Meteor Garden 2018 Episode 1 Review

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My favorite poster of this drama!

The most precious drama from our childhood has found its way back to the screen after 17 years with fresh faces gracing our screens in familiar story lines. As a self-proclaimed Meteor Garden/Hana Yori Dango expert (more like addict…), this will be a fun watching experience. I will also be comparing some aspects of the drama with the 2001 version. Hope you can join me in releasing my feels and thoughts regarding one of the most anticipated dramas of 2018!

CHARACTERS:

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Shen Yue as Dong Shancai

Our 18 year-old protagonist is still very much the same as the original version. She does not give up without a fight and does anything for her family and friends. A Nutrition university student who has so much hope entering Ming (not Ying!) De Academy who never saw that a bunch of spoiled brats will unexpectedly enter her life. To my surprise, Shancai instantly shed tears after being bullied by Dao Ming Si. The original Shancai only got to do so when she was force-kissed by Dao Ming Si. This was really not a major change in her character but it was more like how everything is more fast-paced in this version. Acting-wise, Shen Yue has not fully convinced me as Shancai yet but this was just the first episode so I am really looking forward to her being in full character.

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Dylan Wang as Dao Ming Si

Dao Ming Si is still arrogant and childish and Dylan Wang was able to own the character as early as this episode. His ways of bullying are definitely more toned down compared to the original one and I completely had no problems with that. Isn’t it amazing that with just a few bullying instances, he was able to have some sense in his mind and got enchanted by Shancai’s charms?!

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Darren Chen as Hua Ze Lei

My first love when I was just 8 years old has found its way to my screen again and I’m still pretty much in love! They did not really change anything with Hua Ze Lei’s character and I’m so thankful that they did that. He is still the same violin-playing introvert who does not like caring about other people’s matters. And ohmygoodness, Darren Chen could rival my dearest Vic Zhou and Shun Oguri’s versions of Hanazawa Rui! I just can’t wait to see more of him in this version.

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Caesar Wu as Yan Ximen

As early as this episode, we were already able to see Ximen flirting with Xiayou (Shancai’s best friend) which we all know will have a different story line arc aside from our main couple. Caesar Wu did not really have enough lines for me to judge his portrayal of the character so let’s see how he is going to be in the next episodes.

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Connor Leong as Feng Meizuo

The most irrelevant F4 member for me ever since I was a child (only learned to love Van Ness Wu after his Meizuo days lol) and true enough, he was still irrelevant in this episode haha! Connor did not have much lines too but he seems to be everyone else’s favorite in real life which really makes me curious so I am also looking forward to his performance.

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In general, the F4 boys are not only rich and enjoying the finer things in life but they actually all excel in academics. All of them could speak in at least 3 languages and they play a card game called Bridge which basically makes them the pride of their school. Those are just some of the major differences of this 2018 F4 from the 2001 one and I could not be happier with those changes. In fact, it only gets better from there because my favorite change is how they said that even if they seem like playboys, they are actually very gentle and respectful towards girls. Yes, those are my boys!

STORY

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I am summarizing the first episode’s story by starting with the conflict. Dao Ming Si stepped on Shancai’s phone after it flew from her hand. It’s not like Ah Si knew whose it was but it’s just that he didn’t really care so might as well continue walking even if it meant stepping on a random phone on the floor. Of course, being the Shancai (strong weed) that she is, her first instinct was to confront F4 about it. She was not really successful during her first attempt but not until…

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Her childhood friend Li Zhen tripped and the birthday cake that Shancai made for her flew onto (none other than!) Dao Ming Si’s face. That was the perfect time for Shancai to call her a big jerk for not letting her friend go when she already apologized to her and for him not apologizing regarding her broken phone.

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Here comes my Hua Ze Lei being outstandingly different from the rest of the F4 boys by picking up Shancai’s birthday note (he picked up the trash can in the original version).

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Lo and behold! Shancai got a red card Joker card from their favorite card game. The major difference of this card from the original red card is that being given this card means that F4 has summoned you to play Bridge with them. If you’re the loser, you will have no choice but to eat 100 xiao long baos in one hour, folk dance by the sea, squat in the middle of the school’s pond, and many more options to be punished. Pick your poison!

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I was talking about this one earlier regarding Shancai crying because of Dao Ming Si’s bullying. He ordered food from Shancai’s family business and just wasted them by throwing them on her face. After running away, she unluckily met two hoodlums but got lucky enough to be saved by no other than Hua Ze Lei. Classic handkerchief and handstand scene was kept and still gave me a lot of feels!

