Meteor Garden (2018)
I watched it on: Netflix
number of episodes: 49 (DVD/Netflix version)
genre: romantic comedy
rating: 3.5/5 stars – I liked it
An ordinary girl is admitted to the most prestigious school in the country where she encounters F4, an exclusive group comprised of the four wealthiest and handsomest boys in the school – Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men and Mei Zuo.
Shan Cai is an 18-year-old girl from a family that’s barely able to make ends meet. Due to a turn of events, she gets accepted into a school that only accepts the upper class elites. She immediately clashes with her classmates especially Dao Ming Si who is spoiled, arrogant and a bully. She remains defiant even after becoming a target of a series of pranks intended to torment her and just when she’s about to give up, Hua Ze Lei always seems to show up to lend her a helping hand.
Eventually, the four boys begin to acknowledge Shan Cai’s unyielding personality that is like her namesake which is that of a weed that can never be brought down. She also begins to see the good in the boys, which paves the way for friendship and an eventual romance.
If you’ve never heard of Meteor Garden before, it’s a Chinese drama that centers around Shan Cai who goes to university for the first time. She wants to study nutrition, so she can help her family with their restaurant and improve their dishes even more. When she attends the school for the first time, she learns about F4. They’re a group of 4 guys, who are incredibly popular. They are the top of their class, rich, and handsome. One day, Dao Ming Si (one of the F4 members) steps on Shan Cai’s phone, breaking the screen. She confronts him and asks him to apologize. That’s where her relationship with the guys begins.
There are some things about this series I truly loved, and some I didn’t like. Let’s get started on the things I loved.
⭐️ friendship. I am a big fan of friendships in media, because my friends are so important to me. Every time a show centers around a friend group, I’m already intrigued. I enjoyed the friendship between Shan Cai and her childhood best friend who works in the same store as she does, the friendship between the F4 guys, and especially the friendship between Hua Ze Lei and Shan Cai.
⭐️ romance. While I did have my problems with the romance, I found myself shipping it anyway. They’re so cute! Actually, I was torn when I hit the middle of the show. I wanted her to be happy with Dao Ming Si, but I also wanted her to be with Hua Ze Lei. CHOICES.
⭐️ family. I’m lucky enough to be very close to my family, and have a good relationship with them. That’s why I love watching family dynamics on TV. I enjoyed how Shan Cai’s parents were so proud of her for getting in to the school and the dishes she made. I also loved Dao Ming Si’s relationship with his sister. She loved him so much, and tried to protect him without coddling him at the same time.
⭐️ addictive. I know this sounds weird, but trust me. This series is so addictive. I start watching it one evening in my hostel while traveling, and ended up watching 5 episodes in a row. I stayed up for hours just to watch this.
Now for the things I didn’t love…
💥 it was too long. This series could have been 25 or 30 episodes instead of 49. Honestly, at some point I got really annoyed. How many bad things can happen to one couple?? I’m not used to Asian dramas being this long. The majority of dramas I’ve watched had 20 to 35 episodes and I feel like that’s a great length for a storyline like this one.
💥 alpha male/aggressive behavior. This happens so often in these dramas, and I’ve learned to deal with it. That doesn’t mean I have to love it though. If you’ve seen an Asian drama, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about (not that Western shows don’t have these problems): grabbing and dragging the girl by the wrist, caging her in, yelling at her instead of talking to her, etc. It’s not healthy, everyone. It’s not.
Ultimately, I enjoyed watching this show. I binge-watched it, and have zero regrets. I’m still a little bit in love with Hua Ze Lei… Have you watched this show?