Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
School dramas frankly portray various stories that we agonized over when we were in school. So the viewers quickly bond with them more than any other genre. Also, because most of the characters are either middle or high school students, they are much loved by the young actors to make their face known. Let’s take a look at the school dramas that have become memories, just like our school days.
School Series (1999-2017, KBS)
This is one of the representative works of school dramas. Since 1999, when the first series was aired, a total of seven series were produced up until 2017. It depicts various stories that take place in high school with such density and boldly portrayed all the irregularities in schools such as bullying, outcast, and sexual supremacy, drawing attention. As it is a long-loved series, the rookie days of top stars can be seen. Jang Hyuk, and Bae Doo Na of School 1, as well as Jo In Sung, Ha Ji Won, Lee Jong Seok, and Kim Woo Bin, all made their face known through this work.
Dream High (Season 1: 2011 Season 2: 2012, KBS )
The drama tells the story of students attending Kirin Art High School who dream of becoming superstars. The fact that Park Jin Young, the head of JYP Entertainment, and Bae Yong Joon, the head of KeyEast then, joined hands to produce the project received a lot of attention. Naturally, they both appeared in the drama, Park Jin Young as an English teacher and Bae Yong Joon as a chairman of Kirin Art High School. Due to the setting of high school students who dream of becoming singers, many active idols appeared. Suzy and IU made their debut as actors through the drama and have shown their growth, and have continued their acting career ever since. Also, Kim Soo Hyun starred in the drama as Song Sam Dong and was greatly loved as a naive yet passionate romanticist. With the great success of season 1, season 2 was produced the following year with a entirely new material of “Idol Team Battle” and cast.
Sharp Series (2003~2007, KBS)
It is a school drama that depicts the story of middle school student Lee Ok Rim and her friends brightly and pleasantly. It garnered much attention from the viewers for its unique characters and stories that any teenagers can relate to. Go Ah Ra, who played Ok Rim, as well as Yoo Ah In and Lee Eun Sung, they all made their debut through this work and came to fame. In 2005, season 2, which revolved around Ok Rim, who had become a high school student, was produced. Then in season 3, which was aired in 2006, Go Ah Ra left the drama, and the story centered around a special class where only troublemakers gathered.
Master of Study (2010, KBS)
Master of Study puts the preparation process for the college entrance exam at the forefront, which was never heavily covered in the drama industry. Based on the Japanese cartoon “Dragon Zakura,” the drama starts as lawyer Kang Seok Ho is put in charge of the liquidating Byung Moon High School. He then sets a goal of helping the problematic student to get accepted into Cheonha University, the most prestigious college in the country. Kim Soo Ro played the role of Kang Seok Ho, who manages the “Cheonha special class,” showcasing a charismatic performance instead of comic acting, which he usually presented. Yoo Seung Ho, Go Ah Sung, Lee Hyun Woo and Park Ji Yeon all joined the special class and showed the process of solving various problems together, not to mention studying. As the drama centered around the topic of the college entrance exam, the unusual study methods shown by special class instructors drew much attention at the time of the broadcast.
Secret Campus (2006, EBS)
EBS was very interested in youth culture as an educational television, and continued to produce school dramas from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s. EBS’s last school drama Secret Campus depicts the story of the remaining friends as secrets surrounding Moon Seung Jae’s death are revealed. The fact that the work added mysterious elements to a school drama, raising questions until the end, and that it approached the problems that the youth face in depth is notable. Park Bo Young and Lee Min Ho made their official debut through this drama. Park Bo Young brightened the mood of the play with her cute looks and actions, while Lee Min Ho caught the eye with his loyal character who silently takes care of his friends. As the two actors rose to stardom later thorough Scandal Makers and Boys Over Flowers, EBS re-aired the work in 2009 at the request of the viewers.