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It’s a brand new day for Shancai and she is definitely ready to kick someone in the face! Yes, she did it literally… HAHA! So Ah Si got knocked out and his true friends made fun of him by making a news report and took a selfie with him to commemorate this rare instance lol.

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Everything was just too fast as Ah Si ordered his people to get Shancai to doll her up and that she could always stay by his side. Someone got bitten by the love bug way too early! He heard her fawn over Hua Ze Lei and told her that she should not like him… Oh forever the jealous boy that he is. The episode ended with the story heading to Shancai and Hua Ze Lei’s arc. Lei and Ximen went to the milk tea shop where Shancai and Xiaoyou work part-time and our girl was just smiling from ear to ear (like who wouldn’t?). We also knew that the next episode will be about Lei’s first love, Teng Tang Jing, as he asked Shancai about the time difference between Shanghai and Paris in the last few minutes of the episode.


In a nutshell:

  • As everyone else is saying, the story is really fast-paced which makes me wonder what else I’m going to see (never finished the manga).
  • I feel like the dubbing is hindering my judgment in terms of our main leads’ acting skills. I guess I need more episodes to see as well!
  • Not quite sure if Shen Yue has chemistry with any of the boys yet but the next episodes will tell me
  • Loved the modernity of this version. Shancai cursing F4 that they don’t get internet or wish that the aliens steal their phone/data or something? How epic! She also took a selfie after battling it out with them lol and I will also never forget to mention that she works in a milk tea shop (vs. Italian Tomato in the 2001 version) because that is what the hype is all about during these times.
  • Will I continue to watch it after this pilot episode? This should not even be a question! Yes, I will! I am actually really most excited about the emotional scenes so I hope that these young ones won’t disappoint me in the acting department.

What did you think about the first episode or Meteor Garden 2018 in general? Are you watching it as well or just fine with missing out? Hope you can tell me in your comments below! Thanks for staying all the way here 🙂

A big thanks to dramapotatoe and the subbing team for making us see (and understand!) this drama before other streaming sites did.

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62 thoughts on “Meteor Garden 2018 Episode 1 Review

  1. Leya

    The storyline is indeed fast-paced but I feel like there’s nothing really enchanting about it. I’m not too convinced with the acting and story. I’m actually pretty disappointed with the premises.

    I’m also confused with how F4 are desribed to be very gentle and respectful towards girl when Dao Mingsi pushed Shancai’s friend harshly while the other F4 do nothing to help her. I understand that he’s probably mad about the cake incident but nowhere I see their gentleness or respect feeling towards any of the girls so far. Of course once they become close later on, they actually are not that bad. But still they could have settled the incident nicely if they are actually gentle and respectful towards girls since it was unintentional.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I would have agreed with you if I have not watched the next episodes but after watching episode 2, I got completely enchanted now lol I agree with the acting but it’s the dubbing that really makes it hard to judge for me too.

      I feel like those descriptions of F4 only applied to the girls that they would (sadly) hit on, not really the Shancai type of girl who would fight them. I also think that they wouldn’t be F4 if those things didn’t happen that’s why they stuck with the idea that only Hua Ze Lei would be helping Shancai.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Really enlightening 🙂

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      1. Ellie

        Well, Dao Ming Si is short-tempered. I think it was unintentional to shove Li Zhen (the same thing that he also felt guilty after throwing food at Shan Cai). His friends frowned when he did that and besides, Shan Cai was there to help her.

        I like this version because Xi Men, Mei Zuo and Lei make fun of Ah Si. They even reprimand him of his childish pranks.

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        1. dramarian Post author

          I agree. If there is anything consistent with Domyouji’s character in all versions, it would be his short temper. I loved how they were totally judging him because of his childish ideas haha!

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  2. Febeka

    Hi. I’ve been waiting for this drama ever since they’ve announced the remake. Tonight was the first night watching all 4 subbed episodes and to tell you the truth, I am utterly dissapointed.

    I didn’t expect the storyline nor the characters to be exactly as they werr back then however, I feel like the story line is to forced to be something new following the old version. The story is very fast paced as everyone says but I just think its a bit messy.

    Is it just me that think the acting skills is a bit lacking? Not to mention the dubbing voice over.

    On the bright side, i do praise how they have produced the movie in a very elite modern way – although it makes me feel like i’m watching 2 things at the same time, theres just a lot to focus.

    The camera takes are also very rough.

    I think they’ve done a way better job with the old one than the current. However I do want to see how this plays out.

