Face Off: Fated to Love You

Fated to Love You Face Off: Original or Remake, Which is the Best Show?

Time for my first Face Off to compare and contrast selected items.

Today we look at two dramas, Fated to Love You, the Taiwan original (2008) with 24 episodes (referred to as FTLY-T), and the Korean remake (2014) with 20 episodes (referred to as FTLY-K).

After six rounds of comparing these shows, a decision will be rendered…who will win?

Round 1 Male Leads: Ethan Juan versus Jang Hyuk
Male Lead Ethan Juan Jang Hyuk
Character + Committed Appealing
Character – Silly in 3rd Phase Noble Idiocy
Actor + Passion Magical
Actor – Limited Range None

FTLY-T Male Lead: Ethan Juan as Cun Xi
Characters Pluses: Committed Pursuit, Wants her happiness
Character Minuses: Silly decisions in 3rd phase of show
Actor Pluses: Straightforward portrayal with passion
Actor Minuses: Limited range
Best Moment: Episode 16 when he pushes her to excel at her art and at business, he does this to show her that she is strong and capable, and he is willing to let her go and fly.

FTLY-K Male Lead: Jang Hyuk as Lee Gun
Characters Pluses: Eccentric and Appealing, Wants her happiness
Character Minuses: Noble Idiocy episodes 11-17
Actor Pluses: Jang Hyuk creates magic on screen, superb actor
Actor Minuses: None
Best Moment: Episode 6 was full of moments: karaoke at wedding reception, making the baby clothing, stroking Mi Young while she slept, putting his bandage on Mi Young, putting his wedding ring back on, gangster style business visit to renege on factory sale.
Round 1 Male Lead goes to...Jang Hyuk.
The superior actor breathed life into Lee Gun with skill and passion. This show’s magic was due largely in part to Jang Hyuk’s performance. He had fantastic chemistry with almost every character he encountered. That speaks volumes about his acting abilities. Frankly, Jang Hyuk would be difficult for anyone to beat, he is just that good of an actor.

Round 2 Female Leads: Joe Chen versus Jang Na Ra
Female Lead Joe Chen Jang Na Ra
Character + Kind Kind
Character – Doormat Subdued
Actor + Straightforward Subtle
Actor – Limited Range Overshadowed

FTLY-T Female Lead: Joe Chen as Xin Yi
Characters Pluses: Kind, Wants his happiness
Character Minuses: Doormat
Actor Pluses: Straightforward portrayal with passion
Actor Minuses: Limited range
Best Moment: Episode 12 when she mistakenly believes Cun Xi wants her to abort their child, her horror, the accident, pleading with Cun Xi not abort the baby to save her life, her devastation after the miscarriage, the actor’s emotions felt real and raw

FTLY-K Female Lead: Jang Na Ra as Mi Young
Characters Pluses: Kind, Saw the good in others, Wants his happiness
Character Minuses: Subdued and under the radar until episode 18
Actor Pluses: Jang Na Ra is a subtle actor
Actor Minuses: Overshadowed at times by Jang Hyuk
Best Moment: Episode 18 when she confronts Lee Gun about his fear of a potential illness that blocks their love and plants a kiss on him reigniting their relationship.

ep19_17Round 2 Female Lead goes toJang Na Ra. The superior actor gave a subtle performance to balance Jang Hyuk’s riveting acting. In the final 3 episodes the strength of this character was unleashed.She released our couple from despair to happiness. She saved him. She saved them.

Round 3 Second Male Leads: Baron Chen versus Choi Jin Hyuk
2nd Male Lead Baron Chen Choi Jin Hyuk
Character + True friend Considerate
Character – No chance in romance No chance in romance
Actor + No Nonsense Assertive as needed
Actor – Limited Limited

FTLY-T Second Male Lead: Baron Chen as Dylan
Characters Pluses: True friend to Xin Yi, Wants her happiness
Character Minuses: Romantic pursuit of Xin Yi not compelling
Actor Pluses: No nonsense style
Actor Minuses: Not a big stretch of emotions. Romantic pursuit was not romantic
Best Moment: Episode 21 when he and Cun Xi restored long-lost sister Anna’s confidence. Their reunion felt nervous, unsure, sweet, and shared. It was one of the top moments of the series.

