For any K-drama fans who were excited about “Boys Before Friends“, American remake of famous Korean drama “Boys Over Flowers”, the first episode aired yesterday on Viki to overwhelmingly negative reviews.
This is the fourth version of the original manga, also called “Boys Over Flowers“, and it’s shaping up to be the least fortunate, favorable and flourishing of its flowery counterparts (which besides the Korean version include Japanese “Hana Yori Dango” and Taiwanese “Meteor Garden”).
Aside from budgeting issues, obvious fake hair, bad editing and the questionable dance skills of the female lead, there was a definite lack of acting skill all ’round.
The setting is an elite university somewhere near L.A. -judging by the number of Hollywood sign shots- that seems to have a grand total of thirty students. Whether this was another budget cut or a nod to America’s vast middle-class majority, it’s hard to say.
However, the story itself doesn’t deviate (much) from the original. Badass dancer Zoey Taylor, with her side shave, braids and shredded outfits, takes on Liam Montgomery, of the rich parents, sulky attitude and fake ponytail.
Together with his musical genius friend, Oliver, playboy Chase and gangster heir Noah, they make up the “F-for-Fortunate”-4 and rule the school with iron fists, forever shadowed by their three fan girls.
Yes, you read that right. Three fan girls. Not even four. Three.
The series did not air to a round of applause. Many fans are calling “Boys Before Friends” a “Youtube parody” of the South Korean drama and it is safe to expect a significant increase in the view stats of the original series as fans compare their beloved Geum Jan Di and Goo Jun Pyo to Zoey and Liam.
Or, maybe more accurately, Joseph Almani (playing Liam Montgomery) to Lee Min Ho.
There were, in fact, redeeming qualities to the first episode -other than the picture above-. Zoey’s two best friends, Piper and Chloe provided comic relief and a modicum of natural acting as they worked together to give the spoiled rich boys a taste of their own bullying.
There also seems to be no lack of chemistry between the two leads which, unlike the height similarity, may make a difference to the show as it progresses.
Now of course, being both curious and unwilling to write my country off for ruining a favorite K-drama, I am determined to see this drama through.
So, to anyone who wants a week-by-week rundown of “Boys Before Friends” from the perspective of a disgruntled, but hopeful fan, Masala FM is on the job.
See the series website here and follow the link below to watch the first episode.