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  3. Febeka

    Hi. I’ve been waiting for this drama ever since they’ve announced the remake. Tonight was the first night watching all 4 subbed episodes and to tell you the truth, I am utterly dissapointed.

    I didn’t expect the storyline nor the characters to be exactly as they werr back then however, I feel like the story line is to forced to be something new following the old version. The story is very fast paced as everyone says but I just think its a bit messy.

    Is it just me that think the acting skills is a bit lacking? Not to mention the dubbing voice over.

    On the bright side, i do praise how they have produced the movie in a very elite modern way – although it makes me feel like i’m watching 2 things at the same time, theres just a lot to focus.

    The camera takes are also very rough.

    I think they’ve done a way better job with the old one than the current. However I do want to see how this plays out.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I agree with most of the things that you said. Episode 1 was definitely not impressive in terms of the acting and story but I still remain to be hopeful regarding this. Also, they do have problems with the transitions with the stories so I hope that they were able to improve on this over time. I think we all know that nothing beats the original version but it is great that we get to keep an open mind when watching this version. Thank you so much for your wonderful insights! I’m very glad that you are able to share it with us here 🙂

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    2. Ellie

      Hi @Febeka! I think this remake of MG is smarter and less violent than the previous one. Have you rewatched MG’01? There were times I questioned myself and the public why it became a hit (peace everyone).

      Example, Shan Cai’s mother was concerned of her getting a rich husband that could save them with poverty. Now, they focus on how supportive her parents are with her dreams.

      I also like the tweak with receiving the joker card (red card back then). F4 are respected and challenged because of their skills with Bridge and competence with academics. Not just because they came from rich families and like to bully whoever gets in their way.

      What do you think?

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  4. Ellie

    Hi @dramarian! Shen Yue’s character of Shan Cai is different from Barbie Hsu’s and way better than Ku Hye Sun’s Jan Di.

    Where Barbie Hsu fights without thinking of the consequences, Shen Yue is hesitant but stands her ground. Barbie’s eyes could kill Ah Si back then. Now Yue’s eyes shows vulnerability but strong enough to face Ah Si.

    I am glad with Shen Yue’s acting skills. Her eyes are very expressive! Remember when Dao Ming Si threw food at her? She was in a state of shock, not vengeful but hurt. I think she cried after because of the harassment of the two hoodlums and the wasted efforts of her mother to prepare the lunch boxes. Those were too much to handle for a day!

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I see a huge difference between their portrayals and it is refreshing. I cannot say anything about Ku Hye Sun snce I’ve never watched BOF.

      I agree with that too, Barbie’s version was more fierce and impulsive that would make you face-palm sometimes because thinking even just for a few seconds could have helped her avoid getting into such fights. You are so on point in describing Yue’s Shancai! She is indeed vulnerable by crying about it then putting it all aside by taking each day as a brand new day to restart.

      Thank you for sharing such lovely insights! Looking forward to discussing with you here 🙂

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      1. winry

        first, i’ve only just watched the 1st episode so i might be wrong with my initial assessment. anyway, i disagree with barbie’s shancai being more impulsive than the new one. i think the new one is more impulsive. the way i remember it, barbie’s version tried to be as low key as possible and tried to stay out of trouble as much as she could. she basically tried to be invisible. she only snapped when her friend got into a bad situation. and even after getting bullied by the whole school, she still tried to wade through it all without making a big fuss. then she finally snapped again when the bullies tried to molest her and it all became too much. for me, her patience and tolerance were far more enduring than the new version. this new shancai got herself into trouble all by herself. that cellphone incident, in my opinion, was partly her fault. the guy probably didn’t even notice he stepped on a phone with all of those people hounding them. then she found out the guy who stepped on her phone was a member of the most respected and richest group in school who also has a penchant for ‘bullying’ those who challenged them and subsequently lost a match against them. yet she still went and tried to challenge them. this guy belongs to the most powerful group in the school, yet she still went head on and tried to challenge him. i think the old shancai wouldn’t have done this. she would have most likely kept her mouth shut and move on to keep herself out of trouble. but then again, i supposed the new shancai is probably more motivated than the old one. this one has a concrete goal as opposed to barbie’s shancai who just wanted to get through college life without creating a fuss.

