Drama

Calming and Healing Korean Variety Shows

Please note that this is not a guide to the best Korean variety shows; it is a guide to some of the calming and healing ones.


Categories based on Tags:

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Shows

Travel

Traveler

Trans-Siberian Pathfinders

Over Flower Series

House on Wheels

Food

Coffee Friends
Kang’s Kitchen
Youn’s Kitchen and Youn’s Stay
Unexpected Business

Hospitality

Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast
Korean Hostel in Spain

Miscellaneous

Begin Again
Because I Want To Talk
Funding Together
Sea of Hope
At Work Today

Travel

Traveler Season 1

Traveler Season 2

The first season of one of my favorite shows featured Ryu Jun Yeol and Lee Je Hoon. This season was filmed in Cuba. This show inspires you to solo travel and backpack and exposes you to the beautiful cities, landscapes, and culture of Cuba.
The second season featured Ahn Jae Hong, Kang Ha Neul, and Ong Seong Wu, as they backpacked through Argentina. They experience Argentina’s contrasting city and landscapes and enjoy the best Argentinian food and hospitality.

Trans-Siberian Pathfinders

This show features Lee Sun Gyun, Kim Nam Gil, Lee Sang Yeob, Kim Min Sik, and Go Kyu Pil. They travel the Trans-Siberian Railway, traveling through the seldom broadcast Russian landscapes. Since this group of actors is close friends in real life, it was a fun watch with their fun chemistry and beautiful Russian landscapes.

Over Flower Series

The Over Flower series is a popular travel variety show series produced by PD Na Young Seok, with fresh concepts and beautiful locations.

Grandpas Over Flowers

Sisters Over Flowers

Youth Over Flowers

This was the first of the Over Flower Series, featuring some of the senior-most and most respected veteran actors in South Korea. This show filmed these “grandpas” on their travels to beautiful foreign cities, accompanied by a “porter”, Lee Seo Jin.
This series has 5 seasons, I have linked season 1 above.
This was the second of the Over Flower Series, featuring some of the popular and respected actresses, the “sisters”, including the veteran actress, Youn Yuh Jung, with their “porter” Lee Seung Gi. This had only one season, filmed in Croatia.

This show also inspired Chinese variety show remakes that were quite popular in China.

This was the third of the Over Flower series featuring various combinations of singers and actors as they traveled to various destinations while being “kidnapped” by the production crew, thereby leaving them with no luggage and only essential items.

The poster above is of my favorite season, featuring the actors from Reply 1988.

House on Wheels

In this show, the cast travels in their house on wheels to picturesque locations in South Korea, and spends their 2 days, 1 night with special guest(s), while eating delicious local cuisine.

At the time of writing this article, the third season was also airing.

Season 1

Season 2

The first season featured cast members Sung Dong Il, Kim Hee Won, and Yeo Jin Goo, with various guests like Ra Mi Ran, Lee Hye Ri, Gong Hyo Jin, Lee Sung Kyung, IU, P.O, and Jung Eun Ji, among others.

The second installation featured Sung Dong Il, Kim Hee Won, and Lim Si Wan. This season also had an amazing cast of guests like Bae Doo Na, Oh Na Ra, Jeon Hye Jin, Im Yoon Ah, and Yeo Jin Goo.

Food

(DISCLAIMER: DO NOT WATCH THESE ON EMPTY STOMACHS!)

Coffee Friends

Coffee Friends features Yoo Yeon Seok and Son Ho Jun as they run a cafe in Jeju Island on a tangerine farm, with all the collection donated to charity. This show was inspired by their Coffee Friends donation project in 2018. With Choi Ji Woo and Yang Se Jeong as their trustworthy staff, along with a variety of “part-timers”. These are no ordinary part-timers, they are some of the famous personalities like Jo Jae Yoon, U-Know, Baek Jong Won, and Nam Joo Hyuk.
This show is as healing and calming as you could imagine, with a beautiful location along with delicious food and beverages prepared by Yoo and Son, who have food and barista licenses. This show is a treat for all the senses.

Kang’s Kitchen

This is series produced as a spin-off of the popular New Journey To The West, produced by PD Na Young Seok. There are 3 seasons, depicting the cast of NJTTW operating restaurants of different cuisines. This series is equal parts delicious looking and hilarious.

Season 1

The first season is filmed in Jeju-do. In this season, the cast tries their hand at cooking pork cutlets.

Season 2

This season follows the cast to Gyeong-ju as they attempt to sell Korean snacks and desserts.

Season 3

The third season starts immediately after the second season, with a surprise, featuring Italian food.

Youn’s Kitchen and Youn’s Stay

This was another one of PD Na’s amazing shows. This show featured veteran actress Youn Yuh Jung running a Korean restaurant in a foreign country, accompanied by her trusted and amazing team.

Youn’s Kitchen S1

Youn’s Kitchen S2

Youn’s Stay

In the first season, the cast opened up a restaurant in Bali, Indonesia. Youn Yuh Jung, Jung Yu-Mi, and  Lee Seo Jin manned the kitchen and bar, while veteran actor Shin Goo was a “part-timer” and server.
In the second season, the kitchen and bar teams remained the same, while the part-timer was Park Seo Joon, who flexed his Spanish in Spain, as the team served customers traditional Korean food.
Filmed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this was the third season but with a different concept. Many foreigners in South Korea were unable to enjoy Korean food and culture. With Choi Woo Shik as the part-timer, the team served their customers with Korean hospitality and food.

