OK, I'm a married guy, which means some times I get certain dramas "strongly recommended" to me by my better half. This is how I got into watching Korean dramas, even though I have to use the subtitles it's usually well worth the time and effort.
Most Korean dramas are original screenplays. But in the case of Boys Before Flowers, it's actually the 3rd live-action version of the story after the Taiwanese "Meteor Garden I & II", and "Hana Yori Dango" from Japan. If you count the original anime, then its a 4th outing on the small screen.
I think being the latest to be filmed allowed the production crew to take the best from its predecessors and also add in some uniqueness of its own. The story takes you to some exotic locales, including New Caledonia in the South Pacific. The scenes were breath taking, but they also add richness to the story not seen in the previous BOF dramas. And who could resist seeing an auto race between some very hot Lotus sport cars? OK, a guys' point of view, maybe. =) But I think beneath all the flashy, super-wealthy extravagance lies a very classic fairy tale archetype. The Cinderella's transformation for the ball, rescue of the damsel in distress, and a knight on his fiery steed; all these are concepts that makes the story very accessible to the western audience. In fact, even with the subtitles turned off, I bet you would still laugh and cry and cheer along as you watch the series.
I will also like to applaud the performances of the very young cast. Most of the kids are in their late teens to early twenties. So they're appropriately aged for their roles. All were very convincing whether portraying the ridiculously wealthy, or the hard working middle class. The parents were also well casted with veteran actors. Jun Pyo's mother deserves a special mention, playing the very believable lone 'villain' role of the story.
After thoroughly enjoying this drama, I actually went back to seek out the sister-series "Meteor Garden" and "Hana Yori Dango". Both were very enjoyable as well. The MG crew had the monumental task of transforming the Manga story into the first live-action drama. HYD on the other hand, had a few more years to fine tune the screenplay, and I have a feeling they had a bigger budget as well. All three are great dramas on their own terms, and for their time periods. So, it might not be very meaningful to compare them side by side. Having said that, BOF (Korean) had the advantage being the last to be made, and it shows in the scope of the production.
If you can find the series, enjoy
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