Continuing the series as we count backward, see the previous post Favorite Asian Dramas #9-12
6)Devil Beside You (Taiwanese)
I know some people who love the other Mike He/Rainie Yang drama Why Why Love a good deal more, but for me this was the first drama I saw them in and one of my first Taiwanese dramas ever, and while it could be argued that WWL has a more consistent plot, DBY has my heart. It was love at first fight when Qi Yue(Rainie Yang), after gathering all her courage to hand a letter of confession to her long-time crush Yuan Yi(Kingone Wang), hands it by accident instead to bad boy Jiang Meng(Mike He), the school troublemaker known as “the Devil”. The exchange sparks the Devil’s interest and he begins pursuing her, to her horror, which becomes even greater when she realizes that he’s the son of the man her mother’s going to marry and that they’ll be living in the same house from then on…
I just really like her voice. (Rainie Yang is a very popular Taiwanese pop star and actress).
These are by no means the best Taiwanese dramas, though some of them would be, but rather some of the more accessible ones. For those unfamiliar, Taiwanese dramas are Taiwanese TV shows with an average runtime of 21 episodes, usually very romance-centered.
1)Meteor Garden– if you’ve already seen Hana Yori Dango and Boys Over Flowers, the Japanese and Korean versions of this story, you’re likely to be disappointed in this one, which is by far the lowest-budget, but Meteor Garden is the original adaptation, and it is amazing. It’s the gateway Taiwanese drama for many people, and the first drama ever for even more people.
Barbie Hsu absolutely lights up the screen as the most kick-ass girl ever(easily the best interpretation of her manga character) and she and Jerry have amazing chemistry and the script is just incredibly well-written and well, it’s just really good and has this magic about it that I can’t quite pin-down. It’s one of those classic stories that draws on some of the most basic ideas and impulses that drive us as human beings.
Shancai(Barbie Hsu) is a poor girl unhappily attending a wealthy school in which she doesn’t fit in at all. The school is led by four boys called the F4, a group of handsome, incredibly wealthy, domineering boys who hold absolute sway over all the school attendees and are headed by Daoming Si(Jerry Yan) the richest of them all. When one of Shancai’s friends is bullied by them one day, Shancai snaps and openly defies them, and immediately finds herself the target of bullying by the whole school. Daoming Si, however, fascinated by her stubborn courage, soon finds himself falling for her…Meteor Garden is a little bit of everything – part underdog story, part tragedy, part comedy, but mostly a Cinderella tale, and one of the original Asian dramas that contributed to the craze. It’s pretty much a must-see for Asian drama watchers.
Rainie Yang is clearly the Taiwanese version of Mandy Moore(at least, the Mandy Moore of a Walk-to-Remember age) – the adorable, multi-talented young star who presents herself as(and may even be for a little while yet) the pure, dreamy, almost-too-cute for words type. Like Mandy, she can both sing and act, and after a career which initially struggled, broke out in a huge romance hit in which she played a spunky yet pure young adult who falls for and reforms a bad boy – in her case the drama Devil Beside You with Mike He(who is quite as good-looking as Landon Carter, if anyone was wondering).
She’s also like Mandy in that her voice is on par with her acting skills and her music career got lauched off songs she wrote based on Devil Beside You(remember Mandy’s “Cry” and “Only Hope” from a Walk to Remember?) Rainie’s versions were “Ai Mei”(Ambiguous) and “Li Xiang Qing Ren”(Ideal Lover). In both cases, audiences took one look at this fresh, new, beautiful, and refreshingly innocent face, and the sweet voice singing love songs that accompanied it, and fell madly in love.
Nothing much changes the world over really…