Why Meteor Garden 2018 has the poorest F4 and a smart Dao Mingsi

Now that Meteor Garden 流星花园 is back on air through the remake starring Shen Yue, Dylan Wang, Darren Chen, Caesar Wu and Connor Leong, we are seeing renewed interest from a wide spectrum of viewers that seem to be talking about the show for two reasons - they either loved it or hated it. 

User review site Douban rates the remake a measly 3.1 which is disgracefully low compared to the 2001 Meteor Garden's strong rating of 8.2. Nonetheless, the show has its fair share of fans and continues to do well on tv especially online. 

F4 Jerry Yan, Vic Chou, Ken Chu, Vanness Wu
Comparisons to the original are expected and some changes have sparked intense discussion. For one thing, Dao Mingsi is smart and good with numbers. Many have challenged the decision to turn Dao Mingsi into a straight-A student which contradicts with his character's immature personality and childish ways. 

Explanation: Producer Angie Chai explains that they wanted a Dao Mingsi that is closer to reality. The old Dao Mingsi that would even mix up basic idioms wouldn't have made it to college. 

Unlike the rest of the drama adaptations of Hana Yori Dango, this version of F4 are not painted as the wealthiest and most powerful. It could be inferred that Dao Mingsi is well-to-do just because he lives in a mansion and has a butler, but it's a far cry from the old Dao Mingsi who said that he'd buy the Eiffel Tower for Shan Cai. The new F4's wealth is glossed over for the most part that you wouldn't really remember that they're supposed to be insanely rich. 

Explanation: According to screenwriter Fang Hui, it is because they had to adhere to restrictions like no flaunting of wealth, no mention of money, no emphasizing the wealth gap between the rich and poor, no bullying and no fighting. The screenwriters did their best with what they were allowed to do. Moreover, Angie Chai adds that they wanted characters that are more grounded. In this day and age, she thinks that the wealth gap shouldn't be the main issue between the couple but their differences as individuals. 

Perhaps the weirdest change for me was the move to turn F4 into bridge players. In the original, F4 would give a card to their victim thereby sentencing said person to endless bullying and humiliation. In the new version, the F4 teach their enemies a lesson through a game of bridge. 

Explanation: It seems like the no bullying rule above would suffice as an explanation though Producer Angie Chai expounds on how the idea of bridge came to fruition. Thinking that it seemed unreasonable for such forms of bullying to occur in a normal college setting, the showrunners decided to drop the bullying and adopt the idea of a bet where the losers have to accept their punishment. 

They didn't want a game that promoted gambling so bridge was chosen. Majhong was also considered but they ultimately decided on bridge since it required four players and also held international significance. 

Source: 1, 2







37 comments:

  1. The changes make sense given the so many weird censorship rules in china.

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    1. I'm not expecting First half of my life level of acting. Didn't you know the cast of F4 in the original MG were also newbies with no acting gig before the series. Only Barbie Hsu has some experience in the entertainment industry as a singer during that time. Regardless, they still had some awesome chemistry which in my opinion is severely lacking in this verstion.

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  2. I don't really care about those changes. What I found disappointing is the lack of chemistry between relationships eg. friendship, family, especially between the main couple and F4 members. I feel like when they're acting, there is so much disconnection that i don't feel anything for the characters. I would say all the adaptation were over acted in some instances but at least I felt some emotion. This version just left me stone cold regardless of how much i tried to warm up to it. I love the original meteor garden so i wasn't expecting too much in this version, I'm just sad!

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    1. Cannot expect much from teen actors and actresses. It is definitely not First Half Of My Life which has won many acting awards.

