From Finding Love to Fighting Zombies – Netflix Brings Korean Unscripted Shows to the World

Reality and variety shows are among the most beloved entertainment in Korea, and with Netflix’s growing unscripted lineup, we’re seeing global audiences and K-Content fans discover these unique and wildly innovative titles.

This year, Netflix will release at least eight Korean unscripted titles, double that of last year. Our commitment to production and creativity puts Netflix at the forefront of sharing unscripted Korean shows with audiences around the world.

Physical: 100

Netflix // Season 2
One hundred contestants in top physical shape compete in a series of grueling challenges to claim the honor - and cash ...

We’re excited to provide a sneak peek into our growing unscripted slate. The lineup includes a rich variety of themes such as dating, physical endurance, mind games and zombies, and members will be able to enjoy a new unscripted show either monthly or bimonthly.

New rules, new setting, new ‘Inferno’

To start off, we’re bringing back hot dating reality show Single’s Inferno for a third season, with changes in rules and location to further spice up the romantic roulettes.

When we received the proposal for Single’s Inferno at the end of 2020, there weren’t many dating programs in Korea. We set out to close the gap locally and ended up winning fans globally. The first season became the first Korean unscripted show to debut on the Global Top 10 Non-English TV list. Following suit this year, Season 2 featured in the Global Top 10 for four weeks, and pulled in even higher viewing hours.

One of the unique characteristics of our unscripted shows is that, unlike TV broadcasters that air an episode each week, the production of our entire season is complete before the drop. This enables us to deliver higher quality and provide localized subtitles, as well as dubbing in some countries, so that viewers in over 190 countries can enjoy the show at the same time.

Fresh spin on the familiar

Dating and survival reality TV shows are well-loved formats around the world, and we have put our own inimitable stamp on them. For a new take on young love, Nineteen to Twenty is a never-before-seen style of reality show that will evoke romantic memories of your youth.

The extremely grueling Physical: 100 is currently #2 in our Global Top 10 Non-English TV series, and is featured in the Top 10 in 62 countries worldwide. We are just two weeks from finding out the winner. Following that, we’ll have Siren: Survive the Island, where teams of Korea’s fittest women with different backgrounds (occupation) fight to survive on an uninhabited island.

Because of our commitment to preserve the creator’s vision, we have had the opportunity to work with some of Korea’s top unscripted showrunners and creatives. Jeong Jong-yeon, who pioneered Korea’s survival shows based on mind games, is the mastermind behind our upcoming series The Devil’s Plan.

And since Korea is famous for our zombies, we decided to take the genre to the next level with Zombieverse, where contestants are fighting for survival as Seoul comes under a zombie attack. To make the set more realistic, we involved the art team from All of Us Are Dead while the zombies were trained by the choreographers of Kingdom.

We’ll also be launching our first unscripted mid-form show. With a short running time of half an hour, as well as an incredibly short production time of three months, we will be able to present timely and relevant topics to our members.

We’re committed to creating must-watch entertainment for a variety of audiences in Korea and around the world, and we’re thrilled to see our growing lineup of unscripted titles find new fans everywhere.

Get more details on all the reality and variety shows coming in 2023 here

2023 Korean Unscripted Shows

Physical: 100
Directed by: Jang Ho Gi
Written by: Kang Sukkyeong, Jo Keun Ae
Produced by: MBC
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Logline: An extreme survival entertainment program designed to find the best physique with the strongest physical capabilities. The vast filming site designed solely forPhysical: 100 sets the stage for an intense competition among 100 men and women who pride themselves on their physiques, regardless of age or sex, to determine the one person with the “perfect physique.” Physical: 100 is currently one of our most-watched Non-English TV shows globally, and came in 7th in the ‘Netflix Global Top 10 TV (Non-English)’ list in its first week after launch.