        and about the premise of the new series about F4 not really being bullies. i don’t know, i just felt like the new version was trying to make everything ideal about F4, shancai’s family, the school and even shancai herself. i actually like the part about shancai’s mother forcing her to go to an elite school to get a rich husband, i just found that utterly hilarious and adds charm to the whole story. the new one gives shancai a healthier family life, but the old ‘flawed’ one just felt more, i don’t know, down to earth because it highlights a very flawed family element. i guess in some ways the old one feels more relatable? not necessarily because my own parents want me to marry a rich husband, but the fact that all families usually have some real dysfunctions. the bullying part,or lack thereof, for me, also felt like the new series was trying to sanitize the older version of the story. if i remember correctly, one of the reasons why hanayori dango and makino tsukishi became a big hit among manga readers(especially students) in japan back then was the way she stood up to the bullies. i think bullying was a real issue in japan back then (it probably still is now) and makino’s steadfast resilience and spirit despite the force trying to crush her became an inspiration to many readers back then. i think the bullying was necessary to highlight makino/shancai’s resilience, and also illustrated the fact that sometimes, people in power can get away with almost anything they want because of the power and money they hold. this new version, in my opinion, wants to sanitize the ‘bullying’ of F4 by making it so that you have to provoke them first into a challenge and lose to them before you became subjected to their unconventional/cruel punishment. in a way, we can’t really call that bullying, can we? you have to initiate everything first before F4 turns on you. whereas the older version, and all the previous versions, for that matter, tried to show how the powerful could be unfair, capricious and brutal. you get the red card by simply pissing them off with some absolutely mundane stuff. i thought that was a very important element of the story and gives a not so pretty portrayal of life in a manga directed at a young and mostly female audience. this new one, so far, tries to make everything clean and and ideal and pretty.

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        1. dramarian Post author

          Wow, what an insightful and wonderful comment to see here! You’ve got some point regarding old Shancai vs. new Shancai. Having watched both versions simultaneously, that is where I got my first impressions regarding the new Shancai. Not going to argue with you because I totally respect your opinion so thank you for that!

          Regarding the new Shancai’s family dynamics, I actually got bummed too that they’re not similar to the silly ol’ folks of old Shancai lol loved them for that flawed element. It may sound ridiculous that they sent their daughter to an elite university for a husband of high quality but isn’t it realistic as well? HAHA!

          I agree with your points regarding the bullying arcs. That is why I had mixed feelings too because I wanted to see my strong female lead rise up to such challenges no matter how nonsensical they are. I don’t think it’s the new version’s fault though as they were only following China’s SARFT regulations. Pretty sad that there is an external factor as to how the story was produced. It isn’t so bad though!

          Again, thank you very much for sharing your eye-opening insights! Hope we get to talk more soon 🙂

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          1. winry

            That thing about her getting a rich husband really cracks me up because it’s such a sharp social commentary on persisting societal gender roles. It’s very satirical and cheeky and it’s unapologetic about it. I just find it charming how the manga and original series tried to jab at existing idealized concepts by revealing some not so pretty elements about authority, social values, and the heroine. I do agree that my vision is tinted with nostalgia regarding the original series, I’m not even sure if I would like it now that I’m older if I had never watched it back in the early 2000. but this one about her family is something I actually appreciated more as I grew older in terms of satirical reflection of societal values. I also loved that the old one portrayed shancai as a heroine who isn’t so pretty, isn’t the smartest nor the dumbest, a girl who still wasn’t sure about what she wants to do in life, a bit snarky and isn’t sweet and fragile. Even now after gorging shameful amounts of Kdrama, Jdorama and Taiwanese series, I’d still say shancai/makino is pretty unique. I actually appreciated her more, too, after watching all of those. She isn’t sweet, she isn’t cheerful, she isn’t noble. The girl was sour most of the time XD Although I do think shancai not having a clear goal in life works better in the manga and in the Japanese version because makino is still a high schooler in those settings whereas shancai is already in college. So I do think this new version of shancai who has a clearer goal in life is more fitting. Though in reality, I do think it’s still common for teenagers not to really know what they want in life even in college, too. and somehow, I feel like shancai not initially knowing what she wanted to do in life and learning and growing and figuring it out later on was more satisfying to watch for her character development just like how it panned out in the manga and in the Japanese version. The original meteor garden never got this far. I thought it would have been great if that was shown in the new one. but the new shancai already got that figured out. again, that was probably because she was already in college. But I just thought it would have been a great arc for her character development.

