EDIT: This is NOT a rip off or the same thing as "In A Good Way". I'm going to assume that viewers who are saying that haven't watched more than the first few episodes and feel that because there is a group of characters the story follows over the years that makes them too similar. I feel those people are really losing out on watching a really great drama, but of course read morethat's up to them, it's just a shame.
I have to say right off the bat that this is hands down one of the best Taiwanese Dramas I have ever watched. The last episode is arguably the best ending to ANY Asian drama I've ever seen despite the bittersweet feel it had.
Story (10 out of 10):
Wow. Where to begin with such a thoroughly thought out and beautiful story. If ever there was a realistic drama, I feel this would be a great example. There is such depth and nuance that it is hard to put into words without spoilers. This series takes a story that has been done many times in dramas, but isn't afraid to go all out with it, it packs so many feels that you barely have time to catch your breath. Even if some things were arguably predictable, it didn't take away from the story, because of the realistic way it played out. 16 summers in 16 episodes feels so appropriate, and I feel is one of the best examples of demonstrating the passage of time. Too often it feels that dramas take place over the course of days or weeks. Fang Wei De states at one point how time passed more quickly when everyone was having a good time, and that certainly felt tangible in this show. I just can't praise the ebb of time in this show enough.
I really appreciated that we are presented with our core characters as children and see them through their experiences into adulthood, the character development is real in this. The ups and downs, and how words and actions DO have consequences whether it is in the form of regret or in the form of enlightenment. Often times, I feel like characters will say and do things in dramas with little to no repercussions, but that is not the case in TWWW, and that is why I feel it is certainly one of the best dramas I've had the pleasure to watch. There are no evil type characters, just times when people make bad or sometimes even horrible mistakes... but instead of going overboard, we're able to see each character as a person, with real problems, real emotions, and having to again really deal with what comes after.
Another big thing is closure. This is handled SO well, and it doesn't come off as though the writers were just trying to wrap things up in a nice neat bow, but to further demonstrate life in general. My only regret is not being able to articulate well enough just how great this story is.
Acting/Cast (10 out of 10):
I've only ever seen Leroy Yang in Love Forward (2012) and while I enjoyed his prickly businessman persona in that, I wasn't all that impressed. However, he more than impresses as Fang Wei De. He definitely plays jerkish well, but the latter half of this series, just took my heart and breath away. I'm definitely going to be looking into his other dramas when I can because I could seriously be missing out. I really can't think of any other Taiwanese actor to fill that role than him.
I've seen Tiffany Xu quite a bit and in general it feels like she always plays characters I can't stand. I first saw her in Autumn's Concerto (2009) and later Drunken to Love You (2011) and especially had the urge to want to slap her characters. She's had supporting roles in It Started with a Kiss (2005) and ToGetHer (2009). She's been in many other dramas, but those are the only ones I've seen so far. Having said that, I was glad to NOT hate her character in TWWW. She did something pretty awful, but the way things played out, I was even able to forgive her by the end.
Despite Ruby Lin having such an extensive drama/film career this was my first time experiencing her acting and I have to say it was great. I felt she played a great strong female lead. I always like the spunky female leads that don't take any crap. She's strong, but has a sensitive side and I think she handled them both really naturally.
Rounding out our Quintet is Jason Tsou (Ding Guo Qing) and Melvin Sia (Wang Jun Jie), this is my first time seeing them in a drama, so I really have no frame of reference but definitely I felt they owned their characters and made them feel relevant. I find sometimes when you have more than 2-3 leads in a drama the other tend to fall by the wayside or just blend into the background or at worst are just straight up forgotten. Not in this case though.
Each actor brought their A game as far as I'm concerned and it really paid off.
Music (9 out of 10):
I'm still upset that I'm unable to download Eric Chou's - Let's Not Be Friends Anymore song on itunes. Some may feel like it was overplayed, but I'm not one of them. It's such a beautiful song that was really much more than a theme song. It was the only vocal that I really liked, but even still, I felt the OST went very well with series and I enjoyed the instrumentals.
EDIT: Eric Chou's song actually IS available now on iTunes, I guess they wait to release OSTs until after the drama airs (I'm so used to K-dramas releasing singles while airing - I'm so spoiled :P ).
Re-watch Value (7 out of 10):
I wouldn't re-watch the entire series only because I don't think my heart could handle the intense feels, but there are definitely some funny and powerful scenes that are worth re-watching.
Overall (10 out of 10):
I would HIGHLY recommend this drama to every Asian drama lover. It really has it all and even though there are drama tropes scattered throughout they don't come off as tropes, but just great moments within a great story. It is not perfect, but honestly I felt especially in terms of writing and story this is pretty damn close. There are no questions regarding the characters motivations, there aren't any WTF?! moments that are never resolved. It's just a really well made drama that definitely deserves more praise than it may receive.
Some have compared this as a knock off of In A Good Way....please. Not even close. In a Good Way WAS a good drama, don't get me wrong, but it was not nearly as thoughtful as this drama, not nearly as well written. What they do have in common is that they begin in the past and you see the characters grow throughout the years a la Reply 1994 and Reply 1997. If you want something more upbeat, sure, that is In a Good Way, and then down right LOL by comparison is the Reply series.
Lastly, the writers did a great job of closing out this drama. The last episode was not filler or BS like most dramas seem to be nowadays. It was beautiful and I highly recommend having plenty of tissues when the onion ninjas come for your eyes.
