Editor’s Note: Welcome to our new column, Reality AF. Every Monday, Terry Terrones will check in and talk about the state of reality TV, plus provide a Top 5 list of what’s coming up this week that you should not miss.
In the first episode of Netflix’s new dating series Dated & Related, which premieres this Friday, one of the contestants looking for love delivers his best pick up line, “Are you a Transformer? Because if you were, you’d be Optimus Fine.”
It’s an admittedly corny line that even made the guy delivering it laugh at his own ridiculousness. And just like that, I was hooked on yet another Netflix reality dating show. Evidently I’m like so many other viewers: a sucker for watching attractive, not-that-bright singles who inexplicably have a hard time dating.
Look at the picture at the top of this post. Do you really think ANY of these individuals have to work hard to find a date? It’s a silly notion but fans of dating shows have long accepted this trope. It’s part of the fun. As is a twist, because every relationship series needs one, and Dated & Related has a doozy.
In this new show, pairs of siblings are grouped together with each one looking for love. The idea of watching your brother or sister flirt, kiss, and make the same mistakes you’ve seen them make over and over right in front of you is as cringey as it sounds. Dated & Related is loaded with awkward moments that would make even Michael Scott roll his eyes, so of course it’s an enjoyable and breezy watch. It’s also one of dozens of bingeable reality series on the Netflix roster.
The streaming service is well-known for giving hefty paychecks to noteworthy comedians and taking chances with big budget action flicks, but it’s also steadily built a roster of diverse reality programming that can’t be matched anywhere else. Check out this variety, it’s a veritable potpourri of reality content.
Love is Blind, which was a viral hit this spring, returns to finish season 2 with the After the Altar wrap-up later this month. If blind dating isn’t your thing, there’s Indian Matchmaking (my wife’s favorite), The Ultimatum, Back with the Ex,Love on the Spectrum, and Marriage or Mortgage that have titles that tell you exactly what they’re about without even watching them.
The Great British Baking Show, and Somebody Feed Phil are all critically acclaimed but Netflix also has plenty of other reality series that play with food. Is It Cake?, School of Chocolate, and Baking Impossible make what’s on the plate fun and entertaining.
Queer Eye has long been one of Netflix’s most popular series, Marie Condo has two different programs on the streamer, and there are about 100 (low estimate) home buying or renovation shows as well.
Cheer is an Emmy nominated series, there are two different Last Chance U shows (one for football and another for basketball) where hoop and gridiron dreams are on display, and you can watch athletes test their skills in an obstacle course in Ultimate Beastmaster.
There are also many other shows that defy categorization. The G Word With Adam Conover features the comedian playfully and intelligently discussing the pros and cons of the government. Blown Away is all about glassblowers (Glassblowers!) and is in its third season. How to Make a Sex Room is exactly what it sounds like and is hosted by designer Melanie Rose, a modern day Dr. Ruth. And surely you’ve heard of Sexy Beasts, a speed dating show where contestants dress as real or fictional creatures. It’s weird, funny, unique, and kinda creepy.
That’s 22 shows I just mentioned and it’s only a tip of the Netflix reality iceberg. While other networks may have longer running and beloved programs like Hard Knocks, Survivor, and The Bachelor, when it comes to offering both quality and quantity no one can match the world’s biggest streaming service. If you need an escape from reality, Netflix has you covered.
5 Reality Shows to Watch This Week
1. America’s National Parks (NatGeo, August 29)
Why you should watch it: Park rangers get up close with hidden gems across the country. Up first, the best parts of Everglades National Park you never knew about.
2. Below Deck Mediterranean (Bravo, August 29)
Why you should watch it: Kyle gets friendly with someone on board, putting his job on the line; during a deck dispute about the slide, Jason has some unkind words for Storm; Natasha tries to impress the guests with an elaborate wine pairing and also shares that she used to sleep with chef Dave. Okay, I made that last part up but it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what Natasha did.
3. The Bachelorette (ABC, August 29)
Why you should watch it: Yeah, yeah I know. This week’s top 5 is HEAVY on Monday but there’s a lot going on tonight. And I had to include the Men Tell All Episode because I want to see the bachelors bro out on dudes that were never on the show for “the right reasons.”
4. Guy’s Ultimate Game Night (Food Network, Series Premiere August 31)
Why you should watch it: Because Guy Fieri needs something to do, celebrities and their closest friends and family join the host in the Flavortown Lounge for an evening of food, drinks and food-related games and trivia. Up first is SNL alum Bobby Moynihan, comedian Ron Funches, and rocker Bret Michaels.
5. Dated & Related (Netflix, September 2)
Why you should watch it: Ring in the new month by laughing at the awkward moment when a brother watches his sister make out with a love interest right in front of him. Gross!
Terry Terrones is a Television Critics Association and Critics Choice Association member, licensed drone pilot, and aspiring hand model.
When he’s not applying for Survivor, you can find him hiking in the mountains of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter @terryterrones.
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