Spill the tea: What makes a creative work age well?

I feel like this is a question many people briefly mention in reviews on creative works like shows, films, or songs.

“It’s good, but will it age well?

“It’s not my cup of tea, but maybe it’ll grow on me.”

When I saw that Boys Over Flowers was getting another adaptation, I was a little surprised. Like geez, it’s been how long? I remember watching the 2001 Japanese adaptation when I was in junior high and then watching the 2018 Chinese version a year after I finished graduate school. So with another remake in this collection that’s spanned a decade, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another adaptation years later.

I think what makes this story work so well is the simplicity of the storyline and the infinite creative possibilities you can make to the original source material. The Chinese remake added its own spin to the story: ageing up the characters, having a romance arc for Akira, and different reasoning (or lack thereof) behind why Makino decided to attend the prestigious university.

Meteor Garden (2018)

The Thailand adaptation seems like it’s more about lessons learned in a coming-of-age romance rather than romantic conflicts.

Another story that stands the age of time is Prince of Tennis. I may be biased because I’ve adored this series since elementary. Still, I’ve enjoyed the many musicals and adaptations this had had over the years. Prince of Tennis started as a manga series in 1999 and got an anime adaptation in 2001. It eventually developed into a media franchise. Since 2003, the show got more than fifteen stage musicals, and a live-action film premiered in 2006. In 2019, a Chinese remake came out on Netflix.

I feel like many sports anime generally do well because of the theme of friendship and teamwork. They just send a good message to the viewers. But again, there’s a lot of creative possibilities you can make to a story that just talks about a team aiming for the national championship.

I love the Chinese remake because of cultural references like focusing on studies rather than pursuing relationships in high school. They also change the original storyline that gives the characters more depth. These kinds of changes make the viewer care about the characters and the situations they are in.

The Prince of Tennis (2019) - DramaPanda

When it comes to shows and film, I think that what makes a story age well is just good writing.

I recently rewatched a few seasons of the Vampire Diaries. Even though it’s old, the show still entertained me. There aren’t any mind-blowing messages or intriguing themes, but the writing makes sense. Of course, everyone has different definitions of what makes a show “good.” But, for me, there needs to be logic in characters and plot, which is present in the Vampire Diaries.

Another example is Bump Off Lover, a decade-old show. It’s a murder mystery with interesting messages about family influence. I watched it a long time ago, but I’m still intrigued by the premise and execution to this day. The writers leave you breadcrumbs along the way that leads to a mind-blowing revelation at the end that’s worth the wait.

Recently, I watched shows that I think would stand the test of time. Upcoming Summer and Be Yourself are two great examples. To some degree, both are coming-of-age content that any generation can relate to. So, it’s also about looking at universal messages because I think our general experiences aren’t that much different from each other.

Another example is The Rational Life and Love Yourself that tackles the struggle of going against societal expectations. It tackles themes like female empowerment in a healthy and realistic way. So, while this is not something I can relate to a lot personally, the show’s progressive messaging will make it a valuable watch regardless of the generation.

But just because a show is logical, relatable or has progressive messaging and many creative possibilities, it has to be executed well. Or else it turns into a horrific mess.

Devil’s Line is a show with eerily similarities to Twilight. People still make fun of Twilight, but when you look at the bare bones of the story, there’s so much you can do with it. I like the premise of Twilight, but it just didn’t deliver.

A teenage girl falls in love with a vampire. What could happen? A lot. This premise is the same as The Vampire Diaries, but people still adore The Vampire Diaries because of the story. Things happen. In Twilight… not so much. And Devil’s Line reduces to a cringy anime that didn’t take the opportunity to do more to a story with potential.

I’m sure this romantic supernatural premise won’t die, but people will try to build on it. Who knows? Maybe there will be a Twilight remake a decade or more from now with a new, revamped (lol) storyline that will make people appreciate the original source material.

As for songs, I can’t say what makes them age well. Some songs instantly remind you of the sound of the 2000s, which makes you reminisce. But does it mean that it aged well? I don’t know. I used to love T-ARA’s Bo Beep, but when I listen to it now, I sort of cringe. I still love Lovey-Dovey, though. So, maybe my preference just changed.

As for creative content that we don’t like at first, there’s an infinite number of possibilities why. Maybe you later find it more relatable. Maybe your mindset changed, so you appreciate the themes or messages they convey. Maybe your preferences just changed.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brain dump of a question that popped into my mind at like two in the morning. I only scratched the surface, and it’s something worth exploring. On a completely unrelated note, I’m ready for the end of January. Chinese New Year, here I come.

Peace Out Goodbye GIF by NETFLIX

6 thoughts on “Spill the tea: What makes a creative work age well?

  1. Like you said, I think it has to be the simplicity of the plot. The ability for the story line to remain similar while some key details changes. Inevitability, the boy will like the girl and the girl will like him back. As we see in boys over flowers.
    I think this can be compared to an iconic movie like Titanic. What could one possibly remake there? Except maybe if it was in another language?
    Anyways, I’m looking forward to watching the Thailand remake .Such an interesting brain dump😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a lot of what helps certain creative works age better, is the small adjustments that come with being remade. I loved Boys Over Flowers, the Japanese version when I first watched it. It was campy, fun, and a JDrama ‘classic’. Admittedly, the only turn off was that in 2019 (when I finally saw it in full) was that it finally dawned on me that while classic it’s fairly abusive. Tsukushi feels justified hitting Domoyoji, vice versa instead of talking it out, etc.

    While I haven’t seen the remakes that have come from it, I have been told that I lot of the more outright abusive stuff was taken out and substituted with other dramatic elements. It’s also interesting to see how a lot more East-Asia properties actually get remade verses modernized. American film franchises just seem to recycle the original material with modern techniques, no real changes to script or anything.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The epic punch/kick will always be a classic moment! It really showed that Makino wasn’t all talk and really was ready to stand up to him. All the punching and kicking afterwards instead of… talking it out was a bit much.


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