Article. Jiyeon Lee

Channel_9 is an original series starring the nine members of girl group fromis_9 (Lee Saerom, Song Hayoung, Jang Gyuri, Park Jiwon, Roh Jisun, Lee Seoyeon, Lee Chaeyoung, Lee Nagyung and Baek Jiheon)—and you can’t watch just one! Channel_9 started as a way to give the members a chance to do whatever they like and evolved into a reality show that shows their home, acts as a travelog and more over the course of four years and spanning some 90 episodes. Channel_9 is not only long-running but constantly changing. Here, we recommend five episodes of this original girl group variety show for those who haven’t yet seen it.

For when you’re feeling down (Channel_9: Gyuri Edition, “GyuriR Survival”)

The trailer released ahead of the launch of Channel_9 opens with serious music and a caption to match that reads, “It all started with something one of the members said…” The series started with Seoyeon talking to Saerom about the things she couldn’t do during her long trainee period. It makes Channel_9 seem overly serious for a variety show. But perhaps the production crew was aware where the show was heading. For example, when VR was at the peak of its popularity in 2018, Gyuri tried it out at a VR arcade. There, to clear up the misconception that she scares easily, she plays a horror game with Chaeyoung, who has a reputation as the scaredy-cat of the group. They go in feeling overly confident, but … Gyuri, caught off guard by a zombie in the VR game, backs out comically with a step backward, while Chaeyoung falls to the floor the instant a zombie appears, spinning around to avoid it. The highlight of the episode comes from the producers using the “round and round, toc toc / Round and round, the clock’s hand goes toc toc” part from fromis_9’s pre-debut single “Glass Shoes” as the background music. The episode is a classic among the early Channel_9 episodes. The comments section is full of replies like, “I come back to watch this video whenever I feel depressed.” Among these episodes where each member did their own thing was Jisun’s episode, titled “Jisun’s ASMR for Special Nights.” The video was well-received, with over 2.2 million views to date, so her ASMR videos became a separate spinoff from Channel_9 and continue on even today.

Dive! Dive! Dive! (“fromis_9 Special Group Retreat, Part 1”)

Season two of Channel_9 wraps up with “Special Group Retreat,” where the members head to Yangyang County in Gangwon Province for a group trip. Whereas other episodes in the series are typically split in two, this trip is made up of a whopping four episodes, and the reason for this becomes clear in the first episode, which dedicates a lot of time to games for choosing their rooms. The members use up the episode time well, deciding on their rooms, figuring out what to do at night for fun and even play a game where they have to make acronyms and the loser has to jump into the pool. Saerom and Jisun end up losing and have to jump in. The members of fromis_9 had already built up a good rapport by the second season, so the group figured out how to be entertaining without any forethought. At the same time, you can see the strong bonds between them as they use nicknames for each other and none of the members become angry when one of them announces they’ve got cold feet and introduces their toes to the space behind another member’s knee.

Three rooms, infinite chemistry (Channel_9: In the HOUSE, “Living with Roommates, Part 1”)

“Living with Roommates” shows the group members in their living space. You can get to know each member’s personality and their relationships with the others through this slice-of-life episode, where we see all nine members, each with their own personalities, preferences and characteristics, sharing three rooms. According to Jiheon, they share the rooms in their home based on personality: There’s the room for Hayoung, Jiwon and Chaeyoung—collectively known as Bbeeyoongz—where there’s no quiet time 365 days a year and a what’s-mine-is-yours sharing culture; Gyuri and Jiheon’s room, where they live like a married couple of 10 years, each with a every-woman-for-herself personality; and Saerom, Jisun, Seoyeon and Nagyung’s sensitive, serene room. In other words, each room has an entirely different atmosphere about it. And you can see how the members all take care of one other in their own ways, as when Nagyung asks Gyuri for a coconut bread recipe and Gyuri pauses her movie to make it herself, or when Saerom visits Chaeyoung’s room, who then lends the other a comfortable T-shirt.

Become a content monster! (Channel_9 EP.2 “The Content Monster Awakens”)

A new season of Channel_9 started in August and is built around the members’ ideas, just as the series has been from the beginning. They’ve grown comfortable doing the variety show for four years, and as the title “The Content Monster Awakens” suggests, the members dream up many ideas, which are reflected in later Channel_9 episodes. “The Content Monster Awakens” was the perfect analog for the ambition behind this season of Channel_9. With their ability to make any format or situation fun, the members’ knack for entertainment has made the series a more fully-fledged variety show. A considerable portion of the dialog in this episode—along with the previous one, where they envision Channel_9 as a broadcasting station and the members each feel out their role—was steered, unplanned, by the members. Anyone who knows fromis_9 will watch the way they lightly tease each other and laugh at how well it captures their dynamic.

Capturing fromis_9’s past four years (Channel_9 EP.11 “CAMPING_9 with CAMPFIRE 🏕”)

This isn’t just an important episode of Channel_9, but an important moment for fromis_9 in general. It was filmed after they’d made it to number one on a music show with their special single album Talk & Talk for the first time in the four years since their debut. They share never-before-told stories while camping. Unlike in the first two parts preceding this episode, which show them having fun as they get ready for their camping trip, the atmosphere around the campfire is fairly serious. “After getting first place, rather than just being excited about winning, I felt really determined. I felt like we’d finally come to the actual starting line,” Jisun says. Jiheon goes on to discuss what the members have felt about their group so far and their determination for the future: “I had a lot of mixed feelings. It took us some time to win first place. We climbed up all the steps, one at a time.” Before all this seriousness, of course, they have a lot of fun. With nothing but a tent they have to set up themselves and some camping supplies, they pitch it as they drip with sweat. Then there’s the dinner mission, where the camera crew gives them meat, but the members have to independently choose one ingredient or cooking implement each; all the members think the others won’t choose charcoal, so they end up with four times the amount they need. It’s the kind of funny incident you come to expect watching people camp on TV, and fromis_9 is no different. The group’s history is continuously unfolding on Channel_9—as they laugh, and sometimes cry, along together.