because of this drama. His character is so cute and so adorable. I can’t choose whether I love Park Bo-Gum as Choi Taek in Reply 1988 more or Crown Prince Lee Young in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds more because he suited both characters really well. He portrayed both characters flawlessly and perfectly. I don’t think any other actors can replace him in both characters. Anyway, the stories, the time and place settings, the makeup, the clothes, the lessons, the friendship, the chemistry between the characters, and even the old songs and the soundtrack songs of Reply 1988 are all very great and very well executed. I like the way the writers gave all the characters positive traits and negative traits in balance. They managed to make all the characters more ‘human’ and more real. The development and the growth each character were executed perfectly and realistic. Everything is just spot on. I really enjoy watching Reply 1988 so much. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s very touching, and apparently kind of nostalgic too.  I laugh and cry a lot throughout watching this drama. Reply 1988 is a very great Korean drama indeed. I don’t know about the other two instalments in Reply series, but this one is really good and seeing how much I love it, I can bet that this is the best of all three. Reply 1988 may not be perfect, but in my opinion, it is perfect. Not because only of Park Bo-Gum but because of the total package of a drama that Reply 1988 has delivered. 😍 😍

I give Reply 1988 10 out of 10 stars. I’m a fan! 

😘  Toodle-oo,


7 thoughts on “Reply 1988 (2015-2016) | TV Series Review”

  1. […] Like Reply 1988 (2015-2016), I decided to watch Tomorrow’s Cantabile because of Park Bo-Gum and because I kind of interested in the story of Tomorrow’s Cantabile. I always like classical music, so it doesn’t hurt to watch a drama with classical music as the main background story. Don’t misunderstand. I love classical music. I love Tchaikovsky or Chopin or Schübert or Mozart. However, I can’t play any instruments. I suck at music. I can’t even sing without hurting my own ears let alone others. That’s how bad I am at music. But, I can’t lie that I love music. I like hearing music, including classical music. So there I was, trying to watch Tomorrow’s Cantabile. […]


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