Taiwanese Dramas: Remakes Of Taiwanese Drama VS. Adaptations From Foreign Shows
While watching Taiwan dramas, I found out that some of those I'm enjoying were not really originals. Again, how many percent of shows I'm enjoying are actually contemporary remakes of older Taiwanese films or localization of foreign shows. That was really the case when I started watching Meteor Garden. I had no idea it was an adaptation or localization of a Japanese series called Hana Yori Dango. The story got localized for the Chinese audience giving everyone Chinese names that were pretty close to the surnames of the F4 in Japanese. Like Tsukasa Doumyoji was renamed as Dao Ming Si because Doumyoji has the same Chinese characters as Dao Ming Si.
When I found out Meteor Garden was actually an adaptation or localization of Hana Yori Dango, I had mixed feelings about it. Should I still watch it? The more I watched it, the more I thought it was still worth it even if it's not the original source. Meteor Garden had a great cast of actors who really knew how to do their part. Barbie Xu really made Tsukushi Makino come to life. Jerry Yan knew how to make Tsukasa Doumyoji believable. Zhen Xiu Zhen knew how to be the best live version of Kaede Doumyoji. It was a whole cast of actors and actresses who knew what they were doing. I still felt without Meteor Garden, I doubt it I'd ever start watching Taiwanese drama.
Then I remembered my exposure to Wuxia series and Qiong Yao series. I remembered "Romance in the Rain" starring Vicki Zhao and Leo Ku. I remembered Return of Condor Heroes starring Liu Yi Fei and Huang Xiao Ming and A Chinese Ghost Story starring Barbie Xu and Daniel Chan. It was too easy to guess that Return of Condor Heroes was a remake but not Romance in the Rain. I thought Romance in the Rain was more or less original until I started using search engines to find more about it. I found out that it had previous versions like a 70s drama from Hong Kong and the 1986 version in Taiwan starring Chin Han and Liu Xue Hua.
Are remakes and adaptations from foreign shows necessarily bad? Not really. I thought about some remakes happen because even if certain old school shows get digitally remastered, one needs to consider familiarity. A remake would probably be better in some ways like Romance in the Rain (2001 version) was better than the 1986 version which was just too sad. Some Taiwanese drama based on Manga and Anime can appear to be better than their original counterparts. Some of the Taiwanese actors are able to make the characters come to life in such a way. Then there's also the whole necessity to localize or adapt a foreign show for Taiwanese audiences. It's a case to case basis with production, writing, cast members and direction that makes a show either good or bad.