Boys Before Friends Episode OneSummary: Zoey is accepted into Ellison University, a college for the super rich, as a scholarship student. There she encounters the F4, a group of guys who use their power and money to intimidate other students.
Number of Episodes: 16
Stars: Joseph Almani, Trenton L. Culkin, Claude Racine(for episode one)
Additional Info: Loosely based on Hana Yori Dango. It's available on Viki.com, Youtube, and the official website.
Boys Before Friends is the American version of the manga Hana Yori Dango, which has had quite a few versions already. I'll admit, I have not seen any of the other live action versions of Hana Yori Dango. I have, however, read the manga and watched the anime.
Instead of high school, we are going to college for this one. Personally, I have a hard time believing that the F4 could exist in an American college setting. There are a few problems.
- The school would have to be tiny for everyone to know the F4... and I mean very tiny. My high school had about 80 people in each grade and I didn't know a large number of them.
- They are adults and would more than likely have been arrested for something by now.
- The way the media is, this kind of behavior would not escape notice- no matter how rich or famous the F4's parents are.
Boys Before Friends is incredibly low budget, which doesn't surprise me. The quality of the show isn't great. The background music seemed overly loud compared to the dialogue, which was hard to hear at times. There were a few instances of really really bad wigs. Most of those are things I can get over.
What I had a hard time with was the bad acting. Everyone seemed stiff and unnatural. If I had to point out the worst of it, it'd be the groupie girls with the most fake laughs I've ever heard. Though still not great, I'd say Oliver (played by Trenton L. Culkin) was probably the best. I particularly liked his stairwell scenes with Zoey. Liam (played by Joseph Almani) felt over the top. There was something that felt forced about his anger with the people he targeted, especially Zoey.
It's kind of a moot point to talk about Zoey in this episode. Claude Racine, the actress who plays Zoey in episode one, was replaced by Dawn Morrow, who will take over the role in episode two. For what it's worth, though, I didn't hate her. Her acting improved over the course of the episode. I thought her telling Liam off was the highlight of the episode.
As for the episode itself... the first half was cringe-worthy. The beginning confusingly jumped back and forth in time a few times. There was so much bad acting by extras to set up the F4's reign of terror. I was having some issues with my internet last night and I seriously considered giving up watching entirely. But I stuck it out and it did improve some. Aside from Zoey's initial confrontation with Liam, I found the most enjoyable part of the episode was when Zoey and her friends were getting payback for the seriously middle school pranks that Liam and the F4 groupies played on her.
It's gets more serious at the end, however, when Zoey is attacked in the locker room by some guys looking for the F4's favor... and we are left with a cliffhanger. Is it enough to keep watching? I'll probably give it another chance. I just hope they do something about Liam's really stupid ponytail.
*Picture from the BBF facebook.