School 2017 Continues the KBS Hit Tradition of Casting Rising Stars Who Later Go on to Major Stardom with Kim Jung Hyun, Jang Dong Yoon, and Kim Se Jung

I confess to skipping the last installment of the KBS drama School franchise, namely School 2017. Four years ago I looked at the cast and didn’t know anyone and thought it was a bunch of randos so passed. Now I’m ready to find time for a watch thanks to the incredible success of the cast in the intervening years, and breakthroughs for so many in just the past year. Male leads Kim Jung Hyun did Crash Landing on You and Queen Cheorin while other male lead Jang Dong Yoon was in Tale of Nokdu and Search. Female lead Kim Se Jung most recently showcased her fighting skills in The Uncanny Counter. And going down the list Ro Woon is a supporting character in the drama and he’s got Extraordinary You and Sunbae, Please Don’t Put on that Lipstick as male leads getting buzz. Supporting female lead Seol In Ah had memorable supporting performances in Record of Youth and Queen Cheorin. This really does continue the KBS tradition of finding on the cusp young talent and letting them breakthrough via the School series – School 2013 cast that went on to stardom included Lee Jong Seok, Kim Woo Bin, Shin Hye Sun, and Park Se Young while Who Are You: School 2015 had Kim So Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk, Yook Sung Jae, Kim Min Suk, Lee Cho Hee, Jo Byung Gyu, and Kim Bora. Now I’m even more excited about the upcoming School 2021.


School 2017 Continues the KBS Hit Tradition of Casting Rising Stars Who Later Go on to Major Stardom with Kim Jung Hyun, Jang Dong Yoon, and Kim Se Jung — 35 Comments

  1. Pingback: School 2017 Continues the KBS Hit Tradition of Casting Rising Stars Who Later Go on to Major Stardom with Kim Jung Hyun, Jang Dong Yoon, and Kim Se Jung - Kpopnchill - All About K-pop News

  2. There’s also Seo Ji-hoon and Park Se-wan. I also think Ha Seung-ri should have been a bigger star by now, but that’s because I have a soft spot for her due to the old drama Glass Shoes.

  3. The storyline for School 2017 was a mess. Its seems to be a full on love story with a weak childish side plot. I watched it solely to catch Jang Domg Yoon in another drama after Tale of Nokdu. Happy to discover all three actors have matured significantly in their acting and onscreen charisma. School 2017 might just become the most successful franchise looking at how big all 3 has blown up.

      • 2015 no. 2013 – shin hye sun/lee jong seok/ kim woo bin. Yes. But that’s a 4 year lead time ahead of the 2017 cast. Kim Se Jeong has the no.1 drama on OCN history (abet its an ensemble cast so less on her star power but more on storyline and overall cast chemistry), Kim Jung Hyun now has back to back the no.1 highest ratings with CLOY and Mr. Queen the 5th biggest ratings in TVN history (will know if it goes up to 4th after this weekend) and Jang Dong Yoon’s new drama has a killer buzz at the moment. The 2017 boys have all completed their military service which means there will be no break to hurt their upward trajectory. They are just beginning too. I see a huge future for the two in the next 3 years. Throw in rising star Jo Byeong Gyu and the return of park hyung sik. These are my top 4 picks to become as advertisers and star writer/directors darlings.

      • 2015 is definitely a yes. Look how big the names of Kim So Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk and Yook Sung Jae domestically and internationally despite of lack of big hit projects. It is not all about big hit projects but public recognition which the Schooo 2017 guys need to work out.

      • Erm… ok. Nam joo hyuk and song kang will enlist this year btw. Kim So Hyun and Yook Sung Jae are no where near headlining clout just yet with guaranteed ratings. Kim Jung Hyun, Jo Byeong Gyu leads the popularity polls. I think Kim Jung Hyuns next project might be opposite an S-league actress. Lets see. Park Hyung Sik will come back strong. Jang Dong Yoon at the cusp. Will depend on how Joseon Exorcist do but the buzz is there

      • Sorry, Kim So Hyun is a ratings guarantee though. Just look at the premiere ratings of her dramas. It is always high. The script is always the problem why it cannot meet the expectations. Further, her dramas always create buzz. Just look at TTON and LA for this case.

        Lastly, we cannot say that the School 2017 cast is capable of having already the clout because of 1 hit project. They can be replaced anytime by new rookies. Meanwhile, So Hyun is here to stay.

