15 Best Korean Reality TV Shows & Variety Shows (2024)

Summary

  • Korean reality and variety shows offer a hilarious and entertaining escape with fun themes and well-known Korean celebrities.
  • Shows like Great Escape and Single's Inferno provide thrilling and comedic experiences, from navigating escape rooms to finding love on a remote island.
  • BTS: Bon Voyage and The Return of Superman give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of their favorite Korean celebrities, offering relatable and heartwarming moments.

Those needing a break from all the tantalizing K-dramas today will enjoy watching Korean reality and variety shows, and there are many more than fifteen great ones. The television genre is a significant hit in Korea and has fans worldwide quickly understanding why. Not only do reality and variety shows include fun themes, but also well-known Korean celebrities, actors, and K-Pop idols.

Korean reality and variety shows will have anyone double-over laughing at their absurd yet binge-worthy comedy displays. Some show themes include actors and celebrities going head to head to create a new dish to be sold in convenience stores, and there are others, like a show that takes idols and actors to remote parts of the world or country, leaving them to survive on their own.

Updated on July 7th, 2022 by Jom Elauria: Korea has churned out a lot of excellent shows this year, such as the Netflix K-dramas All of Us Are Dead and The Silent Sea. Besides, a handful of Korean reality and variety shows have hit everyone's TV screens in 2022, like Girls Planet 999 and Queendom 2. Fans of Korean actors and idols should check out reality and variety series as their favorite personalities often guest star on these kinds of shows. As Korean entertainment continues to rise in popularity, the list of best Korean variety and reality shows gets bigger and bigger.

Great Escape (2018)

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In some ways, the Korean reality show Great Escape is like the American show Floor is Lava, as players must also navigate escape rooms to win a cash prize. But in Great Escape, contestants must be innovative and strategic as they'll need to make their way through mazes without being caught by the guards. The comedy reality show also combines the thrill of escaping with comedy since the celebrities who join the show are usually comedians. Viewers will have so much fun watching the contestants scream out of a haunted mansion or run for their lives in a zombie apocalypse.

Single's Inferno (2021)

Available to stream on Netflix

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Single's Inferno is a must-watch reality dating show on Netflix that puts nine single people on an island, all trying to find their true love. The island the singles are on has limited amenities, with no air conditioning and plumbing in sight. Many Single's Inferno cast members are famous on Instagram, and although few couples stay together, the entertainment value matches that of American reality TV dating shows.

The show also encourages contestants to look for their match without sharing how old they are or what their profession is. This makes for very entertaining scenes as the participants must use their unique personalities to snag the people they're attracted to.

BTS: Bon Voyage (2016)

BTS is Korea's most popular boy group. Aside from their catchy songs and attractive members, BTS has also captured hearts thanks to their reality show BTS: Bon Voyage. The series follows the boys as they travel the world and gives a sneak peek into their lives. To add, BTS: Bon Voyage also shows the BTS boys doing everyday activities, such as playing games and hanging out together.

We Got Married (2008)

Available to watch on Viki

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Fans of K-dramas and Korean idols should check out the reality show We Got Married. In the show, celebrities are paired together and must pretend they are married. We Got Married was a hit in Korea, showing a different side of Korean stars and idols. It also often featured on-screen couples from different K-dramas.

2 Days 1 Night (2007)

Available to watch on Viki

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2 Days 1 Night is a Korean variety show that features a group of fun individuals who go around Korea to discover what their country has to offer. Throughout the run of the series, the cast lineup has constantly changed. Its current lineup includes household names like Kim Jong-Min, Moon Se-Yoon, Na In-Woo, Yeon Jung-Hoon, and DinDin.

The show was well-received in Korea by viewers for its charming cast and informative content. Moreover, it's fun travel and food-centric format is also one of the main reasons the show is still on the air today.

Master In The House (2017)

Available to watch on Viki

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Masters in the House is an ongoing variety/reality show that's a significant hit among Korean and worldwide audiences. The show's main hosts are five well-known actors, entertainers, comedians, an idol, and a retired martial artist. Lee Seung-Gi is known for his work in K-dramas in Vagabond and Return. K-Pop idol turned-actor Cha Eun-Woo is also a prominent cast member.

The five men spend two days and one night with reputable figures from various professions. These guests are known as "masters." The main cast hopes to learn about the master's life, career, and work, which can lead to many comical encounters and moments. Fans will take joy in the cast being put to the test in the episode where their master is a famed Korean lieutenant.