            I wouldn’t have minded much if it was just the bullying that was toned down or practically erased in the story, but as it was, all the seemingly negative aspects were wiped out and replaced with this shiny and pretty idealized version of reality. but I do think the bullying is also pretty important element to tackle even now that we still read news about students committing suicide due to bullying. I do think bullying is still much a serious reality that could have been properly expounded on the new series and could have been dealt with using a much more modern lens than the older version/s had. and as a norm-breaking character as shancai is, she would have been an apt heroine for that. but then again, that might lead the story to a whole different direction XD yeah, the older me just probably wants to have a proper resolution to a serious problem like bullying. Correct them and give them a proper resolution, not practically erase them and make it seem like the problems never existed in the first place, which is what the new series did. but as you said, it was the country’s policy, so that’s that. or maybe the chinese school culture just doesn’t have intense bullying incidents as countries like japan and korea where suicide incidents due to bullying happen quite alarmingly high?

            Thank you for indulging my veeerrry long comments XD I hope I didn’t offend anyone. If I did, just curse me and let’s be friends XD These are just my selfish, personal and sometimes contradictory views XD

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            1. Feliz

              Hi @Winry! I think this new MG version is different from other adaptations. You are right that Japan’s/Taiwan’s/Korea’s versions highlighted bullying as embedded in the culture of schools.

              Bullying today however, is still part of the show but portrayed in a different light. An example of which is false accusations in social media (cyber-bullying) and how Shan Cai’s everyday life was affected by those. Apathy (experienced by new version of Shan Cai) is as strong as sticks and stones (or eggs which were thrown to old versions).

              Shen Yue’s version of Shan Cai looks more vulnerable and more accident-prone but actually she is more matured and more intelligent. Which I think depicted Makino’s way of thinking back then. You’ll love and hate Shan Cai’s character as you watch the episodes, and probably see inconsistencies with her family’s “goodness”.

              Enjoy watching!

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            2. dramarian Post author

              No worries! I completely enjoy all your long comments and most of the time, I just agree with everything that you say 😉 I don’t have much to say now but I’m so thankful to have a met someone like you here. I truly appreciate all your comments! I also hope that you didn’t offend anyone (really don’t think so too lol). Hope to see you again here soon!

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  5. Jed Christian Resurreccion

    6 episodes in and found episode 1 review.
    I agree that this is not the one that is like really giving the WOW factor, however, if you will read the manga it is acting out the same pace.

    MG 2001 is actually being overrated because of pure nostalgia, almost every millenials who grew up on the 2000s will really say that it is better.. And yes, it is, on some point, but if you will rewatch it today, after all of the kdrama and cdrama exposure, you will see it flaws.. its kinda draggy, too much bullying, not that realistic but hey, the memories of you watching it with big crt tv with your family and friends will gave you the feels. (On my honest opinion, please don’t be offended)

    MG 2018 is not really geared up for millenials I say, this is more of for Gen Z audience who did not grew up on the MG 2001. Fast paces storytelling and rough edits are some of the trends recently. I am not saying that this is better but it is targetted for different generation, thus the disappointment from the chunk of viewers

    Both of the casts are an ensemble, there are pros and cons and honestly, MG 2018 did not.impress me on the first episode because I feel it is too cramp but gave it a second go on Episode 2 and yeah, it links, it works and it grows on you (Like watching Thai series which is really hard at first). I say this is my 2nd fave, MG 2001 as the first ofcourse, that is the MG of my generation..

    Nod to the less bullying theme, tho it establishes ShanCai’s character, I do not subscribe to that measure because coming from an average family doing extra work to meet expenses is a true sense of resiliency.. I condone romanticizing bullying..😇😇

    Thanks.. (2nd comment on this blog. keep it up)

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Hello again! Thanks for coming back haha! I completely agree about why people are saying that the 2001 version is better. I definitely didn’t get offended by your comment. We’re always open to others’ opinions here!

      I agree that MG2018 grows on you, even thee actors/characters did the same to me. Now I’m just hopelessly in love haha!

      Thank you again! See you soon! 🙂

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  6. winry

    @Feliz hiya! now you make me want to watch the next episodes! ^_^ i’ve only watched one episode, and that’s clearly not enough to truly assess the series. so i’m probably being unfair by giving premature assessments. now i’ll watch them 🙂

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  7. the mad chatter

    Hello! I’m glad I’ve found this forum for this show. I have begun watching this show thru Netflix in the US and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS! I’ve never watched any other dramas before so I am completely new not only to this show but to this genre. I’ve also just recently learned that this was a magna story too and I’ve never read any of those as well. I am a complete newcomer and I’m glad that I can see this show with fresh eyes and without expectations. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments and wonder if I can ask some of my questions here by episode. I’ve watched the first 20 episodes (all that’s currently available on Netflix) in one weekend and my mind was blown. I’ve got questions about casting, director choices, cultural meaning, fashion in China and more. But first I would like to ask some basic questions about the opening credits. They are not translated into English and so I don’t know the name of the song nor who is singing it. I would like to know what the lyrics say as well so if anyone can point me to the right direction I would appreciate it.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Hello! Welcome to dramaland! This will be one exciting journey. Glad that you chose Meteor Garden as your passport to this world. It’s a remake of a classic story that has been again and again.