      • Sorry, but I agree with @thylane and @myrrana
        Kim So Hyun, Nam Joo Hyuk and Yook Sungjae are still the bigger names, and that’s why they keep getting cast even without a big hit under their belt, just look how KSH is headlining a big epic historical drama now with the upcoming River Where The Moon Rises, at such a young age. Even my friends who are not kdrama fans know who Kim So Hyun and Nam Joo Hyuk are. Kim So Hyun has already proven that she’s more than just “flavor of the month” after School 2015, she got even more popular over the years, she’s well-loved in Korea and is a Hallyu star. Kim Jung Hyun, I can see him getting bigger in the future. The other names mentioned, it still remains to be seen if they have the star power to carry big dramas in the future.
        Also, I think it’s Tale of Nokdu that made Jang Dong Yoon really popular, not necessarily School 2017.

  4. One interesting point to note if it hasn’t been discussed yet. Park Gye Ok who is the main writer and story creator for both Queen Cheorin and Doctor Prisoner also penned the upcoming Joseon Exorcist (jang dong yoon) – his outstanding track record should hand jang dong yoon his biggest drama to date if the winning style of this authors pen continues. Very versatile. He does gritty and witty well. Big expectations all around for that drama

    • Joseon Exorcist is one of the dramas I can’t wait for. Glad to hear Koreans are anticipating it too. I’ll check out the writer’s other works.

    • I watched the trailer. But, I was kinda disappointed because this is so Kingdom, a lot of resemblance with a highly popular drama would not be good. Kingdom already had huge fanbase worldwide. It will come a lot of complains when this one airs.

      • Its not. Kingdom deals with zombies. Joseon Exorcist is dealing with evil as the king and his sons employed the help of the occult to win the kingdom but later needed to use western ways of doing exorcism to hunt down the evil that lingers in the kingdom. I am most intrigued if they will take a christian theme to it.

  5. Just looking at the earlier School franchise and seeing the “young” actors from then is just astounding. just to name a few – jang hyuk, ha ji won, jo in sung, lee dong wook. Admittedly, I only checked out School 2013 (mainly cause that’s my age group), and the stars that came out from that alone are superb actors.

  6. The confirmed male lead for School 2021, Kim Yohan, is a newbie, but has potential. He’s a natural charmer, so perhaps that charisma helped him win Produce x 101.

    He wasn’t too bad playing the male lead In the Korean remake of the Chinese hit, A Love So Beautiful. He might have some natural talent. The female lead did most of the heavy lifting, but his acting was not a major distraction.

  7. School 2017 was pretty disapointing story wise. They focused so much on the main couple that they forgot the other stories… Jang Dong Yoon had Somolon’s Perjury before and he was so good in this drama, it was sad to watch him without anything to do in this one.

    Seol In Ah had a first role in the week-ender Beautiful Love, Wonderful Life and Park Se Wan in Never Twice.

  8. I agree that the leads from School 2017 is making a name like with Kim Jung Hyun in CLOY and Mr. Queen.
    Kim Sejong in Uncanny Counter (even if its an ensemble cast)
    With Jang Dong Yoon, we will know with Joseon Exorcist.

    And yes, the leads in School 2015 is still considered bigger names than them.
    KSH is a popular and talented actress but I doubt if she is a ratings guarantee with past works like Radio Romance. And is she really considered a Hallyu Actress already? (Asking politely).
    Then Yook Sung Jae is also popular as an actor and idol.
    With NJH, he keeps getting a lot of projects with popular actress.

      • I see. Thanks for replying.
        I thought Baeksang Awards is the most prestigious one.
        But it’s nice to know she won that award.
        Thank you!!!

    • This article is about acting and Yook Sung Jae doesn’t have any drama as main lead like the actors of School 2017. Mystic Pop Bar was an ensemble of cast and more about Hwang Jung-Eum. He needs his own lead role.

    • KSH is ratings guarantee. Both Ruler and TTON broke pilot ratings records. And she is a hallyu star because of the international success of her dramas particularly, Love Alarm and her following. She is the youngest among K-celebrities with significant following.

      • Just the pilot? As in the first episode? What about the ratings for the remaining episodes then? Those don’t count? No one denies she’s a great actress and a Hallyu star. But is she really a ratings guarantee without a big ratings hit drama under her belt? Not trying to be a hater. Just asking.