Unexpected Business

Unexpected Business features variety show veteran Cha Tae Hyun and variety show rookie Jo In Sung and depicts how this duo runs a small convenience store in a countryside town.
With famous Korean actors as guest part-timers each week, this show chronicles the life of a small store in a town where everybody knows everybody.
While this show is not a typical food variety show, it shows similar aspects of Korean hospitality.

Hospitality

Lee Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast

In this show, Lee Hyori, former leader of one of K-Pop’s first girl groups Fin K.L and successful soloist, with her husband Lee Sang Soon, well-known guitarist, opens up her Jeju Island home to people like a bed and breakfast.

Different from her diva days, this iconic Korean singer-dancer runs this bed and breakfast with her husband with a part-timer for two successful seasons.

Season 1

Season 2

In the pilot season, Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast “hired” IU, Korea’s leading soloist, as their part-timer.
Offering yoga classes as well as driver services, Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast will make you want to escape to a small island pension for a staycation.
The second installation invited Girls Generation’s center, Yoon Ah, as their part-timer, along with famous actor Park Bo Gum as their guest part-timer. With the pets of the establishment, both part-timers were shown equal love as popular stars of South Korea.

Korean Hostel in Spain

Korean Hostel in Spain is another PD Na variety show, featuring the 3 Meals a Day cast, Cha Seung Won, You Hae Jin, and Bae Jung Nam.
This show chronicles the cast’s experience as they run an alberge, or an inexpensive hostel that provides affordable meals and boarding along the 800 km Santiago pilgrimage trail in Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain.
The beautiful scenery of Spain along with the stories of the travelers makes for a very pleasant show that can be enjoyed on any day, without any worry.

Miscellaneous

Begin Again

This is one of the most famous music reality shows in South Korea.

It is based on a busking theme, where famous and highly respected South Korean musicians travel to foreign locations where they busk for strangers who don’t recognise them. This show is a wonderful representation of music having no linguistic bounds.

Watching this show is as healing as it can be, as we watch these musicians perform for beautiful crowds in beautiful locations.

Begin Again S1

Begin Again S2

Begin Again S3

The pilot season of the series started off featuring well-loved Korean musicians, Yoo Hee Yeol of TOY, Yoon Do Hyun, the lead singer of the legendary Korean rock band YB, Lee So Ra, the famous Korean soloist, and comedian Noh Hong Chul (collectively dubbed as Begin Use), as they traveled and busked in foreign locations.

The second season of this hit Korean music reality show featured Team Kim Yoon Ah, consisting of Kim Yoon Ah and Lee Sun Kyu of Jaurim, Yoon Gun, Roy Kim, and an appearance by Jeong Se Woon, as well as the Family  Band, consisting of Lena Park, Hareem, Henry, and Lee Soo Hyun (AKMU).

The third and arguably the most famous season of Begin Again featured a stellar collection of the finest Korean musicians, the two teams being the Family Band and the Dick2JukPaulTaeng.
They traveled through European cities, busking and playing music for strangers.

Begin Again S4

Begin Again Reunion

Also known as Begin Again Korea, this season was filmed entirely in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic due to travel restrictions, and its main aim was to go on a busking trip throughout South Korea and comfort Korean citizens during the pandemic.
The cast featured a changing cast of Lee So Ra, Hareem, Henry Lau, Lee Soo Hyun (AKMU), Jukjae, Crush, Jung Seung Hwan, Lee Hi, and Sohyang. 
This is a special season where musicians that appeared in previous seasons of the show came together for the year end. The cast included Yoon Do Hyun, Lim Heon Il, Paul Kim, Henry, Lee Hi, and Lee Soo Hyun (AKMU).

Begin Again Open Mic

This is the online version of the show and has been launched on their YouTube channel.

Because I Want To Talk

Because I Want To Talk is a talk show hosted by Lee Dong Wook, with comedian Jang Do Yeon and announcer Jo Jung Shik.
He invited a variety of guests on his show like actor and Lee’s Goblin co-star  Gong Yoo, Go player Lee Se Dol, comedian Lee Soo Geun, and many more. This show was not broadcast live but was filmed partially with a live audience and without one during the pandemic.
This show was created to celebrate his 20th anniversary since debut.

Sea of Hope

Sea of Hope combines food, music, a beautiful scenery and a seaside bar with a side of talented musicians and Korean celebrities,
Featuring actress Lee Ji Ah, actor Lee Dong Wook, actress Kim Go Eun, SHINee’s Onew, and AKMU’s Lee Soo Hyun as the employees along with musician Yoon Jong Shin as the general manager of the seaside bar, this show is a delight for the eyes and ears with its amazing scenery and great music.

At Work Today

At Work Today, hosted by Kim Gu Ra, Hwang Kwanghee and Park Sun Young, explores the daily life of people in a variety of profession through a workers’ vlog and simply depicts the lives of all the different jobs in the world.

With this, we come to the end of this list. Though I have not added all the shows, do comment below variety shows with similar vibes.

Thank you for reading this article!


Edited by: devitto (1st editor)

music
korean
food
variety shows
healing
travel
hospitality
calm

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