FTLY-K Second Male Lead: Choi Jin Hyuk as Daniel Pitt
Characters Pluses: Considerate of Mi Young and assertive with Lee Gun about Mi Young
Character Minuses: Romantic pursuit of Mi Young not compelling
Actor Pluses: Jin Hyuk held his own in the head-to-head scenes with Jang Hyuk
Actor Minuses: Limited range of emotions portrayed
Best Moment: Episode 7 when Daniel Pitt and Lee Gun meet professionally for the first time. The testosterone ladened meeting was great. In that same episode he was supportive of Mi Young and gently guided her back to her marriage.

ep23_22Round 3 Second Male Lead goes to…Baron Chen. The superior character with stronger story line throughout entire series. This character was not your typical second lead that falls in the love the girl and forever pines to be with her. Dylan was a friend to the leading female and eventually a friend to the leading male too. He encouraged her until the end to follow her heart. He recognized and supported her love choice. He was not forever pining for her. His own search for his sister was interesting and sweet.

Round 4 Second Female Leads: Bianca Bai versus Wang Ji Won
2nd Female Lead Bianca Bai Wang Ji Wonk
Character + Rival for Cun Xi Related to Daniel
Character – Abortion Lie Non factor
Actor + Vulnerable None
Actor – Limited Range None

FTLY-T Second Female Lead: Anna portrayed by Bianca Bai
Characters Pluses: Confident, Rose from the ashes
Character Minuses: Insecure, Lying about the abortion agreement was abhorrent
Actor Pluses: Vulnerable
Actor Minuses: Limited range
Best Moment: Episode 21 when Anna got her groove back. She encouraged Cun Xi to reunite with Xin Yi. Her joy at finding out her long-lost brother was lovely. Their reunion was sweet and one of the top moments of the series.

FTLY-K Second Female Lead: Se Ra portrayed by Wang Ji Won
Characters Pluses: Daniel’s long lost sister
Character Minuses: Underdeveloped character. Non-factor the entire series.
Actor Pluses: Ji Won did nothing for the character
Actor Minuses: Ji Won did nothing for the character
Best Moment: Episode 20 when she and ice Mother shared a warm moment about her adoption and also she and Daniel were comfortable siblings.

Round 4 Second Female Lead goes to…Bianca Bei. The superior character with stronger story line. Bianca Bei managed to keep her character sympathetic throughout the entire series. Even when she lies about the abortion agreement she is devastated about the resulting ripple effects of her actions. The Korea version of this character is such a nonfactor in the series, this is an easy win.

Round 5 Secretary: Anson versus Secretary Tak


Secretary Na Wei Xun Choi Dae Chul
Character + Funny Funny
Character – Slave to employers Slave to employers
Actor + Flair Flair
Actor – None None

FTLY-T Secretary: Anson portrayed by Na Wei Xun
Characters Pluses: Funny, voice of reason to Cun Xi, terrific interactions with Grandma Ji
Character Minuses: Romance of Xin Yi’ oldest sister was silly fluff
Actor Pluses: Zippy interactions, delivered his lines with flair
Actor Minuses: None
Best Moment: Episode 12, when Cun Xi was at his lowest over the miscarriage he gently leads him away from Xin Yi’s room and supports him as a friend.
FTLY-K Secretary: Secretary Tak portrayed by Choi Dae Chul
Characters Pluses: Funny, demanding praise through bottom pats from Lee Gun
Character Minuses: Took a couple of episodes to gel, romance of older sister muddled.
Actor Pluses: A joy to watch his interactions with Jang Hyuk, delivered his lines with zest.
Actor Minuses: None
Best Moment: Episode 6, gangster business visit with Lee Gun and Lawyer Hong to renege on factory sale.

ep17_13Round 5 Secretary goes to…Anson. Strong from the start, the reason the scales tipped in his favor. Wei Xun’s performance was worth modeling in the Korean remake. It took a bit for Secretary Tak to be the bright spot the character evolved to be. It was close between these superior secondary characters, I almost declared this a draw.

Round 6: Writing and Storyline Line: Taiwan Writers versus Korean Writers
Writing Taiwan Writers Korean Writers
Flow 3 Phases were: Excellent, Superior, Good 3 Phases were: Superior, Trying, Excellent
Hit Miscarriage was the epicenter Perfect balance of romance & physical comedy in phase 1
Miss Nightclub scene & Barrel scene Nebulous never diagnosed brain disease

FTLY-T Writers: Pan Yiqun, Chen Xin Yi, Du Xinyi
Storyline Flow: Series is split into 3 phases. Phase one was excellent. Phase two superior. Phase three phase good.
Storyline Hit: The miscarriage was the epicenter for the series, the restart of their relationship in Shanghai crackled with banter and sexual tension.
Storyline Miss: Nightclub scene in episode 18 and barrel scene in episode 21, both dreadful moments. Story line was stretched in the third phase.
FTLY-K Writers: Joo Chan Ok and Jo Jin Kook
Storyline Strengths: Series is split into 3 phases. Phase one was superior. Phase two tried my patience. The third phase was excellent.
Storyline Hit: Phase one had perfect balance of romance and physical comedy.
Storyline Miss: Nebulous never diagnosed brain disease plunged the Lee Gun into noble idiocy and torpedoed this joyful show into the doldrums for 7 miserable episodes.

