I don't take idol dramas (or teenage dramas) too seriously these days. I don't expect the acting to be on par or have a too compelling storyline. What I do expect, at most, are pretty faces, idol fanservice (that will probably serve as canon for future fanfiction, image manipulations, gifs, etc), and a catchy soundtrack. While I know some idol or teenage dramas have much more depth, it's no surprise that these are my expectations going into them. I felt the same way about Dream High, but boy – was I in for quite a surprise. Since it was a Bae Yong Joon/Park Jin Young production, I had much more hopes for being enamored with the two as supporting cast members than the young, idol cast. However, I couldn't bet on strong dosages of both BYJ and JYP, and luckily, the teenage group of “misfits” quickly won over my heart. Dream High follows six students at Kirin Arts High, a prestigious performance arts school that feeds into Korean talent agencies. We begin with two best friends: Go Hyemi (MissA's Suzy) and Yoon Baek-hee (T-ara's Ham Eun-jung). Hyemi is a talented classical singer, but suffers from an arrogant personality and looks down on popular genres of music. Baek-hee is Hyemi's follower and of course, doesn't realize her own potential to become a performer as well. Enter two male leads who make a strong connection with Hyemi early on: Song Sam-dong (Kim Soo-hyun), a country bumpkin who follows Hyemi back to Seoul and Jin-gook (2PM's Taecyeon), a troublemaker with a hidden past and a strong passion for dancing. Rounding out the six are Kim Pil-suk (IU), a shy, guitar-hugging songstress with a body not met to an idol's standard, as well as Jason (2PM's Wooyoung), a picture perfect student who seems to have come straight from the idol factory. The staff at Kirin Arts High include President Joon Ha-myung (BYJ), who leaves the school early on and leaves Principal Shi Bum-soo (Lee Byung-joon) to lead the school in his place, who has quite ill intentions. Kang Oh-hyuk (Uhm Ki-joon), who's suffering as a teacher, is left to guide the class of misfits, while the principal's daughter, Shi Kyung-jin (Lee Young-jin) serves as a menacing teacher and only owns a wardrobe of black attire. Of course, in probably in the most fitting role, JYP as Park Jin-man as the English teacher who was a performer in his past life.

Dream High Korean Drama Cast

There's not much I can complain about Dream High. I can't say it's an absolutely perfect drama without any flaws, but it provided hours worth of pure entertainment. My only qualms were for Suzy and Taecyeon's acting – both wooden and expressionless. However, it worked for Suzy in the end, as her character is basically, a robot (who eventually develops feelings in a hilarious turn of events). The quality, of course, becomes very endearing. Can't say it worked the same for Taecyeon in the end. Wooyoung also gave a decent performance, but of course, provided much better comic delivery than his 2PM counterpart. IU and Eun-jung, turn in better performances than Suzy, as they both transitioned into their transformation quite well. JYP gave the best comic relief in the show and thus, giving a loveable performance in his acting debut.

In terms of couple chemistry, while most were fawning over the Hyemi-Jingook-Sam-dong triangle, I was goo-gahing over the supporting relationships within the show: Jason and Pilsook (labeled the “Milky” couple) and Oh-hyuk and Kyung-jin. In addition, while he didn't stand a chance against Oh-hyuk, Jin-man surely had a great relationship with himself. Not that I didn't appreciate the headlining love triangle (there was also some pretty cute moments), but these couples connected with me the most. Of course, I saved the best part for last – Kim Soo-hyun in his first leading role as Song Sam-dong. Soo-hyun developed and delivered Sam-dong so well and probably was one of the few actors to emotionally connect with his character. Was there anyone watching this drama not charmed by his infectious smile and laugh? In one of the episodes where he deals with both the "loss" of Hyemi and his hearing, I couldn't help but cry along with his character. Admittedly, I missed his mass of hair after he got rid of it to be come more “serious”. At only 22 years old, Soo-hyun has easily established himself as a strong and charismatic actor. I'm sure he's currently being flooded with drama roles and I'm looking forward to his next project. So I lied – I can't end this post without writing about the music and the dancing. The soundtrack was catchy – and of course, addicting. I enjoyed their renditions of popular tunes (the uber cute street performance of SNSD's “Genie”, HELLO!?) in addition to the original tunes specially made for the drama. I also particularly enjoyed the usage of certain songs to convey emotion – such as when Hyemi sings songs for both Jin-gook and Baek-hee. There you have it. The show went beyond my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed it every week. If you haven't watched Dream High yet, go catch it now!