Time to get your votes in for the favorite dramas in 2016

There was a time when Taiwanese dramas were all the rage but that time has passed, what with the surge in Chinese fantasy wuxia and the indomitable hallyu wave

Even so, it holds a special place in the hearts of many for the stories once told and the songs once heard. The list includes TW dramas from 2000 - 2010 so let's take a step into the past. 

Meteor Garden

Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden


Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: Meteor Garden / Liu Xing Hua Yuan / 流星花園 
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Apr 2001 CTS
Starring:
Barbie Hsu as Shan Cai
Jerry Yan as Dao Ming Si 
Vic Zhou as Hua Ze Lei 
Ken Chu as Xi Men 
Vanness Wu as Mei Zuo

Synopsis:

Shan Cai receives a scholarship to attend an exclusive school and it opens her eyes to a world ruled by F4, four students from the richest and most powerful families in the country. She starts off on the wrong foot with Dao Ming Si to become public enemy number one but her never die attitude wins him over instead. 

Comments:
If you plan to watch anything on the list, then this is it, the one that started it all, the one before Boys Over Flowers. It was the little drama that could, turning a cast of newcomers into an overnight success. As a fan, I am not the least bit surprised. 

Ma La Xian Shi

Taiwanese drama Spicy Teacher


Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Just Another Drama (3/5)
Title: Spicy Teacher / Ma La Xian Shi / 麻辣鲜师
Episodes and Genre: 198, School Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jul 2000 CTS
Starring:
Xie Zu Wu as Xu Lei

Synopsis:
It is loosely inspired by a Japanese manga titled Great Teacher Onizuka to tell the story of a man named Xu Lei who becomes the unconventional class advisor to a group of unruly students. 

Comments:

It is a slice of life comedy with a lot of heart, addressing social issues relevant to the younger generation, nothing groundbreaking I might add but you'd be surprised to see just how many popular artists today had their start in Spicy Teacher, which include Jerry Yan, Show Luo, Wallace Huo, Wilbur Pan and Ady An to name a few.

Lavender



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: Lavender / Xun Yi Cao / 薰衣草
Episodes and Genre: 15, Romance
Broadcast Period: Dec 2001 SETTV
Starring:
Ambrose Hsu as Ji Qing Chuan 
Tammy Chen as Liang Yi Xun

Synopsis:
Liang Yi Xun is a sickly young girl with no friends except for Ji Qing Chuan but he has to leave for the US so they make a pact to meet again when the lavender comes to full bloom at Yi Xun's 20th birthday. Qing Chuan ultimately returns for Yi Xun and he has become a superstar.

Comments:
It is angst-filled and melodramatic but a classic nonetheless, especially when you hear that Ambrose Hsu song that everybody knows. 

Tomorrow



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Pretty Good (4/5)
Title: Tomorrow / Ai Qing Bai Pi Shu / 愛情白皮書
Episodes and Genre: 14, Romance
Broadcast Period: Apr 2002 CTV
Starring:
Rainie Yang as Yuan Cheng Mei
Shawn Yue as Ou Yang Gua Ju
Eddie Peng as Ju Shou Zhi
Christine Fan as Ji Xing Hua
Li Yuan Bo as Zhao Song Gang

Synopsis:
Yuan Cheng Mei is a student athlete who meets the members of the tomorrow club and their story about love and friendship spans over eight years. 

Comments:

It tells a journey of five friends into adulthood, much like Christine Fan's opening song that is titled Journey. Tomorrow feels an indie of idol dramas swapping out the typical rainbows and unicorns for less cheery characters with parental issues, identity crises and problems of the heart, yet their stories are no less compelling. 

The Rose



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: The Rose / Qiang Wei Zhi Lian / 薔薇之戀
Episodes and Genre: 21, Romance
Broadcast Period: May 2003 TTV 
Starring:
Ella Chen as Zheng Bai He
Jerry Huang as Han Dong
Joe Cheng as Xiang Kui
Joelle Lu as Han Fu Rong
Cecilia Yip as Han Li

Synopsis:
Zheng Bai He is an ordinary girl meeting her birth mother for the first time. It soon becomes apparent that she is the odd one out of her three-half siblings who have taken after their mother, a beautiful and highly regarded actress. Bai He's arrival is initially met with cold reception but her kindred spirit warms the hearts of her peculiar family who learns to appreciate her inside and out.  

Comments:
You guys, heavenly pop band S.H.E. is in this. 

Mars



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Mars / Zhang Shen / 戰神
Episodes and Genre: 21, Romance, Action
Broadcast Period: 2004 CTS 
Starring:
Barbie Hsu as Han Qi Luo
Vic Chou as Chen Ling

Synopsis:
Qi Luo is an introverted young girl scarred by circumstances. She meets Chen Ling by chance as she draws directions for him on the back of her sketch. Since then, Chen Ling has been drawn to Qi Luo and their romance begins.

Comments:

I haven't actually seen it but from what I hear, I really ought to. 

