Oh be still my heart. There’s nothing to make a summer more romantic and reminiscent than a light high school drama that promises lots of innocence and youthful dreams. Adding to the hit success of the franchise, School 2017, Hierarchy of Grades (literal title) aims to make a name for itself this season, sending all our hearts soaring with giddiness.
Set in a high school where hierarchy and rank dominates all aspects of life, including who gets served lunch first, optimistic Ra Eun Ho (Kim Se Jeong) tries to get by. Working tirelessly to hold her rank in 6th place in order to attend the same college as her crush, a misunderstanding pins her as a school delinquent, making her life at school miserable. She has a passion and talent for designing web comics, but in a world that’s highly stagnant and demands students aim for ‘real’ careers, she’ll have to battle it out with the negative adults around her.
Of course, a high school drama isn’t complete without a rebellious teenager to stir things up, and to add to all the drama is Hyun Tae Woon (Kim Jung Hyun) whose father privately invests and is a director for the school – allowing him to get away with any form of deviant behaviour…I’m silently fuming here. Nepotism in school? High school? Really?
To counter the bad boy, is Song Dae Hwi (Jang Dong Yoon) a charismatic and righteous student, who also happens to be the student body president. Despite being perfect at everything, he has a dysfunctional family life, his parents depriving him of any love and affection.
Well then. We can all probably expect heart-wrenching moments that will make us pause and think about our own youth because the struggles each of them will face will be realistic and relatable, both psychologically and socially. The drama has also hinted at a mystery aspect, since Han Sun Hwa will play a police officer who gets demoted and sent to the school and it may tie into Ra Eun Ho being pegged as a delinquent for something she didn’t do (I’m speculating here).
That aside, I hope this installment of the School series learns from the last – forced love lines and supposedly intricate mysteries take away from the essence of the series. It should be realistic in portraying true high school issues, especially in a society with rigid and compulsory teaching methods and system.
I don’t mind romance and I don’t mind mystery, but adding too much on your plate may create dry material that’s lacking depth. All anyone wants is friendship and youthful aspirations like School 2013 – is that too much to ask for?
Release Date: July 17, 2017 KBS2 (eng subs on Viki)