      The opening song is called, “For You”, sang by the drama’s 4 male leads. As for what the lyrics say, I only have a basic understanding of Mandarin and from what I understood, it’s about being sweet and doing a lot of things for someone special. Something along the lines of always wanting to be the person around you.

      Feel free to ask us questions! Again, welcome! Glad that you found us here 🙂

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  8. the mad chatter

    Ok, I have some time now to comment so I’ve started watching the first episode again and here’s my list of questions/thoughts/opinions so far.
    1. The song is a wonderful melody I just don’t know what it’s saying but I don’t care.
    2. There’s a shot of F4 walking in a park (?) and they are in uniform. I didn’t see them wearing that in the first 20 episodes so I’m wondering if the uniforms mean something?
    3. Dao Ming Si’s smiling and dancing in front of the mirror is a sweet/funny moment but utterly confusing because he’s such a jerk in the first few episodes that I couldn’t understand the director’s thoughts for including it. Also, I’d like to give a shout out to the hair stylist and costume designer because his hair while ridiculous is ridiculously amazing and in character. He’s wild, his hair is wild. His wardrobe deserves its own posts. 4. Lei’s intro let’s us know immediately that he’s Si’s polar opposite and that’s ok. Meizuo’s intro was ok but Ximen’s made me laugh because he looked so earnest into the camera and I couldn’t take that seriously. It was toooo over the top.
    5. The intro ends with Dramarian’s favorite poster and I completely agree that it’s a great poster and has convinced me that I need a pair of white sneakers. But that brings me to the title, “Meteor Gardens”, does this mean something? If I’ll learn about it later then please don’t tell me.
    6. I believe the director was very clever in opening the episode with the end of the story in a freeze frame shot. It made me immediately interested. However, when the story actually started I found the acting a little too hard to watch. Quinghe’s introduction was almost unwatchable. He followed Shancai to school, he wants to protect her and it looks like he really likes her but it’s said too quickly like he’s reciting a list of things with no real feeling behind it. But let’s discuss his wardrobe, are his clothes of a typical teenager in China? If his family is well off, his wardrobe doesn’t show it. I feel as if the show spends all the wardrobe money on Si’s clothes (which I’m very grateful for because every look Si wears looks like it came off a runway).
    6. Then the junior girl who majors in journalism has the job of telling us who the F4 are and then we never see her again. I found that to be annoying. But I need to know, is Bridge really that famous a game in China? In the US we are crazy over Poker, and so I was wondering if this was a cultural difference. Please let me know.
    7. As a newcomer I didn’t understand that Lei’s character was autistic. I swear I just thought the actor was really bad. I couldn’t understand all the staring off into space. How would you grade his performance in episode 1?
    8. Shancai’s parents were difficult to sort out. This show feels like a drama but the parents’ roles seem to be written as over the top comedies. The mother feels believable to me when she nags because that crosses cultural barriers but I’m confused by the father.

    That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have more questions when I rewatch the show. Thank you in advance for all your insight.