The Outsiders



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: The Outsiders / Dou Yu / 鬥魚
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romance, Triad Action
Broadcast Period: Apr 2004 GTV 
Starring:
Dylan Kuo as Yu Hao
Ady An as Pei Yu Yan
Blue Lan as Shan Li Jie
Michael Zhang as Yang Xun Qi

Synopsis:
Yu Hao, Shan Li Jie and Yang Xun Qi are delinquents headed for a life of fighting and lawlessness yet the bad boy meets the good girl when Yu Hao falls in love with Pei Yu Yan, a student from a well-to-do family.

Comments:

It tells an epic romance with blood, sweat and tears. The song is perfect, the cast is perfect and the story is simply unforgettable, even warranting a sequel that included Show Luo. 

Love Contract



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Love Contract /  Ai Qing He Yue / 愛情合約
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romance
Broadcast Period: Jun 2004 TVBS-G
Starring:
Ariel Lin as Cheng Xiao Feng
Mike He as Liu Jian Dong

Synopsis:
Xiao Feng is the captain of the kendo team while Jian Dong is the captain of the swim team and their lives are tied together because of a love contract. 

Devil Beside You



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Devil Beside You /  / E Mo Zai Shen Bian / 惡魔在身邊
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jun 2005 CTV
Starring:
Rainie Yang as Qi Yue
Mike He as Jiang Meng
Kingone Wang as Shang Yuan Yi

Synopsis:
Qi Yue musters up the courage to confess her feelings to long-time crush Yuan Yi but she accidentally directs it to Jiang Meng in what seems to be the worst possible scenario. Much to Qi Yue's chagrin, Jiang Meng refuses to return her love letter and he might soon become her stepbrother too.

It Started With A Kiss



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: It Started With A Kiss / ISWAK / E Zuo Ju Zhi Wen / 惡作劇之吻
Episodes and Genre: 30, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Sep 2005 CTV
Starring:
Ariel Lin as Yuan Xiang Qin
Joe Cheng as Jiang Zhi Shu
Jiro Wang as Jin Yuan Feng

Synopsis:
Xiang Qin is a below-average student and Jiang Zhi Shu is a genius. Their first encounter ends with Zhi Shu rejecting Xiang Qin in spite of her attempt to confess her feelings yet they meet again because Xiang Qin's family moves in with the Jiang family after an earthquake destroys their house, thus beginning a love story between an unlikely couple. 

Comments:

It is a cute school drama that has sprouted remakes in Korea, Thailand, Japan and apparently another one in Taiwan. 

I love it for the most part except for the times where Zhi Shu treats Xiang Qin like crap that have me truly up in arms. Nonetheless, there's no denying the universal appeal of ISWAK and I'd recommend this version if you haven't seen it yet. 

The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog / Wang Zi Bian Qing Wa / 王子變青蛙
Episodes and Genre: 30, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jun 2005 TTV
Starring:
Ming Dao as Shan Jun Hao
Joe Chen as Tian Yu

Synopsis:
Shan Jun Hao is the CEO of a successful company and the prince of his empire. However, he gets hit by a car driven by Tian Yu who takes him in after he loses his memories. She is a con artist with a kind heart and they fall in love yet there will come a day when Jun Hao regains his memories once again.

Comments:

It is a sweet romance that went on to break the record previously held by Meteor Garden, which is a testament to how good it must be though I haven't seen it either.  

KO One



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: KO One / Zhong Ji Yi Ban / 終極一班
Episodes and Genre: 21, School Action, Fantasy 
Broadcast Period: Nov 2005 GTV 
Starring:
Jiro Wang as Wang Da Dong
Calvin Chen as Ya Se Wang
Aaron Yan as Ding Xiao Yu
Melody as Tian Xin

Synopsis:
Wang Da Dong is a dutiful son in front of his parents but away from home he is the formidable leader of Zhong Ji Yi Ban, a class of misfits feared by their teachers. Along the way, he meets Ya Se Wang and Ding Xiao Yu who rank alongside Da Dong on the KO list of fighters. They become sworn brothers and their story of youthful heroism begins.

Comments:

It is precisely my kind of humor, a fun mindless watch with moments that tug at the emotions. It combines martial arts, too cool for school posturing and good versus evil action into an idol drama. Definitely not something for everybody but a classic to a certain audience. 

KO One was the first drama for the newly formed boyband Fahrenheit and it certainly introduced me to Jiro Wang, Aaron Yan, Calvin Chen and Wu Zun

The Hospital



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: The Hospital / The Great White Tower / Bai Se Ju Ta / 白色巨塔
Episodes and Genre: 39, Medical
Broadcast Period: Aug 2006 CTV 
Starring:
Jerry Yan as Su Yi Hua
Leon Dai as Qiu Qing Cheng
Janine Chang as Guan Xin

Synopsis:
It is a medical drama about doctors working at a prestigious hospital. 

Hana Kimi



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Hanazakarino Kimitachihe / Hana Kimi / 花樣少年少女
Episodes and Genre: 15, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Nov 2006 CTS 
Starring:
Ella Chen as Lu Rui Xi
Wu Chun as Zuo Yi Quan

Synopsis:
After seeing her idol Zuo Yi Quan attempting the high jump category on TV, Lu Rui Xi is determined to meet him at all costs. In order to attend the same all-boys school, she chops off her hair to disguise herself as a boy.

