Brief Summary: School 2017 follows a group of students in a school where those with good grades are favored and those with money are favored even more. A corrupt school where the principal and the chairman hear the sound of money over the sound of the students' protests. Finally fed up with the unfairness Hyeon Tae Woon, Ra Eun Ho, and their friends decide to fight back and stand up for their school, their friends, themselves, and for justice.
LoganLand Rating: 4.7 Stars
For me, School 2017 has become a strong contender for my favorite drama of the year. As I have mentioned before, it was my first foray into the School Series and has definitely piqued my interest in the others. The drama first hooked me with its similarity to one of my all-time favorite Kdramas, Cheer Up. The characters are unique and compelling, the story keeps moving, and the chemistry between the cast is all I could ever hope for. I would still place Cheer Up above School 2017 in terms of quality due to the fact that Cheer Up hit some heavy themes and handled them really well such as: teen suicide, depression, and displayed characters with overwhelming capacities for forgiveness. That being said, School 2017 still stands as a very solid drama that I would recommend to nearly everyone.
Things I Loved
- Chemistry. Don't even care if I sound like a broken record. If you follow me on social media you've definitely heard me say how much I loved Ra Eun Ho and Heon Tae Woon's chemistry. They managed to build such believable tension and attraction to one another that it elicits that voice in the back of my head asking if they're in love in real life. And they managed to do all of that without a single on-screen kiss. That's impressive. In other dramas where there are no main lead kisses, I felt a little disappointed that I devoted that much energy only to be let down but I did not feel that way at all with them. Their other moments of skinship probably helped, but I want to mostly credit it to their incredible acting skills.
-The Friendships. Okay, maybe this is a bit cheesy. But it was more than just the friendships, it was the way in which the friendships developed. When the drama began most of them were not friends. Heck, most of them did not even have real friends. It was through helping each other, learning to forgive, and learning to seek forgiveness that our cast of characters formed these strong bonds with one another. My personal favorite was seeing the transformation of the character Bo Ra going from a quiet outcast who got bullied and had no friends to a happy, perky member of the group even forgiving and befriending her old bully.
-Hyeon Tae Woon. Excuse me for a minute while I start with another quick Cheer Up parallel. In Cheer Up, the lead female ends up with the nicer, smarter, perkier of the guys. The second male lead (played by the infallible Jisoo) is rougher around the edges, scowls, stays away from others - that is until he falls in love with the lead female. That drama gives a painful case of SLS. Clearly Hyeon Tae Woon is closer to the second male lead of Cheer Up. So it almost felt healing in a way to see a similar character as the lead male. Hyeon Tae Woon starts out rough, but becomes fiercely kind and protective of all his friends but especially of Ra Eun Ho. The way he is so forthright in confessing to her and how he has no shame about how he loves her is absolutely refreshing. He never does that "I'm leaving you for your own good thing" which is another refreshing bit.
Things I Didn't Love
-Bullies. I mean who likes bullies, right? Lol. It's hard to say things I didn't love because I really did like everything in the drama. But the bullies in this drama were more psychological than anything and they were really over the top. I just wanted to say "Mind your own business". It's almost like the bullies had a need to bully only to cause drama because they really only made things more difficult on themselves.
-What does the future hold? This is an unfair criticism, but again I'm really stretching to find complaints here. Because I think the only school drama I've ever seen where we get to see the kids in the future is Dream High (1&2). But I'd like to know where these characters end up in the future - ideally I'd like to see Ra Eun Ho and Hyeon Tae Woon married with children. Lol.
In all seriousness I was pretty satisfied with the ending. As we say goodby we see our characters happy. I get annoyed when they show the leads fighting in the end to make it realistic. While our couple may always bicker, there is no love lost between them. Although we don't know what the future holds for the characters we have come to love over these 9 weeks, we do get a sense that they are all in a good place and that they are all headed toward an even better place. I think that's a realistic view of life to take in some ways. We know that the road we travel in life will have bumps and detours, but that does not mean we are not on our way to a better place. I feel like School 2017 leaves us with the same sort of feeling. So even though I'm sad that it's over, I was happy to be on the journey and it left me feeling really good.
I know there were some out there who didn't enjoy the drama, but I never really heard any specific criticisms that I could pass a long for full disclosure. Someone will always throw out the clique "boring" without any further explanation, but honestly I wasn't bored for a moment. Still, I recognize there is no accounting for taste but I recommend that everyone give it a try. Even if you don't typically like school dramas or have not liked the others in the schools series, watching at least one episode of this drama just might be worth the risk.
You can find all my School 2017 related posts here.