Loved it from the beginning to the end. One the best drama I have seen in ages! I have been watching drama's since a little kid. The phases of their lives going through college and how the friendships of the group started was well captured. The leading characters Wei De and Jia Ni were perfectly portrayed, actually from all main roles. But I really liked Ruby being Jia Ni, she was damn read moregood. She did so convincing and natural. Wei De was convincing as well, and I felt his pain and hiding behind his mask of a Casanova.
Anyway cried like river watching the last episodes.
Really hoped for them to be together and spending precious time with each other.
they both share some sort of nostalgia. "Our Times" has a general story plot where the main girl reminisce her past until the end. While "The Way We Were" switches from past to present. Both of them involve the 90's, where the "good girl"hangs with the "bad boy"and falls in love. Then "bad boy" does have a tragedy happen to him.
This was very painful to watch. I guess the title kind of hints it, but yeah...I wish I got it before watching it. tbh I liked the 90s plot, but when they time jumped into 2008 they kind of lost me. And now I'm left feeling unfulfilled (and not just by the ending). What an unpleasant feeling for such a rewarded drama lol
I don't think the rating here of 7.4 gives any justice to this beautiful drama. People here actually have higher standards than the Golden Bell's panel of judges in choosing this as the best drama of the year lol!
FYI, this drama series nominated in 7 categories at 50th Golden Bell Award 2015:
Best Director : Hsu Fu Xiang
Best Script : ada beberapa org
Best Actor : Weber Yang
Best Actress : Ruby Lin
Best Supporting Actor : Melvin Xia
Best Supporting Actess : Tiffany Ann Hsu
and won 3 categories :
Best Drama Series
Best Supporting Actress - Tiffany Ann Hsu (Zheng Rui Rui)
Whole 10 points for Ruby and Yang. Role of Tang Jia Ni, Ruby portrayed it to the perfection and that is what makes this drama alive. Her eyes are telling everything, she didn't need words. Her great talent she showed off mostly in the later episodes where her role was really hard to play. As you can see she left a really big impression to me.
I really enjoyed a drama in general. Starting from the 90's (90's and 80's are my favorite periods) all way to the 2013, but in a meantime following their friendship, love, betrayal, missed chances, fates, decisions... Reality is what makes this drama memorable to me. It was told in the most realistic way possible, beautifully, like I was there, experiencing every thing along with them. Chemistry was great, all those kisses, touches, hugs, everything felt really real.
Beautiful, life-lesson quotes (I've noted them all down ahah), calm music, pleasant atmosphere all along, fantastic acting, makes this drama never be forgotten to me. ;)
Really disliked this drama. I don't know what happened. It started off great, but then it became awful. Probably one of the worst dramas I've ever seen. Definitely the worst Taiwanese drama I've ever seen. And the ending...what a cop out. Awful.
I guess it just upset me that it took them almost the entire drama for them to get together, and then suddenly out of nowhere he has brain cancer? So they break up and for five years he's fine, and then as soon as they're engaged the cancer progresses and he dies? To me it seemed unrealistic and rushed though I can understand why some people might think it was romantic. I just didn't think the whole cancer plot was necessary at all.It seemed like they had run out of ideas of how to keep the OTP apart. But that's just my opinion. I feel like this drama had the potential to be amazing.
Fair enough. I can see where you're coming from, I feel like a lot of dramas are over using cancer in the last few months, though I know that it's not new in dramaland. As far as out of ideas, though I didn't like the cancer myself, it seemed that he was fated to die a slow death so I guess the reason for the cancer-go-to. I suppose they could've just been together for the 5 years and they could've just had him hit by a car if they were determined to kill him off, but I think they were trying to expand on the strength of the relationships and do more character building, so in that way, I didn't think it was bad in that way. But again, I can see where you're coming from. Thanks for replying! :)
agree.. when first time i know Wei De got cancer (not brain but spleen) many people are arguing n hate this thing. but then in one of Ruby interviews she explain that the writer himself also known will be bashed by many people coz this scene, but he said it is a normal and many happen in lives around us, we get sick suddenly.
and he added Wei De IS a coward man if he is brave he will said he love Jia Ni from beginning, so when he faced cancer he lost his power and confidence to make Jia Ni happy,, and dont forget his mom also got cancer n died so he know n understand how difficult are people who take care of a sick people.. thats why he dont want to make Jia Ni sad and left her..
as for 5 years, in medical it common that cancer grow up again in 5 years time. well again, this story is not perfect thats why i love it, coz too many series which make too fairly n surreal.
but this one is different it can apply to many people around us although not the exact same but still many scenes are too real including sickness.
except this cancer thing, do u still think that this series not good? i dont believed that you wont touched or moved by any other scenes.^^
sorry for replying out of no where but i suddenly remembered the scene from Reply 1997 (if you've watched it) where the parents were watching a drama and then the lead suddenly got sick and the mom called the writer up. HAHAHAHA. Anyway.... i'm sorry for being out of no where. :P i'm still currently watching the way we were tho ;)
Actually I think that was the basic plot because according to the summary from viki, the story goes more like this (& has nothing in common with IAGW despite the 90s setting):
Tang Jia Ni wants to take revenge on her boyfriend and has a one-night stand with Fang Wei De. She falls in love with the latter but ends up marrying her best friend who lost the use of his legs in the big earthquake which took place in Taiwan in 1999. 10 years later, Jia Ni & Wei De bump into each other -- she is a married woman -- he is about to get married... they decide to stay friends but will they take the same decision when they meet again in 2013 ?