Movies & TV Shows

15 Best Korean Reality TV Shows & Variety Shows

Those needing a break from all the tantalizing K-dramas out there today will find pleasure in watching Korean reality and variety shows. The genre of television is a major hit in Korea and has fans around the world 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 displays of comedy. 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 that, there are also a handful of Korean reality and variety shows that 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 just gets bigger and bigger. 

Great Escape (2018)

Promotional Image For The Show Great Escape

In some ways, the Korean reality show Great Escape is like the American show The Floor is Lava, as players need also need to navigate escape rooms to win a cash prize. But in Great Escape, contestants need to be smart and strategic as they’ll need to make their way through mazes without being caught by the guards.

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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 their way out of a haunted mansion or run for their lives in a zombie apocalypse.

Single’s Inferno (2021)

Available to stream on Netflix

Cast Members of the show Single's Inferno

Single’s Inferno is a must-watch reality dating show on Netflix that puts nine single people on an island, all of whom are trying to find their true love. The island the singles are on has limited amenities, with no air conditioning and plumbing in sight.

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)

A still from the show BTS Bon Voyage

BTS is Korea’s most popular boy group. Aside from their catchy songs and attractive members, BTS has also been able to capture the hearts of their fans thanks to their reality show BTS: Bon Voyage.

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The reality show follows the boys as they travel around the world. It also brings the band closer to their fans, as the show gives a sneak peek into the exciting world of BTS. To add, BTS: Bon Voyage also shows the BTS boys doing normal activities, such as playing games and hanging out together.

We Got Married (2008)

Available to watch on Viki

A still from the show We Got Married

Fans of K-dramas and Korean idols should check out the reality show We Got Married. In the show, celebrities are paired together and need to pretend as if they were married. We Got Married was a hit in Korea as it showed a different side of Korean celebrities and idols.

It also often featured on-screen couples from different K-dramas. While the show is fun for those familiar with the participants, viewers should remember that the couples the show features are in a fake marriage and shouldn’t get too invested.

2 Days 1 Night (2007)

Available to watch on Viki

Cast Members of the Show 2 Days and 1 night

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. What’s more, its fun travel and food-centric format is also one of the main reasons why the show is still on the air today.

Master In The House (2017)

Available to watch on Viki

Cha Eun-Woo and Masters in the House cast smiling

Masters in the House is an ongoing variety/reality show that’s a major hit amongst 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 main 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 profession 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

Boss in the Mirro cast sitting at show panels

Boss in the Mirror has gained more notoriety amongst fans for its inclusion of a certain 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.

The show’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 to be too extreme.

Knowing Bros (Ask Us Anything) (2015)

Available to watch on Viki.

Super M in school uniforms in Knowing Bros

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 amongst K-Pop fans, as idols often appear as guest stars. The show has a fun and quirky setup, as the show’s main cast members dress like high school students in a classroom setting.

The guest stars act as transfer students for the episode and take part in various games and activities that elicit laughs. The show gained notoriety amongst 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

Yeongja holding frying pan in Stars Top Recipe At Fun-Staurant poster

Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant has gained notoriety as a talk show, reality, and a cooking show, all in one. The show’s concept revolves around guest celebrities battling to see whose recipe reigns supreme. Every new segment has a certain theme that guests have 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. Fans enjoy the show’s documentary style, as they follow the process of the guest star’s and main cast’s journey of creating their new dish.

Law Of The Jungle (2011)

Available to watch on Viki

Kim Byung-Man and other celebrity guest in Law of the Jungle poster

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 a true test of surviving in the wild. The show was rebooted in 2020 to only include remote areas within Korea to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Busted! (2018)

Available to stream on Netflix

Yoo Jae-Suk and Busted! cast in formal attire in Netflix poster

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 premise of the show involves seven celebrity guests who were implanted with a DNA chip from famous detectives in history.

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The seven celebrities are part of an operation called 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

My Little Old Boy is a real treat and blends comedy with the concept of being judged by your 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 special 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

Park Na-Rae and Home Alone cast in main show office

Home Alone or I Live Alone is a long-running reality/talk show that debuted in 2013. No, the show has nothing to do with the acclaimed Christmas movie. Instead, its concept came about due to the 5 million single people living in South Korea. The show is praised for its unscripted dialogue, interactions, and documentary style.

Home Alone focuses on the single lives of their guest celebrities. Audiences get to see see the nitty-gritty of their lives at home, from the moment they wake up to the moment the day ends. This leads to many comical bed-heads and questionable eating habits.

Weekly Idol (2011)

Available to watch on Viki

Got7 K-Pop group on Weekly Idol

Weekly Idol is inarguably the most well-known variety show amongst K-Pop fans, as its main 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 not only an interview but a fun game show.

The hosts put the idols through various fun activities, like Random Dance Play, 99 Seconds Challenge or they even must fit the choreography from one song into another. Audiences have a good laugh as the idols must try and succeed at their given tasks. The show also includes the idols performing their latest hit.

The Return Of Superman (2013)

Available to watch on Viki

The Return of Superman cast members Bentley as a baby and William

The Return of Superman is the most-watched reality show because of its adorable main cast. The concept of the show won over audiences’ hearts, as celebrity dads are tasked with taking care of 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, as well as 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 actually seen these children grow up and even leave the show.

NEXT: New Netflix K-Dramas We’re Excited For In 2022

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