Who did it better: Jang Bo Ri vs. Because of Meeting You

As I have watched more and more dramas, I have realized that one of the common practices is to remake a well received drama.  I recently started watching Because of Meeting You (Chinese) only to read some of the reviews and find out that it is a remake of the Korean drama Jang Bo Ri is Here (Korean).

Now I love a good battle so thought it would be fun to put some of the popular (or not so popular) remakes head to head with each other and see who did it better!  I have had this idea for a while and have started to write a couple of times about one of the most remade dramas ever- Boys Over Flowers (popular Korean drama- but it was a remake! Dun, duh, dunnnnnn…) but it has been done so many times that it may be a multi-part post instead.  So, I thought I would start with something current!

Because of Meeting You is a 56 episode Chinese daily drama airing in March 2017.  Before you tune it out automatically based on episode count, hear me out a bit first.  The average episode length is about 45 minutes, with a 2 minute intro and 2 minute final song.  This is pretty typical for a Chinese drama.  So, it’s really about 40 minutes run time.  Not too bad.

Jang Bo Ri is Here is a 52 episode Korean drama which aired in 2014.  You sort of have to keep changes in technology in mind when watching it now is it seems a tad clunky in filming as many of the longer episode “soap” type dramas were around that time.  Each episode is about an hour. (Honestly, I think they may have been filmed sort of day of- like straight off the production lot to your screen, but don’t quote me 🙂 – If you want a more in depth look into that idea, check out King of Dramas with my favorite Choi Siwon! )

The basic story line surrounds two girls/women and their families.  One is separated from hers and taken in, the other one abandons hers and strives to be taken in.  Both stories surround traditional garment making which is pretty cool since I love to learn more about culture or history each time I watch anything.  Both stories have a few love lines and the overall stories are really nearly identical in many plot details.

Because the Korean version has a little more length, the story takes in a couple of additional characters and plot lines.  Having watched the Chinese version first, I found them nice and cute but overall not necessary.  I think the Chinese director did a nice job of cutting back here.

So lets compare the rest:

  • Evil sister:  Korean version wins.  This chick is seriously psycho.  The Chinese version would have been eaten alive by her!  All the way down the maniacal stares- Jang Bo Ri wins.
  • Crazy Mothers:  Yup- both dramas have 2 crazy mothers.  Crazy in different ways but evil/warped none the less.  Again, I have to tip my hat toward the Korean Jang Bo Ri.  I really wanted to smack them.  I think that the extra time gave a bit more leeway to character development.
  • Side Love Line (s): The Korean version actually had 3 side love lines with the Chinese version having 2.  Again, based on time, the side love lines got a bit more development in the Korean version but as I said above, I think the 3rd love line was really superfluous to the actual story.
  • Love Rivalry: Each drama took a bit of a different spin on this plot line.  The Korean ones lasted considerably longer whereas the Chinese version opted for two more mini-plots on this theme (sorry, bit of a spoiler)
  • Main Love Story: This is where I see the biggest difference in the two dramas.  The Chinese version focuses more heavily on the main couple and their relationship.  The Korean version seemed to lose it sometimes (focusing on the evil and side plots) and it felt a bit too “forced” at times.  The Chinese version wins this one hands down for me.
  • Resolution: Jang Bo Ri definitely had what I would consider a very typical resolution ending.  Everything wrapped neatly with a bow- flash forward sort of thing.  The Chinese version was much more typical for shorter 16 episode sort of dramas- where some was left to the imagination.  Having watched and been satisfied with Because, the Korean version was nice but didn’t quite seem needed or necessary.
  • Angst level: Both dramas have a “soap opera” feel to them with a bit of repetition and slow but steady resolution of major plot lines.  The Korean version- Jang Bo Ri– was over the top in pretty much every aspect.  The Chinese version- Because of Meeting You– was much more mellow in comparison.  For me, mellow is my way to go.  I don’t necessarily need extra drama with my drama :).

Side by side, the two dramas are very, very similar.  If I had to pick, I would lean toward Because of Meeting You simply for the main love line.  They were super cute and in both dramas I love the “we will fight together” mentality that the couples showed.  I love when I see that in a drama!  (It’s pretty rare, don’t you think?)

So there you have it.  Tried not to give too much away and would love to know if you have watched these two dramas.  Don’t let the episode count put you off.  Enjoy them slowly and steadily as they were written to be watched and I think you will like them as much as I did.

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