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Favorite Korean Variety Shows With KPOP Idols

There’s something about Korean variety shows that can make a relatively unknown idol into a star. On another hand, it has also made somewhat untouchable stars into more grounded people by seeing them outside of their element.

Now, this might be a little hard to showcase since a lot of videos out there are not official or full episodes, but you’ll get the jist. Comment below if you need help with finding links to shows.

Let’s Go! Dream Team Season 2
Sports variety
Broadcast network: KBS
Broadcast period: September 2009 – present
How to watch: Let’s Go! Dream Team on YouTube.

Probably out of all the variety shows, Let’s Go! Dream Team Season 2 has been the most consistent at bringing idols into the living room of Korean households. KPOP fans fondly remember SHINee‘s Minho being a breakout star on the show with his competitive nature and high scoring marks. There has even been relatively unknown idols (nugus*) make a splash on the show. For some, this might be a desperate move for the idols to get some work or airtime, but sometimes one makes a splash and it can mean everything.

Three Meals A Day
Genre: Cooking variety
Broadcast network: tvN
Broadcast period: October 2014 – September 2015 (future season TBD)
How to watch – not available officially online.

Who would have thought that the legendary Na PD (producer/director Na Young-seok) would take a basic format and have it become a hit? He took habitually sour grapes actor Lee Seo-jin and humble idol Ok Taecyeon from 2PM and made one of the sweetest bromances on TV. Add in celebrity friends and foraging food challenges and with a little (and a lot of) patience, 3MAD was variety gold. Not too mention all the fun little love lines and baby animals. Yes, Na PD used baby animals and I loved it all.

Running Man
Genre: Competition variety
Broadcast network: KBS
Broadcast period: July 2010 – present
How to watch: Running Man: The Early Years Running Man on DRAMAFEVER.

Some of the best episodes surround idols. My personal favorites start from the very first one with Lee Hyori to the infamous drawing challenge with TVXQ to the Busan F4 (ep. 127, clip above) with Simon D, Beast’s Kikwang, CNBLUE’s Yonghwa & JongHyun. The series is the longest running variety show on KBS’s Good Sunday programming schedule. Not an easy feat when some variety shows barely make it past 6 months. It’s still good today, but I feel like it is in need of bringing back some old blood to revive it to it’s glory days. We will see. Their current PD is set to leave the show soon, so that might bring some change. I totally welcome it if it includes Yonghwa and 2PM’s Nichkhun.

Any KPOP variety episodes you like? Tell me about it below or tweet @cherylfornia

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1. p.noun; Korean for the word “who;” as in “what person(s)”
2. adj; phrase coined by international fandom (namely the livejournal community Omona They Didn’t) to refer to groups that, when their names are mentioned, causes one to reply with “who?” due to their lack of popularity and failure to gain relevance. [Kpop Dictionary]

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