In A Good Way came highly recommended by an Asian drama blogger. Ordinarily I do not really depend on reviews when looking for any drama series but after reading most of the blogger’s reviews on some of them I realized we almost share the same sentiments. When I saw that this drama with an 11/10 rating I got curious. I’ve been out of touch with TW dramas so I did not find any familiar face in the cast. It turned out to be a positive thing since it did not affect my decision to check it out and boy was I surprised to find that I made the right decision.
Reading summaries do not do anything for me anymore. I have been burned by brief plot lines several times in the past so I never relied on them. Watching the first couple of episodes is enough for me to decide whether I will enjoy the journey or just shelve it up for later viewing or drop it like a hot potato. I had a hard time in recent years in taking a TW drama seriously. Some of their overly hyped dramas turned out to be fluffy love stories with slapstick humor that I particularly disliked. I truly hate it when characters are projected with cartoon/anime reactions and personalities. Do not get me wrong, some of their dramas were quite good but some are so meh.
Fortunately, “In A Good Way” is a refreshing drama that I first thought to be a drama cliché. I was so wrong. Best friends from the province planning their college paths. The guy (second lead) leaving the girl (main lead) to go to the city and the girl followed later on. The guy falling in love with the campus sweetheart (second lead) and was a douchebag to his bff for the first three episodes. However, the campus sweetheart was in love with the campus heartthrob. The bff girl on the other hand befriended the campus heartthrob (main lead). Yes, on paper it can sound cliché BUT it is far from it.
It was a coming of age drama set up in 90’s with a university backdrop. The treatment of the story is way different from what we ordinarily see on college genre stories. Yes, it was about falling in love but it is also about pursuing your independence and freeing yourself from the shackles of what you were used to when growing up.
If you are the type to rely on knowing the cast first before watching anything, forget about that. With this series, you need not know anyone in it to enjoy the story. Also, there are no evil second lead characters that schemed to destroy the main leads and no super stupid heroine with Cinderella syndrome. These reel characters are so real with real reactions and situations. No such thing as the insanely charming Dao Ming Si and Shan Cai here with ridiculous over the top cliché story arc.
The storyline was beautifully crafted and the direction was ‘au naturel’. No slow mo music video vibe or fancy camera work that can distract you from the story. I think that was part of the charm of this drama series. Don’t get me wrong, it has its flaws. I could have removed some scenes so the series can be cut down to 20 instead of 24 episodes. It was no way perfect but for this genre it is one of the best out there. Never thought I will enjoy a drama series that I knew nothing about.