BTS TV and Web Series: Where to Begin Watching

If you’re anything like the rest of the planet, then you’ve fallen hard for BTS. And, like any ARMY who hasn’t been with the band since the early days, you have a lot of content to catch up on. It’s an awesome task—and a potentially overwhelming one. While much of BTS’ content is, of course, music videos and performances, the Korean band has also produced a plethora of additional content in the form of web series and TV shows.

While BTS has appeared on dozens if not hundreds of TV shows both in Korea and abroad since their debut eight years ago, we’re solely focusing on the BTS-centric series rather than the ongoing shows in which BTS has appeared as featured guests. Whether you’re a new ARMY looking to learn more about the K-pop band or simply can’t get “Butter” and/or “Permission to Dance” out of your head and are curious about the seven members behind the summer hits, check out one of the following series to learn more about Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook.

Rookie King (2013)

How many episodes: 8
Where to watch: Viki

BTS debuted in 2013, and Rookie King was their first proper series. The variety show format is super popular in Korea, and many of BTS’ series use it. Rookie King is a variety show that features the members attempting different Korean TV program formats. In the show, BTS takes on different roles, including news anchors, bowlers, and basketball players. Early variety show BTS is truly a place where anything can happen. Rookie King would also give us our first proper example of BTS taking on cooking challenges, which continues to be a running (and hilarious) theme in BTS’ variety show presence today.

American Hustle Life (2014)

How many episodes: 8

This BTS reality show that sees the members traveling to L.A. for two weeks to learn from hip-hop tutors like Coolio and Warren G, can be tough to watch, as the series is nowhere near prepared to engage with K-pop’s history and present of Black American cultural appropriation. But discomfort is not always a bad thing, and American Hustle Life can be a good jumping off point for non-Black BTS fans in particular to engage with the difficult topic of cultural appropriation in K-pop ourselves. I recommend watching this in conjunction with analysis from Black BTS/K-pop critics, such as Stitch of Stitch’s Media Mix, who has written extensively not only about BTS, but about cultural appropriation in the age of K-pop.

GO! BTS (2014)

How many episodes: 1

It’s a bit of a stretch to call this one a series, as there is only one episode, but if you’re looking for more content from BTS’ early years, then Go! BTS is a good option. The 45-minute episode follows BTS on their trip to L.A. for KCON 2014. In addition to including some performance footage, the special gives us some of that variety program energy by sending the members on three missions around Laguna Beach.

BTS Gayo (2015-2017)

How many episodes: 15
Where to watch: VLive

BTS Gayo is another BTS variety show, in which the members play games that are specifically related to K-pop. For example, in the first episode, they have to guess iconic K-pop girl group songs based solely on dance clues from other members. BTS hasn’t released an episode of Gayo in a while, probably because the wider umbrella of Run BTS (see the next entry on the list) covers the sorts of K-pop-centric challenges BTS Gayo centers. Basically, Run BTS swallowed BTS Gayo.

Run BTS! (2015-today)

How many episodes: 143 (and counting)
Where to watch: VLive

The ultimate BTS variety show, Run BTS has been, um, running since 2015. The show features the members competing in a variety of games, from zombie escape the room challenges to foot volleyball to your classic game of mafia. If they win, they get a reward. If they lose, they get a punishment. Variety show games like this are only as effective as the degree to which the competitors take them seriously, and let me tell you: BTS is all in. These global pop stars may be millionaires, but they will throw down for a coupon like their lives depend on it. Early episodes of Run BTS include the members visiting many an amusement park, while later episodes have gotten both more contained and creative in the challenges. Rest assured, there is something here for everyone—just beware the spies and plot twists.

Bon Voyage (2016-today)

How many episodes: 32 episodes, across 4 seasons
Where to watch: VLive (Seasons 1-3), Weverse* (Season 4)

Bon Voyage is a travel reality show that follows BTS on various trips around the world, including northern Europe in Season 1, Hawaii in Season 2, Malta in Season 3, and New Zealand in Season 4. It’s interesting to see the members out and about in the world, having fun together and on a relative break. (This is still work, but they are not actively promoting or touring.) Over the course of Bon Voyage‘s four seasons, you will see many a camper van adventure; many a games of rock, paper, scissors; and realize just how central Yoon-gi is to keeping these members fed when they are left on their own. Especially in a time when travel has been largely impossible, bopping around the world with BTS can be a nice escape.

*For Weverse content, purchase via the “media” section in the Weverse Shop app, then watch via Weverse via the app or online

Burn the Stage (2018)

How many episodes: 8
Where to watch: YouTube Premium

Burn the Stage is an eight-part series that tells the story of BTS’ massive 300-day The Wings Tour, which took up most of 2017 for the members. Including interviews and show footage, Burn the Stage follows a pretty standard concert film format, giving insight into BTS’ first major world tour. The series would later be turned into a movie, also called Burn the Stage, which was released later in 2018.

Bring the Soul (2019)

How many episodes: 6
Where to watch: Weverse

Similar to Burn the Stage, Bring the Soul is another glimpse into what BTS’ tour life is like. This six-part series follows the seven members of BTS during the Love Yourself World Tour, through the end of the tour’s third, European leg, which concluded in October 2019. It was also released in a more condensed movie format in Bring the Soul: The Movie.

BT21 (2019-today)

How many episodes: 17 main story shorts, plus additional mini-stories
Where to watch: YouTube

If you’re looking for some animated BTS content, check out the universe of BT21, a collaboration between Line Friends and BTS that you can see chronicled here. The members helped create the concepts for the BT21 characters, who are all adorable. From there, the animators began telling the story of Prince Tata, who hails from Planet BT, as he dreams about spreading love across the galaxy. Tata and guardian robot Van travel to Earth to begin the mission, where they meet Koya, RJ, Shooky, Mang, Chimmy, and Cooky, who band together with the ambition to become the most influential pop culture sensation in the galaxy. You can check out the members’ reaction to the initial storyline of shorts here.

Break the Silence (2020)

How many episodes: 7
Where to watch: Weverse

You didn’t think BTS was going to leave you hanging on the final leg of their Love Yourself World Tour, did you? The Break the Silence docu-series picks up where Bring the Soul leaves off, bringing fans on the final, Asian leg of the Love Yourself World Tour and into the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself extension of the tour, which extended the tour through October 2019. As you may have guessed, there is also a movie format version of Break the Silence.

In the Soop (2020)

How many episodes: 8
Where to watch: Weverse

BTS has given us many gifts during the COVID-19 pandemic, but In the Soop may be the greatest. The series follows the seven members as they take a break from their work schedules to pursue hobbies, hang out, and watch Jin kill fish. Unlike BTS’ variety series, In the Soop has a much looser structure, allowing the members to relax a bit more. Each member made a list of activities they would like to try out while in the titular “soop” (“forest,” in Korean), but there is no reward or punishment for completing or not. Instead, the members can choose to spend their time as they wish, whether that be building Lego or racing remote control boats. In the Soop is honestly the gift that keeps on giving, and ARMY is crossing our fingers for a second season. (If you like In the Soop, don’t forget to check out the eight, shorter behind-the-scenes episodes, also available to watch via Weverse.)

What is your favorite BTS series? Let us know in the comments below.

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