    Dramarian, I am really enjoying your reviews. Thank you for your generosity.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      1. I hope I was able to answer this in your previous comment! It is indeed a wonderful one.
      2. If you get to watch future episodes, there will be flashbacks of them wearing uniforms. It may only signify that those four have been friends ever since their younger days, thus, seeing them together when they would still wear their uniforms.
      3. It was a bit forced compared to the 2001 Dao Ming Si doing that kind of scene wherein it had more context. Since you didn’t watch the original version, I will explain it without having to rely on the 2001 context. Dao Ming Si’s character is childish/immature yet he comes off as someone who’s tough on the outside. That scene of him dancing and smiling tried to show how he really is amidst his seemingly cool exterior. It was also him starting to crush on Shancai and of course he had to deny it from everyone else first so might as well smile and dance on his own without anyone watching. And yes, his outfits really need its own posts/lookbook!
      4. It was a funny intro for Ximen but I guess that was intentional too!
      5. It’s really a nice poster compared to the usual one that they use whenever you search for this drama. I have only realized what it meant when you asked me and I’ve watched the original Meteor Garden back in 2003. So I don’t think you’ll learn about it later unless you’re really smart (unlike me haha!). Feel free to ask me though if ever you’re still interested.
      6. Asian dramas are great with leaving audience hanging haha! There is really not much depth in Qinghe’s character. He just really is someone who likes following Shancai around although they really consider each other as the best of friends as well. I don’t know how a typical teenager dresses in China but it could be close to it. As for his family’s wealth, they just recently got rich so that should explain while he still dresses simply. I think the show also spent a lot on filming sites which you’ll be seeing eventually as you go on in this drama.
      6. I actually found that annoying too. There was also screen time devoted to her when she walked past F4 like what was that?! My knowledge of China is only through their entertainment industry including dramas, movies, and variety/reality shows so I can’t answer you about the popularity of the game there. My guess is that they found Bridge as great way to tell their story given that 4 people are needed to play and it deals with strategies/tactics, memory, etc. that the F4 are good at. It is also a game of partnerships and you will see how it will be useful in story-telling as you watch the next episodes.
      7. We’re completely opposite and maybe it’s my bias too since I’ve always loved Lei. I thought he really acted well and he was the one who impressed me when I watched the first few episodes. I thought that the actors who played Dao Ming Si and Shancai needed to improve (good news: they did and did it really well!).
      8. This version did not really give much emphasis on the parents’ “over-the-top” personalities. Yes, you read that right! This is a drama but they were made to give comic relief which this version didn’t really focus on. The dad is really supposed to be some lazy, useless, and always hungry kind of man but I guess the drama had to make some adjustments so he would not come off as such a big problem. This probably made you confused because maybe the drama didn’t know how to adjust his character too.

      Your questions have really challenged my knowledge and ability to express my insights. I just love it haha! Thank you very much 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying them!

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  9. The Mad Chatter

    Oh! Is there a significance to the game that shows up throughout the show but is introduced first in the first scene in the close up when S kicks DMS?

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  10. The Mad Chatter

    Oh! Is there a significance to the game that shows up throughout the show but is introduced first in the first scene in the close up when S kicks DMS?
    Also, the scene where F4 is introduced,all the girls surrounding then are wearing white tops and black bottoms. Is there a reason for this?

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  11. The Mad Chatter

    I found it funny when F4 was first introduced by Caije as being 185 CM, handsome, outgoing, and excel in their respective fields. Why lead with their height? But this made me think about how in american shows we usually lead with how cute someone is. Also why did the director/writer give us this information and not let us learn it on our own. Besides that, the shots were good in establishing the group as close friends, stylish and all around bad ashes.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Funny how I wasn’t able to pick up that height intro but that really is their height in real life though haha! I think she led them with their height because Chinese/East Asians aren’t usually tall so having those 4 really tall guys help them stand out in front of everyone. I think Asian dramas and movies love giving intros to characters (at least from some that I have watched). I guess it’s really their preferred style of storytelling. Also, we won’t really be getting a lot about Ximen and Meizuo (being secondary characters) so that intro was needed in that case.

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  12. The Mad Chatter

    Oh! What did everyone think about the men’s fashion? I loved everything. EVERYTHING!!!! Si is impeccably tailored and M actually wore what looked like a straight jacket when Caije says that F4 respect women. It’s hilarious but I love it.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I especially loved Lei’s style maybe it gives a feeling of warmth and because he has such a chill personality. Not really a fan of everyone else’s style although I agree that they must really dress that way according to their character. Watch out for the next episodes though as their outfits kept getting better too!

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  13. The Mad Chatter

    Ok, did anyone else find it odd when Caije was discussing Ximen’s strengths in Bridge and they show him putting tea. Why does he look so serious and dead eyed? Is this the actor or director?

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I think that was supposed to be for comedy and at the same time, no one really smiles when doing a traditional tea ceremony so he had to look serious. It was the director’s instruction, I guess?

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      1. The Mad Chatter

        Thank you. I’ve learned that it’s difficult to tell when something’s meant to be funny when everyone is playing it so seriously. Watching it a 2nd time helps though.

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  14. The Mad Chatter

    Is the no sock look a solid look now? No one seems to be wearing socks and I’m double checking if this is a decision the costume designer made or also is a trend.

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  15. The Mad Chatter

    A quick note about the product placement here for the drink during the basketball game. I find them to be so obvious that it makes me laugh. I’m not bothered by them at all and in fact I wish I knew what they said. Also Si’s smirk when he was looking into the camera while C was filming was adorable.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      I hate the obvious product placements because it distracts me but at the same time, I so want to buy whatever they’re having! HAHA. It was, he’s adorable!

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  16. The Mad Chatter

    A word about Shancai’s wardrobe in this episode. It was really unremarkable and I’m sure was meant to underscore the difference between her and F4. What are your thoughts?

