Variety shows have been part of the entertainment industry for a long time. A variety show, at its core, is a show with a lot of different art forms and styles merging and fusing to form a show that is completely unique. There are variety shows dedicated to pranks, some dedicated to music and some to magic. These shows usually have a ‘compère’, or a master of ceremonies, who hosts the shows. Variety shows were introduced to the world around the 1940s and are still going strong. In fact, they’ve gained a lot of popularity worldwide, especially in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. The last amongst this, Korea, is the frontrunner in the list of Asian countries with popular and best Korean variety shows.
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10 Best Korean Variety Shows
In fact, many other Asian countries took inspiration from Korean television to create their own shows. This article is going to talk about the greatest and best Korean Variety Shows of all time and boil it down to 10.
1. Running Man
With 427 episodes under its belt, Running Man Series is one of the most popular Korean Variety Show on air right now. The show, like most other Variety Shows, is based on the concept of accomplishing tasks to win the game. What makes the show special, however, is the list of guests and the creative game ideas contained in the show.
They once had Jackie Chan on their show as well! The show has garnered a wide fan base all over the world and these fans have voluntarily subbed this show into a lot of different languages, such as French, Chinese, Thai, Russian and Turkish. It also made it on Business Insider’s list of the Top 20 shows of 2016.
2. Ask Us Anything (Knowing Bros)
This show is based on a high school oriented format where the guests on the show act as newly transferred students and the hosts of the show, along with the guests, engage in segments that mirror the everyday life of a high school student. There are plenty of different segments but there are two that are permanent.
One of them is called Entrance Application where the guests need to fill out an entrance application for the ‘school’ and the other members of the cast comment and make jokes based on the application while one of the cast members reads the application. The other permanent segment is called Guess About Me where the guest needs to answer vague or private questions in front of the ‘class’.
3. 2 Days 1 Night
Although there have been various changes in the cast of the show, the writers have kept the format of the show intact. The main objective of the show is for the cast members to accomplish certain tasks or missions to earn reward points and to avoid punishment.
The show often takes the cast to different places in South Korea where they try out the native cuisine of that place.
4. Weekly Idol
This show is has a lot of different segments and contains various types of activities that the guests of the show need to do. Before the main segment of the show starts there is a pre-segment and after this, the Idol of the Week segment begins. In this segment the guests have a host of different activities to do and the activities change from episode to episode.
Some of these activities include beating the cast members in a quiz and the losing side receives physical punishment from the winning side. Another one includes attempting to copy the perfect choreography of a song and dancing along even as the songs change mid-performance.
5. Master in the House (All the Butlers)
Unlike most other variety shows, this show entails the cast members spending 2 days and 1 night with the guests on the shows or the ‘Masters’, hoping to learn new things and gaining some wisdom.
6. King of Mask Singer
The first singing variety show on our list, this show has a simple format that is still quite intriguing. The main objective of the show includes singers facing each other off for 2 consecutive episodes. All of the contestants are supposed to wear intricate masks in order to hide their identities and to limit biased judging.
At the end of the two episodes, the judges decide between the two singers and the one who wins goes off against the Mask King, or the winner of the previous episode. If the underdog wins this contest then he/she becomes the new Mask King or Queen. The identity of the contestant is only revealed once they lose the contest.
7. Law of the Jungle
Created by comedian Kim Byung-man, the main objective of the show is for the guests to survive in the wild.
This includes finding and cooking their own food, making shelter, etc. Challenging and interesting this is one of the best Korean Variety shows being aired.
8. Infinite Challenge
One of the first ‘Real-Variety’ shows to come out of Korea, Infinite Challenge is one of the biggest shows in Korea today.
It is largely unscripted and it often dons a satirical mask when it asks its guests to complete challenges that are impossible; hence the name Infinite Challenge.
9. We Got Married
This show is focused on giving challenges to newlyweds and recording and commenting on their reactions to the challenges.
It sheds light on a different perspective on marriage. Interesting and humorous most of the time it is one of the best Korean variety shows.
10. I Can See Your Voice
The show attempts to find out, from a group of people, who are good singers and who are bad singers without hearing them sing. After this selection, if there is even one tone-deaf singer on the side of the good singers, the entire group is eliminated.
The winner of the contest gets to release a song with the guest singer of the episode. The winner also receives a prize of 5,000,000 Korean Won.