Disclaimer: This is written from the point of view of a BOF fan.
⭐⭐⭐⭐The First Impressions⭐⭐⭐⭐
So I just started watching Meteor Garden 2018 (MG-2018), and just as I had expected, I was hit by nostalgia. So, like any other person who’s hit by nostalgia, I decided to take a walk down the memory lane and that meant revisiting “Boys Over Flowers” (BOF), the drama that had me addicted to K-Dramas in the first place.
As I ventured into the newest addition of remakes of this classic “rich boy-poor girl”/“snobbish rich cold inhumane bully turned responsible good boyfriend” drama, I realized that the current generation of actors have some huge shoes to fill. I mean the last edition of this manga remake DID create the biggest K-Drama sensation world-wide in the form of Gu Jun-pyo and propelled Lee Min-ho into Superstardom.
To be super honest, I was bored of MG-2018 within a few minutes of watching it. It could be because I already know what the core plot is. But I also feel that BOF did a better job of creating the “over the top”, “LARGER THAN LIFE” persona of the F4 from the very onset. The introduction of the F4 in BOF was as dramatic as this line of storytelling requires it to be. Lee Min-ho did an amazing job of acting his part of being a snobbish bully and transitioned beautifully from the immature “chaebol” to the mature loving boyfriend by the end of the drama. And not to forget, the rest of the cast did an amazing job too (except Kim Hyun-joong – as much as many of us shipped Jan-di with Yoon Ji-hoo, at least at the beginning, we have to all agree that he was really stiff and awkward in his acting).
But I didn’t get the same vibe from MG-2018. The introduction of F4 in MG-2018 in comparison was very bland. I mean the camera was focused more on the “Vivo” phone (aka product placements in K-drama world) than on the F4. (And also, Shancai has a double lens camera phone but the phone that cracked was with a single lens camera!!!!! I mean COME ON!). And there after, the narrative pointing out each of their strong points felt like a little bit of a drag.
I don’t know about everyone else but I liked the way the other characters were introduced in BOF better than the way they were introduced in MG-2018. Like how Geum Jan-Di’s family and best friend were introduced. It wasn’t Jan-di giving us her point of view but us, the viewers watching their lives play out. In MG-2018, Shancai narrating that part kind of took the fun and the drama out of those relationships. Did anyone else feel that way or was it just me?
Also, from what I’ve watched so far, the scene where Geum Jan-di goes and screams on the balcony, she’d been truly bullied and was distraught and her reaction was something to be expected where as in MG-2018, it just felt like that scene was over reaction from Shancia….. it felt forced. Just one example of many such scenes.
One thing that I found a bit different and perhaps an interesting change from the other editions of this drama is that while the F4, in the older dramas, dealt with grudges via bullying their challengers, the newest group of F4 deal with their challengers via a game of “Bridge”, although the losers have to then face the consequences.
Now, coming to the OSTs, I loved the OSTs of BOF. Right from the background music to the songs. The scene when Jan-di runs into Ji-hoo playing the violin when she was searching for the swimming pool gave me goose bumps. Sometimes, the background music is so important in relaying the emotions of the character and adds so much to the drama. Right from the first episode, the music scores for BOF were catchy and hummable. The background music for MG-2018 on the other hand has not left any impression on me so far.
Geum Jan-di/Dong Shancai
⭐Geum Jan-di played by Ku Hye-sun⭐
A dry cleaner’s daughter, she is offered a scholarship to attend the elite Shinhwa High School. Headstrong, optimistic, stubborn and kind-hearted, Jan- di is loyal to her friends and stands up for them when they are bullied. She gets on Jun-pyo’s bad side when she defends her friend, but soon Jun-pyo falls in love with her.
⭐Dong Shancai played by Shen Yue⭐
She is 18 years old. The daugter of a catering business owner (mother) and a logistics manager (father), she joins Mingde University as a student of the Nutrition Department.
Gu Jun-pyo/Dao Ming-si
⭐Gu Jun-pyo played by Lee Min-ho⭐
Leader of F4 and heir to Shinhwa Group. He’s hot tempered and believes that there’s nothing money can’t buy till he meets and then falls in love with Geum Jan-di. He was kidnapped by his bodyguard at a young age and had almost drowned.
⭐Dao Ming-si played by Dylan Wang⭐
He’s the leader of F4 and a business administration major at Mingde University with interest and talent in finance. He earned a million yuan when he turned 18 years, through trading securities.
In a game of Bridge, he’s aggressive. People are intimidated by him to the point that they lose the game because of nerves.
Yoon Ji-hoo/Hua Ze-lei
⭐Yoon Ji-hoo played by Kim Hyun-joong⭐
A member of F4 and grandson of former president of Korea. He lost his parents in a car accident at a young age. He is calm, gentle and a gifted musician. He is also Geum Jan-di’s first love.
⭐Hua Ze Lei played by Darren Chen⭐
He’s a member of F4 and a music major at Mingde University. He has perfect pitch and plays many instruments.
In a game of Bridge, he’s calm and poised and is poker faced but can see through other’s trickery.
So Yi-jung/Ximen Yan
⭐So Yi-jung played by Kim Bum⭐
A member of F4 and a skilled potter, his family owns the country’s biggest art museum. He’s the “casanova” of the F4 and falls in love with Geum Jan-di’s best friend, Chu Ga-eul.
⭐Yan Ximen played by Caesar Wu⭐
A member of the F4 and a Business administration major at Mingde University, his family loves tea. He is skilled at the art of tea.
In a game of Bridge, he’s good at strategies and knows how to play mind games. Hence, he’s known as the “Battle God”.
Song Woo-bin/Feng Mei-zuo
⭐Song Woo-bin played by Kim Joon⭐
The forth member of F4, his family runs the largest construction company in the country and has strong connections to organized crime/gangs. He has an excellent business sense and is very charismatic.
⭐Feng Mei Zuo played by Connor Liang⭐
Also a member of F4, he’s a business administration major in Mingde University. He loves literature and art, and is good at designing exhibitions and holding salons.
In a game of Bridge, he has an incredible memory and never forgets anything. He distracts his opponents with his sense of humor and gets them to lower their guard.
Chu Ga-eul/Jiang Xiaoyou
⭐Chu Ga-eul played by Kim So-eun⭐
She is Geum Jan-di’s best friend who later falls in love with So Yi-jung.
⭐Jiang Xiaoyou played by Li Jiaqi⭐
Shancai’s best friend and childhood friend. She loves tea and worked at a tea shop with Shancai.
I’m not yet sure in which direction her story/romance will go. If they’ll pair her with Ximen or pair her with someone else, or not pair her at all….. Only the future episodes will tell.
WISH EVERYONE HAPPY WATCHING
Wish you all a happy “Meteor Garden” watching! This is just my initial impression after watching the first episode. I hope the drama only gets better!