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6 Best Korean Variety Shows

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Arensshi is a fan of Korean Pop Culture. She has been following the industry since 2009. She loves to talk about anything Korean.

Running Man Cast. From left: HaHa, Lee Kwang-Soo, Song Ji-Hyo, Kim Jong-Kook, Ji Suk-Jin at Running Man Fan Meeting Asian Tour 2014 Season 2, Malaysia.

Running Man Cast. From left: HaHa, Lee Kwang-Soo, Song Ji-Hyo, Kim Jong-Kook, Ji Suk-Jin at Running Man Fan Meeting Asian Tour 2014 Season 2, Malaysia.

Korean Variety Shows to Watch

You might be hiding under a rock if you are unaware of the Korean pop culture that is invading the whole world. From movies to music to dramas, it seems that the whole universe is gushing over anything Korean nowadays. Variety shows are no exception. If you are looking for some fun shows that can entertain you to the fullest, the six listed here won't fail you.

1. Running Man

Cast: Yoo Jae-suk, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Song Ji-hyo, Jeon So-min, Yang Se-chan

Former cast: Lizzy, Song Joong-ki, Kang Gary, Lee Kwang-soo

Running Man is a show wherein the cast and celebrity guests are given missions to execute through a series of games. Running Man has been going strong for 10 years and is regarded as one of the most popular Korean shows in the country and around the world.

Why must you watch it?

There is a reason why Running Man is so popular and has garnered a huge fan base throughout Asia and the world. The show gives you a thrill when you watch it and makes you want to join the cast and guests in doing the missions. The whole cast – especially the original ones – has great chemistry and the games are mind-blowing. Running Man has popularized tons of games such as “Name Tag Ripping,” which is basically the trademark game of the show. Just as its name suggests, the game requires the participants to rip the name tags of their opponents to win. It may sound simple but watching the show will make you think otherwise.

2. Knowing Brothers

Other names: Men On A Mission/ Ask Us Anything

Cast: Kang Ho-dong, Seo Jang-hoon, Kim Young-chul, Lee Soo-geun, Kim Hee-chul, Min Kyung-hoon, Lee Sang-min

One of the highest-rated weekend shows in South Korea, Knowing Brothers is a show with a classroom setting and with a rowdy cast playing the roles of high school students. Each episode, guests come to the show as transfer students, and they introduce themselves in a creative way. The cast then grills the new students, thus creating a playful banter between them.

Why must you watch it?

Each member of Knowing Brothers has his own charms. Watching them interact with the guests and with each other will surely make you bend over laughing. The segment "Quiz On Me" brings out the wits of all the people in the show as they guess the guests' secrets and stories. Moreover, if you want to know more unconventional information about your favorite celebrities, then this show should truly be on the top of your must-watch list.

3. New Journey To The West

Cast: Kang Hodong, Lee Soo Geun, Eun Ji Won, Ahn Jae Hyun, Mino (Winner), Cho Kyuhyun (Super Junior), PO (Block B)

Former cast: Lee Seung Gi

New Journey To The West started as a webcast, but because of its extreme popularity, it got promoted to become a television program in its second season. It even released a spin-off entitled “Kang’s Kitchen”. The show follows the format of the anime Dragon Ball, which is also based on the famous Chinese legend entitled Journey to the West.

The cast goes to different parts of Asia. While travelling, they need to carry out missions in order to get seven dragon balls. If they successfully obtain all of the dragon balls, the production staff then grants each member’s wish.

Why must you watch it?

If you like food, travelling, adventure, and more food, then New Journey to the West is the right show for you. Just like the former shows I mentioned, its secret to success is the chemistry between the cast members and the games which will surely make you laugh like a hyena. Fans love it because of its spontaneity and watching it seems like watching friends who are having the best time of their lives while on a vacation. Well, maybe not “the best time” all the time since the production staff always find ways to torture our beloved cast members. These interactions between the staff and the cast are always amusing to watch and they are the best part of the show.

4. I Live Alone

Other names: Home Alone

Current cast: KIan84, Lee Si-eon, Park Na-rae, Henry Lau, Sung Hoon, Han Hye Jin, Han Hye Yeon, Hwasa

I Live Alone is a show which focuses on portraying the simple and real lives of single Korean celebrities. It follows a documentary format and shows the everyday lives of these celebrities. It is a very popular show in South Korea. In fact, it always tops the variety show monthly brand reputation ranking, which measures the influential power of different non-drama shows in the country.

Why must you watch it?

I Live Alone is South Korea’s version of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and other Western reality shows, minus the drama and the headaches. So if you love to watch these kinds of shows but don't enjoy the chaos, I Live Alone is for you. Also, this program makes us realize that celebrities are human beings like us, thus making it more relatable to the viewers.

5. The King Of Mask Singer

Other names: Mystery Music Show: King of Mask Singer, King of Masked Singers


The King of Mask Singer is not like other singing competitions out there. Competitors of this show are different kinds of celebrities who wear masks to conceal their identities in order to wipe out biases like popularity and physical appearances. Each competition consists of four rounds. In the last round, the contestant then competes with the former champion for the title of Mask King. The identities of the celebrity contestants are not revealed until they are eliminated.

Why must you watch it?

Any music fan will surely love The King of Mask Singer. Aside from the quality of the performances of the singers, it is always fun to guess their identities. Another factor that makes this show very interesting is that you can never expect who the celebrities are. They could be an actress who has never sung on TV before or a veteran idol who had won many awards already. It is a good platform for singers who want to be more known without the biases of the people.

6. Master in the House

Other Names: All the Butlers

Cast: Lee Seung-gi, Yang Se-hyung, Kim Dong-hyun, Yoo Su-bin

Former cast: Lee Sang-yoon, Yook Sung-jae (BtoB), Shin Sung-rok, Cha Eun-woo (Astro)


Master in the House follows the cast members as they become disciples of some respectable people from various fields and professions, known as masters. They spend two days and one night together with them to gain more wisdom and knowledge about life.

Why should you watch it?

As mentioned earlier, Master in the House is a great source of wisdom and inspiration. Each master is extremely motivational, and watching each episode will surely make you think deeply about your life in general. The show is so much fun too and is fully packed with adventures. Aside from being fun, Master in the House also gives us a lot of tear-jerking moments as we look closely at the lives of the masters. Other than that, Master in the House is the first variety show Lee Seung Gi hosted after getting out of the military, so this show is a must-watch for all of his fans.

© 2020 Arensshi