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8 Must-Watch Korean Variety Shows That Will Test Your Brain Muscles

These shows will make you think while also having fun!
Korean variety shows that involve games
PHOTO: Instagram/

There’s always something new and interesting to watch when it comes to Korean variety! From talent and survival shows to home improvement and cooking shows, they’ve got it all.

In the mood for both entertainment and mental stimulation for your next marathon? Follow along with these fun variety shows, and see if you can solve everything before the cast does!

1. The Great Escape (2018-present)

Who’s in it: Kang Ho Dong, Kim Jong Min, Shindong (Super Junior), Yoo Byung Jae, Kim Dong Hyun, P.O (Block B)

Where to watch it: Season 4 on Viu

This hilarious show is already on its fourth season and the production value just keeps going up! In each episode, the cast members must escape from their current location by gathering clues, solving puzzles, and talking to “characters.” The challenge gets finished when all members and any affected characters escape. Sometimes, members can fail and end up leaving the set to go home. The show features a variety of locations and themes like prisons, school, and even an abandoned hospital. The newest season is ongoing with the first ep having them travel back in time.

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2. Brainiacs Wanted (2015-2020)

Who’s in it: Jun Hyun Moo, Kim Ji Seok, Lee Jang Won, Ha Seok Jin, Joo Woo Jae, DDotty

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Where to watch it: 2019-2020 on Viu

In this show, the cast competes to answer questions about different topics every episode. They could be about math, logic, foreign languages—anything. Back in its early days, BTS’ RM was in the cast. Eps also usually featured a guest from idols to actors to comedians. The show later switched formats and became centered on finding brainiacs all over South Korea. The cast gets divided into two teams, and once they recruit their respective brainiacs, they compete to solve problems.  

3. I Can See Your Voice (2015-2021)

Who’s in it: Leeteuk (Super Junior), Yoo Se Yoon, Kim Jong Kook

Where to watch it: Seasons 7 and 8 on Viu

Guest singers have to determine which of the contestants are good and bad singers, eliminating bad singers every round. By the end of each ep, the guests will select their final choice and perform a duet with them. If the contestant is a good singer, they get a duet with the guest artist as a prize. If the contestant is a bad singer, they win prize money.

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4. Busted! (2018-2021)

Who’s in it: Yoo Jae Suk, Ahn Jae Wook, Kim Jong Min, Park Min Young, Oh Sehun, Kim Sejeong, Lee Seung Gi (seasons 2 and 3), Lee Kwang Soo (season 1 and 3)

Where to watch it: Netflix

If you love solving mysteries, this one’s for you! A group of private detectives goes around cracking cases from simple theft to grisly murders. Aside from the episodic mysteries, the show has an overarching big case happening each season, and the twists are totally unexpected! Each ep features cameos from other actors and actresses like Yoo Yeon Seok, Kim Min Jae, and Jin Se Yeon. The cast also play fun games to get access to more clues. We’ve got a lot of variety veterans on the show, so it’s always entertaining to watch them enjoy their screen time together.

5. Problem Child In House (2018-present)

Who’s in it: Kim Yong Man, Song Eun Yi, Kim Sook, Jung Hyung Don, Min Kyung Hoon

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Where to watch it: 2019-present on Viu

Try this if you love trivia games. The cast gathers with guests every week to answer general knowledge questions, stuff like good questions to ask during an interview or the one question a robot can’t answer. You’ll laugh at the different approaches the cast members have when it comes to answering questions—and marvel at how smart they can be! The guests can also be super funny (make sure to watch the eps with girl group Mamamoo and variety star Seo Jong Hoon).

6. Mafia Game In Prison (2019)

Who’s in it: Lee Soo Geun, Jung Hyung Don, Kim Jong Min, Hwang Je Sung, Lee Sang Yeob, Jang Do Yeon, JB (GOT7), Seungkwan (SEVENTEEN), Yena (IZ*ONE), Han Bo Reum

Where to watch it: Viu

Cast members play a round of Mafia game in a prison set up every episode. The “prisoners” play as either model prisoners or mafia members in each ep. Everyone votes for the person they think is a mafia member each round. If at least one mafia member survives by the end of all the rounds, they win. Otherwise, the model prisoners do. It’s so fun to watch the cast trying to fool one another!

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7. High School Mystery Club (2020)

Who’s in it: Jang Do Yeon, Jae Jae, Bibi, Yena (IZ*ONE), Park Ji Yoon

Where to watch it: Viu

In this mystery series, the cast members enter fictional Saera Girls’ High School and start looking into weird events happening. They solve puzzles and mind games every episode while uncovering a bigger plot. Be ready for all sorts of conspiracies and even threats of ghosts. We love the girls’ chemistry, and we found a gem in singer Bibi and her cool and straightforward personality! The show got good ratings and will have a second season.

8. Sixth Sense (2020-present)

Who’s in it: Yoo Jae Suk, Oh Nara, Jeon So Min, Jessi, Mijoo (Lovelyz), Lee Sang Yeob (season 2)

Where to watch it: Viu

This show takes fooling its cast to the umpteenth level! In each ep, they have to guess which of the three places being featured is fake. It could be a bunch of restaurants with unbelievably low or high prices, super cool workplaces, or completely unique exercise regimens. Cast members who guess correctly get some gold as a prize. You’ll be surprised at the lengths the staff go to when it comes to the scale of their fake locations. We also love the chemistry of the almost all-female cast. They act like long-lost sisters on a trip with an exhausted host Jae Suk acting as chaperone.

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