Boss In The Mirror (2019)

Available to watch on YouTube

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Boss in the Mirror has gained more notoriety among fans for including a specific guest host and his muscle crew. The variety show was created to allow bosses of different fields to examine their work environment. The show has two main hosts and is accompanied by guest MCs or bosses.

Boss In The Mirror's guests range from well-known chefs and retired athletes to a gym owner notorious for his staff members and helping celebrities achieve their dream bodies. A fun tactic of the show is that each boss is given a red button to press whenever they deem a boss's antics too extreme.

Knowing Bros (Ask Us Anything) (2015)

Available to watch on Viki

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Knowing Bros or Men on a Mission (titled Ask Us Anything on Viki) is a well-loved reality/television talk show that debuted in 2015. The show is popular among K-Pop fans, as idols often appear as guest stars. The show has a fun and quirky setup, as the show's prominent cast members dress like high school students in a classroom setting.

The guest stars act as transfer students for the episode and participate in various games and activities that elicit laughs. The show gained notoriety among its audience for its use of "banmal," a manner of speech that gets rid of formalities, no matter the age group or seniority of the guest and cast.

Star's Top Recipe At Fun-Staurant (2019)

Available to watch on YouTube

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Stars' Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant has gained notoriety as a talk, reality, and cooking show. The show's concept revolves around guest celebrities battling to see whose recipe reigns supreme. Every new segment has a specific theme for guests to create a dish around. Their dishes are then judged by celebrity chefs to be sold on the online market. The show has its set cast members and top chefs who are hard to beat and add comedic relief.

Law Of The Jungle (2011)

Available to watch on Viki

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The documentary-reality show Law of the Jungle has been a long-time favorite. The show was created thanks to comedian Kim Byung-Man. In it, he and a group of celebrities, including actors and K-Pop idols, venture to remote parts of the world.

In their new destination, the cast must learn to survive and are given tasks like hunting, creating shelter, and making meals. It's an actual test of staying in the wild. The show was rebooted in 2020 to include remote areas within Korea to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and has since returned to normal.

Busted! (2018)

Available to stream on Netflix

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Busted! was the first reality/variety show from Netflix to include an all-Asian cast in 2018. Unlike other shows, Busted! combines comedy with thrill and mystery as its cast tries to solve a game revolving around a mystery. The show's premise involves seven celebrity guests implanted with a DNA chip from famous historical detectives.

The seven celebrities are part of Project D, run by a mysterious figure named "K." The first season was all about solving cases and trying to unearth the secret behind the organization. The second season upped the ante with a serial killer.

My Little Old Boy (2016)

Available to watch on Viki

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My Little Old Boy is a real treat and blends comedy with being judged by one's mother. Hosted by entertainers Shin Dong-Yup and Seo Jang-Hoon, the show's main cast are a group of mothers - and not just any mothers, but the mothers of famous Korean celebrities. In every episode, the mothers and hosts examine the daily lives of celebrities.

The hosts and cast often make remarks that elicit laughs as the mothers get frustrated at their children. The show is notorious for one particular cast member, singer, and entertainer, Kim Jong-Kook. The show comically portrays his mother's frustration over his obsession with working out and not having a dating life.

Home Alone (2013)

Available to watch on Viki

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Home Alone or I Live Alone is a long-running reality/talk show that debuted in 2013. Its concept came about due to the 5 million single people living in South Korea and is praised for its unscripted dialogue, interactions, and documentary style. Home Alone focuses on the single lives of their guest celebrities. Audiences see the nitty-gritty of their lives at home, from when they wake up to when the day ends. This leads to many comical bedheads and questionable eating habits.

Weekly Idol (2011)

Available to watch on Viki

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Weekly Idol is the most well-known variety show among K-Pop fans, as its principal guest artists are K-Pop groups. Many groups on the show are promoting upcoming albums or newly released songs. The show is popular, as it's an interview and a fun game show. The hosts put the idols through various fun activities, like Random Dance Play and 99 Seconds Challenge, or they must fit the choreography from one song into another. The show also includes the heroes performing their latest hits.

The Return Of Superman (2013)

Available to watch on Viki

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The Return of Superman is the most-watched reality show because of its adorable main cast. The show's concept won audiences' hearts, as celebrity dads are tasked with caring for their children for 24 hours. This means that hard-working moms get some needed alone time.

Fans get to see their daily lives inside their homes and adventures that the dads embark upon with their children. During the show's time on air, there have been recurring children that are favorites. Many audience members have seen these children grow up and even leave the show.

15 Best Korean Reality TV Shows & Variety Shows (2024)

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