If you want some light-hearted fun or adrenaline-induced thrill, Korean variety shows in 2021 had a lot to offer. These shows are a delight for Korean entertainment lovers – everyone in the industry, comedians, actors, idols alike, partakes in these shows for a chaotic yet enjoyable experience.
Following that, 2021 has been a great year for Korean Variety! With new ingenious shows and the much-needed continuation of a few previous shows, this year has proved to be stellar, inventive, and intensely gripping for the viewers. From relishing in the calmness in Sea Of Hope to getting buzzed in the bedlam of New World, viewers had something to satisfy every craving.
So, let’s bring you a few favorites curated by the team of KHIGH. We had absolute blast while watching these. Here are some of the best Korean Variety shows of 2021 that we loved and hope you will too!
[The list is unranked in alphabetical order. This is a compilation based on the critiques of the Team KHIGH.]
Korean Variety Shows 2021 Korean Variety Shows 2021 Korean Variety Shows 2021 Korean Variety Shows 2021
Continuing the mystery of the past two seasons, the third season of NETFLIX’s original series, Busted brings the series to a lingering closure. The unlikely set of detectives carries on ahead to investigate a string of horrifying new cases to find the mastermind behind the untimely events. It had us on our toes each episode with anticipation yet gave us plenty to laugh about with its comical reliefs.
With the absence of Ahn Jae-Wook and Lee Kwang-Soo returning for this last season, the star-studded cast, Yoo Jae-Suk, Park Min-Young, EXO’s Sehun, Kim Se-Jeong, Kim Jong-Min, and Lee Seung-Gi, work together to solve the unjumbled pieces of the mystery that had been lingering for the past two seasons.
Along with the recurring supporting cast, fresh new faces also make a cameo, playing an important role for the plot and making the show more special, like EXO’s Suho, Im Soo-Hyang, Kim Ki-Doo, Kim Hye-Yoon, Kim Il-Jung, Kim San-Ho, Ahn Bo-Hyun and more!
Girls High School Investigation Class
TVING‘s Girls High School Investigation Class portrays an all-girls high school in a new, mystified light. A group of five girls set forth to uncover thrilling secrets and the reasons behind suspicious events happening in their school. In a mystery premise, the show offers you a tinge of humor, heaps of adventure, and the needed kick of the thrill all happening in a school.
The all-women cast comprises famous TV personalities playing a high school character. Jang Do-Yeon, Jae Jae, Bibi, I*ZONE‘s Choi Yena, and Park Ji-Yoon join forces to unleash the culprit behind the suspenseful activities happening around their school all while captivating the viewers with their exceptional acting, witty comforts, and the show’s meticulous puzzles.
Providing a safe, happy place in Jeju-do to the couples from daily walks of life, who got married in the unfortunate times of COVID 19, tvN‘s Honeymoon Tavern aims to give its guests an experience they’ll never forget. To achieve their aim, they bring in celebrities who run the place like their own, acting as tour guides, cooking delicious delicacies, and taking care of the housekeeping.
Helping each other in running the place without a hitch is an amazing cast that consists of Tak Jae-Hoon, Kim Hee-Sun, Yoo Teo, Moon Se-Yoon, and EXO‘s Kai. Reminding us to live our life to the fullest even in the distressing days of the pandemic, the show is a wholesome package that celebrates food, love, laughter, and life itself.
Kick A Goal
After the popularity of the first season, SBS’ Kick A Goal returned for a new one in the same year, this time with new faces. Passionate for women’s soccer, celebrities and non-celebs form teams according to their professions and fight it out on the field. With little to no experience, they receive coaching from Korean soccer legends to grow into fierce players. So, if you’re a sports fanatic or are looking for a show where emotions to achieve run high, then this show might just be for you!
More celebrities have joined in for this season, in various teams where they play alongside and against more non-celebrities. Along with Lee Soo-Geun as the host, celebs like Han Chae-Ah, Ahn Young-Mi, Kim Min-Kyung, Park Sun-Young, Cheetah, Irene Kim, Lee Mi-Do, Kim Jae-Hwa, MAMAMOO’s Moonbyul, S.E.S’ Bada, Song So-Hee, and Purplow’s Bibi, try their soccer skills out, leaving some wholesome moments on camera.
NETFLIX’s New World gives a glimpse into the utopian world of your dreams but there lies a catch. Stuck on an island that fits their preferences to a T, the cast has to fulfill daily quests, forming necessary alliances to win and get the virtual currency that’ll make their stay on the island easier. Six days later, they can turn their virtual balance into real currency as they return to reality. An interesting mixture of fantasy and reality, and the members betraying each other at every turn is what makes this show inviting and intriguing.
