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‘Dream High’ back, but is it better?

Park Jin-young believes that second season will be ‘more complete’ as a work

Now that the South Korean drama market has started to jump on board the multi-season series bandwagon, it seems there is no end to the trend.

When KBS’ “Dream High” ― a music-and-dance teen drama ― pulled in strong ratings during its winter run a little over a year ago, it should have come as no surprise that the team behind the series would decide to green light a second season.

In terms of production, little has changed. Holym ― a joint venture formed by JYP Entertainment and Bae Yong-joon’s agency, Keyeast ― is co-producing the sequel with CJ E&M yet again.

Furthermore, JYP Entertainment head Park Jin-young retains both his role as the series’ music and dance director as well as his stint as a teacher (which he played with endearing goofiness) at the art school where “Dream High” is set.

At the drama’s press conference Tuesday, Park highlighted the primary difference between the first season and “Dream High 2.”

“‘Dream High 1’ was my first time doing it all,” he said, referring to his involvement both behind-the-scenes and onscreen. “But with ‘Dream High 2,’ since I have done it all before, all that experience that I accumulated is a real boon. So, I believe that this series will turn out to be even more finished and complete as a work and I think that viewers can look forward to tuning in.” 
From left to right: Park Jin-young, Kahi, Choi Yeo-jin and Kim Jung-tae attend the “Dream High 2” press conference Tuesday at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
From left to right: Park Jin-young, Kahi, Choi Yeo-jin and Kim Jung-tae attend the “Dream High 2” press conference Tuesday at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

Park revealed that when “Dream High” ended and the option of doing a second season was put on the table he really worried about whether or not he should do it. His primary concern was that young viewers loved the first installment so much that they might be disappointed by the sequel.

He also admitted that he had no idea what story to tell with a second season, that is, until autumn rolled around and he found his inspiration.

Of his role this time around, Park said, “In ‘Dream High 1’ my character experienced unrequited love.

“This time the situation changes a bit,” he said, hinting that his character will be luckier in love in the second season.

While Park remains a fixture of the series, the rest of the cast, however, has changed completely.

The first installment featured four JYPE singers, including boy band 2PM members Taec-yeon and Woo-young, along with hot property IU. First generation Hallyu star Bae Yong-joon also held a small role in the series.

The second installment is rolling out yet another eclectic mish-mash of K-pop idols.

Ballad-heavy male group 2AM’s Jeong Jin-woon, T-ara’s Ji-yeon (fellow member Ham Eun-jung starred in the first season), After School’s Kahi and SISTAR’s Hyo-rin will be starring in “Dream High 2.”

The entire cast, however, does not hail from the land of K-pop. “Sunny” actress Kang So-ra will be bringing her acting prowess to the series.

If the first installment’s premise was about a group of underdogs competing for a chance to become an international pop star, the sequel unfolds on a much larger scale, with the takeover of the art school by a major entertainment company. A flood of top idols enroll at the school, and art school veterans clash with these newcomers, leading to a battle between the two teams.

Though the plot and cast have changed, judging from the highlight reel that ran at the drama’s press conference in Seoul on Tuesday, it looks like the second season will retain the glitz, the bubble pop and dance-song heavy allure that made the first season so much fun to watch.

“Dream High 2” starts airing Jan. 30 on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9:55 p.m. on KBS 2 TV.

By Jean Oh (
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Korea Herald daum