For my final year-end list, I like to shine a spotlight on Korean variety — a vital component of K-pop’s appeal. As always, this countdown is very much my own opinion, and has a definite idol group bias. This is a K-pop blog, after all!
TXT – One Dream
5. STAR WARS / JBCHILD TOUR
What is this, you ask? Well, you know that my personal bias is going to influence this list a little. Star Wars, and its sequel JBChild Tour is a youtube-broadcast fan chat show hosted by JBJ95’s Kenta and Golden Child’s Jangjun and Jaehyun. Its budget looks to be about ten dollars per episode, but it’s the charm and chemistry of its hosts that makes this an endearing little underdog. It’s kind of like After School Club, except with a sense of conversational spontaneity and gawky “let’s put on a show!” energy.
4. ALL THE BUTLERS / MASTER IN THE HOUSE
Like last year, I still find this show to be very hit-or-miss. Unlike I Live Alone, it’s not a series I invest in each and every week. But, when All The Butlers is good, it’s great. Highlights this year were the JYP episodes, as well as the arcs with masters Yoo Seyoon, Kang Hyungwook, Yang Hee-eun, Park Jiwoo & J Black.
3. I LIVE ALONE
In a year that could have been a nightmare for the series, I Live Alone continued to be K-variety’s venerable mainstay. Though the show lost two of its central members in early spring, Park Na Rae took on the leadership role to brilliant effect. New members were brought in (thank god for Hwasa!), and the chemistry between the main cast only seemed to grow.
This concept could have gone sideways so easily. K-pop is such a competitive industry, and casting six of its top female acts to duke it out with one another might have only inflamed fan wars. But, Queendom quickly became more about sisterhood than competition, offering the chance for bonding and artistic growth, while bolstering each groups’ popularity in the process.
1. SUPER INTERN
For those who appreciate a behind-the-scenes look at the idol industry, it doesn’t get much better than Super Intern. This is essentially the Korean version of The Apprentice, with the always-entertaining Park Jinyoung at the helm. There were more than a few cameos by your favorite JYP idols, but this series shone a much greater spotlight on the wannabe interns and their attempts to please the man in charge and discover new ways to promote and cater to the agency’s diverse line-up of artists.