Fated_To_Love_You-posterRound 6 Writing and Storyline goes to… Fated to Love You Taiwan. This group of writers set the standard. The core characters were compelling from start to finish. The love story was sweet, touching, and ultimately satisfying for the viewers. No loose ends. The Korean writing team did not surpass the Taiwan writing team. Some of their variations worked and some did not. Ultimately the Korean writing team made the leads strong and did not pay as much attention to the other characters as the Taiwan writing team did. The Korean team’s decision to have the male lead become a noble idiot skewed the show from sublime to misery.

The Verdict: Fated to Love You Taiwan versus Fated to Love You Korean
Fated to Love You Face Off FTLY-T FTLY-K
Round 1 Male Lead Winner
Round 2 Female Lead Winner
Round 3 Second Male Lead Winner
Round 4 Second Female Lead Winner
Round 5 Secretary Winner
Round 6 Writing Winner
Overall Pros Superior Story & Second Leads Superior Leads

Drum roll please….the rounds of comparison are complete…


The Decision: Fated to Love You Face Off goes to…
Fated to Love You Taiwan.

Superior story trumps superior acting.

Asian drama fan. I watch and blog dramas on https://kjtamusings.wordpress.com/.

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Posted in Articles, Miscellaneous
11 comments on “Face Off: Fated to Love You
  1. Only says:

    Good analysis! I may watch the Taiwanese version yet.


    • kjtamuser says:

      Thank you.

      I am forever fascinated how watching dramas is an individual experience. We all see these shows with our personal filter that makes particular show traits positive and others negative.

      Before blogging I did not realize a show I I loved others could hate and vice versa. As I said…fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. zhaoul says:

    I really like how you’ve broken this down by actor and element. It’s very easy to navigate through this post. Although, I cannot give my full opinion because I’ve only seen parts of the Taiwanese version, but how you’ve explained it makes sense.


  3. Kelly Koo says:

    A very fair verdict given to both drama. I have not watch Taiwan’s Fated to Love You but I am sure this will be the winner of this face off, the Taiwan version has to be good, if not, there will not be a Korean remake. I have watched the music video and trailer of the Taiwan version of the drama but I couldn’t feel the chemistry between the both leads and the urge for me to watch it, even before the Korean version come out. And I am happy to see that Jang Hyuk and Jang Na Ra’s character were the winner of this face off (I would be sad if they didn’t) and for me, if the couple won the face-off, the drama has already won everything. Nothing else matters. That’s just me. LOL.


    • kjtamuser says:

      The Taiwan version leads were younger and not as skilled plus the camp factor was high which could turn off viewers. But the superior story did it for me.


  4. Beez says:

    ktamuser (I’m late as usual playing catch up of trying to watch everything everybody recommends.)

    Your analyses of the two shows is spot on. I agree with every winner you chose. The Taiwan script was better but for pure enjoyment factor, the Korean version was just plain fun (even during the characters’ misery) and it’s all due to Jang Hyuk. How he managed to still be sexy while sporting that ridiculous side curl, I’ll never know but I still smile when I think about it.

    I think it’s sexy that JH had to know how ridiculous it looked but chose to wear it anyway. It almost seemed like a nod to Anson from the Taiwanese version.


    • kjtamuser says:

      You made me smile thinking about that curl! You are spot on about JH willingness to commit. And yes, he is sexy because he’s willing to commit.

      Interesting if it was a nod to Anson. I would guess it would have to be the show’s stylist that would make such a choice.

      Glad you enjoyed both shows. I appreciate your comments!


  5. Daryl Hannah says:

    “Once you had the BEST, you won’t settle for less”. I super love FTLY-T, got hooked with it an been rewatching every now and then. I love Jang Nara’s acting in her every dramas, I just didn’t feel the Korean male lead. I always thought that Siwon would fit the role. I just felt the Koreab one was a bit dull, oh well just my personal opinion. My forever Bias is FYLY-Taiwan. That’s why I’m happy that the Taiwan’s win


    • I super love FTLY-T, got hooked with it an been rewatching every now and then…felt the Koreab one was a bit dull…my personal opinion. My forever Bias is FYLY-Taiwan.
      Glad you enjoyed this series too. I can see why it was remade. It was well written.


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November 2014

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