Top South Korean Variety Shows To Watch

Shows That Will Make You Hungry, Cry, and Laugh

I want to give a little insight into my experience so far viewing Korean variety programs.  I believe this is a great way to learn about popular actors/actresses in South Korea without doing a full on Google search.  Additionally, the programs visit so many historical landmarks, trendy hotspots and breathtaking locations you will be able to gain a more rounded perspective of the country as a whole.

Whether you need a good cry, laugh or a new show to binge watch here are some of my favorite variety programs in no particular order of popularity or relevance.  Psst…I have included a list of websites to watch these program with English subtitles at the end of this post.

Running Man

If you haven’t heard about Yoo Jae Suk than keep reading and you will see why he’s so popular in South Korea.  Trying to maintain order within a group of actors, and singers on he’s always ready to let loose and dance.  The show is based on eight members and special weekly guests completing tasks given to them at the beginning of each show.  The members and guests that don’t complete the tasks within the given timeframe are penalized.  Usually, the penalty is dumping a cold bucket of ice water on top of their heads.  Main casts include Yoo Jae-Seok, Kim Jong-Kook, Haha, Ji Suk Jin, Song Ji-Hyo, Lee Kwang-Soo, Jeon So-Min, and Yang Se- Chan.

2 Days & 1 Night

Season three cast is composed of six members who have thriving careers in acting, singing, and comedy.  Although you would never be able to tell once they all get together.  The show consists of the members traveling throughout South Korea and playing different games such as quit smoking for a day or choosing between coffee or fish sauce.  They seem to let loose all of their stress and fears and put it all on the line for breakfast, lunch or a dinner game of chance.   Usually, they join together in teams of three, the team that loses the game literally goes without lunch or dinner.  Main casts include Kim Jong-min; Cha Tae-Hyun; Kim Joon-ho; Defconn; Jung Joon-young; Yoon Shi-Yoon.

Please Take Care Of My Refrigerator ( Chef & My Fridge – Netflix)

If you love cooking shows then this is the show for you to watch.  The show combines chefs and two celebrity guests.  What’s the catch; the chefs are only allowed to cook a dish using the ingredients they find in the guest’s celebrities refrigerator that has been transported to the recording studio.  If you’re looking into getting an introduction into Korean cuisine than you definitely want to check this show out.

Knowing Bros ( Men On A Mission – Netflix)

Set in a high school like setting this show includes seven regular cast members with actors/actress and musical idols as special guests.  The show begins with the regular members briefly discussing current events and hot topic issues that are happening in their lives.  Always a hot topic with Super Junior Heechul the members use witty humor to interview their special guests before joining together for a round of comedic skits and games.  Main casts include Kim Heechul, Lee Soo-Geun, Seo Jang-hoon, Min Kyung-Hoon, Lee Sang-Min, Kim Yeong-Cheol, and Kang Ho-Dong.

Infinite Challenge

Just like the name sounds, the challenges given to these members vary from running in place, shooting variety skits to shooting a movie.  Remember Yoo Jae-Suk who started this list, well he’s also the MC for this show.  It’s no wonder that he has been voted Comedian Of The Year, six years in a row.  The remaining cast members are not slacking in any way, veteran comedians themselves you can expect a seasoned banter throughout the show.  Main casts include Yoo Jae-Suk, Park Myeong-Su, Jeong, Jun-Ha, HaHa, Yang Se-Hyeong.

These are only a few of the shows that I frequently watch to expand my international TV content.  One day soon I will have to share my favorite dramas, from South Korea and other countries that include Thailand and China.

To watch these shows and other dramas with English subtitles check out these streaming websites.

  1. DramaFever
  2. Vicki
  3. NetFlix
  4. KBS World  (YouTube)

If you enjoyed this post read my latest posts on Maangchi: Korean Grocery Store Blog and Path To Obtaining A Startup Visa In South Korea.

Is there a variety show you think I left out?  What about an American guest you want to see on your favorite Korean variety show?  Let me know in the comments below!

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