U.S. Remake of “Boys Over Flowers”: Episode 1 Review


Have you heard about the American remake of “Boys Over Flowers”? The story of a middle-class girl and four wealthy, handsome bullies has been made into at least four TV shows around the world — the most famous being the 2009 Korean drama starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Hyun Joong. The U.S. version, called “Boys Before Friends,” premiered last night, exclusively on Viki.com.

“Boys Before Friends” was first announced as an independent project and was financed by fans on the online crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. Some fans are curious and excited about the remake, while others are skeptical that it will be able to live up to the fame of the Asian versions.

You can watch the episode for yourself below. But first, we recommend that you read the review by Viki Community Manager and K-Drama fan, Stephanie Parker, who points out a few of the main differences you should look out for between the U.S. and Asian versions of the Japanese manga series written by Yoko Kamio.

Grown Ups and Graduate School

“Boys Before Friends” takes the classic love story out of high school and plants it in a performing arts graduate school. As we meet the main characters in the opening sequence, we learn that they are adults in their 20s who live apart from their families. This is one important difference between the American and the Asian versions, which featured parents in major decision-making roles. We’ll have to wait to see whether the infamous evil mother appears in future episodes!

Bullying Is for All Ages

In the first episode, we see some familiar bullying scenes inspired by the Asian dramas: An innocent girl gets her homemade cake smashed in her face, and classmates pour trash on the heroine, Zoey. There are even some more creative tactics added to the mix. While it’s unusual to see this kind of behavior from adults in graduate school, the description of the four “F4” boys reveals that privileged backgrounds have allowed them to act like children with no consequences.

‘Z3’ and the Power of Friends

In this behind-the-scenes interview, cast members talked about the changes we could expect to see in the American “Boys Over Flowers” remake. Without a doubt, one of the biggest differences I noticed was that Zoey was given a strong group of girlfriends. These girls not only listen to Zoey’s stories about events at school and offer advice, they also stick up for Zoey when she’s in trouble, fearlessly facing the F4 (and naming themselves “Z3” for fun). Some of my favorite scenes were watching Zoey, Piper, and Chloe joke around with each other; their friendship will definitely be a highlight in the series.

Thank you and I hope you enjoyed the review of Boys Before Friends Episode 1! You can catch new episodes every Thursday on Viki.

Watch the First Episode of “Boys Before Friends”