By: Alissa Evangelista
F4 Thailand is the most recent addition to the list of Boys Over Flowers adaptations. Yoko Kamio’s manga entitled Hana Yori Dango has had its fair share of television drama adaptations, starting with 2001’s Meteor Garden. Despite being made in Taiwan, the show was a big hit in the Philippines when it was televised in 2003. This was followed by Hana Yori Dango (2005), Boys Over Flowers (2009) and Meteor Garden (2018) from Japan, Korea and China respectively.
While others might think F4 Thailand is the first Southeast Asian adaptation of the story, Indonesia actually did it first. Entitled Siapa Takut Jatuh Cinta (STJC), the 2017 show was loosely based on the source material and is considered an unofficial adaptation of Boys Over Flowers. It was not as popular as the licensed East Asian adaptations, but it might ring a bell since Filipino Actor Teejay Marquez played the counterpart of Xi Men or So Yi-jung in this show.
This makes F4 Thailand the first official Boys Over Flowers adaptation from Southeast Asia and the most recent adaptation of the story to date. The cast does not disappoint, with the popular BrightWin tandem from the hit 2gether the Series playing two of the four male leads. Thai model and host of Asia’s Next Top Model, Cindy Bishop, joins in the star-studded cast as the antagonist mother of the series’ male lead. The series sees a set of fresh faces as well, including the female lead, Tu Tawan who will be making her acting debut in F4 Thailand.
While it is a delight to most fans to see the BrightWin duo back on-screen, some are not so keen. Thai series afficionado Cad Dionco expressed that it might take some adjustments for fans to truly appreciate the friendship chemistry between Thyme (played by Bright Vachirawit) and Khavn (played by Win Metawin) due to their previous stint as same-sex partners in their most recent projects. Even so, Dionco shares her appreciation for the duo’s acting skills which prove them to be deserving of the acclaimed roles.
While F4 Thailand is an adaptation of a story a lot of people are aware of already, it still offers a lot of new things on the table. Overall, the approach is more lighthearted than previous adaptations, with a few punchlines sprinkled here and there for effective comic relief.
As an avid fan of Thai series, Dionco noted that one major difference from her previous experience of watching Boys Over Flowers and Meteor Garden is that, for once, she found herself rooting for the second lead, Ren (played by Dew Jirawat). Admittedly, Ren has a specific charm that sets him apart from the Hua Ze Lei or Yoon Ji-hu of previous adaptations. As for the other cast members, Dionco hopes to see more of MJ (played by Nani Hirunkit), the counterpart of Mei Zuo or Song Woo-bin, explored in the upcoming episodes. In previous adaptations, this role has seen minimal share of character development compared to other members of the F4, so showing more of his story will bring a fresh new take on the character.
On top of that, F4 Thailand had to reimagine their production to overcome one of the biggest differences from the previous remakes — the geography. As a Southeast Asian country without four seasons, you might be curious how the show pulled off trench coat looks and iconic snow scenes. As most scenes had to be adapted to Thailand’s weather, rain was used instead of snow in the show’s iconic “first date” scene. F4 Thailand has yet to reach the point where they visit other locations, but we are excited to see where they will take us.
New episodes of F4 Thailand drop every Saturday, 9:30 PM on the iWantTFC app and website. The same episode will be available the following Sunday on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, and A2Z.
Have you seen “F4 Thailand” already? Share your thoughts about the show in the comments section below!