Warning! Spoilers!


I have talked about it previously. I went through an Asian drama slump during my college years and a few years after that. Recently, I came out of retirement and wanted to watch some older and good Korean dramas I missed during my break. I saw “Reply 1997” after it finished and watched “Reply 1994” when the episodes were coming out. I love both of them so much. I knew “Reply 1988” was coming out, but I wasn’t motivated to watch anything at that time. I know this drama has a high view count, so I’m excited to dig into it now. Here are my thoughts on the first half.


“Reply 1988” explores the friendship and lives of five teenagers living on the same block in of course, 1988. Sung Duk-Seon is the only girl in the group. Though her family is poor, she is feisty and kind. Sung-Woo is the responsible and smart class president living only with his mother and younger sister. Jung Hwan whose family went through an insane rags-to-riches story is quite aloof, the typical ‘tsundere’. Dong-Ryong is the dean’s son and is probably up to the most mischief. Finally, there is Taek. A shy boy, Taek, dropped out of school to become a professional baduk player. In typical ‘Reply’ fashion, who will our heroine, Duk-Seon, end up with?  reply-1988_1560x872_modified_1Review

As one of the most high rated dramas of 2015, I guessed I expected too much. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great slice of life / family drama… but I wasn’t hooked to it like I was with ’97 and ’94. However, ’97 and ’94 had a lot of twist and turns towards the end, so I am fairly certain that there will be some crazy stuff in stored for the end of this drama. I am looking forward to that and hopefully it will up my opinion about this drama.

The first episode was excellent though. It started off in typical ‘Reply’ fashion, introducing us to the popular pop culture of that time. That is the best thing about this franchise. It’s very fun throwback. I seriously love the community feels because I grew up with the kids on my block too and brought back so many memories. In addition, I was excited to see some familiar faces and the main parents are back. Yay! I also enjoyed the character introduction and the different family dynamics – well done! I can tell this is going to be a superb family drama from the first episode. By the way, I understand Duk-Seon so well. As the middle child with an older sister and younger brother, I can totally relate to being the forgotten child. I feel you girl (Duk-Seon).

Those are my thoughts on the first episode. Let’s talk about some other memorable scenes / episodes. One of my favorite is four because of the whole ‘the grass is not always greener on the other side’ concept. This episode really brings it home when it shows that with friends like Taek’s, losing a big match is simply a small road bump. However, my most favorite episode is probably five. The theme of ‘mothers’ really hit me hard. By the day, Dong Ryong has this rare talent of understanding parents. He quickly solved Jung Hwan’s problem with his dad and mom. That’s cool. The one scene that made me actually tear up was in episode seven. My eyes watered so much when Taek’s dad asked why he was the one who lived and not his wife… Oh my heart was just tearing up over their father and son relationship. Last mention, Jung-Bong and Jang Mi-Ok under the umbrella in the rain scene was the perfect blend of romantic and hilarious. The blurry people rushing by – on point!

I need to confess one of my wrong predictions. At first, I was expecting more Jung-Bong and Bora interaction. I did not see Sun Woo’s crushing on Bora coming at all. Their relationship is super cute, but I actually liked him with Duk-Seon. Then, I switched and rooted for Sun-Woo to succeed with his crush. I was so glad when he finally won Bora over in episode ten. What a nice way to mark the halfway point!

My biggest problem with this drama are the ‘future’ scenes. The characters as adults aren’t fun at all, and I’ll complain more about it in my predictions. My other compliant: I am not on board with this pairing – Sun Woo’s mom and Taek’s dad. The only two single parents on the block don’t have to get together, sheesh.


  1. Obviously, we have to discuss who is the Sun-Deok’s future husband. From the bickering adult selves, I have to assume that the husband is Jung Hwan. I cannot imagine Taek talking to Sun-Deok like that at all. At the same time, if this is true, I am going to be seriously pissed that they made it so easy to guess through these future scenes that were not necessary and actually unentertaining.
    1. Like I said, I originally was shipping Sun-Deok with Sun-Woo. Of course, that has changed. Now, I like her with Taek, but I don’t think that will happen. If she does end up with Taek, I will be even more pissed learning that adult Taek is completely different and no longer a cutie pie.
    2. When this show ended, I read some an article about how some people complained about the ending. It is going to be super messed up if she doesn’t end up with either Jung-Hwan or Taek but some random guy instead. Though I also think that is unlikely since her husband knew so much about her younger self. It has to be one of the two and it is definitely Jung-Hwan, I think.
  2. ’97 and ’94 both had a sibling death, so I am guessing that this one might. I was expecting it might be Jung-Bong with his surgery, but looking at how his story is progressing, I doubt it. There could be a chance that it’s Jin-Joo which would make me extremely sad because I am also expecting her to grow up to be a weird adult since she is surrounded by weird adults. LOL!
  3. I thought Jung-Hwan might encounter a big health scare when they mentioned how his nose bleeds a lot. Isn’t that usually a sign of cancer in Korean dramas? Then, it was dropped and never brought back up again. I wonder if he will have a legit health scare later since they did say he has a weak immune system.
  4. I think that Sun-Woo’s mom will probably not agree to Sun-Woo and Bora dating since she is always bad mouthing her. However, since she loves her children very much, his mother will eventually give in.
  5. I can see Jung-Bong and Mi-Ok having a blossoming and hilarious relationship. I am looking forward to it.
  6. I can also see Sun-Woo’s mom and Taek’s dad ending up together even though I don’t want that to happen. I hope not. Let’s just be friends.

Alright, It’s time for bed. I will continuing watching tomorrow.