REVIEW: New Meteor Garden is modernly nostalgic, consistently captivating

From the moment ABS-CBN announced the homecoming of the very first Asianovela it broadcast to the local screens 15 years ago, our social media feeds have been flooded with reactions from netizens who are able to watch the original and excited to see the latest Chinese incarnation and those who are ecstatic to watch it for the first time.

And the moment we have all been waiting finally arrived as Meteor Garden premiered last August 20, dominating local TV ratings, the Philippine Twitter trends and placing fourth worldwide with the wistful official hashtag #MeteorGardenIsHome.

Love at first sight for the new heartthrobs
The first time we laid eyes on the actors portraying the iconic characters, we could say that Angie Chai indeed did a great job in piecing together the new F4 and Shan Cai based on their looks and persona that clearly represent their respective roles.

The wide-eyed, petite, and chummy Shen Yue mirrors Shan Cai's optimism and obstinacy despite being not as affluent as her schoolmates and being bullied.

Dylan Wang's haughtiness and handsomeness makes him the perfect fit to be the leader of the notorious boy group of their campus.

Meanwhile, the only Taiwanese charmer in the flock Darren Chen successfully imbibes the mysterious and nonchalant vibe of Hua Ze Lei. 

Connor Leong and Caesar Wu's performances as Mei Zuo and Xi Men, respectively, the resident women and love experts of F4 are also impressive.

However, these lads prove that there's more to them than meets the eye. They are not only egotistic and rich kids because each of them boasts unbelievable analytical and artistic intelligence which they use in playing the card game "bridge" and raking in recognitions for their school. 

Millennial twist on an old narrative
On its first week, we immediately spotted the bunch of updates obviously made to keep up with the present milieu -- from the overall look of the cast and the set up to the scenes -- without veering away from the original storyline. 

In this remake shot in Shanghai, China, Shan Cai is a freshman Nutrition student in the prestigious Ming De University, who at the same time helps her mom in their food delivery business.

Her simple yet happy life changed in a snap on her first day in college as she was given a disciplinary action for unintentionally attacking their school's honorable guest and confrontations with F4, particularly Dao Ming Si.
That is when their endless bickering started, triggered by the leading man's childish and irritating pranks and kilig-inducing schemes just to get Shan Cai's attention.

In order to get even and teach him a lesson, she gave him a powerful flying kick that knocked him down in front of their schoolmates. 

Fortunately, her doting parents and reliable friends Qing He (Liu Yinhao), Li Zhen (Dong Xin), and even Lei, was there to constantly support and rescue her.

Surprisingly, beneath his bratty facade, Dao Ming Si has an admirable personality, which he displayed when he visited the sick Shan Cai at their house.

In between the scenes, the creators has put few modern touches, such as the utilization of smart phones, QR codes, selfies, livestreaming, and other millennial stuff.

A translucent joker card, meanwhile, replaced the remarkable red card.

Tons of familiar scenes
From the captivating entrance of F4, as shown by how their fellow students mobbed them, and the astounding accidental first kiss of Shan Cai and Dao Ming Si, the remake indeed brought us back to our younger years and revived our addiction towards the phenomenal drama that drastically changed our pop culture.

Apparently, the netizens, including some of our beloved local celebs,  weren't able to contain their thrill just on the very pilot week of Meteor Garden, especially now that they more appreciate since it's dubbed in Filipino.


















Never miss an episode of the undisputable drama we endlessly love with all our hearts,  Meteor Garden, weeknights before TV Patrol on Primetime Bida.