This is my review for the Kdrama Reply 1994. 21 episodes originally aired in South Korea in 2013. Produced and released by tvN, the television series starred Go Ara, Jung Woo, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Sung-kyun, Son Ho-jun, Baro, Min Do-hee, Sung Dong-il, and Lee Il-hwa. My favorite in this movie was Yoo Yeon-seok. I have a huge crush on him. I feel like an idiot, though. Who crushes on moviestars these days? But boyo, do we get a few great shots with his shirt off. I’ve never been a baseball fan until this movie. Yeon-seok is also in Hospital Playlist, which I’ve watched, but am waiting to do a review after Hospital Playlist 2 is out this year.
So, let’s get into it! I watched Reply 1994 because I loved Reply 1988 so much. 1994 is actually the second movie in the series, and I know this is confusing, but Reply 1997 is actually the first movie in the series. So the director, Shin Won-ho, didn’t follow chronologically, but that’s okay because the actors are all different anyway – totally different scenarios, settings, and characters. Maybe with the success of the first movie, him and the writer Lee Woo-jung took a look at other years that were profound and bundled them together for this movie. I appreciate the nostalgia in these movies, as I, too, am at the point in my life where I am looking back at decisions I made. Where Fate was present, where I perhaps took a wrong turn, or even perhaps where I took a right one.
What I do love about the Reply series is that it captures those years that the TV series spans so well. And what a great way to retain that history! After these dramas, and Hospital Playlist, I became a huge fan of the writer and director. I’m not Korean, but I still enjoyed watching how the characters reacted to the events unfolding around them. Like: the hottest summer in Seoul, the soccer World Cup, the death of North Korean president.
What I loved about it: The Koreans are fascinated, almost obsessed, with the idea of First Love. You find this trope in almost every K-drama. In this TV series, it’s not only the love of Na-jung and Sseureki (nickname Trash), but also multiple other couples’ journey in finding love – whether it’s the “fighters” or the “lovers reunited.” The concept of the boarding house was good. The university students from the country and their experience in living in Seoul. K-dramas have a way of identifying a situation where the conflict can be real, bringing together a large cast of characters in one spot.
What I didn’t like: Who the female main characters ends up with. UGH. Why, oh why, does K-drama insist on giving the female lead, the lesser of the two? Now, this one isn’t is bad as some I’ve watched like Boys Over Flowers, but I still don’t understand why they always have the heartfelt, kind, supportive second love interest to always fail to achieve love with the MC.
Not at good, in my humble opinion, as Reply 1988, but still worth a watch. To say that the director and writer of both have a huge fan behind them now is an understatement! They use the same plot development tool as Reply 1988 where we get glimpses of the characters in the future, but we still don’t know who ends up with who. A great plot strategy done well. They even use some of the same characters from Reply 1988, especially one of my favorites, Sung Dong-il .
You can find all the Kdrama movies I’ve watched HERE, where I’ve rated them 1-5 stars.