When I first arrived in Korea, I wanted to learn the language enough to be able to make my way around with relative ease. Turns out that one of the best things you can do for yourself to quickly learn the language when living in another country is to watch their TV shows. I started watching Gag Concert and within 6 months, I had a greater listening ability and more general enjoyment of the culture than some of my friends who’d lived here for years.
I don’t currently own a TV, but luckily enough, most of the quality TV programs are on YouTube, and most of the “Entertainment” programs have Korean subtitles (for comedic emphasis I suppose) that can help you you improve your reading as they speak. Below are some of my personal favorite TV shows as well as links to their broadcasting station’s channels on YouTube.
1박 2일 시즌1 (1 Night 2 Days Season 1)
This is a travel comedy show. The stars on the show take a trip somewhere in Korea to experience (and publicize) some unique aspects of a certain region.
1박 2일 시즌2 (1 Night 2 Days Season 2)
Season 2 of the comical travel show. It’s always fun to see what places they go to and what things they experience.
해피 투게더 (Happy Together)
This is a show that I’ve only seen a handful of times, usually during the holidays or in public places. It includes some famous stars and they usually joke around a bit, so it’s pretty entertaining.
개그 콘서트 (Gag Concert)
This was the first show I started watching in Korea, and helped me greatly improve my listening skills in a short time. It’s basically a live series of short comedy sketches – all in a Korean style (so some jokes are completely lost on me).
미녀들의 수다 (Chitchat of Beautiful Girls)
This show features girls from all over the world speaking Korean and answering questions about their experiences in Korea in front of a live audience. Their accents are interesting.^^
학교 2013 (School 2013 – Drama)
Although I’ve not watched this drama, it comes highly recommended to me by many of my students. Some of them even admitted to wanting to become teachers because of it. It’s about high school life in Korea.
무한도전 (Infinite Challenge)
This is one of the funniest and most entertaining shows on Korean TV. It takes a bunch of well-known celebrities and pits them against each other in some sort of challenge or race. Highly entertaining.
우리 결혼했어요 (We Got Married)
This show takes celebrities who AREN’T married, and puts them together in a situation AS IF they had just gotten married. It’s quite comical the way they work through some issues.
나는 가수다 2 (I’m a Singer 2 – Kpop)
I really enjoyed I’m a Singer 1 – the first season because it featured my favorite singer in Korean: Yoon Do-Hyun.
놀라운대회 스타킹 (Star King)
This show highlights very talented people in front of a live audience to display their talents. It is often on TV during the holidays.
런닝맨 (Running Man)
The link above contains FULL episodes with ENGLISH subtitles! The show is basically a race and competition show with some mini-games thrown in.
MBC 뉴스 (MBC News)
This is the official channel of MBC News and looks well designed.
SBS 이브닝 뉴스 (SBS Evening News)
This channel contains mostly clips that are under 2:00 in length.
My son loves all of these programs. And all of them can additionally be found in English. We also have iPad apps for all of them in English and Korean (maybe I’ll post links later). It’s a great opportunity to get your kids immersed in a second language.
뽀로로 (Pororo the Little Penguin)
타요 (Tayo the Little Bus)
로보카 포리 (Robo Car Poli)
코코몽 (Coco Mong)
Official Station Channels
It turns out that these networks have official channels (which is where I found most of these links). If you’re interested in more TV programs, here are links to their official channels so you can explore on your own.
You should notice under each of the channel headings that there are links to their other channels (Drama, Music, Entertainment, Life, Documentary, etc.) Click any of those to go to another sub-channel to browse their TV show offerings.
SBS Video On Demand
Unfortunately, it seems like SBS doesn’t have this same kind of nice interface and interconnectedness for their channels. They do still have multiple channels including:
And they have a few other TV show channels linked to on the side menu on this VOD page. But, they haven’t yet created the header links that the other two stations have.
Do you know of any other good Korean TV shows on YouTube that I should link to? These are my favorites, what are yours?