Reply 1988 is a South Korean television series starring Lee Hye-ri, Ryu Jun-yeol, Go Kyung-pyo, Park Bo-gum and Lee Dong-hwi. Beginning in the year 1988, it revolves around five friends and their families living in the same neighborhood of Ssangmun-dong, Dobong District, Northern Seoul. It aired every Friday and Saturday from November 6, 2015, to January 16, 2016, on tvN for 20 episodes.
Reply 1988 is the third installment of tvN’s Reply series. It received both critical and audience acclaim with its finale episode recording an 18.8% nationwide audience share, making it the fourth highest rated drama in Korean cable television history and highest rated television drama at the time of airing.
In 1988, Duk-Sun (Hyeri), Jung-Hwan (Ryoo Joon-Yeol), Sun-Woo (Ko Gyung-Pyo) and Dong-Ryong (Lee Dong-Hwi) are high school students and 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 neighbors to this day. Their families are also very close to each other. They always hang around Taek’s room and spend time together.
Duk-Sun’s family is poor and they live in a semi-basement house. Duk-Sun’s father Dong-Il (Sung Dong-Il) lost money due to guaranteeing someone else’s debt. Nevertheless, Duk-Sun has a bright personality and enjoys singing and dancing. She always gets into fights with her older sister Bo-Ra (Ryoo Hye-Young).
Jung-Hwan’s family became rich overnight. Jung-Hwan is crazy about soccer.
Sun-Woo is a model student at school, 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 4 friends. He gives up going to a university due to his poor academic score.
Taek is a famous go player known as God. Since he dropped out of school, Duk-Sun, Jung-Hwan, Sun-Woo and Dong-Ryong are his only friends.
review : by TeoKajLibroj (Link)
I have just finished watching Reply 1988 and feel I need to get my feelings off my chest. I had seen this show recommended a lot on this sub, but had held off watching it at first. However, I eventually decided to give it a go under the mistaken impression that it was the first in the Reply series.
I just want to say I absolutely loved the show. The characters were so amazing and the plot engaged me so much that the 90 minutes flew by. There were so many sweet and charming moments that were so enjoyable. But rather than give a detailed review, I’ll just list a few points that I feel made the show so special.
Deok-sun: Probably the closest the show has to a main character, she carries the show. She is by far the most well developed character I’ve seen in a kdrama, at various points she is strong, goofy, caring, angry and vulnerable. In other words, she is a completely real person.
Parents: In a show about teenage romance, it would be easy to sideline the parents, but in Reply 1988 they have just as strong a role to play. The three mothers in particular are just as relatable and interesting as the teens, which I found refreshing as housewives are often ignored on television.
Realistic plot: What I especially loved was how ordinary and realistic the plot was, there is no artificial or contrived drama just to fill time. In many episodes, nothing dramatic happens, but this never bothered me because I still found the slice-of-life entertaining.
Relationships: The relationships between friends, lovers, parents etc was incredibly well done. Yet it is not romanticised as some ideal family life, they still argue, but the arguments always felt valid. When the parents argued, they had a valid point but it was clear they still loved each other.
Comedy: The show is genuinely hilarious and I laughed out loud at nearly every episode.
Of course, no show is perfect and I had a few minor issues with some points
Jung-hwan: I found him incredibly boring and completely lacking any personality. Despite all the screen time, I never felt like I got to know who he was. From an early episode, I presumed he would end up with Deok-sun, which would have made me enjoy the show less.
Loose ends: Arguable the over-arching plot was Deok-sun’s search for love, which is why it’s strange that in the last episode she and Taek deny they are dating and we never seen how everyone would react. Did Taek and Jung-hwan ever clear the air between them? What about Deok-sun and Sun-woo (I don’t believe they ever spoke after he spoke her heart)? How did Jung-hwan end up?
Goat noises: They were just weird and the show didn’t need a laugh track
Time skip: I’ve seen a few kdramas with time skips and never liked them. There didn’t seem to be any reason to jump forward five years if everyone still feels the same and nothing has changed. As nice as it was to see the characters mature, changing them from awkward teens into stylish adults changed tone of the show.
That being said, those are only minor complaints and don’t change the fact that I loved the show. Once my poor heart has recovered, I’ll give Reply 1997 and 1994 a try if they return to Netflix.