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  3. If anything, I'm okay with the bullying ban cause those are hard to watch in the other ver. The changes, though weird at first, make sense too cause it'd be boring if they stick really closely to the original. They're all pretty new so I didn't expect any stellar actings but Dylan Wang isnt bad at all. This is just their big step to stardom so we'll see them more. I dont like how Meizuo and Ximen are left hanging though. They had their roles but this ver emphasize on Lei and Mingsi a lot that the other 2 are like backup dancers lol I'm also not feeling much love or deep emotions from the friendship, parents etc This drama has low ratings but as expected, it's still loved by a lot and that's all they need. I'm hoping to see the guys in other roles in other dramas later

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    1. This came from a Japanese manga, and they totally removed the manganess of it all. The original manga was not really promoting excess or degeneracy or bullying. It was all satirical, and all coached in a certain rhetoric that is supposed to be understood by the audience. IMO it is totally different from the all-too-politically correct Western mindset. The Japanese mind works differently, i guess. There is a certain primal appeal to the original that was lost when they "cleaned it up." Those who are offended by the bullying need to understand that it is part of the essence of the story. Ah Si/Domyouji was initially lost, angry, and unhappy. The bullying was a function of that anger and loneliness. It was obviously not promoted as an ideal. San Cai's love transforms him and/or brings out his purity. That is the core of the story. Remove that, and you're telling a totally different story. If you nerf the F4, you're telling a clean, safe, totally Western-approved story, but that's a different story altogether. There was something primal to the original that was lost. I also agree about the chemistry between the characters being very much lacking here compared to the other versions.

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    2. I'll have to say though that it's still a pretty good drama, as long as we think of it as a different story and not compare it with the original. It's still much better than most other drams out there now.

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  4. What's with the bullying ban but they're fine with that disturbing sexual harassment scene in ep 4. And they dont even address the problem in later eps to let people know that action is not okay. If this happen in real life, which girls in their right mind would fall in love with her own sexual harasser.

    Out of all casts who have very poor performance, Shen Yue has the worst acting in the drama, followed by Connor Leong. She just is not up for female lead. I wonder who is her sponsor. She can land on lead role right away after debuted when her acting isnt even good. Girl should humbly start from suppprting roles and work her way up slowly and improve steadily. Cant believe she got casted in drama version of award-winning Soulmate. The acting is going to be very subpar in comparison to the movie version.

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    1. about the sexual assault between asi and sanchai. i dont remember a scene of that in HANA YORI DANGO. though there was a scene where domyouji ordered something like that but eventually was dispissed by the f4 members .even the kissing scenes are limited not like the Chinese version. the editing of the storyline made me think its too much that the essence of the manga series was not emphasize. its like a different story tho.

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  5. I have no opinion on this version as I haven't started it yet but I find the 2001 Meteor Garden is massively overrated. I feel a lot of people who praise the drama to the skies are looking at it through rose-coloured nostalgia glasses because it really isn't very good. The vast majority of the acting, directing, sets, script, costumes, lighting, sound (why does nearly everybody in the 2001 version shout their lines?) story is subpar and let's not even get into how mentally and physically abusive their relationship is - Daoming Si is the main culprit but I find Shan Cai is very dysfunctional too.

    I just suggest that everyone watch the Japanese Hana Yori Dango which still remains the absolute best Hana Yori Dango adaptation in my opinion. The overall drama is much better quality, more entertaining, more emotional and Makino and Tsukasa are much more interesting and likeable pair with better actors than the Korean and Taiwanese versions.

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    1. Don't question why people like MG 2001. Massive number of people loved it, and there's definitely a reason why, and that reason is something you may not understand.

      I have watched most versions, Meteor Garden 1 and 2, Hana Yori Dango, Boys Over Flowers, Lets Go Watch Meteor Shower (thats the order, and I watched it during their airing-almost yeah).

      Honestly I wasn't expecting anything great from this version, though I must admit that when they announced that they are going to remake MG, I was happy and excited especially when they unveiled the new F4, DIDI is handsome, and he's got that playful and arrogant feel to him and the rest might be okay,though when the rumor that Darren Wang would play it makes me even more excited (he looks more manly and arrogant and more of a Dao Ming Si aura).When Shen Yue's casting was announced, I was somehow felt down and full of doubts whether she can deliver the role well. I saw her in A love so beautiful and that drama didn't impress me even more the acting of the leads. She doesn't just had that impact and she's so short, I mean, no offense but really, idk.

