The Asian Drama Remakes of Western Shows & Films

Hi, guys! I've noticed that there are not many Asian drama remakes of Western shows and films, so I've decided to compile a list of the ones I know about. In this article, I'm going to present eight official remakes and five unofficial ones. Feel free to post your own suggestions in the comment section. 

WARNING: minor spoilers!

*NOTE: The five unofficial remakes mentioned in the article are completely subjective and the result of my research. They are recommendations, which means that if you watched and enjoyed the "originals," you will perhaps enjoy the Asian "remakes" as well.

*NOTE: This article is only about Asian DRAMA remakes because there are way too many film remakes.


The Good Wife

MV5BMTI2OTk4MDk3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTY3  jLl2wZA4_00f85e_f.jpg

Official remake of: The Good Wife (2009) 

The story follows a housewife who must return to work and provide for the family after her husband gets arrested for corruption. The original American show is a bit more mature than the Korean remake, but both of them have amazing actors with outstanding performances. 

Check it out if you're into: politics, law, family drama.

Entourage

poster-entourage-season-5.jpg  PL6708y3_44df3b_f.jpg

Official remake of: Entourage (2004)

This time set in Seoul instead of Los Angeles, the drama is about a rising star in the entertainment industry and his best friends. The American version received several seasons, even a movie adaptation; however, the Korean remake was a flop and many watchers found it to be quite boring.

Check it out if you're into: friendship, entertainment business.

Missing 9

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Unofficial remake of: Lost (2004)

They're similar because: they are both about a group of seemingly unrelated people who survive a plane crush and find themselves isolated on a mysterious island. Each one of them carries a secret or two. Missing 9 will probably go into another direction but the basic idea is still there. 

Check it out if you're into: mystery, suspense, stranded-on-the-island plots.

My Dangerous Wife

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Unofficial remake of: Gone Girl (2014)

They're similar because: they are both about a husband and wife who appear to be a perfect couple in the public, but cannot stand each other in private. The husband is having an affair with his colleague until his wife mysteriously disappears and makes his life a living hell. The husband also has a sister. This is where the similarities end, and the Japanese remake becomes even crazier.

Check it out if you're into: crazy families, psycho wives and husbands.

Tower of Sand

MV5BMjM3MjM4NzMwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTQ4   Y4BQ5R63_c36e72_f.jpg

Unofficial remake of: High-Rise (2015)

They're similar because: they both take place at a tower block where the residents are divided by hierarchy - the higher you live, the richer and more privileged you are. Of course, as you can imagine, that kind of system is bound to inflame jealousy, vanity and bitterness among the residents. The original American film, based on the novel of the same name, centers around a single man, while the Japanese drama is about one family and one crazy specific neighbor who is the main "villain".

Check it out if you're into: crazy neighbors, family/psychological drama.

Cold Case

cold_case_compressed.jpg  jLl2vzd4_7b2350_c2x.jpg

Official remake of: Cold Case (2003)

The lone female detective played by Yoshida You will step into Kathryn Morris' shoes and try to solve the cases that have never been solved before - aka "cold cases". It has been reported that the first few episodes of the Japanese remake contain the same cases as the American show does, but later on they become more original.

Check it out if you're into: crime, investigation.

Hormones

Skins_series_1_boxset.png  r1xra0w3_087cda_c2x.jpg

Unofficial remake of: Skins (2007)

They're similar because: they both deal with the modern issues of high school teens, their sexuality, drug abuse, bullying, violence etc. Win Chaichana, played by Chirathivat Pachara, has been said to closely resemble Tony Stonem, played by Nicholas Hoult. There are also other characters that seem to be counterparts to the original British cast. 

Check it out if you're into: mature themes such as the ones mentioned above.

Ugly Betty (Tdrama) / Chou Nu Wu Di (Cdrama)

wpid-Yo-Soy-Betty-La-Fea.jpg  91M7NBn3_21f183_c2x.jpg

Official remake of: Yo soy Betty, la fea (1999)

The original Colombian telenovela has been adapted into numerous international remakes, including the Thai and Chinese ones. The story of an unattractive but intelligent woman who falls for her boss and in the end transforms into a pretty swan has captivated many people around the world. I guess it gives us some kind of consolation that even wallflowers and unpopular people can get their HEA after all.

Check it out if you're into: ugly ducklings, melodrama.

City of Light

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Official remake of: The O.C. (2003)

The Orange County, California is replaced with Bangkok (I think?) but the plot seems to be more or less the same. There are eight people who get involved with each other, and we get to follow their dreams, love relationships and daily drama.

Check it out if you're into: romance, melodrama.

The Underwear: The Series

 77928-1.jpg  61GJdwo4_5d5e1b_c2x.jpg

Unofficial remake of: Undressed (1999)

They're similar because: it follows a group of adolescents, their love and sexual relationships. And I just couldn't help but associate this Thai drama with the American MTV show. 

Check it out if you're into: mature themes. 

