A hardcore H.O.T. fangirl, an easygoing computer engineering student, and a middle child who’s yearning for love—these ladies are the memorable main characters of the Reply trilogy.
Reply 1997 (2012), Reply 1994 (2013), and Reply 1988 are arguably among the most popular K-dramas among fans. These slice-of-life series talk about various families, lifelong friendships, and nail-biting romances that will make fans wonder who will be the husband of the main character.
Since the trilogy is set to exit Netflix by Sept. 30, we’re here to lay down the reasons why these K-dramas are worth sacrificing your sleep for.
Nostalgia is a predominant theme in each title in the Reply trilogy. The series takes viewers on a trip down memory lane as the lead characters look back on their youth. Although each K-drama has its own overarching storyline, it’s better to watch them in chronological order to appreciate its interconnected timeline.
Reply 1997 tells the story of Sung Shiwon (Jung Eunji) who recalls her high school days as a 33-year-old woman. Meanwhile, Sung Najung (Go Ara) looks back on her earlier days in Seoul in Reply 1994. Reply 1988, the third season of the anthology, focuses on Sung Deoksun (Lee Hyeri) as she remembers her struggles during her turbulent years.
Each K-drama includes a narration based on the main character’s own perspective, even making side comments about the past. Don’t miss out on nostalgic items of the time period like the Dance Dance Revolution game mat, cassette tapes, and more.
Shiwon, Najung, and Deoksun are surrounded by their respective support networks as they navigate adulthood. Their friendships are not perfect, but time has proven that their bonds are strong and enduring.
Even if Deoksun is the only girl in her friend group, she seamlessly blended with Kim Junghwan, Sung Sunwoo, Choi Taek, and Ryu Dongryong. They’ve known each other since childhood and they always find time to hang out.
Meanwhile, Shiwon described her besties Yoon Yoonjae, Kang Joonhee, Mo Yoojung, Do Hakchan, and Bang Sungjae as the best part of her high school days. They frequently fought over the most mundane things, yet they always turned to each other in joy and pain, even when it came to bailing out of school.
Najung might run a boarding house with her parents, yet it didn’t stop her from forming close friendships with Sseureki, Chilbong, Haitai, Samcheonpo, Binggeure, and Jo Yoonjin.
The trilogy also goes out of its way to show the importance of family. Another standout quality is acknowledging that not everyone is blessed with a loving family, but there are support networks that feel like one.
One of our favorite family-related moments is Deoksun’s struggles as a middle child in Reply 1988. She’s constantly overlooked by her parents and treated like a pushover by her siblings. She also didn’t have the chance to celebrate her own birthday since she had to share hers with her older sister.
Admittedly, it can get frustrating to watch how Deoksun’s parents mistreated her. But what makes it even more painful is that they’re unintentional. Fortunately, they realized their faults as the K-drama went on.
Squeal-worthy love lines
Of course, a K-drama is not complete without a love story. Luckily, the trilogy features love stories that don’t focus on the main character alone. At the same time, it’s easy to get hooked on the guessing game on who will be the main character’s husband.
Reply 1997’s husband reveal is expected from the first episode alone, but the tension between the main character and her partner is what kept viewers on their toes. Their friendship has always been a good foundation for their relationship. However, it’s a matter of deciding whether a romantic relationship is worth pursuing or not.
Shiwon, Najung, Deoksun
Not all K-drama fans are meant to fall in love with Shiwon, Najung, and Deoksun. And that’s okay. The trilogy aims to show that they’re still figuring themselves out as individuals. After all, the Reply series focuses on the joy, pain, and awkwardness of growing up.
Banner and thumbnail photos from tvN