After watching the first Dream High, I was a little cautious to watch the second series Dream High 2 (2012), since I didn’t think there was too much to expect from it. I was however sucked into it, thanks to a couple of idols that I really liked who were starring in it. Was it worth the watch?
What’s it about?
After a law is passed enforcing restrictions on underage idols, Oz Entertainment CEO Lee Kang Chul (Kim Jung Tae) takes over the long-neglected and drown-trodden Kirin Art School. His idols are transferred to the school, including girl group HershE and boy duo Eden. The schools’ students are at first starstruck, but it doesn’t take long for them to realise that they’re getting kicked out for the sake of the idols. In particular, Jin Yoo Jin (Jinwoon) the school’s rocker, doesn’t want anything to do with idols, and Shin Hae Sung (Kang So Ra), who dreams of being a singer, hates being looked down on. When the two set up rivalries with idols JB (JB) and Rian (Jiyeon), it seems their future at the school, and the chances of following their dreams, depends the outcomes of the schools’ assessments.
Right from the start, I was really happy to see that Dream High 2 is not a follow up to Dream High; there’s no attempt to tie the two together apart from the setting of the series and a couple of other minor things. I think that the character development and ending to the first Dream High was handled well enough to be left alone, so I’m really glad that the writers from Dream High 2 kept it separate. I also like that the character struggles are different to the first season. Dream High had characters struggling to succeed, not because they lacked talent, but because there was something else about them holding them back. Dream High 2’s characters are either outright told they don’t have talent, or are already in a position of stardom, and are struggling with everything that comes along with it. It’s an interesting take on the same subject matter.
As much as I loved the first Dream High, you can’t deny that it’s quite far on the corny side. I think that Dream High 2 is more realistic in terms of characters and situations. There is a bigger range of different types of characters in the second season, from the quirky, weird high-school students, right through to the bratty and the losers of the school. If you’ve been to high-school you’ll know the different cliques of kids I’m talking about. The bigger mix of characters and the interactions of the main characters with the others helped cement the school setting. I also think the second series was better at pulling off more realistic situations for the characters to be in, and the characters reacted like high-school students. Even the problems the idol students faced (particularly Eden member Si Woo (Park Seo Joon)) felt very realistic.
The main problem I have with this series is that a lot of the time it’s either really flat or really choppy. There is hardly any character development in this series; with the exception of maybe one or two characters, all the characters are essentially the same at the end of series… apart from where there is inconsistent characterisation. I feel like JB and Yoo Jin are the two characters who suffer the most from random out-of-character behaviour, and I think this is done to make the romance in the series work. I’m not sure the writers knew what they wanted with the romance, and to make it fit the way they eventually wanted it, they were required to make random adjustments to characters. By the end, the couples felt very forced, and I honestly still feel they are around the wrong way. The final problem related to the writing of this series is the sudden and just plain bad ending. On a whole, a lot of this series is very disappointing.
Another, relatively minor point, this series does not have the best acting I’ve seen in it. It might be because Dream High 2 uses younger idols, but I feel that the acting ability is very, very average.
Story: 5.5/10. All the right elements are there, but story falls flat far too many times.
Characters: 5/10. On one hand, I like the greater mix and different perspectives of the characters, but the severe lack of development and choppy characterisation is horribly noticeable.
I don’t know what it is about Dream High 2, but it just lacks that something that made the first season so enjoyable. It had the right elements from the start to be a great second season, but inconsistent characterisation and flat development just led it down the drain. If you’re a fan of any of the idols starring in it, you could probably get through with a lot of grimacing, but if you’re looking for something more, don’t waste your time. Overall I give it a 5.5/10.