2016 proved to be a very profitable year for K-dramas, but the one K-drama to start its success technically began the year before. Reply 1988 was reported to be the first successful K-drama of 2016 even though it was a winter season series making its debut in November of 2015. Even with that fact, it does not negate what the Total Variety Network (tvN) drama brought to the table.
Starring Hyeri of Girls’ Day, Park Bo Gum, Go Kyung Pyo, Ryu Jun Yeol, and Lee Dong Hwi, Reply 1988 is about five friends living in the same neighborhood of Ssangmundong, Dobong District, Northern Seoul, back in 1988. It follows the same format as its predecessors, Reply 1997 and Reply 1994, where remakes of popular songs of the time are an important factor for the series.
Now almost one year later, Reply 1988 is receiving another major honor. Reportedly, the tvN drama was revealed to have topped cable channel ratings for 2016. In the process, it beat the previous titleholder of highest cable channel ratings overall, Three Meals a Day – Fishing Village.
On Wednesday, December 28, TNmS Media Korea announced that according to a survey of 3,200 household across the nation of South Korea from January 1 to December 25 of this year, the aggregate viewership ratings show Reply 1988 came in first among cable channels for 2016. According to Naver via a translation through Soompi, the percentage from the survey for the series was 15.482 percent. That percentage also means Reply 1988 beat Three Meals a Day – Fishing Village, the show that held the title of highest ratings for a cable channel in South Korea of all time.
It should be noted that starring in a show in the “Reply” series means instant stardom if we are to follow its trend. Every main cast member of Reply 1988 went on to star in a K-drama that was either very popular or highly hyped this year. Hyeri went on to star in Ddandara opposite Ji Sung and Kang Min Hyuk. Park Bo Gum went on to star in the extremely successful Moonlight Drawn by Clouds opposite Kim Yoo Jung. Go Kyung Pyo went on to star in Jealousy Incarnate. Ryu Jun Yeol went on to star in Lucky Romance. Finally, Lee Dong Hwi went on to star in Entourage.
At one point, it was believed that Reply 1988 would not be the top K-drama to air on a Korean cable channel. Fellow tvN K-drama Goblin caught everyone by surprise with high viewership due to its interesting story backed by the long-awaited return of Gong Yoo who is known for his role in Coffee Prince opposite Yoon Eun Hye and his recent role on Train to Busan. The first episode of Goblin had higher viewership ratings than the first episode of Reply 1988. Then there was a huge increase in viewership from the first to second episode. Needless to say, it got everyone’s attention.
Right now, it seems Goblin will not be a threat to Reply 1988 if it maintains its viewership which floats around between 11 to 15 percent. Such numbers would result in an overall average of about 13 percent by the drama’s end.
Reply 1988 originally aired from November of 2015 to January of this year on tvN. For those who are interested in checking out the most popular K-drama of this year for a Korean cable channel, it can be watched for free on OnDemandKorea. It is also available to watch on DramaFever in which it goes by its other title, Answer Me 1988.
[Featured Image by Total Variety Network (tvN)]