      • Well, the remaining episodes will rely more on script. That is why pilot episode is always about the star power of leads. So, that is the reason why I said So Hyun is ratings guarantee. It is just up to the script how will it capitalize on that star power throughout its airing.

    • @Emillie Just to add to hjw’s answer, Kim So Hyun is also dubbed as “Hallyu Fairy” by the Korean media. She’s definitely a Hallyu star ☺️

      • No need to argue. She’s the biggest star attached to the upcoming drama. Kim Haneul is only cameo so his name should not be counted. See for yourself if she can carry the drama solely on her effort cos the production company down to writer down to director are not big names in the business. I wish Kim So Hyun has the kind of fervent fanbase in korea just like international. I really like the girl, she has a great personality and is nice to everyone. But I am frustrated with her career trajectory as she seems to be unable to pick good projects. Lets see on this drama. I’m very pessimistic about it due to its lack of any buzz in korea.

      • @Lydia1

        hopefully RWTMR can do wonder and surprise many of us, both domestically and internationally. just like L’s drama secret royal agents. I remembered that secret royal agents also didn’t have much buzz as compared to the other dramas, both before the airing and during its airing, but they still be able to attain double digits rating, right? I’m aware that lack competition from other dramas during the time slot might contribute to this factor, but ppl will not watch if the drama itself isn’t interesting. so hopefully RWTMR also can do miracle despite not having popular pd, writer, and enough buzz in korea.

      • @Lydia1

        btw.. there’s something that make me wonder, does trending in naver realtime imply that the drama has buzz? or it doesn’t imply anything? coz i noticed that rwtmr occasionally trending in naver. what’s actually this trending thing imply to?

      • Trending on naver is actually people just watching released promo vids or reading news articles put out by pr people but it can be awfully unimpressive numbers cos anything and everything can trend on a slow news night. The ratings of the program is the ONLY and single most important gauge for any artist and their viewed success so its very frustrating to read international fans say its not. Other mediums can be rigged but ratings no. P.s – here’s a shocker disclosure. E.g kpop member rankings system for brand ranking in Korea. Do you know how fans game the system? They basically spend hours inputting their fav idols name into korean search engines repeatedly and leave stupid comments on every little article. So if someone has a rabid fanbase for sure they will chart. For dramas its more legit since the trending artists on brand awareness charts are those usually with trending dramas at the moment. I honestly believe when a drama does well theres genuine interest from general public to seek out info about the cast and show.

  9. Since the first time I saw Kim Jung Hyun in School 2017, I knew that he will hit big. He had those expressive eyes and real talents.
    Congrats to all three of them. Both School 2017 boys are already served in the military before their debuts. That’s so good. Nothing will stand in their way to hit even bigger.

    • He’s got versatile looks and good acting skills. I am very interested to see what he picks up as his next project. My gut says it will be a massive one with an S-league actress. But I would rather he do a smaller project with an interesting premise that allows him to shine on his own than sharing the limelight with a co-star instead. Lets see…

  10. I wouldn’t add Kim So Hyun to the list because, IMO, she was already a well known child actress in Korea with almost a decade worth of credits to her name before she did ‘School 2015’. After ‘The Moon That Embraces The Sun’, Kim So Hyun was solidly on the list of popular child actors fans knew would be future successful adult leads along with Kim Yoo Jung, and Yeo Jin Goo. In fact, at the time she got the role in ‘School 2015’, many felt the show was breaking with tradition since the School series was known to cast relatively unknown actors for the student roles and KSH was already a name.

    I think the School series definitely has a history of picking actors that rise to stardom but, unlike previous seasons, School 2017 wasn’t the breakthrough drama for it’s main leads. The popularity Lee Jong Suk and Kim Woo Bin received from School 2013 only lead to greater success with their follow up projects. Lee Jong Suk landed the lead role in ‘I Hear Your Voice’ opposite already established actress Lee Bo Young and Kim Woo Bin got second lead in a Kim Eun Sook drama with ‘Heirs’. Yook Sungjae stole many hearts with his role in School 2015, his role is still considered a major highlight of that season. It was a major breakthrough for him as an actor. There are a lot of people who just passed on School 2017 because the series looked like it was pulling further and further away from the depth the original seasons and School 2013 had. School 2013 had unknown actors as students but had Jang Nara and Choi Daniel playing teachers to give the show weight. School 2015 had Kim So Hyun who was already known as a solid actress. I really hope School 2021 get the series back on track before they kill the series altogether.

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