Fan favorites come together to get a taste of their life on this island – Lee Seung-Gi, Sechs Kies’ Eun Ji-Won, Super Junior’s Heechul, EXO’s Kai, Park Na-Rae, and Jo Bo-Ah become the residents of the island for a week where they compete with each other to get the prize money, in turn, giving us some wholesome funny and brain-picking moments to binge on.
Sea Of Hope
If the clouds of mystery or brain-picking aren’t your cup of tea, then you might want to check out JTBC’s Sea Of Hope. Here, you can unwind on a seaside bar with breath-taking views with your favorite celebrities where they host guests, charming them with delicacies and music.
The cast takes on dynamic roles, unlike their usual artistic jobs, bringing new light to their already appealing personas. Yoon Jong-Shin becomes the manager of the place. Lee Ji-Ah takes on the role of the head chef and assisting her is SHINee’s Onew. Lee Dong-Wook serves as head bartender, and helping him is AKMU’s Suhyun. Kim Go-Eun is the server-cum-ocean diver. All six members entertain the viewers each episode, singing delightful songs, actors showing their unexpected pizzazz.
The place also hires part-timer musicians, among whom are BLACKPINK’s Rosé, 10cm. Such a calm ambiance is enough to let go of your daily worries. By the twelfth episode, this show might just become your go-to happy place!
Six Sense 2
Back for a new second season, tvN’s Six Sense pursues the question of what’s “real” and what’s “made up”. From the unique concept that had us thinking twice with every new setup, the crew took us to, to the amazing chemistry between the cast, the show had us reeling in for more, making us laugh every moment!
Lee Sang-Yeob joins in as the permanent cast that already included TV favorites, Yoo Jae-Suk, Oh Na-Ra, Jeon So-Min, Jessi, and, LovelyZ’s Mijoo. They divide into two teams, work the cogs of their brains together to figure out the reality, altogether giving us viewers, the perfect binge-worthy show. Viewers couldn’t get over the dynamics between Jessi and Sang-Yeob which became the talk of the town!
The show also brought in guests who matched the lively energy of the cast, like, SHINee’s Key, EXO’s Kai, Ha Seok Jin, 2PM’s Junho, MAMAMOO’s Solar, Nam Ji-Hyun, and others!
The Game Caterers
Through tvN‘s The Game Caterers, we follow variety show producer Na Yong-Seok who takes us to a new venue in each new episode. The purpose of his visits – make the people he is visiting play the infamous games that we’ve been seeing in the variety shows. What started as a way to document his work, turned into a variety show of its own, echoing with laughter from your favorite celebrities.
In this show, we go the other way round to see how these games are planned and see unfiltered reactions of the people playing them for the first time. PD Na Yong-Seok visits the cast of the K-Drama, Hospital Playlist, the artists under the Antenna Music, his fellow producers at tvN, famous webtoon artists and YouTubers, BTS, and actors and actresses under BH Entertainment. If you want some carefree, foolish laughs, this show is for you!
The Great Escape 4
Running since 2018, the fourth season of tvN‘s fictional variety, The Great Escape, features its cast members in a fictional escape room bringing thrill and exhilaration to your home screens. The cast has to examine an extensive secret room they are locked in to escape it, together with the help of the clues. Each episode brings out a different theme, with a fictitious context that gets revealed through the hints. In case of failure, the member gets eliminated.
Our favorite comedians and variety stars mingle the comedy into the eerie scenes. Kang Do-Hong, Kim Jong-Min, Kim Dong-Hyun, Super Junior‘s Shindong, Yoo Byung-Jae, and Block B‘s P.O., get roped in this enigmatic atmosphere where they have to play with their wits and failure to do so could even get their fictional character killed.
The latest season of tvN’s Youn’s Kitchen, renamed as Youn’s Stay, takes us to the lush countryside of South Korea, unlike the previous seasons that had us catering in the foreign lands. This time, the cast moves to Jeollanam-do, running a traditional hanok guesthouse for the most authentic experience. The foreigners visiting Korea could enjoy the services offered by the diligent celebrity staff.
The cast line-up saw a few changes but the show remains just as delightful. Youn Yuh-Jung runs the homey establishment as the CEO and Lee Soo-Jin assists her. Jung Yu-Mi works as the dedicated head chef while being assisted by Park Seo-Joon, while Choi Woo-Shik interns at the place. Together, these five create happy, fun, and cozy moments with warm hospitality and appetizing food for the guests as well as the viewers at home.