Siren: Survive the Island
Directed by: Lee Eun-kyung
Written by: Chae Jin-ah
Chief Producer: Ko Min-goo
Produced by: Studio Modak
Release: Q2
Logline: Siren: Survive the Island is a combat survival entertainment show where 24 women of top combat power and strategic thinking form 6 teams divided by career groups and fight one another. Entitled “Siren,” which means both “warning sound” and “beautiful temptress,” this show involves women with extraordinary physical capabilities and skills for strategies including police officers, firefighters, bodyguards, stuntwomen, military women, and athletes who form teams according to their jobs. One team will emerge as the winner after a mission that puts their limitations to the test. For 6 nights and 7 days, their fight for survival on an unknown island requires aggressive mind games and tight teamwork. The extreme situations, vast scale of the location and unexpected twists will add to the immersive nature of the show.

19/20(Nineteen to Twenty)
Directed by: Kim Jae-won, Kim Jung-hyun, Park Suji
Written by: Chi Hyun-sook
Produced by: Sizak Company
Release: Q3
Logline: 19/20(Nineteen to Twenty) is a reality entertainment show that tracks the fresh and youthful lives of Generation Z in their last week of being 19 just before they turn 20. During that final week, they attend “19 School” to learn practical things about adult life and prepare for adulthood. Then on January 1, they all stay at “20 House,” a space where they are independent from their parents and teachers. 19/20 garners much attention as these 19-year-olds, who are on the cusp of adulthood, create unexpectedly vivacious and nostalgic moments throughout the show. KYUHYUN, actress Kim Ji-eun, and LEE SUHYUN from AKMU participate as emcees. Producer Kim Jae-won who is writing history in reality entertainment shows with hisSingle’s Inferno orchestrates the show.

Directed by: Park Jin-kyung, Moon Sang-donn
Written by: Yu Jin-young
Produced by: Kakao Entertainment
Release: Q3
Logline: Finding their way around a new type of zombie universe, Zombieverse, participants must complete quests to survive in Seoul, which has been turned into a zombie world. The art team from All of Us Are Dead and the zombie action choreographer from Kingdom work behind the scenes, adding to the anticipation of how realistically and thrillingly the zombie universe will be portrayed. Their endeavors to survive until the end by completing quests such as looking for food, transportation, or a safe haven; or deciding whether to save a colleague who has been infected by a zombie, will keep viewers at the edge of their seats.

The Devil’s Plan
Directed by: Jeong Jong-yeon
Written by: Heo Jung-hee, Jung Da-hee
Produced by: TEO
Release: Q3
Logline: Devil’s Plan is a mind game survival entertainment show that awards up to 500 million Korean won to the winner. Participants including celebrities and influencers and recruits of this game begin with the devil’s suggestion to take off their social masks and reveal one’s true identity. The show is directed by maestro of mystery and genre entertainment producer Jeong Jong-yeon with past works such as Great Escape known for its vast filming set and seamless storyline through every season; The Genius which has unexpectable development and plot twists in every episode; and High School Mystery Club with its immersive storytelling and unparalleled chemistry among participants. As many fans have awaited his collaboration with Netflix, all eyes are on what Devil’s Plan has in store for them.

Singles Inferno S3
Directed by: Kim Jae-won, Kim Jung-hyun
Written by: Chi Hyun-sook
Produced by: Sizak Company
Release Date: Q4
Logline: In Single’s Inferno, flirty singles search for love on a deserted island they can only escape as couples for romantic date nights in paradise. Global viewers enjoyed Single’s Inferno for its participants’ raw and candid emotions for each other, as they were able to focus only on their feelings in a restricted space without any knowledge of each others’ age or jobs.Single’s Inferno is confirmed for a third season, which will make a comeback with hotter and newer faces. Season 3 will provide unexpected twists and turns with new rules in new places, keeping viewers glued to their seats.

New Midform Content (Titles To Come)

This year, Netflix makes strides into new areas of Korean unscripted shows. It would be its first attempt at midform-type entertainment contents. Midforms are 30 minute shows that require only 3 to 4 months of production, which makes them more relevant to trends. Netflix aims to release 2 to 3 seasons of unscripted K-midforms in 2023 alone, presenting viewers with continuous entertainment.