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.
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.