Infinite Challenge (TV Series 2005–2018) Poster

(2005–2018)

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9/10
Arguably the best, and most influential, variety show of the 21st century.
cremea29 June 2015
Infinite Challenge (aka Infinity Challenge, or Muhan Dojeon in Korean) is a 400 + episode and counting Korean TV variety show that began in 2005. It is awesome!

SPOILERS AHEAD!...But, as usual with these types of variety shows, there is nothing to really spoil.

Premise: A regular cast of 6 guys (+/-) get together each week to provide comedy/variety/reality show entertainment, while taking on an infinite amount of demanding and/or ridiculous challenges. Said challenges usually take place over the course of several episodes or more until finished. These challenges range from idiotic to difficult to amusing to dangerous to just about everything you can think of; racing cars, song & dance performances, various comedic skits, exhausting work, etc. You name it, they're doing it! And, they are always doing it in the most entertaining way possible.

The Korean entertainment industry does a lot of things really well, and one of the things they do better than EVERY other country on the planet is provide variety show entertainment. I started watching the typical studio panel based variety programs well over a decade ago. They were good and I was particularly drawn to the overall sense of humor, audience interaction, witty banter, guests, games, and so forth. At some point however, somebody came up with the brilliant idea of bringing these variety shows out of the studio and essentially taking them on a nonstop outdoor road tour. Infinity Challenge (IC) is the first show that truly embraced this idea to its fullest, and the Korean variety TV world has never been the same since.

It took a while for IC to really take shape and settle in, but it has a lot going for it once it found its comfort zone; the primary cast members are all terrific variety show entertainers who work very well together, the creative producers & writers and the "behind the scenes crew" are all fantastic, and everybody involved on this show works REALLY hard to make it all work. It does so many things so well that it's hard to single out what it does best. However, the one thing I really love about this show (and all similar shows that followed), is how often regular citizens are involved in the proceedings. The cast must often attempt to accomplish their tasks in full view of the public, and this frequently results in numerous surreal & humorous interactions between celebrities and average citizens going about their everyday lives. This unique symmetry that exists between Korean stars and the general public is incredibly endearing, and it's not unusual for common people to be an integral part of this show.

The easiest thing for me to do is compare IC to another more recent Korean variety show called Running Man (RM), because both shows are quite similar. While I dearly love RM, I think IC is a better all-around show, and it's clearly the more intelligent and diverse of the two. IC is the more popular for the most part in Korea, but RM is much more well-known worldwide. My Korean friends can't understand why RM gets more attention overseas than IC does; they often utter comments such as: "RM is just a knockoff of IC" and "RM is for children, whereas IC is for adults", etc... I can't totally disagree with them, but I think RM is more embraced internationally due to some combination of the following: A) RM follows a simpler and more approachable fun & games format that requires less attention from week to week, B) RM more regularly features young idol guest stars, and many foreign markets are crazy for all things having to do with Korean idols, and, C) Timing is everything, and RM came along at just the right time to ride the crest of the Hallyu variety show wave.

Unlike some other Korean variety show programs, you have to be willing to devote yourself to IC a little more than usual. It obviously pays dividends to get to know as much about any variety program you're watching, but IC requires an extra level of devotion by comparison; you need to watch season after season of this show to get to the point of understanding why it, and its cast (and crew), is so beloved. And, you'll also have to often watch multiple episodes in a row just to see the culmination of any one particular challenge. It's worth it though, as this show is frequently hilarious, occasionally heartwarming, and almost always entertaining!

I have very few complaints with this show at all. Yes, some of the cast members can get overly annoying on occasion; there's a few in particular that would drive you insane if you spent all day with them while in full variety shtick mode, but they're mostly a likable bunch of resilient dudes who will do virtually anything to entertain audiences on a weekly basis. Some of the challenges might not be to your liking, and sometimes they'll sit around talking about challenges excessively before actually getting around to doing them...but otherwise, what's not to like here?

Summary: If you're a fan of any of these types of modern Korean "out-of-studio" variety shows, you owe it yourself to watch IC. This is a groundbreaking and free-wheeling show that could hardly be funnier or more charming if it tried. Shows like RM, Family Outing, Heroes, Real Men, Roommate, et.al. wouldn't even exist if not for IC. It's a terrific show on its own merits, but its impact on the past, present, & future of variety show programming cannot be overstated.

Bottom Line: One of the most enjoyable and innovative TV shows ever made 9 out of 10 stars!...HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

P.S. Don't pay too much attention to the "cast" members listed on this IMDb page. Half of them are just single episode foreign guests who have little to do with this show overall.
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10/10
We Only Regret The Chances We Didn't Take
aria-ariana201217 January 2016
Infinity Challenge (IC) has moved past its 10 years running and still remains at the top of all the variety shows that South Korea has ever produced. Any celebrity that appears on the show will be guaranteed mass rise in popularity and any celebrity would think 10 times before rejecting any appearance invitation from IC. That how influential IC is.

The great part about IC is also that they are the donation angels. They try to give back to the community as much as they can. They value a lot of small things that most of us has passed by.

They also create environmental awareness and inspires people to try the impossibles. They did rose a question on Climate Change in The Butterfly Effect episode. They challenged themselves as a model and walked the runway. They became a one day chef at a New York restaurant to advertise South Korean's cuisines. They perform in a major concert every 2 years that has attracted a larger crowd every time. They even performed with Psy at Times Square.They've done many other great things that I can't possibly list here.

True to its name, Infinity Challenge a.k.a Muhan Dojeon has been exploring varieties of challenges through its program. They did what other programs were afraid to try, they can make you laugh and make you cry. They dare to be different and never been afraid to fall. Definitely a must watch.
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