Dream High 2

I wish I didn’t need to write this review because no matter what I say, nothing will even begin to explain the disaster that was this drama. Before it began, I was very happy to see Dream High getting a second season and to have Kang Sora headlining it — I adored her in Sunny and I was excited to see what more she could bring to the table.

I don’t understand how the production team behind Dream High 2 could drive the drama over the cliff. It’s not like the original series was an overly complex drama — it was light, fluffy and a little funny/geeky. But Dream High 2 was a cluster f*ck — excuse my language, but there’s no better way to explain it.

What happened to the dreams of making it in the world of entertainment? About the youths learning to cope with failure, as well as success — and at the same time growing into adulthood? What happened to all the cute?

Dream High 2 started off well — the art school had been driven into a rut, its former glory completely lost. So in comes a music label to try to “save” it. In reality it is a ploy to save the label’s artists from public scrutiny. I was down with that, I was even happy that the drama started in that way, taking a different route from the original drama but still keeping the core of it — the dreams of young people wanting to become stars.

After four episodes it all went to hell. I don’t know if it was a personality crisis or the fact that the drama was grasping at straws, but it seems to me that the screenwriter ran out of ideas and suddenly focused on several romantic storylines — this is a classic ploy where the production relies on fan-service: they amp the fluff to keep the fans happy. This would have worked had the acting been good and characters been adorable/relatable.

Sadly to say, this season’s cast was lackluster, some were even superfluous, they didn’t add anything special to the story besides being very badly written characters that were more prominent extras. The thing about big casts is that you may cast the perfect person for each character, but you don’t know how well the group will interact until you start shooting. That’s when the chemistry is of great importance. If there isn’t any chemistry then how will we, as viewers, even get interested?

It’s a pity because the actors of Dream High 2 aren’t bad, but the script was so blotchy it made for some very awkward acting. Jiyeon, Jiwoon, Sora, Hyorin, Ailee and JR are decent actors, I can sense that beyond the mess that were their characters. The only “black hole” was JB, but that might be because this is his first major part.

Here is where I am the most sad and annoyed: Kang Sora was given a character that was so bad, no matter the acting, it was going to be executed horribly. I’m not trying to find excuses to defend her, this is, after all, her first drama, so the next one might save her reputation. She is just going to be very careful about choosing one.

In the end, what made Dream High such an outstanding production was the music. Every song was connected to a special scene and character, so it became a musical but at the same time it wasn’t. The OST is still among one of the most played albums in my music player. Dream High 2 lacked that. Yes, there where songs produced only for the show, but they were lackluster. I think that the only song that stood out was We Are Class B, which wasn’t that inspiring.

Despite all the bad points I bring up, there were times when Dream High 2 was sweet and warm, but it was all strewn around in bits and pieces. There was no real concrete flow in it at all. It’s pretty obvious that the Dream High franchise is a way for JYP to showcase some of his stars. Last year, it helped Suzy, Taecyeon and Wooyoung to gain more recognition. This year it was all about JB, JR and Jiwoon. JB didn’t manage to steal the show, but at least he got the promotion that few rookies can ever begin to dream about.

If Dream High 2 was some form of pacemaker for these guys, then I am disappointed. There’s no need to drive a good franchise into the ground just to let a few people shine. There better not be a Dream High 3 in the making. I will personally mail JYP every single day in protest.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

You can watch Dream High 2 for free and legally over at Viki.com


Music is all I do: I work in music, I write about music, I listen to music.

10 Responses

  1. Jangta says:

    I agree 100% with this review. Many Dream High (DH) 1 fans — myself included — were hoping that this could be a strong series. The blend of an American-ish setting (think “Glee”) with the backdrop of striving for ones’ dreams to become a K-pop star was a very cool idea. Unfortunately, the producers and writers for the Dream High 2 sequel just dropped the ball.

    The magic that made the original such a classic: the cast, the music, the concept of dreams (rather than just focusing on the love square), and the back stories were missing in DH 2. While DH 2 went with being original and fresh in the first two episodes, as the series progresses, the drama feels very sloppily-pieced and hastily-slapped together. The result is many plotholes and/or not caring about the main characters, which I and many other fans felt.

    Looks like if they make a DH 3, you won’t be the only one writing protest emails to JYP =).

    • Julyssa Diaz says:

      @Jangta, Aw Jangta! We shall then make a huge online protest I guess ^^

      I still ponder what the hell went wrong with this series. I mean, the shoes to fill were big but not that hard (lol I hope ou get what I mean). I truly wonder why the original screen writer didn’t return…. I think that is the biggest issue in all of this.

      • Jangta says:

        @Julyssa Diaz, I definitely know what you mean haha! The original screen writer not involved in the sequel does explains a lot of DH 2’s falloff.

        As for the protest, we could probably get a “booo DH 3” flash mob if it came down to it.

        We will also be doing a DH 2 review (or rather, a scathing review of it) in about two weeks. Stay tuned!

  2. Rodrigo says:

    I saw like 3-4 episodes of DH1. At that point, I decided not to finish watching it because I expected it to turn into Glee. Therefore, putting effort into watching something that could turn worse doesn’t work for me. Your review confirmed what I feared the most for DH since your criticism mirrors Glee’s third season.

    Maybe I’ll watch DH1 when I have free time, lol.

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, but you see~ that’s the beauty of it. You don’t actually NEED to watch DH2. You can just finish watching DH1 (which doesn’t turn into Glee) and just forget DH2 EVER happened. LOL

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, Still, the point of investing time, effort and dedication into a show that would later sucks ass is working against me watching DH1. Not to mention that I couldn’t care for half the characters on DH1 (could be the spanish dubbing, but still), even if DH2 is entirely different.

        That said, I’m mildly interested in watching both DH and then compare it to Glee in terms of rise and downfall.

        • amy says:

          @Rodrigo, well – yeah… that’s also the thing about Kdrama. They’re too long for me. 16 eps is LONG, when you can watch a really AMAZING jdrama that is only 5 episodes. But like I said, DH’s last episode ends the series… there’s no open ending, there’s no trying to keep it going, no cliffhanger. DH1 is a complete separate work to DH2. The dedication doesn’t follow.

          DH and Glee sound the same, but are miles apart. For one thing, one was expecting to get picked up for more episodes, the other one just expected to get good ratings for the running of the show and it got lucky.

          THE OTHER THING about DH in Spanish dub is that Panamericana didn’t actually showwwww one episode per episode but split each episode in like 3 or 4 parts to make it longer, so the broadcast was lagging. I think the first episode lasted one whole week.

          • Julyssa Diaz says:

            @amy, Whut? One episode lasting a whole week? That’s just whack.

            Rodrigo: Amy is right. Glee and DH are miles apart in the way of how the story is done. Glee is meant to run for several seasons, which can make the story boring for there are just so many arcs you can do. With DH, it was all about one thing and one thing only. Which makes the story easy to follow and you don’t have more expectations from it. I am not saying that DH is overall better then Glee, but DH managed to do well in the 16 episodes they had.

    • Julyssa Diaz says:

      @Rodrigo, You are getting things wrong here, DH2 and DH1 are two very different series. They can almost not compare at all.

      Also, I think that seeing DH1 dubbed is killing the fun out of it.

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