      But since I loved MG and Hanayori dango so much, I cant help but be with the trend and anticipate the new version. I took a peak and watch the 1st episode (while waiting for Legend of Fuyao, lol). And I must say, there is a big difference with the way the story is being told and I knew right from the start, it wont have that impact its predecessors had. The drama feels like just an ordinary IDOL drama with the F4 as background story, like Love 020, or just like the rest of the campus drama only people knew that this is a remake, hence, it stands out a bit.
      F4 here has really lesser of an impact/entrance compared to the rest of the remakes. MG's F4 entrance, Hanadan's F4 entrance, BOF's F4 entrance, they are all memorable, while here? it wasn't thoroughly emphasized, like they appeared and students where taking pictures of them, and hey, Tthey are F4, and look at the number of people are flocking them, I can only remember Hanadan, all students were greeting them. Indeed, the less impact they gave off. And the story feels different. ShenYue is far from being the Makino/ShanCai. Her acting and the way she moves her mouth, idk. And please, don't let me get satrted with the rest of the F4 members, they dont have that individuality that makes them stand out. I remember someone commented that the 4 of them looked like a Kpop Boyband and that we a leader and 3 back up dancers, lol. Meteor Garden abve all the remakes, is the one who portrayed F4 really well. They have portrayed the greatness of friendship among boys/men. They are the envy of everyone, even the boys themselves are copying them, forming their own groups to look like F4.
      The best F4 for me is MG with the best friendship. You see, everyone is still friends even after the drama and the media still covers them when they appeared together. The one with the best love story though is between Makino and Domyouji in Hanadan. Makino is the best lead girl here, her acting is really commendable. Domyouji is great as well as Hanazawa Rui. I love Ken, Xi Men, but I also liked Sojiro. But Vanees as Meizuo is still the best, lol. They can never find another him, so extra yet that makes him standout.
      MG for me was loved by many people not just for the nostalgia, theres just somethignin it that people loves, the F4, the friendship, the humble portrayal of Barbie as Shnacai, Jerry as Dao Ming Si, everyone.
      Lol... Idk what I'm saying, ignore me, I just want to say something and rant haha

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    2. I love your comment, you give such a good explanation, especially that Makino and Dom have the best couple chemistry.

      Your quote - is very true.

      "The drama feels like just an ordinary IDOL drama with the F4 as background story, like Love 020, or just like the rest of the campus drama only people knew that this is a remake, hence, it stands out a bit. "

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    3. absolutely ! after watching mg2018 i was curious to watch HANA YORI DANGO... and im so impressed with the narrative . also the acting. everyone deserves an applause. i wonder why it was not aired here. where infact the story is addictive .

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  6. Be warned if you’re not up to episode 14, this comment has minor spoilers. The first eight few episode are very good, I even re-watched them, although after that it goes downhill. In my opinion, Shen Yue is not good choice for Shan Cai (would love it to be Lee Eleanor), additionally Shan Cai is meant to feminine, particular in how she dresses, despite her limited choices because of lack of funds - she even sports a bow. In the current version, the constant baggy jeans, and sweaters (another fancier sweater for a date?) doesn’t line up, making Si and Lei’s attraction feel contrived.

    Something that changes the tone of University students to high school students is how fridget Shan Cai is- only towards Si, even once they are basically dating. Yes, there is no problem taking it slow or not wanting to do anything physical. But her kiss on the cheek and running away, with her backpack flying all over the place, arms crossed to stop him, or hiding behind the covers. Let’s not forget she has no issues getting cozy with Lei, staying alone with her guy friend in his house, or getting boogie woogie with the foreigner.

