If I’m going to be at home all the time, I might as well finish all the shows I’ve started, including Meteor Garden, which I started back in 2018? Early 2019? Wow, has it really been that long? 🤔
Apparently, yes, according to the standards to time, space and Netflix. Anyways, I’m stock-piled on book reviews and I feel like reviewing all the time can get exhausting. So we’re spicing things up just a little. 😌
The 2018 reboot of Meteor Garden is a remake of the 2001 Taiwanese version of the same name and based on the manga, Hana Yori Dango.
Other versions of the show include Hana Yori Dango (Japanese) and Boys Over Flowers (Korean), with the Korean one gaining wide success when it first released in 2009. Boys Over Flowers and Meteor Garden are both available on Netflix in the US, but may not be available in some countries.
Hana Yori Dango is the first Asian drama I’ve watched, so the show is dear to my heart; I’ve watched every version but the 2001 Taiwanese one. It’s also partially the cause of my K-pop obsession, first introducing me to Utada Hikaru with the OST of the series, “Flavor of Life.” This then resulted in YouTube suggesting similar groups, including K-pop girl group SNSD.
So when I heard about Meteor Garden being rebooted and available on Netflix, I jumped to watch the show. I wanted to see how the new version would fare, and I tried not to compare it to the others.
Chances are, you’ve never heard of the leading cast members.
Shen Yue, Dylan Wang aka Wáng Hè Dì (Dao Ming Si), Darren Chen aka Guān Hóng (Hua Ze Lei), Connor Leong aka Liáng Jìng Kāng (Feng Meizuo), Caesar Wu aka Wú Xī Zé (Ximen Yan) are the leading cast making up Shan Cai and F4. All five are relatively new to the entertainment industry with few (if any) titles under their belt. Don’t let that factor into your decision of watching Meteor Garden, though. The leading cast is talented, and I’m excited to see what future dramas they’ll be in.
While they haven’t been around for very long, they each brought fan-favorite characters to life; as someone who’s been a long time fan of the series, I enjoyed seeing their own take of the characters while remaining true to the original. True to being rookies though, there are definitely a few awkward moments, especially in the first few episodes of the series.
Meteor Garden is more “fully developed” when it comes to the rest of F4.
Anyone who has been a longtime fan of the series or have watched other versions know the ultimate OTP is Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si. In the Japanese and Korean versions, the character names are different, but the storyline remains the same: Shan Cai is admitted to a prestigious university where she meets F4, and eventually falls in love with their leader, Dao Ming Si. This doesn’t happen easily without the shenanigans that come with the enemies to lovers trope.
Too bad for the two lovebirds Dao Ming Si’s mother doesn’t approve of the ship and she does whatever it takes throughout the series to separate them.
We don’t go into much detail when it comes to the Dao Ming Si’s best friends. We do go into Lei’s life, but the others? Not really. In the 2018 reboot, though we do. While the main focus of the series remains true to the main OTP, we get the chance to see the love stories of the rest of the F4 as well. Finally, we can see the others get a happy ever after! Or… maybe not?
In the 50 episodes long show, we go on a little detour for about 10 episodes about halfway through before the focus is brought back to the main ship. I enjoyed getting the chance to see the rest of F4 shine in addition to seeing the cast members get extra screen time, but it was a long, tedious journey going through those episodes. Unfortunately, that played a role in my stepping back from finishing the rest of the drama for well over a year.
The ending, however…
Y’all. I think I got robbed of a proper ending.
I enjoyed Meteor Garden overall, but the ending was a huge disappointment. You’d think knowing the storyline like the back of my hand would make things more clear. But no matter how many times I watch it over again and again, it’s confusing. I don’t even know what happened, and I’m honestly a little pissed and annoyed.
Did I miss something? Do I need to rewind a little? I think I tried replaying the part where everything got a little confusing and I’m still confused. The ending is pretty much the only issue I have with the reboot other than how long the series may feel. Otherwise, Meteor Garden is a good remake for those who have been around with the series for a long time and new fans interested in a romantic drama. Still pissed about the ending, though. I’m 95% sure I’m going to associate that with this version years from now when someone asks me.