Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by BTS 101
BTS has always provided ARMY with an all-access backstage pass to their lives. From early videos posted on their blog, to documentary footage from all their concerts, to frequent vLive sessions, there’s hundreds of hours of content to explore.
Here’s a rough guide to a few interesting behind-the-scenes shows and series you can dive into online.
Burn the Stage is both a series of episodes and a single documentary film that shows BTS on their first big international tour, the Wings tour in the fall of 2017; it aired on YouTube Red (paid content) in summer 2018 and you can still watch it there.
Bring the Soul is both a series of episodes and a single documentary film that shows BTS on the first half of their Love Yourself tour of spring/summer 2018, in the States, South America, and Europe. It is paid content on Weverse.
Break the Silence is both a series of episodes and a single documentary film that shows BTS on the second half of their Love Yourself/Speak Yourself tour of spring 2019, with dates throughout the world including Wembley Stadium in London. It is paid content on Weverse.
Bangtan Bombs are short backstage clips posted on the Bangtan TV YouTube channel. In the early days, these were literally made by BTS themselves; they’d film themselves backstage at various TV appearances, photo shoots, or at dance practice, and then post it online. Some of these early bombs are just a couple of minutes long.
Many of the early bombs are not subtitled, but a dedicated team of translators at the YouTube channel Bangtan Subs has been working for years to translate the bombs and other BTS content. Their channel is indispensable for international fans and you should definitely subscribe. A great place to start is this epic playlist that starts way back in 2013 and queues up the subbed version of bombs in order for you.
For the last few years and up until today, bombs are released by BigHit and are more likely to be more polished and subtitled, but they are still often fun and funny peeks at the members when they are just goofing around. They also often will post single camera style recordings of their live performances which are often much easier and more fun to watch than the actual performances.
Bangtan Bombs usually come out at least a few times a month and it’s kind of a firehose of content so try to keep up! You can also dig into the archives on YouTube, there are hundreds of them to explore.
vLive and Weverse Series
BTS goes live on vLive often – less so these days, but when vLive was first launched in 2015 they were on there all the time. There’s no schedule for vLive – you never know when it will happen! If you have an account on vLive, you can get text notifications when a live is starting. Remember that live content is not subtitled, but there are some very dedicated ARMY on Twitter who do their best to provide live translations, so have one eye on vLive, and one on Twitter.
All of the old vLives are still online, and some are quite legendary (they’re all on vLive, and some have also been duplicated over on Weverse). Most are subtitled now thanks to the efforts of dedicated ARMY; if you are poking around on vLive and find one that is not subbed, check Bangtan Subs on YouTube for a subbed version. Lives can cover any kind of topic and anything can happen – they might show the members just chatting one-on-one with the camera, celebrating their birthdays, playing games with other members, doing crafts, or cooking and eating. Often they will go live after a big event like an awards show to celebrate with their fans, or while on tour when they’re back in the hotel after a big performance.
On vLive/Weverse, BTS also has the following series:
- Release Parties – they host a live release party every time a new extended play or album is coming out; these are usually more than an hour long and feature games, clips, and song previews
- KKUL 6.13 FM – This is SUGA’s radio show and he sometimes will go live with video, sometimes audio-only (fun fact: kkul is the Korean word for honey, so you’ll sometimes hear this series referred to as Honey FM). It’s not on a regular schedule but there are many of them in the archives. Here are a few notable ones with video from their early days:
- Eat Jin – This is a “mukbang” – a show about watching people eat – by Jin. He literally just eats stuff and talks about his food, sometimes alone, sometimes with guest stars from the rest of BTS. Some of these are over on Weverse too.
- Hope on the Street – this was a series of early vLives in which j-hope would rehearse a dance number – or just wing it – and then take it to the streets.
- Hwagae Market – a short series of vLives from 2015 featuring j-hope and SUGA (“Sope”). The Hwagae market is a rural, open-air market on the border of their two hometown provinces, Jeolla and Gyeongsang, where people from both places gather and get along. Sope does a cute “door opening” motion with their hands when starting these lives and a “door closing” motion when ending them. There aren’t too many of these – in fact, the most famous one is probably the last one, where they announce the failure of the series due to lack of ideas and that Sope is breaking up!
- G.C.F. – stands for Golden Closet Films, these are artistic backstage films and footage of the members made by Jungkook, who is interested in video production. These are on Weverse.
The BTS vLive Carrd Site is a fantastic website that has assembled the old vLives into groups by member and by theme – very helpful if you are looking for something in particular.
BTS Documentary Specials
GO! BTS, sometimes called BTS GO!
A show that was aired on MNet America, one episode from September 2014, featuring BTS antics in LA when they went there for KCon (a kPop expo) in July 2014 – literally their first time on American soil. This is where JK saying “international playboy” is from; it also features a surprise appearance by Eric Nam (then much more famous than BTS) in the closing credits, goofing around with RM.
A series released as a photo book plus DVD featuring BTS travelling to new locations. There are three “episodes” – you can possibly find the video portion of these online if you really dig.
- BTS NOW 1 – Thailand, 2014, featuring their first trip and concert in Thailand
- BTS NOW 2 – Europe and America, 2015 – in Sweden and the US
- BTS NOW 3 – BTS In Chicago, Dreaming Days, 2016
The Rise of Bangtan
This is a fan-made documentary series on YouTube, but it’s really fantastic. They used tons of old interview footage and clips to trace the history of BTS and talk about their entire career in a really insightful and meaningful way. New episodes are still being released as of 2021, and it’s fully subbed so international-fan-friendly. Highly recommended if you have the time to invest – and don’t miss their outtakes and extra footage clips, too. Find it all on the Official Rise of Bangtan YouTube Channel.
Summer and Winter Packages
Every year since 2014, BTS has released an annual “package.” This is primarily a photo book and other goodies like photocards, posters, and stickers, but since 2015 it has also included a DVD of the photo shoot, which usually takes place in an exotic location and involves some fun on the side.
Usually the package video is only available by purchasing the set, but you can often find them online (illegally!) if you dig around.
In 2020, they switched from doing a summer package to doing a winter package.
Season’s Greetings DVD Packages
Since December 2014, BTS has released a Season’s Greetings DVD every December featuring a new photo shoot and interview footage. These packages come with a photo book and often other merch like stand up photo cards, posters, pencil cases, and more. (Each package is named for the following year – so the first package, released December 2014, is called “Season’s Greetings 2015”). You can sometimes find the video portion of these packages online if you dig around.
Memories Of DVD Packages
They also release a Memories Of video every year, usually in spring sometime, starting in 2015 with “Memories of 2014.” These are usually hours long and often contain footage of entire concerts that aren’t available anywhere else, plus tons of making-of videos for their tours and television appearances. Plus of course, it comes with some photos and photo cards. Worth tracking down if you can find them!