[Writer's Choice] Lee Woo-jung and the "Reply" series

Amy Jung, Feb. 28, 2018, 11:29 a.m.

Lee Woo Jung is a writer behind several famous variety shows, a majority of them helmed by Na Young-seok PD. Some of the most notable variety shows she’s worked for are “1 Night 2 Days,” “Grandpa Over Flowers”, and “New Journey to the West.” 

But some might not know that she is also an accomplished Korean drama screenwriter. In fact, she is the writer behind the incredibly popular “Reply” series. 

Each entry in the reply series features an ensemble cast and frequent time jumps between the time period where the cast are teens and the present where the cast are adults. Each entry is notable for its accurate depiction of the time period and for being incredibly nostalgic. The mystery typically involves finding out who the main couple is. Each entry in the series has gone on to break cable ratings records in Korea and have launched the stars into Hallyu status. 

“Reply 1997” is the first entry in the series with Apink’s Jung Eun-ji as the female lead. Set in the era of first generation idol groups, the broadcast of this series saw the resurgence of first generation idol group songs in the chart. This series hilariously cast Eun Ji-won, leader of first-generation boy group Sechskies, in a major role. This series also depicted the legendary rivalry between the fans of Sechskies and H.O.T.  

“Reply 1994” is the second entry in the series with Go Ara as the female lead. It was set in the time of the pioneering K-pop group Seo Taiji and the Boys and the country’s obsession with the Korean Basketball League. This series was more unique for having the male cast be referred to by nickname instead of their names to avoid spoilers. 

“Reply 1988” is the third entry in the series with Girl’s Day’s Hyeri as the female lead. It currently holds the record for achieving the highest rating for a cable television show. Its final pairing received mixed reactions from the audience as many were confused as to how the romance blossomed. Unlike its predecessors, the production staff made the conscious decision to mainly focus on the strong friendship between the cast instead of the romance. 

Her series are all noted for its variety of characters and for its sense of humor that she no doubt brings from her variety show experience. Fans are eagerly waiting for another entry in the “Reply” series. What era do you think she’ll portray next? 

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