Hierarchy review: K-drama graduating from Netflix’s school is messy and overdone; Lee Chae Min starrer disappoints | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Hierarchy review: K-drama graduating from Netflix’s school is messy and overdone; Lee Chae Min starrer disappoints

ByAditi Srivastava
Jun 13, 2024 11:58 AM IST

Hierarchy Review: Engaging series with suspenseful elements but misses the mark with a forced love triangle and messy plotline.

Hierarchy, the new Netflix original pitched as a high school coming-of-age story (Korean version of Elite, they say), promised a fusion of tried and tested K-drama concepts with a dash of Western influence or should we say ‘loads.’ Thrown in were supposed thrills and plot twists. Instead, we got a messy deviation from the K-drama formula we know and love.

Hierarchy Review: Engaging series with suspenseful elements but misses the mark(Netflix)
Hierarchy Review: Engaging series with suspenseful elements but misses the mark(Netflix)

Sure, the cast did their best. Rising stars Roh Jeong Eui, Lee Chae Min, and Kim Jae Won out their best front up. But the show's attempt to be all things at once – upbeat, suspenseful, with a feel-good ending – backfired. The plot meandered, sacrificing a clear narrative for a forced happy conclusion.

Hierarchy review

What’s Good: Fans of suspenseful tales will find Hierarchy to be an engaging series driven by vengeance. Although the pacing might occasionally stumble, the program maintains an element of surprise with its erratic storyline. The lavish environment and scenery contribute to the overall magnificence of the story.

What’s bad: Hierarchy" misses the mark. It's a cautionary tale of what happens when a show tries too hard to be something it's not. The forced love triangle, badly delivered dialogues, and messy plotline with an abrupt ending all contribute to the disappointment.

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Netflix’ Hierarchy plotline

Elite teens rule Jooshin High, an institution where prestige trumps everything, even the principal. Enter Kang Ha (Lee Chae Min), a scholarship student fueled by vengeance for his brother's hit-and-run death. His arrival disrupts the status quo, particularly for Kim Ri An (Kim Jae Won), the school's heartthrob still reeling from his ex, Jung Jaei (Roh Jeong Eui), breaking up with him after returning from the US.

Yoon He Ra (Ji Hye Won) sets her sights on Ri An, but his heart remains fixed on Jaei. Meanwhile, Lee Woo Jin (Lee Won Jung) harbours a secret desire for He Ra, but his scandalous affair with teacher Han Ji Su throws a wrench into everyone's plans.

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K-drama Hierarchy initial reaction

With hidden motives, past secrets, and forbidden relationships, Hierarchy promised a thrilling exploration of power dynamics, revenge, and the complexities of teenage love within the opulent walls of Jooshin High especially that’s what we thought after the first episode aired. The intrigue increased with the second. But, then it kept on dropping, dropping more and then flat until the show became entirely boring.

Korean dramas have mastered the art of high-stakes high school drama, with classics like Boys Over Flowers and Heirs setting the bar for luxury and teen angst. Hierarchy throws its hat in the ring, promising a thrilling blend of revenge-driven plot, but instead ends up getting caught in a love triangle. We hoped for Glory 2.0 or Sky Castle nostalgia but it stumbled under the weight of a misplaced Western influence.

About the characters

Kim Jae Won, having delivered great performances in characters not unfamiliar to him seemed to have not properly bloomed in this role of Kim Ri An, he could have done much better. Roh Jeong Eui, who usually shines, finds it difficult to portray the role of the ‘good girl’ in the world of ruthless riches. Her character's confusion feels more bewildered than charming, and her small frame looks tiny next to the commanding presence of Lee Chae Min. Despite a tough script, Lee Chae Min manages to carry the show with ease. Ji Hye Won as He Ra also did justice to her character and we were surprised with the second lead pulling the show.

Hierarchy overall review

While Hierarchy might be a one-time watch for genre enthusiasts, K-drama lovers used to recent Netflix disappointments may find it a frustrating experience. The story's unclear moral landscape makes it hard to pick sides. With no clear heroes or villains and the show's failure to deliver the intense revenge viewers wanted, many might stop watching by episode four.

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