If any of our Top Ten Lists here at BuddyTV are self-explanatory, this is it. It also might anger people the most. People can be very protective about their favorite reality shows. My favorites are certainly not going to be your favorites and, as a result, you might finish this list and wonder I am so incompetent. But, it’s only my opinion and I welcome yours. There is rhyme behind my reason and I’ve done some serious thinking about each and every placement on this list.
I’m interested to hear the lists of others on this subject. For instance, if you love American Idol, do you also love So You Think You Can Dance? Are there patterns to people’s reality TV favorites? My only guideline for this list is: No Game Shows. While they may technically be reality shows, they’re completely different (perhaps meriting their own list?). Click below to get started.
#10 America’s Next Top Model
I have a couple issues with this otherwise entertaining show that would probably make it higher up on my list if they were changed. Granted, I still enjoy the show (it’s on my list, isn’t it?), but there are improvements to be made. One, Tyra, you’re an interesting lady, but I don’t know if I can handle you any more. It’s not you, it’s me. You have this weird, crazy sort of energy that…I don’t know, it’s fairly inexplicable. Also, models are supposed to be great-looking, right? I think they could cast the contestants on America’s Next Top Model a little better.
#9 Dancing with the Stars
Dancing with the Stars is a downright bizarre television show. The appeal of the show is confusing, and I often find myself being entertained by aspects that I thought I would despise. The show still suffers from a lack of a great host (there’s a reason Tom Bergeron has hosted something like 9,164 shows), but makes up for it with inspired casting.
#8 Hell’s Kitchen
Chef Gordon Ramsay is a crazy person on Hell’s Kitchen. Really, he is. Watch it sometime. The show is set up like your typical reality-competition program, with cooking. Ramsay, however, makes the show so much more. His intensity, his yelling, it’s all so infectious. If you thought the restaurant world was high-stress before, you’ve never seen anything like Chef Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen.
#7 The Ultimate Fighter
The Ultimate Fighter succeeds where “The Contender” failed. A hugely entertaining reality show, The Ultimate Fighter shows two things: The extreme training these Ultimate Fighters go through, and the fights themselves. Every episode brings a new fight in The Octagon, with the added emotional build-up only possible with reality TV.
#6 American Idol
I’m not as high on American Idol as others, but you still have to give it props. The show has turned into a global phenomenon and the biggest show in the US. Pretty good for a talent show. What is different about American Idol is the high quality of its production values and the way each judge plays off each other. Don’t worry, fans: January isn’t all that far away.
#5 Dog the Bounty Hunter
Yep, Dog the Bounty Hunter. I don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t seen this show. Just look at the picture below. Does that huge mulleted man, chasing down degenerate bail jumpers with his posse interest you? If not, I don’t think we can be friends.
#4 Big Brother
There are those that love Big Brother. There are those that hate Big Brother. I lean towards the former. Big Brother is the reality candy that keeps us satiated during those otherwise barren Summer months. For some, it becomes the entire landscape of their Summer viewing and it continually delivers, with three episodes per week. What other show does that?
#3 So You Think You Can Dance
Call this my guilty pleasure choice. I was roped into watching this program last summer, against my will, and I ended up enjoying the hell out of it. It’s like American Idol, but with more impressive and unique performances. In terms of skill, the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance dominate the Dancing with the Stars competitors. It’s not even close.
Survivor is the most influential show in the history of reality television. It’s formula (voting people off) is the template employed by countless other shows and they all have Survivor to thank. The show continues to deliver because of the great premise with its inherent human conflicts, and the expert casting by Mark Burnett and his producers.
#1 The Amazing Race
The most consistently entertaining reality show on TV, also my favorite. Seamlessly produced and edited, The Amazing Race is the only reality show to hit different continents and countries with such amazing speed and dexterity. If you haven’t watched yet, do. You will not regret it.