    Wang He Di totally floats my boat, shows real gusto, it’s a shame his love interest gives him so little to work with. I am a fan of the changes the made to him. I am not a fan of how he drastically changed, he goes from sporadic outburst of anger, to a puppy dog. Anger issues aren't that easily resolved, no matter how big your crush. - end of essay lol

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    1. I completely agree with you! Shan Cai reminds me of a middle schooler in her first relationship despite the progression of her relationship with Ah Si - it makes me irritated every time they make some progress and she reverts back to like they're basically acquaintances the next time they see each other.

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    2. agreed. I adore Shenyue and thought she did a great job in ALSB so I was so surprised to see her perform so poorly in MG. I'm still gonna keep watching this show till the end because of my love for her but damn, she just looks awkward all the time and her crying scenes are unbearable.
      The point about Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si's inconsistencies is so true, although I do prefer them as university students because their freedom to do a lot of things becomes more believable.
      It started off with potential but just got off the rails after a few eps. I can't understand why Shan Cai does anything she does, what her motivations are, what her character is...its so frustrating. I also can't get over that scene in an early episode where he pretty much sexually assaults her and then caresses her and kisses her when he realises how frightened she is. Its never properly addressed and he never apologises for it, which makes it hard for me not to feel weird about how 'soft' his character is now.

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    3. About that scene in episode 4 where he sexually assaults her, I'm aware there's a scene just like that in the original Meteor Garden. Since i didn't watch it, do you know if it was addressed in the original version or if he ever apologized for it? I'm not saying what he did was right but the drama isn't over yet so we don't know if it'll be addressed later on.

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    4. Some people behave differently among close friends than they would with someone they have feelings for. True she was close with HZL and confided in him but feelings can change and they seem to be shifting towards DMS and there's a stronger connection there.

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    5. About DMS assaulting SC in the 2001 version, I don't remember DMS apologizing, but I do remember being angry with the near rape scene.I think he almost tore off part of her clothes. Then there was also a scene where he slapped her. I hope they won't include that. Gullible girls might get the wrong idea. In real life, ladies, even if the guy is handsome, loaded, and has a soft side, his anger issues won't miraculously go away because of your love. He will eventually end up hurting you again.

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    6. A response to whoever wrote 6.c. I'm rewatching the 2001 one, the sexual assault scene is worse in this one. But the context is different, in the older version, they never downplay his anger issues or pretend they go away - for example, he ties people behind his moving car to avenge SC (several episodes later). Even SC gets scared when they get stuck together for the night. (she doesn't magically trust him). Many of the other students are violent, not just Si. Kinda dark, like the manga.

      Also, he never slaps her, he hits the wall next to her. Her mum slaps her.

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    7. He did slap her, but in a different scene. SC insisted that DMS date monkey girl. I think he apologized for that, but still not ok.

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    8. Yeah, He did slap her HARD, and right afterwards they started to doubt their relationship. I just finished rewatching this show and I can't help but think that if this drama were released today it will be banned already just like what happened before in China haha

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    9. I'm comment 6c so thank you everyone for answering my question. I still think this version of DMS has anger issues but they might be toned down from the previous versions from what I know. The other F4 characters have joked that he's hot and cold with Shan Cai esp during their Zoo date. His anger issues have cooled down a bit but I guess they're trying to portray that it's because of SC's influence.

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    10. @AndreaK: He definitely does slap her and he slaps her HARD. Just because she wants to break up and him go with the arranged fiancee. The scene was disgusting. We already know how aggressive, bad tempered, unpredictable Daoming Si is. There was no need for actual physical battery of his alleged love interest. I couldn't feel anything for their "romance" after that.

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  7. unacceptable reason.. if that so, y named it from the original version.. the plot and Story of MG evolves of bullying and wealth gap.. it cant be called remake if the concept of the story is not the same as before.. they should have named it aside from MG.. that make sense..

    ...when a certain adoptation made, though there are some changes of scenes and twist but the characters and story should remain as it is.. then if not this not a remake.

    ... characters attitude
    ...overcoming wealth gap
    ...overcoming immaturity
    ...friendship and family flaws

    ...THAT IS METEOR GARDEN... IF CHANGING EVERYTHING THEN NO SENSE FOR NAMING IT AS METEOR GARDEN!!!

