Time traveling is not all fun and games.
- Marcus Chang as Chen Che
- Ivy Shao as Ye Zhen Zhen
- Mini Tsai as Chen Ya Juan
- Yorke Sun as Li Jin Qin
- 21 episodes
- Original run: January 22 – June 3, 2016
After arguing with his mother about the secret identity of the father he’s never known, Chen Che gets into a motorcycle accident and wakes up in 1989. There, he befriends Ye Zhen Zhen, who turns out to be his mother’s best friend. He later meets the 22 year-old version of his own mother and all the potential men who could be his father. Without knowing the exact purpose for his time-travel, Chen Che must decide whether to intervene with the past and possibly even change his future existence in 2016.
Anna: Alas, yet another Taiwanese drama that starts out promisingly enough and devolves into an illogical mess. I had relatively high hopes for Back to 1989 to recapture some of that classic heartwarming silliness that OG twdramas were so famous for. And it certainly started off that way with some slapstick humor and fun situations. That, however, quickly went away, and the joy and playfulness never returned to this drama. It honestly just became a chore to watch past episode five.
My biggest problem with Back to 1989 was definitely the characters. With perhaps the exception of Ya Juan, the mom, every single one of them was simply unbearable. The main culprits being #notmyOTP, Chen Che and Zhen Zhen. I hated his fake humility and insistence on doing the “right thing” even though he probably knew it didn’t make a difference. If he was actually that concerned with affecting the past, he should have spent a little more time with his mom and less time goofing around with Zhen Zhen. And speaking of her, she’s the worst representation of a female that I’ve seen in a drama in awhile. She’s the classic non-feminist who’s willing to sacrifice everything(!) to be with a man. And the fact that their relationship became the focal point of this drama made the watching experience even worse.
The ending could have slightly redeemed the largely terrible plot, but of course that didn’t happen. The writers appeared to have just defied all common sense and reasoning to force a happy ending. It really bothers me that even though Chen Che now knows who his biological father is, nothing has really changed. His mom was forced to suffer for years on her own, and is basically still kept in the dark about what really happened 20+ years ago! Therefore, what was the point in him even time traveling? (Meeting Zhen Zhen is not an acceptable answer.) Just don’t watch Back to 1989, unless bad acting, illogical plotlines, and infuriating characters are your thing.
Estelle: Oh how deeply I regret agreeing to recap this drama as our second tag team project! We just have the worst luck with these, but I guess at least I didn’t have to do the whole thing by myself. Needless to say I actively disliked this drama and pretty much everything beyond episode 5 is horrible. By the time it got to middle of the series I was just hoping for the day it ends, and boy did it drag.
Where do I even start with the various flaws of this drama? From the ridiculous plot that devolves into a forced love story, to the nonsensical behaviors of the characters, to the bad acting there are plenty of reasons to throw this one away, but all that pale in comparison to how annoying Zhen Zhen is. Every time she is on screen is just like the Zhen Zhen show where she is throwing a personal pity party. There is zero chemistry between the OTP – I feel like Chen Che is actively trying to push Zhen Zhen away the entire time but she is just completely relentless in her pursuit that he has no choice. How can I root for their happiness when this is how I perceive their love story? And because this who’s-my-daddy drama turns into a time-travel romance all the attention is on Zhen Zhen whom I rather fall into the time vortex with no hopes of crawling out. I mean the dude is actually trying to figure out his birth secret, but she is just getting in his way at every corner! Like, girl get a hold of yourself please!
This drama is a complete let down. Save yourself the pain and skip it. Don’t believe us? Read our recaps and feel how we loathe this drama through the words.
Catch up on the episodes of Back to 1989 with the recaps!
This & That:
- Marcus Chang was in the 2015 twdrama, To the Dearest Intruder. He had his acting debut in the popular 2014 film, Cafe.Waiting.Love.
- Ivy Chen was in the 2015 twdrama, When I See You Again, that starred Jasper Liu as the main lead actor.
- The ending theme, “Two People/兩個人,” is performed by Alien Huang, one of the hosts of the Taiwanese variety show, 100% Entertainment.
Watch all the episodes of Back to 1989 on Viki now!