Reality TV often gets a bad rap—how many times have you been embarrassed to admit you spent an entire weekend catching up on your fave "trashy show"? But as 2020, and 2021, are proving to us, the form is evolving. These shows aren't just vehicles for you to feel good about your life choices, although there are some shows on here that do just that. They're ways to get inspired, educated, and involved, too. Some of the classics of the genre are saying goodbye, like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and others are making some long-overdue changes—looking at you, The Bachelor franchise. And some are new and exciting, like Legendary and The Big Day. Below, some of the best reality TV shows to watch as you look for new content, or comb through the back catalog of your newest binge-watch. And stay tuned, because we're also waiting on confirmation for some equally incredible shows (come on, The Circle; please give me more Love Is Blind, always; Million Dollar Beach House??) and we'll update this list when we get renewal announcements and new shows. It's going to be a good year.
If you love glitter as much as these kids (and if you don't, we probably shouldn't be friends), get excited for Craftopia. It features one of my favorite YouTubers, Lauren Riihimaki—a.k.a. LaurDIY. The crafty kiddo contestants, who are way, way more talented than I am, compete to make the most creative and complicated creations (alliteration definitely intended). The show's been renewed for a second season, so get those glue sticks out now.
It's like Bachelor in Paradise, but longer and more ridiculous. There are Love Island versions all over the world, but the UK show is essentially required viewing. Ratings for the US equivalent have been bad, but the show's Instagram account promises a season three in Hawaii. Great news, if you're interested: The show is currently casting.
It's the opposite of Nailed It, with Lego bricks. Watching these artists compete to make the most gorgeous sculptures is both fascinating and heartbreaking, especially when one of the meticulous creations accidentally crashes into a million pieces. It's confirmed for a season two, so get ready to be mesmerized all over again.
This might be the most lavishly gorgeous reality show of all time? The series follows modern ball culture, as eight voguing houses try to outdo each other and compete for $100,000. Contestants have nine total balls to demonstrate their many modeling/dancing/lip-syncing/performance talents. HBO Max has confirmed a second season with returning MC Dashaun Wesley and judges Leiomy Maldonado, Jameela Jamil, Law Roach, and Megan Thee Stallion, so absolutely brush up on the first before that happens.
In a similar fashion to The Bachelor, this one's worth the watch for the people bringing change to the franchise. If you're not caught up, skip straight to Tayshia Adams' episodes to watch her take charge of the season with grace and wisdom—and give us one of the best love stories the franchise has ever seen. A lot of people were mad that we didn't get a Bachelor in Paradise last year, but there are plenty of reality shows with beaches and bikinis at this point. It's unclear who the next Bachelorette will be, but the fact that it's still up in the air is hopefully a sign that producers are listening to audience members, who want more of what we saw with Adams.
I didn't realize watching horny adults try NOT to have sex would be so fun and funny, but here we are. It's basically the meta version of every other sexy-adults-on-a-beach show out there: Aggressively honest about its intentions, and never above poking fun at the contestants. Per Deadline, we're definitely getting a season two, this time in Turks and Caicos, with the details under wraps to fool both the audience and the participants.