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Yes, that was really the point. I actually like her wardrobe in general because I have a comparison in mind (2001 Shancai’s wardrobe was a complete nightmare!). I think her outfits are wearable by anyone which makes her relatable as a a female lead so I have no problems with it.

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  17. The Mad Chatter

    The food delivery scene was hard to watch bc after Si hit her with the food I felt like stopping and not watching anymore. Is this type of violence towards women typical in dramas?

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    1. dramarian Post author

      That was really mean and who wouldn’t hate such a jerk? Although I must say that the violence in this drama has toned down a lot compared to the original drama. I would like to say and believe that it’s not but I guess there is also a relatively huge number of dramas that showcase some form of violence too.

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  18. The Mad Chatter

    On the one hand, I’m sure Si had already taken notice of Shancai which made him look into her family and order 20! Lunch boxes but then on the other hand he acts like a complete maniac and hits her with one of the boxes and refuses to apologize. It’s too much and I wonder if the writer/director could have gained ty he same objective with another scene entirely.

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  19. The Mad Chatter

    So now we’re at the pivotal scene between Shancai and Lei in the hallway. When you watch this the first time, the acting is hard to watch and unbelievable. In fact Shancai’s best scene in this episode was when she was giving Si hell beside the pool table before he hit her. This hallway scene worked in that I knew Lei was the love interest but at this point I had NO IDEA that Si was a love interest until this point. Which I’m sure was the point. The director wanted us to be interested in Team Lei and Lei’s acting in this scene was a hard sell.

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  20. The Mad Chatter

    Again, the ending was very satisfactory and watching a little behind the scenes action on YouTube (I think) was fun. I think the director saved the whole season by ending the episode on such a powerful moment for Shancai. However, I think the actress played it a little too safe. I would have liked to see more anger from her. Thoughts?

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    1. dramarian Post author

      It is always fun to watch behind-the-scenes of dramas! Yes, I completely agree. Shancai is originally deemed to be strong-headed, stubborn, rash, etc. so I was a bit disappointed that this is how they developed the new Shancai. I wanted her to relinquish her anger more that would make me say, “that’s our girl!”.

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  21. The Mad Chatter

    I thank you for your patience with all these posts. I want to give a special shout out to Si’s green brogues and just about everything that boy wore in the episode. Bravo to the costume designer. Bravo! If anyone knows where I can find a breakdown of every outfit on the show, I’d appreciate it.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      No problem! Thank you for reading and finding us here too 🙂 HAHA! There should be outfit breakdowns on Weibo. I will send it to you if I can find them.

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  22. vespa

    The first episode hooked me in big time. I think the fast pace makes me think more of manga ….. but I haven’t read it yet. I was so surprised when she did a flying kick to his head and you could feel the adrenalin from Shencai. I’ve not seen any of the previous versions but I really like this one so far (up to ep 19). So glad Dramarian, that you have done recaps and a brilliant job of it, can tell you are a knowledgeable person of the other versions. So thanks for guiding us newbies.

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    1. dramarian Post author

      According to HYD manga readers, this version is just really following the manga so it’s not really fast-paced as what we thought it was. Thank you very much to you too! Hope you can drop by in our other episode recaps too 🙂 It’s so nice to know that I could guide you!

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  23. Mei

    Hi! I just finished watching epi 1 of the 2001 version! My impressions:
    – I really like the acting despite how old the movie is. F4 are men, not boys. I like the grittiness of the bar/fight scene.
    – her parents are hilarious!! Lol funny. Her mom can hyperventilate at the drop of a hat 😂
    – This Shancai is not as innocent and I like that. She seems more real, which is what I’d say about the 2001 version. It’s not as shiny.
    – All the pranks played on Shancai by F4 are pretty terrible and funny— water falling on her, the phone thing… I’m surprised how much I like it!
    (Is it okay to post here about the original as I watch it? It’s fun to get feedback but I understand if you want to keep this forum about the new MG!)

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    1. dramarian Post author

      Nice! Glad that you started it!

      – Yesss, but Dao Ming Si totally had a little boy’s mind haha!
      – Such a huge difference from the 2018 version, right? Even though Shancai’s parents were basically useless, I loved them for being so ridiculous and real at the same time lol
      – She was really one tough weed to step on!
      – What was the phone thing again? Or were you already talking about the 2018 version? But yes, they were crazy and terrible… bullying at its finest

      go ahead! I never got to dedicate a separate post about the original MG so you can just do it here 🙂 thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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