For many of us, 2020 wasn’t the easiest year. Heck, it’s almost 2021 and a lot of things still seem uncertain at this point. But every time things get a little bleak or if we fall into one of our stressed out modes, we can always rely on variety shows to get out of our funk. K-variety shows have so much to offer us, whether we’re looking for laughter and entertainment, something more calming and healing, or even something in between. There will definitely be a show that suits your taste and mood. And thanks to these wonderful variety shows that have been busy publishing episodes despite a pandemic, our 2020 got a little brighter!
So here are exclamations from some of the variety shows that kept us entertained this year (in no particular order):
“2 days & 1 night season 4”
After Season 3 ended abruptly for … * cough * reasons, it took about nine months for production to go through a major overhaul and start over with Season 4. With a brand new production manager and a brand new cast, one thing stays the same – the down-to-earth atmosphere of the show. Oh, and Kim Jong Min! Yes, keep it Kim Jong Min Around has become a tradition of the show and we can’t imagine “2 Days & 1 Night” without him. He’s the one who ushers in the new line-up every time, and this time it’s really quite a “new” line-up – DinDin, VIXX‘S Ravi, Kim Seon Ho, Moon Se Yoon, Yeon Jung Hoon – Most members don’t have much experience with variety. And it watches as they slowly get used to their roles and show more of themselves which is the most entertaining.
Watch a recent episode of “2 days & 1 night season 4” Here:
“House on Wheels”
Compared to previous years, 2020 hasn’t seen as much of the quiet, “healing” variety shows, likely due to COVID-19 restrictions. Fortunately, we still get such a gem in House of Wheels, a show where three men take their house on wheels and live outdoors for a day or two. These three men – Sung Dong Il, Kim Hee Won, and Yeo Jin Goo – share that warm chemistry, it’s just relaxing to see how you no longer have to adjust to find your way outdoors. In the first season (12 episodes long), the cast personally invited their good friends to join them. Many of them were actors who had worked with them on previous projects, including IU, Ha Ji Wonand the many daughters of Song Dong Il from thereply” Series.
We can’t talk about a variety show must-watch list and leave out “running man”, can we? This is undoubtedly one of the most famous Korean variety shows internationally, which is very popular for its easy to understand concepts and high entertainment level. Even in the tenth year it is still going strong and bringing laughter to our households every week. Despite the ongoing pandemic, the weekly episodes continue to give us the familiarity we so need in these uncertain times. In need of some memorable episode recommendations? Be sure to read this article.
Watch a recent episode of “Running Man” here:
“Home Alone”, also known as “I Live Alone”, is the observation show that continues to excite us by introducing us to the mysterious lives of celebrities. It’s always fascinating to see what celebrities do in their free time or how they stick to their work schedules. This year they have also invited a wide range of guests, from well-known stars like Yoo Ah In and Song Seung Heon, to idol members like EXO‘S Quay and Gugudan‘S Kim Sejeongand even Pro-Golfer Park Se Ri, so there is something for everyone. As a plus, Rainbow Corner members (meaning the permanent members) also change every few years so while you may be missing certain previous members, the show feels fresh and different.
Watch a recent episode of “Home Alone” here:
Yoo Jae Suk has had a very impressive vaudeville career and has been involved in not just one, but three vaudeville shows that have passed the 10-year milestone. And if you miss “Infinite Challenge”, its new “How Do You Play?” is of the same race (it also has the same production manager) as his job is to take on different challenges with different alter egos. He learned to play the harp and even made his debut as a trot singer, but the only challenge that was very exciting this year was to form a co-ed group in which he managed to play two of the greatest soloists in the world last decade to argue – Lee Hyori and rain. Together they formed the co-ed group SSAK3, which swept the charts with their fun summer singles, and from there the show even formed a spin-off group made up of women with fierce imagery. And thus Uhm Jung Hwa, Hyori, Jessi, and MAMAMOO‘S Hwasathe Refund Sisters were born!
Experience a recent episode of “How Do You Play?” Here:
“Master in the House” – which is shortly before its third anniversary – is a variety show about hours of life, which is bundled in a funny and easily digestible package. The show invites people from different industries (including entertainment, sports, business, etc.) and learns … everything they teach. Hearing about the experiences and struggles of these “masters” can be very touching and inspiring, and the show itself has a warm, laid-back atmosphere. At the beginning of this year we said goodbye to two OG actors Lee Sang Yoon and BTOB‘S Yook Sungjaeand greeted Kim and Dong Hyun ASTRO‘S Cha Eun Woo to form a new brotherhood of five.
Watch a recent episode of “Master in the House” here:
“New Journey to the West” Season 8
“New Journey to the West” is a variety show that makes you laugh again and again. The six performers, although all very different personalities, have great chemistry together and play out well. And regardless of whether they play against each other or against the production team, they always manage to make everything funny, wild and funny. The costumes are always the cherry on top! Lee Soo Geun’s Ghillie Disguise This Season? Insta classic!
Experience the fourth season of “New Journey to the West” here:
“Ask Us Anything” just celebrated its fifth anniversary and is still going strong. It’s the same school concept we’ve come to love, with lots of questions (and fun non-answers), quizzes, and games. Recently they also introduced an “After School Activities” segment where different performers take part in different activities. So far we have seen Kang Ho Dong and Super junior‘S Shindong (the classmates “Sunbae“) Learn dance choreography from Idols and Super Junior Kim Heechul and Min Kyung Hoon went to rappers to learn about hip hop.
Watch a recent episode of Ask Us Anything here:
“Weekly Idol” has gone through many host changes over the past few years, with the current iteration having an MC duo of Hwang Kwanghee and Super Junior Eunhyuk. Despite these changes, the heart of the show remains the same: it’s a show where idols become idols in the comfort of the familiar four white walls. While many other idol-centric shows have come and gone, this particular show is close to its tenth year of airing. This year they continue to bring large-caliber idol groups from the great Sunbae Groups like Super Junior and Coyoteto newbies like WEi and ENHYPEN.
Watch a recent episode of “Weekly Idol” here:
BONUS: “Go Seventeen”
Okay, I’m probably biased here, but “Going Seventeen” SEVENTEENThe weekly variety content is very entertaining, very well produced and just getting better a lot of the attention of non-karat (fandom name) and even non-K-pop fans. Lovingly, fans of the show (but not yet full-fledged karat) even gave themselves a fandom name: Cubics (as with synthesized diamonds).
With chaotic members (who sometimes forget they are singers and not comedians), witty directors and editors (who never miss a chance to roast the boys), and fun concepts (there’s even an episode that starts with the disclaimer that it’s a Doomed episode), you’ll never see Monday blues again! So watch “Going Seventeen” every Monday at 10:10 pm. KST, available individually Youtube and V Live Channels And if you need a recommendation on which episodes to check out, you can refer to this article.
Which variety show are you watching right now? And what is your weekly must? Share your recommendations with Soompiers in the comments section below!