K-Drama Review: Let’s Travel Back in Time with the Drama ‘Reply 1994’!

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Slice of Life Themes in K-Dramas

Slice of life is one of the drama genres that have become people’s favorite for their light plotline, telling us about various problems in daily life and absolutely relatable to our ordinary life. Some slice of life themed dramas that have successfully stolen the hearts of viewers are Age of Youth, Because It’s The First Time, Fight For My Way, Dear My Friends, and the Reply series.

The first series of Reply is Reply 1997 which aired in 2012, telling us about five girls who meet each other again at their high school reunion and revive their high school memories in 1997. After the initial success of the first Reply series, another two series were produced, namely, Reply 1994 (2013), and Reply 1988 (2015).

The cast in each of the spin-off series is different, however, the typical nonlinear storytelling with fresh comedy is still the same. Reply 1994 itself got a rating of 11,5% and thus became one of the highest rated Korean dramas in cable television history. This time, Channel-Korea will give you a detailed review of the second series, Reply 1994, so stay tuned!

A Love Story set in the Background of the 90s

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Same as the Reply 1997, viewers should be able to easily guess who is going to be the husband of the leading actress in the recent series. In the present, which is 2013, we have a woman in her 30s named Sung Na-jung, who has a husband with the name Kim Jae-joon. Later, we find out that her husband is actually, a former tenant in her house, back in 1997, and the audience can try and guess which one of the tenants will become Na-jung’s husband in the future.

In 1997, Na-jung and her parents Sung Dong-il and Lee Il-hwa moved to Shinchon, Seoul. Na-jung’s parents decide to rent their extra bedroom in their house to the six new students of Yonsei University, same as Na-jung, who are also coming from outside of Seoul. The students are only known by their nicknames, they are Sseureki (which means Trash because he’s so filthy although he is a medical student), Chilbongi (number one pitcher of Yonsei University), Samchunpo (slow-thinking person), Haitai (referring to the baseball team Haitai Tigers), Binggeure (referring to the baseball team Binggrae Eagles), and Jo Yoon-jin. 

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Lee Il-hwa really wants her only daughter to have a lover like her neighbor’s kid who also falls in love with a tenant of their house, and Sung Dong-il guesses who’s gonna be Na-jung’s husband among the five boys in the house. Each of the boys is a rich boy in their homeland. Samchunpo is coming from a fisherman family which has big fish boats, Haitai is a son of inter-city transport bus businessman, and Binggeure is a son of a successful chicken farmer.

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The love and friendship story among these youngsters slowly grow. As it is a nonlinear storyline, the scene keeps going back and forth between 1994 and 2013. The clues are coming one by one, until, at the last episodes, the future husband candidates come down to two persons.

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As a surprise for the viewers, the cast of Reply 1997 (Jung Eun-ji, Seo In-guk, Shin So-yul, Lee Si-yeon, and Hoya) will appear as a cameo and make a link with the life story of the cast of Reply 1994!

The Cast

Main Characters

  1. Go Ara as Sung Na-jung
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    An easygoing girl who is majoring in Computer Engineering and a big fan of the basketball player Lee Sang-min. She is originally from Masan, South Gyeongsang Province.

  2. Jung Woo as “Sseureki”
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    A filthy medical student; in one scene he even used a mat to replace his towel. He used to be Na-jung’s late older brother’s best friend. His hometown is the same as Na-jung.

  3. Yoo Yeon-seok as “Chilbong”
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    A handsome and athletic freshman who has already become the number one pitcher of Yonsei University’s baseball team, and had a crush on Na-jung. Chilbong is from Gangnam, Seoul.

  4. Kim Sung-kyun as “Samchunpo”

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    A boy who looks older than he actually is, and is a slow-thinking person. The nickname Samchunpo has been given to him after his hometown, Samcheonpo, in South Gyeongsang Province.

  5. Son Jo-hun as “Haitai”
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    His father is the CEO of Suncheon Transporation Inc.

  6. Baro as “Binggeure”
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    Chilbong’s cousin and Sseureki’s junior in school.

  7. Min Do-hee as Jo Yoon-jin
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    The only girl who becomes a tenant in Na-jung’s house, and also a big fan of Seo Taiji and Boys. She is from Yeosu, South Jeolla Province.

  8. Sung Dong-il as Sung Dong-il, and Lee Il-hwa as Lee Il-hwa
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    Na-jung’s father and coach of the baseball team Seoul Ssangdungi, also Na-jung’s mother.

Supporting Roles

  1. BtoB Yook Sung-jae as Sung Joon (“Ssuk-ssuk”)
  2. Shin Soo-yeon as young Sung Na-jung
  3. Yoon Jong-hoon as Kim Ki-tae
  4. Yeon Jeon-seok as Kim Dong-woo