Dong Shan Cai is a lower-middle-class girl, who thanks to her hard work manages to enter the most prestigious private university, where the richest people in China attend. In spite of this being the University of her dreams, she constantly suffers the contempt of all her fellow millionaire’s classmates, in addition, Dong Shancai has to endure the persecution of the group known as the F4.
The F4 is made up of the future heirs of the 4 richest families of the country, which allows them to donate large sums of money to the university, what makes them the most feared and famous group that absolutely no one would dare to challenge. But the constant clashes between Shancai and the popular F4 has awakened a great rivalry, where she and this group will face challenges and situations that will mark their lives.
Shen Yue As Dong Shan Cai
A girl with a strong character, quite stubborn, but at the same time very kind and gentle, she has that impetus and courage that is needed to not let others intimidate her, she is very hardworking and has a lot of tenacity. Her dream is to expand her mother’s Catering business so that more people can enjoy her food. At first, she had a very bad impression of the F4, and that’s the reason she faced them constantly.
Dylan Wang As Dao Ming Si
The leader of the F4. He is an extremely stubborn, temperamental young man, with an incomparable arrogance and with an immaturity like few others, he comes from a very respected and wealthy family. He has a great interest and talent in finances, ever since he was a child he thought that money could buy anything he wanted, he is prone to get angry when things don’t turn out the way he wants them to. His parents were not present in most of his childhood and youth, because his father died when he is in high school, on the other hand, his mother had to take care of the company abroad and therefore is always very busy, Dao Ming Zhuang, his sister, was the one in charge of taking care of him.
Darren Chen As Hua Ze Lei
He specializes in music, is a member of F4, has mild autism, is undoubtedly the quietest member, quiet and so to speak, dark, cold of the group, somewhat serious and omnipresent, which in turn inspires tenderness and warmth, with certain touches of humor and a fair spirit. He comes from a wealthy family and has been a friend of Dao Ming Si since his childhood. He has always been in love with his beloved childhood friend, Teng Tang jing and is the F4 member who from the beginning protects Shan Cai.
Caesar Wu As Xi Men
He is another member of the F4, specializes in business administration, his family loves tea and he has great skill in this art, very subtle and cautious. He is quite a young playboy.
Connor Leong As Feng Mei Zuo
He is the latest member of the F4. Mei Zuo is a comedian, he enjoys making all kinds of pranks and jokes, has an incredible memory, he specializes in business administration just like Dao Ming Si and Xi Men and loves flirting with women.
This story begins at the University of Mingde where Shan Cai, an inspiring young woman meets the “F4”, the most exclusive and select group of the entire campus, which is composed of the four most handsome, intelligent, wealthy and popular young people of the entire institution: Dao Ming Si, Hua Ze Lei, Xi Men Yan and Feng Mei Zuo.
When Shan Cai meets the F4 for the first time, he has a bad impression of them, as the leader of the group Dao Ming Si steps on her cell phone; completely annoyed for what happened, Shan Cai confronts the F4 demanding that they repair her phone, the F4 ignore her completely but, not too long after that Shan Cai, product of an accident, filled with cake the face of Dao Ming Si, this enrages him and therefore sends a sacred card with the symbol of the “Jocker”, to challenge her to play BRIDGE (The game consists of several deals, each progressing through four phases. The cards are dealt to the players, and then the players auction or bid to take the contract, specifying how many tricks the partnership receiving the contract, the declaring side, needs to take to receive points for the deal.); this challenge gives rise to a whole set of fun events in which Shan Cai, is constantly bullied by Dao Ming Si, given her stubborn and brave character, she quickly manages to earn the respect of all members of the F4 and be able to form a beautiful friendship.
At the beginning, Dao Ming fought with Shan Cai as often as a cat and a dog, yet little by little he starts to fall in love with her, this is something that he doesn’t even notices, he becomes illogically angry due to his jealousy, he comes to desire Shan Cai with such a force that he protects her at all costs, even putting his life in danger by going to the extremes to keep her safe, this causes Shan Cai who at first was attracted by Hua Ze Lei, to fall in love with Ming Si, giving way to the beginning of a beautiful and graceful relationship, however throughout the journey they will have to overcome several obstacles to be able to triumph in their relationship and be happy together.
Not having seen the original drama in which this version of “Meteor Garden” was based, I cannot make an accurate and effective comparison between one and the other, that is why I am not going to say which one is better; however, “Meteor Garden” is a typical school drama, with romance, love triangles, experiences among friends, very similar to those for young people. Of course, their experiences are at a much more extravagant level, because obviously, the F4 is rotten in money.
“Meteor Garden” does not sin of bad performances or lacked resources, they had 24 million dollars, 500 per episode to produce this drama, a quite succulent sum which was three times more than the previous version of this drama, the advantage of this, is that we can appreciate in the drama either in the way these children dress or the various scenarios where the story takes place, that are certainly worthy of the 4 heirs of the wealthiest families in the country.
As for the performances, the character of Dylan Wang as Dao Ming Si, in certain situations looked a little exaggerated and stiff, of course, this is to be expected because of his short experience as an actor but with every episode, he takes over the character and gives him life. Dylan Wang charmed the audience with his character, making a playful but serious, arrogant but kind, somehow immature but loving Dao Ming Si; I liked very much his character background, his complicated childhood and all those aspects that led him to be as he was, and that behind that armor of narcissism, arrogance and pretentiousness, he hides a very sweet boy in love who is willing to do whatever it takes to have and protect the girl he loves. On the other hand, Shen Yue in her role of Shan Cai was good, she could transmit what was wanted of the character, her chemistry with Dylan and the other members of the cast is very nice (she is also adorable!)
Let’s talk now about Darren Chen, at the beginning I wanted him to stay with Shan Cai, then Ming Si came and won me over, and well I accepted it, but Darren Chen gave this character that effect of mystery and warmth at the same time, because although you know he is a cold and intriguing boy, he is very tender and sweet at the same time, with a charming smile and when he cries you only want to console him; if I had to highlight another character it would be Dee Hsu as the older sister of Dao Ming Si, the first time she appeared, the first thing that came to my mind was … this can only be the crazy sister of Ming Si, Dee Hsu was that perfect older sister whom you love but at the same time you fear and respect, which imparts discipline but helps you conquer the girl you love, a very funny lady and one of the characters that I liked the most.
Despite all this, one of the worst things about Meteor Garden is undoubtedly the number of episodes it has, easily this drama could have developed just fine with less, there are entire chapters that are devoted to showing things that are not relevant, such as the episodes of the food competition, the only thing important and really worthwhile showing in those episodes, was the reaction of Dao Ming Si to the frustration of Shan Cai and her response to his reaction, inspiring her for her latest dish.
“Meteor Garden” is not a drama that I would recommend, because although I did not think that the romance of Dao Ming Si and Shan Cai was bad, I actually found it fun and tender, the plot as such is not much of my taste and the sequence of how they tell the story in a moment came to annoy me, however between tastes and colors there is a sea of diversities, so I leave it is really up to you, if you are a fan of the previous version and have even seen the Korean and Japanese version you can’t miss this one too.