I do not watch all the reality shows that are out there because according to Wikipedia the list goes on and on. The list is so long of reality programs, that Wikipedia has categorized all the programs and the categories are numerous here. I have my favorites, but of those favorites, I will explain my choices and why. So here goes:
Year 2000 introduced the U.S. to “Survivor” and a look see into the lives of people who would do “just about anything” to win a million dollars and be crowned the “Sole Survivor.” It was won by Richard Hatch who liked to walk around naked, much to the surprise of the other players. He openly admitted that he was gay and after winning the million, he spent time in jail for income tax evasion. For more info about the show: here.
Year 2001 gave us “Fear Factor”, which was another derivation of a European game show. We got to see people eat brains, testicles and other disgusting entrails and stuff, perform dizzying stunts, people being put in a phone booth size case with snakes, roaches and anything that could bite them, sting them or just scare the living bejeebers out of them; while we sat at home shuddering and retching and sometimes losing our dinner and swearing we would not do that for the top prize of $50,000 or any other amount for that matter! For more about this program here.
Year 2002 presented us with “American Idol”, no eating bugs or romping in the jungle with a bunch of crazy people. All that was required was a belief in one’s self that they had the talent and nerve to perform in front of the studio and television audience. The most discerning thing about the show is that many people who believed in themselves were the only ones who felt this way and were the subject of ridicule by the panel of judges as well as the folks at home. I had mixed emotions for some of these people who were devastated by the disapproval of the judges and the ones who flew into a rage and threw a fit that a two-year old would be envious of when their candy was taken away. The best thing about this program is the world got to meet and fall in love with new stars with promising careers who we otherwise would have never met and give a wonderful opportunity to those who may have remained in obscurity without this big break. For more info about this program: here .
Year 2003 gave us hope with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Here a deserving family was given a new chance when their existing home was demolished and rebuilt to far surpass their hopes and dreams. As we watched at home with tears in our eyes, we got to feel exhilarated by the charity displayed to this family by local builders, and tradesmen and women from their community as well as businesses who supply much of the appliances and building supplies to fulfill their dreams. From people who took in numerous foster children with various disabilities to the ones who survived a series of tragedies in their lives, when we heard the now famous line: “Bus driver, move that bus” we see the despair turn to hope when the family involved sees their new home for the first time. To see more about this feel good series: here .
Year 2004 brought us the “Biggest Loser.” My heart breaks for the people who begin this program because they bare their souls to the world and I feel “there but for the grace of God go I.” I know my life has been a yo-yo of dieting but never in my wildest dreams could I imagine putting myself through the rigors of this program. They are subjected to verbal abuse of the trainers, who really have a heart and who they eventually bond with. They are given challenges each week and some are so grueling that they far surpass army boot camp training. The end result is a metamorphosis from overweight people who could die from their addiction to food to a healthier and much thinner person who not only gets their exercise by going from the sofa to the refrigerator. To see more about this: here .
Year 2005 brought my absolute favorite: “The Deadliest Catch”. I don’t care what else is on; I watch this program and love the marathons. This series shows what it takes to catch crab in Alaska’s Bering Sea as they hunt Alaskan king crab and the opilio or snow crab. Anyone who would do this for a living has to have nerves of steel. I love all the captains and how they handle not only the crew but the nerve wracking trips in such extreme weather that has me running for my robe and slippers just to enable me to watch. From Captain Phil’s bout with heart disease, Captain Sig’s saving a cameraman from death by ordering him from his position just before a crab pot would have killed him, to the ongoing battles of Captain Keith and Captain Monty having their brotherly arguments to the Hillstrand brothers enjoying the practical jokes that allow them to keep their sense of humor while fighting the daily dangers of the job. This is one reality program that will never get old for me. Narrated by Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” who has a voice that captures us and my hat is off to the cameramen and women who go out on these boats and also risk their lives as the fishermen do. The worst part is when there is a fishing vessel in distress and you see the heartbreak on the faces of the captains and how they can help or be too far away to assist. We have seen men go overboard and also lose their lives, so the “reality” is always evident in this captivating series. For more about this show: here .
Year 2006 brought us the likes of “Flavor of Love”, “Top Chef” and “Little People, Big World” but one of my favorites that endured since 2003 has to be “Last Comic Standing”. This is a funny show and from the title, you must know it has to be so. The new comedians get the opportunity to be seen and enjoyed by the television viewing audience who may not be able to get out to a comedy club to see them perform. I have enjoyed the likes of the newer comedians from being a fan of Comedy Central, but with the fame their performances bring, we see them appear on more mainstream programs too. Laughter is cathartic and without humor, our lives would be droll. Hooray for this program! To see more about it: here.
Year 2007 gave us “LA Ink” a spin-off of Miami Ink. Kat Von D appeared on Miami Ink but did not get along with everyone on the Miami Ink cast and was fired from that show. Everyone who loses a job should be so lucky. So she opened her own shop in Los Angeles from whence she came and became more famous than the show she was on. She is a tattoo artist extraordinaire and wears her own tattoos proudly. I have had enough pain in my life that a tattoo is not something I desire; but I love watching the show and the wonders that they create on a canvas of skin. To see more: here .
Year 2008 did not introduce any new reality shows to the scene, but another fan favorite was “Dancing with the Stars.” This gives several celebrities a chance to dance with one of the regular members of the DWTS male and female dancers. There are two series a year, in the spring and fall. There is so much excitement about this program especially in the announcement as to who will be the next contestants. The celebrity winners in order from first to last were: Kelly Monaco, Drew Lachey, Emmit Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brooke Burke, Shawn Johnson and Donny Osmond. Pretty soon the next contestants will be announced for the 10th edition which should have more hype than all previous episodes; if that is humanly possible. To view more about this great program here.
Year 2009 is almost at an end and although no new reality shows came to us this year, we certainly have seen our share of the best over the decade in every different reality genre. One I liked this year was “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.” It featured several celebrities: Lou Diamond Phillips, John Salley, Torrie Wilson, Sanjaya Malakar, Patti Blagojevich, Damien Fahey, Myleene Klass, Janice Dickinson, Stephen Baldwin, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, Frances Callier, Angela Shelton, Daniel Baldwin, Holly Montag, and Yvonne Boismier Phillips. One thing I came away with after watching this program is that on the whole; celebrities are just human beings. I have always been a fan of the Baldwin brothers; I like Lou Diamond Phillips, John Salley and thought that Sanjaya Malakar was a trip on American Idol. Much to my surprise, I found out that Patti Blagojevich was truly a nice lady and I give her a lot of credit for appearing on that show. Whether her husband is guilty or not, she is in for a tough road ahead. As for the other celebrities, I did not really know who they were but I liked all of them except for Spencer Pratt who loves himself a bit too much for my liking and way overestimates his place in the celebrity world. To read more about this show here
So these are my choices, agree or not, it has been a great ten years of reality television. Wonder what the next decade will bring?