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  8. Its funny and ironic how the Chinese thinks that this drama is a disgrace, but its such a huge hit among international fans.

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  9. I'm just watching for the same reason I watched the previous versions - the story. It has two of my favorite romance tropes, rich bad boy and enemies-turned-lovers. I was in my 20s when MG Taiwan was released. I enjoyed watching it despite the awkward acting and cheesy script. Now I'm in my 40s and enjoying this latest adaptation despite the awkward acting (script is not so cheesy, though).

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  10. "The old Dao Mingsi that would even mix up basic idioms wouldn't have made it to college. " Not unless your family is one of the 4 most powerful families in the country.

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  11. Dylan wang nailed ìt! His performance is so promising that I can't help it but watch more of him in the future

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  12. 2nd what #12 said. Love Dylan Wang. Angie Cai saw his potential to be DMS the first time she met him on a reality show. His personality is so infectious, he's got a bright future ahead of him.

    I've seen most of the other versions as well. By most, I mean, I could finish watching the Zhang Han version since the acting was so bad and story was so dragged out. Personally, I like this version more than 2001s. Im all for tasteful violence within the storyline, but what girl in their right mind would fall hopelessly in love with a guy who nearly raped her and slaps her that hard when he's frustrated. It was really hard to get into that relationship. First time watching it was when I was still in high school and it was all fine and dandy. Rewatched it last week and I was thinking "Oh hell no. That's rape". Acting was also worse than I remember. But that's just my opinion.

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  13. I'm a big fan of the series meteor garden/hanayori dango/boys over flower.I watch this series so many times .Iwatch the 5 version and i love this new meteor garden 2018,if you compared the series to the previous its a big different like the plot,setting and the characters,and its in to the millenial the clothes they wear,the hi-tech phone.dylan wang and shen yu really give justice to the role ,their performance is excellence compared to the previous.we all know that the original is a big hit because its the furst time and the story is very new to the audience.I watch all the version i can can truly say that this is the BEST version.and for this i would like to congratulate thr production team of meteor garden 2018 for a job well done.Looking forward for meteir garden season 2.

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  14. I love the new version meteir garden 2018,I watch all rhe version and this is very nice compared to the previous.If you watch the previous its now boring .the new meter garden every episode is very exciting,thats why i like the new version.the BEST version among the 4 .meteor garden 2018.

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  15. ARIELLE
    I like all version hanayori dango anime japanese 2000,meteor garden2001&2002 taiwanese ,hanayori dango japanese ,boys over flower 2009 i watch this so many times esp.the 2001,this new version of meteor garden did a great performance dylan wang and shen yu is suited to their character as dao ming si and shancai as well as darren chen as hua ze lei.i watch the new version 2x i love this new version .every episode is exciting theres no boring scenes.for me i love the meteor garden 2018 and meteor garden 2001.

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  16. Meteor Garden 2018 is less violence,I love this new version theres no boring scene,every episode is exciting.dylan wang and shen yu is perfect for their character as dao mibg si and shancai,the cloths they wear is nice compared to the previous.like the boys over flower thet weear over dress,in meteir garden 2001 they are rich but the attire they wear is not suitable to them .they look like ordinary people .this new version is very in and suited to the millenial now a days.For me I love this new version Meteor Garden 2018 is the BEST .

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  17. Dylan Wang and Shen Yu is perfect for the character as dao mibg si and sanchai.I watch all of the version and this meteor garden 2018 is the BEST version .thank you angie cai and to the production team of meteor garden and ofcourse to abs cbn for airing the show and became numberin primetime tv.hope and wish for meteor garden season 2 this 2019 with little ahsi of ahdi &sanchai. and want aldo to eitness the story of hua ze lei and jing,ximen and xio yo

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  18. Meteor Garden is the best version.I love the new version,i live the new ahdi and sachai.congratulation to the production team of meteor garden and to abs cbn for phenominal ratings and airing the show in prime time tv .

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