All That We Loved Season 1 Review – Underwhelming school drama featuring a shining Sehun of Kpop’s EXO

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – First Love | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – What Drove Us Crazy | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 – Hope Brings Hope for Real | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 – Liking Someone with All Your Strength | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 – The Secret that Was Only Kept from You | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – Sadness Brings About a Strong Will | Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 7 – If You Don’t Let Go Even When Things Go Awry | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 – There Is No Ending in Friendship | Review Score – 1.5/5


All That We Loved (Viki) is a Korean school drama of childhood friends reaching the pivotal age of 18. Having the same last name, they’re often mistaken for brothers but couldn’t be more opposite. Or perhaps the presumption is in how they’re perpetually glued together.

Go Yoo is boisterous, light-hearted and completely aware of Joon Hee at all times, like he’s taken on the role of sponsor and protector. Go Joon Hee, on the other hand, is quiet, serious and studious, feigning ambivalence at Yoo’s incessant antics.

Starring EXO’s Sehun (Oh Se Hun) as Yoo, you may have caught him last year in Now We Are Breaking Up (Viki). Jo Joon Young, who plays Joon Hee, will lead drama Heesu in Class 2 later this year too. His opposite number is Jang Yeo Bin, who plays dream-girl So Yeon. She appears in a number of movies as well as drama Friend and Kiss.

The story is told from the past with flash forwards to build a mystery over how the two became inseparable and ended up severed in the future. The identity of Dr Go in 2023, played by Song Jae Rim (Café Minamdang, Moon Embracing the Sun – both Netflix), is kept under wraps until the very end. Every flash forward is a tease.

Early on, one of the two needs a kidney transplant and the other provides it as if it isn’t a question. The narrative also flashes back to their childhood and the tragic series of events that brought them together.

While the plot centers around cellular memory – a donor recipient taking on memories and feelings of the donor – there’s a cocktail of plots points starting from the very first scene where the two meet the new girl in their class and both are instantly smitten.

Dips back into their childhood reveal Yoo’s strong attachment to Joon Hee’s older brother, who died. And how after Joon Hee’s parents also died, his grandmother asked to raise Yoo and Joon Hee together.

There’s a lot of emotional strings tying them together and a lot at stake when the two fall for the same girl. As with many things, Yoo dives right in to connect with her while Joon Hee lets go. Mostly. Until they discover that So Yeon has a habit of stealing, adding another level of conflict.

With so many pieces to this story and quick cuts to tiny slivers of future and past, there’s almost too much story and jumping around rather than exploring the emotion of turning 18 and liking the same girl as your best friend. Or giving your best friend your kidney.

All That We Loved falls into the trap of showing us what happened rather than delving into how it feels. There’s a tendency to tell a piece of the story and then clip it – rather than building tension with clever reveals. It misdirects rather than properly dropping clues. A good example is when Joon Hee begins to test ‘cellular memory’ to see if he’s now allergic to peanuts like Yoo. The test shows us he’s fine but an episode or two later we get a longer clip where he reacts as Yoo does.

The back and forth between time periods doesn’t bring enough interest – the future looks quite stiff as the production team fights to keep the big secret. So, while the story has some interesting ideas, it lacks cohesiveness and the strings to 2023 are vague and feel like they divert from the story rather than enhance it.

Most of the characters, beyond the two leads, aren’t given a chance to develop or build their piece. While the guys are sweet together, including Jeon Yeong-in as Soon Tak, school-aged So Yeon is uninspiring with few lines and fewer expressions. She feels entirely unconnected to the So Yeon of the future, as does Dr Go to either boy. So it feels like its missing the mark.

Overall, even with an intriguing concept, All That We Loved is a bit disappointing. What we do get it a lot of Sehun carrying the bulk of the energy and keeping things fun. If you’re a fan, his interactions with Jo Joon Young and Jeon Yeong-in make it worth the watch. We look forward to seeing what Jo Joon Young can do later this year in Heesu in Class 2.

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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