Last Updated on September 15, 2023 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 Live 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.
Beyond the Story
Beyond the Story is a long, detailed book released in July 2023 that covers the history of BTS. Through personal interviews with the members, never-before-revealed details about their early days and their struggles and fears are told openly and honestly. It’s a must-read for all ARMY.
You can buy it pretty much everywhere, here’s the Amazon link for the US.
Written by BTS with journalist Kang Myeonseok; translated into English by Anton Hur, Slin Jung, and Clare Richards.
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 and most of them show BTS being at peak charming and chaotic.
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 filmed, edited, and released by BigHit staff, and are 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.
First, a note about vLive: vLive was a platform for Kpop band / fan interaction developed by Naver, the biggest search engine in Korea, back in 2015. It was quite similar in functionality to Weverse, and eventually HYBE bought out vLive and merged the two platforms in 2022.
BTS used to “go live” on vLive exclusively; the ability to go live on Weverse wasn’t introduced until late 2022, just before the official merge.
All of their old lives were on vLive, but not all have been moved over to Weverse. Weverse’s organization of old lives is also terrible, and most of them are dated wrong, so it’s really hard to find anything on there, and to get a clear picture of what’s even available.
However, you can still find some great, legendary lives on Weverse if you have the patience to dig through their archives. Lives are not subtitled as they happen, but most are subtitled after the fact thanks to the efforts of dedicated ARMY; if you are poking around on Weverse 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.
There’s no schedule for livestreams – you never know when it will happen! If you have an account on Weverse, 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 Weverse, and one on Twitter.
Back in the day, BTS had a few loosely-recurring series that they’d do live, including:
- 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. As of late 2022, the links to the vLive website are still working, although the site is set to be dismantled (not sure if the Carrd site owner will update the links to point to Weverse instead).
There’s also this Tumblr which has them all indexed:
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
This is a series released in summer of 2022 in which each member gets a long special featuring them doing something of personal interest to them.
Find the episodes on YouTube:
- V – Drive vLog
- j-hope – Clearly a J vLog
- Jimin – Bracelets vLog
- RM – Museum Tour vLog
- JK – Camping vLog
- Jin – Cooking vLog
- SUGA – Woodworking vLog
BTS Monuments Behind the Stars
This is a Disney+ collaboration that will feature behind the scenes footage of BTS, tracing their rise to fame. Scheduled to come out sometime in 2023.
Solo Reality Shows
In the Chapter 2 era of solo work, a couple of members have created their own reality / talk show series, or have been featuring in individual documentaries.
V made a four-part long-weekend series with his circle of friends called the Wooga Squad, called In The Soop – Friendcation, filmed in January 2022. You can watch it on Disney+ in most countries. V also appeared on a series called Seojin’s Kitchen with Wooga Squad members Seojun and Woosik where they run a restaurant in Mexico; it’s available on Amazon Prime video in most countries outside Korea (extended preview here).
Jin made 4 episodes of Drunken Truth where he and celebrity chef Paik Jungwon (with secret guest, Jin’s actor friend Kim Namgil) go shopping, make homemade wine, and be best buddies; made in the summer of 2022. Available on the BangtanTV channel on YouTube. Episode 1 / Episode 2 / Episode 3 / Episode 4
RM made a two part documentary released on YouTube tracing his day, call RM All Day, as part of his promotions for his solo album Indigo. It includes a tour of his apartment (so much art!) and his studio and shows what his life is like – it’s fascinating that he felt comfortable being so open. Part 1 / Part 2
Suga created a talk show called SuChwiTa (an anagram of the first syllables of “Suga Drunken Time”) in which he talks about alcohol and music with a series of guests. They were released about once every other week from December 2022.
- Episode 1 – Namjoon – first episode in December 2022
- Episode 2 – comedian and emcee Shin Dong Yup
- Episode 3 – musician Taeyang of Big Bang, an early and influential Kpop hip-hop group
- Episode 4 – Hoshi of the Kpop band Seventeen, one of Hybe’s wider label groups
- Episode 5 – musician Tablo of Epik High, one of Suga’s favourite hip-hop groups
- Episode 6 – Actor Lee Sungmin
- Episode 7 – Jimin
- Episode 8 – Yeonjun and Taehyun from TXT, their little brother band from BigHit, Yeonjun famously gets pretty drunk and Taehyun and Suga have to get him home
- Episode 9 – SUGA is the guest! RM is the host for a special “R-chwita” episode.
- Episode 10 – SUGA interviews his doppelganger – Woozi from Seventeen
- Episode 11 – Actress Lee NaYoung
- Episode 12 – Jin (with special surprise guest j-hope) – this was actually filmed just after the first episode with Namjoon, back in December 2022, before Jin’s enlistment
- Episode 13 – Comedian Jo SeHo (you may hear some controversy over this choice, if so, this is why; more detail and links in Unit 9 under Flower Crew)
- Episode 14 – j-hope
- Episode 15 – Jung Kook – plus bonus clip of him hanging around to do karaoke for ages after SUGA went home
- Episode 16 – Hywang Minhyun of the 2nd gen Kpop band Nu’est; he’s now a soloist under the HYBE umbrella
- Episode 17 – Korean national team soccer player Lee Kangin
- Episode 18 – V
Suga also made a documentary tracing the writing of his solo album and preparation for his solo world tour called Suga: Road to D-Day. You can watch it on Disney+ as of April 2023. Teaser here / Full Trailer Here / Suga’s travel preferences and advice / tour of his solo songs / Suga interviewing Agust D / Things on Suga’s mind these days / Suga giving spoilers
j-hope was featured in the documentary special J-Hope in the Box on Disney+ in February 2023 that showed us the process of making the Jack in the Box album and preparing for his Lollapalooza performance. You can watch it on Disney+ in most countries or you can buy it on Weverse. The Weverse version also comes with a j-hope voiceover track – plus, the captions are a little closer to what j-hope is actually saying, so we do recommend that version if possible. Promotional clips j-hope made for this special include: Teaser / j-hope interviewing himself / filling out a profile / questions in a box / super deep dive into the movie Inside Out
Both Suga: Road to D-Day and J-Hope in the Box were screened in theatres for a limited run in June 2023.
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!
Each Memories usually has one big event/concert on the first couple of DVDs. Here’s a list of the big things on each. Find more info on each of these concerts in our concerts unit.
- Memories of 2014 – First Muster, and clips of the Red Bullet Tour
- Memories of 2015 – BTS Begins (their first big solo concert in Seoul) and clips of the Red Bullet Tour
- Memories of 2016 – Second Muster, and clips of HYYH Tour
- Memories of 2017 – Wings Tour, the Final in Seoul
- Memories of 2018 – Prom Party (5th festa), plus clips of many of the Love Yourself dates
- Memories of 2019 – Love Yourself: Speak Yourself, Los Angeles
- Memories of 2020 – Bang Bang Con: The Live
- Memories of 2021 – Permission to Dance Online concert from October 2021
Special Photo Books
Each year, D’Icon releases photo books for several of the top Kpop groups. These are really big magazine-style books with hundreds of pages of top-quality photos. They come with a ton of photocards too. They aren’t cheap, but they sure are pretty.
D’Icon also released a special set of 7 books, one for each member, to celebrate Dispatch’s 10th anniversary in 2022, and they are gorgeous.
2022 Photo Folios
As BTS ventured into solo work in 2022, BigHit announced a Photo Folio series, where each member would create some sort of visual artistic project. The end result for each was a photo book combined with photo cards and other merch that was sold as a package; the 7 books together make a single “&” symbol on their spines.