2018 is coming to end so I decided to make a list of my favorite variety shows of 2018 that lack the exposure to the foreign audience. You may have not heard about these shows maybe because no English subtitles are available or maybe the lack of a big name in the cast. I have excluded popular shows like Running Man, 1N2D, NJTTW, also food shows are excluded (I am vegetarian hence I don’t watch these shows). As I didn’t watch each and every variety show that aired in 2018 (I tried my best) it is possible I may have missed few that deserves the place in the list. In that case, I would love to know your choices and your thought on the list. Without any more delay let me start the list.
Foreigner (대한 외국인)
Broadcast Network: MBC Every1
First on the list is my current favorite show, Foreigner. As the name suggests the show is about the foreigners living in South Korea. This is a quiz show between two teams (foreigner and South Korea team) about South Korea. Foreigner team consists of 10 people who have a different amount of knowledge about South Korea. Every week 5 Korean Stars try to beat these foreigners who know about Korea more than the Koreans. It is really funny to watch Seoul University graduates getting eliminated by a couple of kids or the lovely Japanese girl who has been living in Korea only for a few years. The show is hosted by MC Kim Yong Man, permanent members of SK team are Park Myung Soo and young model Han Hyun Min. The Foreigner team includes Sam Ochiri (Ghanaian Park Myung Soo) and Lucky (India), you may remember them from Abnormal Summit. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do.
Omniscient Interferring View / The Managers (전지적 참견 시점)
Broadcast Network: MBC
I was in two minds about this one but I am still including it after I saw that many people didn’t know about it (on Reddit). Especially before the appearance of Min Ho and Jin Woo of WINNER. This show is about the life of stars through the eyes of their manager. The cast includes Jun Hyun Moo, Lee Young Ja, Yoo Byung Jae, Park Sung Kwang and others (and their managers). This show is really funny and we see the different sides of the stars. This show made Park Sung Kwang and Song Manager really popular, they even shot a CF together. I highly recommend this show to you guys and the best thing is every episode is available with English subtitles. Recaps.
Let Me Stay For One Night (하룻밤만 재워줘)
Broadcast Network: KBS2
My favorite star Kim Jong Min (Koyote, 1N2D) was part of this show so there was no way I was not going to include it in any kind of best list. In the show, Kim Jong-min and Lee Sang-min (Knowing Bros) travel around the world couch surfing, they ask strangers to let them spend a night at their house. These are joined by various special guests in their journey to the foreign land. During the stay, they learn about different cultures and share Korean traditions. It has a total of 16 episodes, I hope it comes back with another season next year. It is available on KBS World Youtube channel with eng subtitles.
Video Star (비디오스타)
Broadcast Network: MBC PLUS
The spin-off of another famous MBC talk show Radio Star. The concept is quite similar to the radio star, the difference is the cast. The show’s guests are lacking in popularity when compared to its big brother’s guests but the quality of the show matches to RS. The show is hosted by Park So-Hyun, Kim Sook, Park Na-Rae and Sunny (SNSD), the chemistry between the females is what makes the show really enjoyable. It has been airing since 2016 and hasn’t dropped in quality, the unavailability of English subtitles could be an issue for some.
Love Catcher (러브캐처)
Broadcast Network: Mnet
If you guys have watched and enjoyed Heart Signal then you are going to love this one as well. The concept of the show is similar to Heart Signal, 10 strangers (5 men and 5 women) living together for a month in the same house under the watch of panelists, mostly love experts, who observed and commented on the developments of romantic relationships in the house in a separate studio. The difference here is that the participant chose money or love before entering the house. Love catchers (who choose love), in the end, if their chosen partner is a love catcher as well they become a couple. Whereas, if their partner is a money catcher, the money catcher will receive $50,000. If both partners are Money catchers then both of them have to leave empty-handed. The climax at the end is similar to that of The Usual Suspects. Only 8 episodes long so quite binge-worthy.
Taste of Dating (연애의맛)
Broadcast Network: TV Chosun
Another Kim Jong Min show (I am totally biased) for you guys to enjoy. This show helped him top the brand reputation rankings for variety stars for December (source). It is another dating show about celebrities who have not dated for a long time. The other celebrities on the show are Lee Pil-Mo, Kim Jeong-Hoon, and Koo Joon-Yeop. Lee Pil-Mo recently proposed to his partner and there is news of them getting married in May next year. This gives you an idea about the real emotions that are involved in the show. Kim Jong-Min and Mina (his partner) are getting a lot of attention from the public and I am hoping to hear good news from him soon. Sadly no English subtitles for this show as well except the Jong-Min X Mina parts.
In-Laws In Practice (아찔한 사돈 연습)
Broadcast Network: tvN
A “spin-off” programme to the concept of We Got Married. The difference here is that their dates will be observed by the hosts of the show and the parents of the celebrities. The hosts of the show are Kim Gu-Ra, No Sa-Yeon and Seo Min-Jung (High Kick). Nam Tae-Hyun (ex-Winner) is a couple with comedian Jang Do-Yeon and they look so cute together. I mostly watch the show because of them, another couple that I like is Lovelyz’s Mi-Joo and actor/comedian Kwon Hyuk-Soo. Few of the earlier episodes are subtitled completely so check them out.
Comedy Big League (코미디빅리그)
Broadcast Network: tvN
This is the best skit comedy show right now, Gag Concert has been quite disappointing this year. Whereas, CML has really picked up its game. Park Na-Rae, Jang Do-Yeon, Yang Brothers and a lot of other great comedian bring huge laughter week after week. It is a shame that it doesn’t get subbed otherwise a lot more people will be able to enjoy it just like me. If you guys enjoyed Gag Concert then this show is a must watch because this year it has been far better then the Gag Concert.
So, guys, this was my list of Best Korean Variety Shows of 2018 that you may have not heard about. Let me know if you agree with the list or I am missing something, in the comments.