You may not understand the hype surrounding Korean variety shows, but you might have been occasionally tempted to check some of them out, especially when your friends are discussing passionately about the latest episode of Running Man.
But how do you know which one you should watch for your virgin experience? While Google is usually helpful, it might not be the best resource this time round because the search engine would probably recommend a long list of shows for you to watch, which can get pretty overwhelming for anyone new to K-variety. Which is why we’re here to help you out by rounding up five of the hottest Korean variety shows for you to watch as an induction to your Korean variety obsession.
Even if you haven’t watched any Korean show, you’d probably know that Running Man is the variety show to watch. A perfect start to your journey into the Korean variety world, this series revolves around missions that the regular cast and celebrity guests have to complete. The show has seen appearances by some of Korea’s top stars, including Gong Yoo and Choi Ji Woo. Running Man is also a great platform for you to learn more about K-celebs, since different celebrities are featured every episode.
Running Man is available on Viu and the viu mobile app
The longest running show in this list, Infinite Challenge has been successful for over 10 years. A true-blue Korean variety show, the programme is largely unscripted and usually involves the cast completing challenges given by the production team. The cast comprises some of the best and most veteran comedians and variety show hosts, so you can be sure that every episode will be entertaining. Tune in to this one if you’re looking for a good laugh!
Infinite Challenge is available on Viu and the viu mobile app
Return of Superman
Scroll through your Instagram ‘explore’ page and you’ll most likely see one or two video clips of cute Korean babies. It’s also common to see people unwittingly grinning at their screens while watching an episode of this. A show where celebrity dads are left alone for 48 hours to take care of their children with minimal or no additional help, this one will definitely get you cooing and bending over in stitches as you witness charming, mischievous children trying to tear their fathers’ hair out.
Return of Superman is available on Viu and the viu mobile app as well as KBS World (mio TV Channel : 523, 606 and StarhubTV Channel : 815 )
Law of the Jungle
If you love watching American survival shows such as Running Wild with Bear Grylls and Dual Survival, you’re sure to love this one. A first of its kind in Korean variety, the show features a cast of celebrities travelling to different jungles around the world and finding ways to survive challenging situations. The cast changes for each location, with the exception of the show’s creator and ‘clan leader’, Kim Byung Man. The great thing about this show is that besides a dose of humour, you can also pick up survival skills and tips. ‘Cause you never know when you might be stranded in an island or jungle all alone.
Law of the Jungle is available on Viu and the viu mobile app
We Got Married
If you are a fan of romantic and cheesy Korean dramas, this is the variety show for you. A reality TV show where Korean celebrities are paired up to show viewers what life would be like if they were married, We Got Married has proven to be a hit and has given birth to numerous OTPs. Each week, couples are assigned missions to complete, varying from buying furniture to cooking together. Basically things that normal married couples do. Expect to see lots of toe-curling romantic scenes.
We Got Married is available on Viu and the viu mobile app
If you’ve watched Korean variety shows for years now and want something fresh, we’ve got your back too.
Radio Star is known to be the show where the guests and the show’s hosts (Kim Gook Jin, Yoon Jong Shin and Kim Gura) talk openly about the guests’ lives (including scandals!). The hosts, who are popular radio announcers, are known to be relentless in their questioning. This is also the first show where EXID’s Hani and Block B’s Zico appeared on right after they were discovered to be dating JYJ’s Junsu and AOA’s Seolhyun respectively. But the show is not about attacking celebrities or making them uncomfortable; it boasts an open and no-holds-barred discussion between the guests and the hosts.
Radio Star is available on Viu and the viu mobile app
I Can See Your Voice
This reality music show revolves around a group of contestants (which changes every week), some who can sing and others who are tone-deaf. Every week, professional singers who are invited on the show, have to guess (based on hints and outward appearance of the contestants) who can sing well, and who should be eliminated. If a tone-deaf contestant makes it to the final round, they will receive 5,000,000 won (approximately $6,000). Should the celebrity choose someone who is not tone-deaf to perform with them during the final round, the person would get a chance to release the duet as a digital single.
I Can See Your Voice is available on channel M (mio TV Channel : 518 and StarhubTV Channel : 824 / 874 (HD) )
Weekly Idol doesn’t have an extravagant set, but the plain white walls doesn’t hinder it from being one of the funniest and most entertaining variety shows. Hosted by veteran MCs Jung Hyung Don and Defconn, the show features different celebrities and K-pop groups as guests each week. But Weekly Idol isn’t about a tête-à-tête with the guests. It also features two dance challenges, Random Play Dance and 2X Speed Dance, which are also the show’s highlights. The former is a game where the idols have to execute the right choreography specific to different parts of a song, while the latter sees idols having to dance to their latest song – at twice their usual speed.
Weekly Idol is available on ALL THE KPOP’s YouTube channel
Produce 101 Season 2
Following the popularity and success of season one, Produce 101 is well into its second season now. The format of the show is simple – the public will be able to ‘produce’ an idol group by choosing 11 members out of 101 trainees from different entertainment companies. The public will also be able to choose the group’s concept, debut song and group name through voting. While season one was to ‘produce’ a girl group, season two is geared towards male trainees.
Images: Viu, I Can See Your Voice Facebook, Produce 101 Facebook, AlltheKpop Facebook