My Lucky Star



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: My Lucky Star / Fang Yang De Xing Xing / 放羊的星星
Episodes and Genre: 20, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Mar 2007 TTV 
Starring:
Jimmy Lin as Zhong Tian Qi
Yoo Ha Na as Xia Zhi Xing

Synopsis:
Ah Xing is a con artist who sells fake jewelry for a living while Tian Qi is the heir to a jewelry empire. They fall in love yet their story takes a dramatic turn because of people and circumstances that threaten to tear them apart

Comments:

Pairing 90's heartthrob Jimmy Lin with Korean newcomer Yoo Ha Na on her first starring role might sound like a gamble in the year 2007 yet it works giving the two leads a chance to show off their dramatic talent, comedic timing and sizzling chemistry that has charmed many viewers to this day. 

Fated To Love You



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: Fated To Love You / Ming Zhong Zhu Ding Ai Shang Ni / 命中注定我愛你
Episodes and Genre: 39, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Mar 2008 TTV
Starring:
Joe Chen as Chen Xin Yi
Ethan Ruan as Ji Cun Xi
Baron Chen as Dylan

Synopsis:
Chen Xin Yi is the metaphorical sticky note girl, everyone's designated helper who is insignificant and disposable as a sticky note. Through an unexpected turn of events, she has a one night stand with Ji Cun Xi, the heir of a wealthy family and their lives have been fated from them on.

Comments:

It is the most commercially successful Taiwanese TV series surpassing The Prince Who Turns Into A Frog with an impressive average rating of 10.91. In fact, it is so good that it has been remade into a k-drama in 2014 and I say trust the hype because it tells a heartfelt story that is guaranteed to bring out laughter and tears. 

Black And White



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Pretty Good (4/5)
Title: Black and White / Pi Zi Ying Xiong / 痞子英雄
Episodes and Genre: 24, Crime Action
Broadcast Period: Apr 2009
Starring:
Vic Chou as Chen Zai Tian / Pi Zi
Mark Chao as Wu Ying Xiong
Janine Chang as Lan Xi Ying
Ivy Chen as Chen Lin

Synopsis:
Ying Xiong is a hot-headed detective straight as an arrow while Pi Zi is his opposite in every way. As partners with clashing personalities, the two are a magnet for trouble as they become embroiled in a world of crime and chaos where there is no black and white.

Comments:
It is a legit crime action drama with good actors, great cinematography and all the makings of a high profile production. I really like the bromance and even though the plot in and of itself is not as outstanding, it is fairly entertaining to watch. 

Autumn's Concerto



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


My Rating: Must-Watch (5/5)
Title: Autumn's Concerto / Xia Yi Zhang Xing Fu / 下一站幸福
Episodes and Genre: 21, Romance
Broadcast Period: Oct 2009 TTV
Starring:
Ady An as Liang Mu Cheng
Vanness Wu as Ren Guang Xi

Synopsis:
Guang Xi is a law student and a school bully due to pent up anger stemming from his family issues. Mu Cheng becomes his next target but he ends up falling for her in the process, even helping her escape her abusive stepfather. 

However, Guang Xi's mother is against their relationship, preferring that he marry Yi Qian instead, what's worse, Guang Xi is found with a terminal tumor and Yi Qian's father is the only person that can save him.

Comments:

I barely remember the plot but I certainly remember "mishu mishu." 

My Queen



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: My Queen / Defeated Queen / Bai Quan Nu Wang / 敗犬女王
Episodes and Genre: 14, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Jan 2009 CTS
Starring:
Ethan Ruan as Lucas
Sheryl Yang as Shan Wu Shuang

Synopsis:
Shan Wu Shuang is a 33-year-old unmarried woman with a well-established career while Lucas is a 25-year-old man and a regular employee. Can their love conquer the challenges of an 8-year age gap?

Hi My Sweetheart



Is it a must-watch, pretty good, just another drama, tolerable or downright boring?


Title: Hi My Sweetheart / Hai Pai Tian Xin / 海派甜心
Episodes and Genre: 14, Romance Comedy
Broadcast Period: Nov 2009 CTS
Starring:
Show Luo as Xue Hai / Lin Da Lang
Rainie Yang as Chen Bao Zhu

Synopsis:
Lin Da Lang pretends to be a typical college student to protect his identity as the successor of a wealthy family. In spite of his social awkwardness, he meets and falls in love with Chen Bao Zhu who accepts him for who he is. 

However, Bao Zhu's mother comes in between the two, ultimately ruining their relationship. Thinking that Bao Zhu has left him for money, Lin Da Lang transforms into Xue Hai hell bent on revenge.


2 comments:

  1. I tried to follow your lead and I started Meteor Garden and Kiss, but the problem is the same: the poor quality of the image on all the blog I found make them unwatchable. It's super dark, I could see nothing so I sadly stopped with many regrets because both are really engaging.
    I was not able to find them in HD (or 480p) and it's too bad.

    I console myself with Boss and Me which it's not even taiwanese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww yea Meteor Garden is too old a drama to be in HD hehe :) it's so good though..

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