Blind Date

ciega+a+citas2.jpg  d3kNYJZL_6ecfef_c2x.jpg

Official remake of: Ciega a citas (2009)

Jiang Xin plays a young woman, who is still single. Her sister is about to be married and one day Jiang Xin overhears her mother talking to her sister, that if she will come to the marriage of her sister with a boyfriend, her mother will pay for the marriage. Jiang Xin has 258 days to find a boyfriend, in order to score off her bothersome mother and to enable her sister a wonderful marriage.

Check it out of you're into: romance, drama, family

The Last Cop

MV5BMjM2NzI0MDA2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjA2  d3kyQb91_2c0471_c2x.jpg

Official remake of: The Last Cop (2010)

A police officer reawakens from a coma that has lasted for 30 years. He has to find out how the world has changed.

Check it out if you're into: crime, detective, investigation

Couple or Trouble

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Official remake of: Overboard (1987)

A cruel but beautiful heiress screws over a hired carpenter, who later is the first one to find her when she gets amnesia. Looking for a little revenge he convinces her that she's his wife.

Check it out if you're into: romance, amnesia plots, comedy



ANNOUNCED / RELEASE DATES NOT CONFIRMED:



WHICH OFFICIAL / UNOFFICIAL REMAKES WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD TO THE LIST?

HAVE YOU WATCHED ANY OF THESE OR DO YOU PLAN TO?

WHICH WESTERN SHOWS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ADAPTED INTO ASIAN DRAMAS?

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

Comments (42)

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  • Reply
    abracadabra Apr 6, 2017 - edited

    Korean The Good Wife is an excellent drama

  • Reply
    HwangEunByul Apr 6, 2017 - edited

    suites into what countey? korea china japan thai taiwanese ?

  • Reply
    sugasinner Apr 5, 2017

    Thank you for the article! I don't watch a lot of American TV shows so making a list of the Asian remakes will help me find a good story/plot and I'll probably go watch the original US version. I definitely will watch the remake of Cold Case as the only American shows I binge are shows like Law and Order, Special Victims Unit, and, of course, Cold Case.

  • Reply
    Trouble-chan Apr 4, 2017 - edited

    MIssing 9 was entire UNIVERSES ahead of LOST because it had a real PLOT that actually followed a REAL story arc. It was NOT just random thoughts of the writers strung together for nothing with NO actual ENDING.....EVER. Sorry, sorry - but I was one of the sad and pathetic loser fans of LOST that watched for the whole six YEARS for NOTHING. So Missing 9, to me (and I'm sure many others), is what LOST could've and SHOULD'VE been.

    I'm going to go watch Chou Nu Wu Di as I was a big fan of the US version of 'Ugly Betty' (though, again, I hated the ending; just give them the trademarked HEA for God's sake) and want to see how China handled their version. Of course you have to make allowances for cultural differences with different adaptations - She was Pretty is an example and certainly the Itazura na Kiss franchise is another perfect example - not only on countries but years; as older adaptations certainly seem to work better than their newer reboots (yes, I'm talking to you Taiwanese reboot called 'Miss in Kiss' - hang your head in shame).

    Not really bothered by the others listed here (US or Asian) mainly because I'm just a sucker for romance. However, one thing I will say; when East Asia adapts a US drama/comedy, etc to their market (to me at least) it ALWAYS ends up better (ie Missing 9). BUT when the US adapts an East Asian drama/movie to THEIR market, it ALWAYS ends up WORSE. ie Boys over Flowers was UTTERLY and COMPLETELY DIRE as the US version Boys Before Friends. Seriously, it made me feel ill just to sit through the first 5 minutes of the first episode. I cannot warn people away from that true monster of a twisted excuse for a drama enough. It wasn't even 'so bad it's good' bad - it was just 'cut out my eyeballs and scrub my brain' bad.

    Likewise, the US adaptation of the excellent South Korean movie, 'Addicted' - called in the US 'Possession', and starring Lee Pace and Sarah Michelle Geller - was horrible. Actually that's wrong - if you watch the movie until the point where the Alternate Ending can kick in and watch that ending instead it's pretty okay. If you watch it with the theatrical 'slasher/psycho' ending it's eye wateringly AWFUL.

    I now regularly like to see East Asian adaptations of western dramas, movies, etc and yet avoid like the veritable plague it is the Western adaptations of East Asian movies, etc. Funny old world, right?

  • Reply
    Hana-zfa Apr 3, 2017

    Thanks for the article. I think I will watch Tower of Sand.
    Both Boku no Yabai Tsuma and Gone Girl are crazy, but I like boku no yabai tsuma more because it's like the continuation of gone girl (and yeah, so agree with you, it became even crazier).

  • Reply
    abee Apr 3, 2017

    Thank you so much for the article! I started Cold Case two days ago after reading this and I am absolutely loving it. I love everyone on the team!

  • Reply
    Thevilone Apr 3, 2017

    Saw the original version of The Good Wife, The O.C and the cold case. And I love them, specially The O.C. If the remakes are good maybe i'll try them out.

  • Reply
    All_In Apr 2, 2017

    I didn't watch the US version of The Good Wife, but whoever was in charge of adapting it in the k-drama did an excellent job. It was truly one of the best dramas I saw last year. Acting, pacing and story were all on target. Highly recommend. Drama didn't spend too much time in the courtroom which I generally find boring.

