Having previously watched Reply 1997, which I had thoroughly enjoyed as it was such a heartwarming coming of age story, it was natural for me to be really excited about Reply 1994. If it had the same feeling as its “prequel/sequel” I would be happy and complete. I’m glad to announce that, at least for me, it does.
The story revolves around a group of college students from all around Korea who all live in the same boarding house in Seoul. The drama is set in the year 1994, as the titles says, the year of the basketball fever in Korea and the rise of k-pop. The first two episodes are more or less introductory ones, where we learn a little bit about each character and the way the story will unfold.
– Before anything else, the first images that showed Seoul. Such a big, bright, alien city to an outsider. It sets the feeling of being lost and new to such a different environment from your previous one. Because when you first go to a new city, at least for me, I feel like a tourist- everything is different, beautiful and you just want to take everything in. So these first scenes I think it made the viewers feel like tourists, like the new kids on town.
– So many likable characters. All these different kids, coming from smaller towns, having to face the same problems, each one of them with their own unique personalities. From the silent but not-so-silent-after-all girl, to the older looking guy who looks like your typical provincial guy, everyone looks warm and potentially interesting.
– I loved the portrayal of a fresh new university student who leaves home and their small town for the first time and has to face this unfamiliar big city. Getting confused on the metro, getting fooled by taxi drivers, ordering for the first time junk food, not having a cinema on your town, all these things no matter how funny or even unrealistic to many might seem are not. Trust me. I was someone from a small town and I know people from even smaller places and we know what these things feel like. We have faced the very same situations. Crazy, I know!
– In general I loved the overall feeling of people leaving home for the first time, having to face things on their own, the fear and loneliness that come from that. You try to act like an adult now but in reality you’re not quite an adult yet.
– I loved all the interactions between Na Jung and “Trash”. And then we had that twist over there and I’m like whaat? But I liked it, I did. Also loved all the interactions between Samcheonpo and Hae-Tae. SO funny. I really liked how they bonded in the process after their first fights.
– I found that the background songs went really well with the way our protagonists’ feelings are at the time and they were beautiful songs too. Also all the 90’s environment, I just love it so much.
– None. You saw that coming, didn’t you?
Overall I really liked these first two episodes. They have the same heartwarming feeling as Reply 1997. We haven’t avoided some similarities but they didn’t bother me. Yes it is the same pattern as Reply 1997’s as to guess-who-she-married but as in Reply 1997 that is only the way they chose to tell the story- the coming of age story of these group of friends. So I don’t mind it. I’m gonna be really curious but in the end it’s not the destination that matters but the journey. (I have written this line before and again it’s not mine, it’s the main theme of Odyssey.)