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'Meteor Garden' reboot captivates old, new fans alike

Audrey Cahyadi

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, July 27, 2018  /  08:20 am
'Meteor Garden' reboot captivates old, new fans alike

(From left) Dylan Wang (Daoming Si), Connor Leong (Meizuo), Darren Chen (Huazelei) and Caesar Wu take on the roles of the boys collectively known as F4 in the 2018 reboot of Meteor Garden. (Weibo via The Straits Times/File)

The legendary soap opera Meteor Garden has returned in a reboot that features young, fresh faces and is packed with the same amount of drama, romance and comedy as before.

It has been 17 years since the original Meteor Garden ended in 2001, and producer Angie Chai has decided to bring the hit show back to life. 

Loosely based on the Japanese manga Boys Over Flower, the reboot was first announced in April of 2017. 

Having been adapted into numerous TV shows such as Indonesia’s Siapa Takut Jatuh Cinta (Who’s Afraid to Fall in Love) and South Korea’s Boys Over Flower, the manga has had a big influence on Asian media. 

Twelve episodes of the rebooted version of Meteor Garden have been released, with plans to release a total of 49 episodes by early September.

Sticking to its roots, the rebooted show still follows the relationship between hardworking university student Shān-Cài (now portrayed by Shen Yue) and four popular college boys — Dào-Míng Sì (Dylan Wang), Huā Zé Lèi (Darren Chen), Měi Zuò (Connor Leong) and Xī Mén (Caeser Wu) — better known as the Flower 4 or F4 boys.

The show also revolves around a love triangle between Shān-Cài, the arrogant Dào-Míng Sì and the kind-hearted Huā Zé Lèi. 

With Dào-Míng Sì constantly teasing Shān-Cài for being upfront, Huā Zé Lèi quickly becomes her savior. As the story unfolds, however, Shān-Cài slowly earns the respect of Dào-Míng Sì and realizes that she might have feelings for both boys.

While sharing the same story and characters as before, the rebooted show takes place in a modern setting with plenty of contemporary references such as fashion, gadgets and locations. 

Though the plot is similar to the original, the contemporary feel of the new series will ensure today’s viewer can connect to the reboot, which is also a fuller adaptation of the original manga.

The series features an energetic main cast of young and rising actors including Yue, Wang, Chen, Leong and Wu. 

Meteor Garden has shot these new faces to fame, with the show’s announcement catching the attention of old and new fans alike in China and around the world. 

Many of these news stars had only begun entering the spotlight in the Chinese entertainment industry over the last few years, including Yue. She previously had several roles in Chinese films and series such as the lead role in a web series called A Love So Beautiful.

For 19-year-old Wang, Meteor Garden marks his TV debut.

Having been featured on a number of variety shows and in Harper’s Bazaar China, Wang had already gained a fan base for his modeling, but it was not until he was cast in Meteor Garden that his fan base grew to include people from all over the world.

Within the first week of its release, Meteor Garden had already been rated eight out of ten stars on IMDB. 

Its rating is thanks to the show’s millions of fans around the world, many of whom were also fans of the original.

The reboot has been a hit in its first few weeks on air, and those involved hope things only get bigger from here. In a country like Indonesia, where there are many fans of Asian dramas, 2018’s Meteor Garden has the potential to become a phenomenon.

The original show already has a large fan base in Indonesia. However, some have mixed feelings about the reboot. Many old-school fans prefer the previous more macho cast compared to the Flower 4 boys of today.

“My favorite thing about Meteor Garden was the cast. There was Vanessa Wu, Vic Zhou and, especially, Jerry Yan. Those actors will always be remembered for the show. The new cast is also great, but I think they’re too pretty. I like the older cast better, but I’m sure the new cast will bring in lots of new fans, which will be great for the series,” said Bunga (not her real name), a wistful 42-year-old fan from Jakarta.

However, younger and newer viewers love the new cast, especially second lead Dylan Wang.

“I just binge-watched Meteor Garden the whole day today. I absolutely love Dylan Wang and the chemistry he has with Shen Yue,” commented Nadya, a 19-year-old university student from Jakarta.

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The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.

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The 49-episode Meteor Garden reboot is available to watch through Viu, an Asian streaming network, in Indonesia every Thursday to Saturday.

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