de Size15FeetJames, Junho 24, 2024

Hello everyone! 

In this article, I am going to provide some great Sports-themed Variety Shows that I believe everyone should try out. 

While I do like variety shows of all kinds, my preference definitely goes to Sports-themed variety shows. You may notice that I have missed some notable shows that could be added. However, the reason I did that is because most people have probably already watched them, and I wanted to shine the light on other shows that deserve an equal amount of praise and spotlight. If you would like me to do an article in the future based on the most popular sports-themed variety shows, please let me know in the comments! Also, let me know in the comments if you think sports-themed variety shows are highly underrated! :)

Anyways, let’s start!

Unnies Are Running: Witch Fitness Basketball Team (2022)

I decided to start this list off with my personal favourite, Unnies Are Running: Witch Fitness Basketball Team. I actually just randomly decided to give this a go when it released as I was getting a little bored of watching Men on a Mission (no shade here, I still watch it to this day). The whole concept of this show is a team of female celebrities coached by former professional basketball players who teach them how to play basketball, and eventually, how to win! 

What I like about this variety show is that each episode further strengthens the bond of the team, to the point that the team felt like a family (the cameo appearances from other celebrities were a welcome surprise, too!). Another thing I like about this variety show is the focus on the sport. It was entertaining, even the sections of explaining strategy and the rules of basketball that I didn’t even know (I’ve been casually playing for years!). Another thing I liked a great deal: the sound effects that added great tension in moments that needed them. 

One thing I wasn’t too keen on were the constant replays of the action. For example, someone may have scored, and then there would be about seven or eight back-to-back replays of the shot from different angles. Despite this, everything else I did thoroughly enjoy. My only wish would be a second season with the exact same cast members!

MDL Rating: 8/10

Author Rating: 10/10

Author’s Favourite Cast Member: Park Sun Young

All Table Tennis! (2022)

Second on this list is All Table Tennis! Even I, someone who loves sports, was hesitant about a variety show based on a sport such as table tennis. Table tennis from where I am from is seen as a novelty sport that not too many people take seriously. I did, however, know that that isn’t the case overseas, especially in Asia. 

All Table Tennis! is a variety show that basically has two teams (Kang Ho Dong and Eun Ji Won are the captains) that face off with one another. It doesn’t start like that, however, as the viewers are gifted cameos from other celebrities who attempt to join these teams (some fail hence we only see them once, and others succeed and join one of the two teams). 

I really liked this variety show because the commitment by the members in each team made me feel like I was watching tryouts for the Korean national table tennis team, but the balance was still perfect since the editing increased the comedic values at times, making sure the show wasn’t overly serious. I also really enjoyed learning all about the different aspects of the sport in a fun way (unlike basketball, I didn’t know anything about table tennis except the terms ‘serve’, ‘rally’, and ‘backhand’). 

One thing I didn’t like too much was the episode length, especially when the pacing was a little off. I know this is a personal pet peeve but I do find it difficult to concentrate when episodes are nearly 2 hours long, so normally I would split them up in half. Does anyone else do this, or is it just me? 

MDL Rating: 8.1/10

Author’s Rating: 7.5/10

Author’s Favourite Cast Member: Eun Ji Won

Running Girls (2020)

If you want to watch a sports-themed variety show with a much more chilled out vibe, I suggest watching Running Girls. This is something great to watch to get you in the mood to sleep (in a good way). Not because it’s boring but because of how chill it can be. Essentially, it’s girls who go running together, eat together, chill together, have a fun time together. I wasn’t expecting much due to this but I ended up being emotionally touched at points and the cast are a really heart-warming bunch. Out of all the different types of variety shows mentioned in this article, I think that this is probably the most underrated one. 

Unlike the other two shows above, the vibe is completely different. Instead of essentially learning a sport as a beginner and then having to compete, this is more about using fitness to bond and form friendships. One thing I didn’t like about this show was the camera work. Of course, this is no easy feat due to the type of variety show it is, but most of the running scenes made my head feel fuzzy. 

MDL Rating: 8.1/10

Author’s Rating: 8.5/10

Author’s Favourite Cast Member: Chuu

Racket Boys (2021)

Racket Boys is one of those variety shows that not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. It was set up magnificently, with every single scene feeling really important and the budget seemed high with the amazing pitch, high-tech cameras and a star-studded cast. The whole objective of the show is to get celebrities from a beginner level to a level that can make them win in a competition. There are also ‘levels’ that they get put into based on their performance and sometimes the members will get paired up to play into doubles matches (sometimes not). I also really enjoyed the addition of including the training scenes. I was shocked at how badminton players actually train/how they can train alone, it was incredible to see. 

The show portrays badminton as something unpopular but it succeeded into making its viewers (at least me, anyway) start to actually play badminton. I also think the K-drama Racket Boys may have helped with the popularity of this variety show (with one of the actors being a member, and cameos from others) with the same name as the K-Drama only finishing a month or two before this aired. 

MDL Rating: 7.9/10

Author’s Rating: 9/10

Author’s Favourite Cast Member: Yang Se Chan

Bonus Mention: One More Try (2019)

One More Try is a Chinese variety show that is all about original extreme sports, such as skateboarding. The season consists of 10 episodes, with celebrity leaders Wang Luodan, Wang Yibo, and Cheng Xiao. The professional program consultants are big skateboarders Che Lin, Han Minji, and Yuan Fei. It gathers 60 top Chinese skaters, and they compete in a series of competitions and tasks in order to qualify to participate in the world's top extreme sports competition, X-Games.

The reason this variety show is an ‘honourable mention’, despite me really liking it, is because (to my knowledge, at least) there are no official English subtitles (and since it’s not Korean, I had to watch without knowing what anyone was saying, instead of guessing on context).

However, despite this, I really enjoyed watching the episodes. There was a bunch of high-octane action and cool tricks that I didn’t even know were humanly possible. It almost had a ‘Got Talent’ type of talent-show vibe, so if you’re into those sorts of shows, then I’m sure you would like this. 

I hope you enjoyed the article! Thanks to the MDL editing team once again for their amazing input, and for you, the reader, for taking time out of your day to read this :) 

Edited by: devitto (1st editor)