Boys or Flowers, You Decide
The fun-tastic F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers, was a winner in the world of Thai Drama. It both honoured Yoko Kamio’s original Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers) manga storyline and brought us a modern Thai-flavoured romantic comedy.
Poor scholarship student Gorya enters a school for elites reigned by four guys with an over-abundance of privilege, money and good looks. Gorya quickly clashes with the leader, thus beginning a series of battles that eventually shows glimmers of romance.
If you’ve not long finished watching and keen for something in the same realm, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 10 picks for viewing with a similar vibe.
For you skim-readers out there, we’ve headlined key similarities, so you can get straight to watching. If you’re keen to know a little more, we’ve got links to full reviews where we’ve got ‘em.
Ready for more great international romance dramas? Here we go!
The Heirs/Inheritors (2013)
School drama | rich/poor | fractious start | friend as love rival
Watch top stars Lee Min Ho (Pachinko), Park Shin Hye (Sisyphus: The Myth) and Kim Woo Bin (Our Blues) charm in early roles. The Heirs focuses on a rich (and engaged) guy who falls for a girl he doesn’t realise is the daughter of the family’s housekeeper. They end up in the same school in very different friend groups – but he can’t seem to stay away from her.
Cinderella and the Four Knights (2016)
Rich/poor | flower boys | related love rivals
Another ensemble bursting with familiar faces, Cinderella and the Four Knights stars Park So Dam (Record of Youth), Jung Il Woo (Good Job), Ahn Jae Hyun (The Beauty Inside), Lee Jung Shin (Sh**ting Stars), Choi Min Seong (Again My Life). A wealthy businessman hires a forthright girl to keep his spoiled and unruly heirs in line. Let the romantic rivalry begin.
Meteor Garden (2018)
Chinese version of Hana Yori Dango | school romance | rich/poor | love rival friend
A Chinese version of the same story portrayed in F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers, but with 50 episodes so you can extend the enjoyment. Meteor Garden has many similar scenes and tropes but with a definite Chinese feel.
Cheese in the Trap (2016)
School romance | rich/poor | enemy to lover
Both a drama and a movie – the drama does it better. Cheese in the Trap is about a student who gets on the wrong side of her senior but then later finds herself the object of his affection. There’s a psychological piece here that will have you guessing as much it does our lead Hong Seol. Be warned, this one has an ambiguous ending, but still, worth the watch.
This is another drama packed with recognisable faces including Kim Go Eun (Yumi’s Cells, The King: Eternal Monarch), Park Hae Jin (Man to Man, Kkondae Intern), Seo Kang Joon (When the Weather is Fine) and Lee Sung Kyung (Record of Youth, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo).
Boys Over Flowers/Hana Yori Dango (2005) & Boys Over Flowers 2 (2007)
Japanese version of Hana Yori Dango | school romance | rich/poor | love rival friend
A live action Japanese version of the same story portrayed in F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers, but told over two seasons. It’s got all the goofy-ness you expect from a Japanese high school drama, including Domyoji’s (Thyme’s) misfirings on idioms. You’ll recognise a lot and be charmed by this story all over again.
Hana Yori Dango (1996)
Japanese anime version of the story | school romance | rich/poor | love rival friend
Yep, it’s a little dated and the theme music may kill you, but if you’re captivated by the narrative, this will get you quite close to the source without reading the manga. If you’re curious about all the versions of the story, check out our Full Season Review for a mini guide to the HYD Universe.
School romance | rich/poor | protagonist v. parent
There’s a whole School series focusing on various Korean coming-of-age experiences, but this one’s got a sweet romance and that sense of fighting an undefeatable foe. Plus, it features Kim Jung Hyun of Mr. Queen and Crash Landing on You fame. In this one, a group of unlikely students team up to right school wrongs.
Kiss Me (2015)
Thai drama | school romance | opposites attract
Also from a long-running much-reproduced manga storyline, Kiss Me is the Thai version of Itazura na Kiss or Playful Kiss (sometimes Mischievous Kiss). It brought back the well-loved leads from a third oft-repeated tale, Full House. This one really hits the feels.
Thai drama | school friends | romance
Kiss covers a lot of genre from school friends and a love triangle to family drama and of course, some laughs. As this one wasn’t made with an international audience in mind, I suspect, you may need to get your head around some of the cultural factors. However, it’s certainly a fun watch with a likeable cast of characters for which you’ll be rooting.
Secret Seven (2017)
Thai drama | school friends | romance | love rival
Our lead finds out that someone she knows has a crush on her and devises plan after plan to sniff out the Romeo, so she can think through how she feels in advance. Seven potential candidates are on her list and we watch as she aims to trap each one into a reveal. Definitely sweet-silly.
We hope you find something new or unexpected to capture your interest in our 10 TV Shows Like ‘F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers’ piece. Additionally, you can check out these stories to find out whether F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers has been Renewed or Cancelled. Or catch a Full Season Review, which includes a mini guide to the HYD Universe and its multiple iterations. Happy viewing!
What do you think of our picks? You may have spotted that we’ve not included the Korean ‘Boys Over Flowers.’ That’s intentional. Care to debate?
For more stories on all sorts of content from this reviewer, click here: Kristen Lazur