    If Criminal Minds adaptation is really going to happen, hire The Good Wife drama writer. I have heard that Nine Times Travel (can't remember the specific title) is filming now for a short summer run in the next year or so in the US. I'm interested with what is done with that, and if the ending is better.

  • Reply
    irish Apr 2, 2017 - edited

    I have seen the first two or three seasons of skins, and the first two seasons of Hormones.
    I have a review here.
    I watched the first two or three episodes of the original good wife, but then gave up on it. I forget why. I plan to watch the korean version. i may go back to the US one.
    I saw the Hollywood Gone Girl. Unless I hear really great things about it, i won't bother with the remake.
    Entourage. I saw a few episodes of the original. The fact that the remake was found boring doesn't make me want to watch the Asian version.
    Lost. I watched all of the original. I probably will watch Missing 9, when it's finished.
    Cold Case. i watched quiet a few episodes of the original. What stopped me watching it was probably the same reason, I stopped watching a lot of American stuff. I got into Korean Dramas. I probably won't bother with the Japanese version. I tend to prefer stuff with ongoing
    stories. I assume this has a different story each week. Although i might get curious about it.
    Ugly Betty. I think I watched a bit of one episode of the Hollywood version, and checked out a small bit of the original on youtube. I didn;t find it particurly funny. If I was to watch any more episdes, it would probably be the original The Asian version(s). Who knows.
    The OC. Did I see any of the original?. I'm not sure. I have no plans to see the Asian version.
    Undressed. I never even heard of the original. I have no plans to see the remake
    High Rise. I plan on seeing the original. I'm not sure about the remake.

    Other remakes
    Unforgiven (1992) (/2013/Japan))
    Ghost (1999)/Ghost:I want to hold you in my arms again (Japan)
    Saw original. I might watch the remakes.
    Dangerous Liasons (1998)/(untold scandal 2003/ korea)/Dangerous Liasons (2012/China)
    Same as Ghost
    The good the bad and the ugly (1966 /italy)/The good the bad and the weird (2008/korea)
    Saw both versions
    Sideways 2004/(2009 /japan)
    I haven;t seen either version. but have original on dvd. I might watch the remake
    What women want 2000/(2011/china)
    my fair lady1964/(Lady Maiko (2014/Japan)
    Saw original with the lovely Audrey Hepurn. although I think she was miscast. i might watch the remake
    Point Blank (2010/French)/The Target (2014/Korean)
    Note. I rated both 9/10
    Bride wars (2009)/(2015/China)
    Saw neither. Maybe I'll watch both or none
    Only you (1994)/ (China/2015)
    I saw original. I have no plans on remake.

  • Reply
    Maria Apr 2, 2017

    Thank you for this article! I had no idea about Boku no Yabai Tsuma being similar with Gone Girl (which I love), so I'm definitely going to check that out!

    I hope there's a part two or more articles like this coming out. It's always nice to check out dramas that are remakes (official or not) and see are they similar with the original.

  • Reply
    Malu Apr 1, 2017

    Hormones has the Skins vibe but a different essence, I really like both, but somehow Hormones is easier to watch.

  • Reply
    AdamPorter Apr 1, 2017 - edited

    Always find it interesting that when the west takes something from the east and remakes it with a western cast everybody flips their lids saying they're whitewashing it and that it's racist. Yet when roles are reversed no one seems to care. Wish people would understand target audiences and movie intentions before they scream that somethings racist :l

    • Reply
      Ceki Apr 2, 2017

      True :/

    • Reply
      shhsecretaddick92 Apr 2, 2017

      Are you considering the fact that when Asian countries remake an American film with Asians they do so because they're usually AREN'T any other predominant minorities in that country. It doesn't make since for America to remake Asian things with a white cast because we actually have a bountiful Asian-American population that can be cast and represented. Why take away a great opportunity for them and their culture to be reflected in their own countries media by throwing out the people and keeping only the culture? If white people really are cast to cater to a target audience when about 40% of the country is non-white, then what target audience are you referring to? If the target audience is other Americans, then Asian/Indian/ etc Amercians should fit the roles perfectly fine. All I'm saying is please don't forget that America is a melting pot while many Asian countries still are not. They do not have a responsibility to honor anyone in their country but other Asians, because that's all their country consists of on a large scale. In America that is not the case and it's unfair for people to forget and then act like it is.

  • Reply
    Nor Apr 1, 2017

    I'm waiting for a Korean version of Outlander, since they love time-travelling stories anyway :3

  • Reply
    8man Apr 1, 2017

    waiting the day with The Sopranos or Breaking Bad remakes.. or boardwalk empire is fine

  • Reply
    Juniko Apr 1, 2017 - edited

    So again, who will be Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds' remake ? That's really all I care about ^^

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Apr 1, 2017

      Here! Here!!! He's got to be pretty AND smart!!

    • Reply
      Malu Apr 1, 2017

      So true! He needs that special vibe that makes you think that if his life had been different he would have been a perfect psychopath.

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