- Every year, Netflix releases dozens of original shows and movies, but recently its reality TV programming has caused the most stir.
- From “Queer Eye” to “Selling Sunset” to “Love Is Blind,” the streaming service is increasingly dominating the reality TV landscape.
- Insider picked 17 original Netflix reality series that are worth your time to binge, especially while many of us are stuck at home.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
More and more, reality TV shows are created to cater to every type of TV viewer. Perhaps you like home design and renovations shows. Maybe dating shows are more your jam, or you like acts of physical endurance. Whatever you like, Netflix has a series for you.
While not every show on this list has become a cultural phenomenon like “Selling Sunset,” all 17 are pleasant, feel-good viewing, especially in today’s world. You may be stuck at home, but you can live vicariously through the cast of “Million Dollar Beach House” or make decisions for Bear Grylls in “You vs. Wild.” You can get inspiration from designers on “Next in Fashion” or the pastry chefs on “Sugar Rush.”
Keep scrolling for the 17 best Netflix original reality TV shows.
This summer’s most recent reality obsession was “Selling Sunset,” which focuses on the real estate agents of LA’s Oppenheim Group.
There are three “Selling Sunset” seasons to binge, with seasons two and three getting released within a few months of each other this summer. Season one was released back in 2019.
The show, which was created by Adam DiVello of “The Hills,” follows real estate agents Heather, Christine, Chrishell, Davina, Maya, Amanza, and Mary, as well as their bosses Jason and Brett Oppenheim (plus Mary’s partner Romain), as they juggle their personal lives, office drama, and the high stakes real estate market of the Hollywood Hills. It’s truly addictive.
While season four hasn’t been announced yet, it seems like a sure thing, as the entire internet was obsessed with it this year.
For East Coast real estate fans, there’s “Million Dollar Beach House.”
“Million Dollar Beach House” follows a group of real estate agents at Nest Seekers International who primarily focus on listings in the ultra-wealthy area of the Hamptons.
The five agents (JB, Michael, Jimmy, Noel, and Peggy) might not be as compelling as the “Selling Sunset” ladies, but the homes are equally jaw-dropping. All six episodes (so far) were released in August.
“Floor Is Lava” turned out to be the perfect lockdown watch for families — it’s a game anyone can recreate inside their home.
“Floor Is Lava” was released in June and combined elements of game shows like “American Ninja Warrior” and “Wipe Out” with everyone’s favourite childhood game, “The Floor Is Lava.”
Teams competed to cross an intense themed obstacle course with hidden puzzles and tools – all without touching the “lava,” which was, in this case, orange-dyed water that covered the entire floor. Each team competed for a $US10,000 prize and – of course – a lava lamp.
Ten episodes are available to stream – no word on a season two, yet.
“Indian Matchmaking” teaches American viewers about a world they might not know much about.
The show, which premiered in July, focused on professional matchmaker Sima Taparia (she uses the term marriage consultant), as she tried to set up her clients and find them the perfect match.
Over the course of the show’s eight episodes, you watch the ups and downs of the matchmaking process, and you see a few couples fall in love. There’s no official word on a season two yet.
“Too Hot to Handle” is a new kind of dating show with an … interesting premise.
In “Too Hot to Handle,” 14 single men and women flew to Mexico for a dating show – only to find out from a virtual assistant named Lana that, in order to win $US100,000, there would be no physical contact of any kind allowed or else they’d lose money, inspired by the famous “Seinfeld” episode, “The Contest.”
In the time of the coronavirus, the inability to touch gave the show a bit of an eerie feel when it dropped in April, but it quickly became one of the most popular reality shows in Netflix’s repertoire.
“The Circle” is Netflix’s combination of social media, catfishing, and reality TV.
In “The Circle,” competitors all live in separate apartments and can only communicate with each other via an app called the Circle, a mix of Alexa, Siri, and Facebook, essentially.
The goal is to amass popularity and be the last one standing to win $US100,000. The catch? You can pretend to be anyone you want, depending on what you think will make you more popular. Hilarity, awkwardness, and genuine friendship ensue. Plus, the delightful comedian Michelle Buteau narrates all the drama.
Netflix renewed the show for a second and third season in March. There also three international versions to stream: UK, France, and Brazil.
On “Love Is Blind,” participants in the “experiment” fall in love and get engaged through a wall, before ever seeing each other. But the real fun begins after they have met.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, “Love Is Blind” was one of the biggest topics on the internet pre-COVID-19. The show, hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, follows six couples as they meet, fall in love, and get engaged all before seeing each other in person. The cameras follow them all the way to their wedding days – though it’s never guaranteed that the participants will go through with it.
Along with “The Circle,” Netflix renewed “Love Is Blind” for two more seasons in March.
“Ultimate Beastmaster” was Netflix’s answer to “American Ninja Warrior,” though their version added teamwork and an Olympics-esque quality.
“Beastmaster” aired for three seasons on Netflix, and if you need motivation to get up and work out during your quarantine, this will surely do it. Teams from all around the world compete to conquer an obstacle course known as “The Beast,” while commentators from each country narrate and talk smack to the other countries’ hosts.
The show’s third season dropped in 2018, and there hasn’t been an official statement one way or the other regarding cancellation.
“Nailed It!” will make you feel better about your own failed attempts at Pinterest baked goods.
On “Nailed It!” and its subsequent holiday spin-off, three amateur (a generous word) chefs compete to win $US10,000. The challenge? Recreate Pinterest-appropriate baked goods to the best of their ability.
While it may seem like it’s a little mean, the show’s Emmy-nominated host Nicole Byer, and judge Jacques Torres, are never condescending to the competitors. Everyone is just so genuinely happy to be there, it will put a smile on your face.
The fourth season was released on April 1, 2020, plus the two holiday editions from 2018 and 2019, respectively. There are also international editions from Mexico, France, Spain, and Germany.
If anything will restore your faith in humanity, it’s the rebooted version of “Queer Eye.”
At this point, the five experts on “Queer Eye,” Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown, are stars in their own right, and do their own solo projects. But nothing beats their chemistry when they come together to genuinely change people’s lives and perspectives on the LGBTQ community in places like Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Australia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Yes, it might make you ugly cry, but “Queer Eye” is the positive content we need in our lives right now. There are five seasons and a mini-season in Japan streaming right now, and the show was renewed for a sixth season in March.
Each episode of “Dating Around” focuses on a different person going on five blind dates.
Part of the appeal of “Dating Around” was the diversity of the cast, in regards to sexuality, race, and particularly, age. We rarely see what it’s like for older people to date on TV – look no further than the recent season of “The Bachelor” which featured multiple 23 year olds – and it’s a whole new market for reality TV.
Season two switched the location from New York City to New Orleans, and was released in June 2020. It consisted of another six episodes. While it was popular, “Dating Around’s” future remains up in the air, for now. A Brazilian version of the show is also available to stream.
“Rhythm + Flow” is Netflix’s first musical competition show. It’s dedicated to finding the next big rapper.
The show, judged by Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I., saw the three rappers travel across the US to audition hopeful musicians. The contestants were put through challenges, rap battles, freestyles, and other obstacles to win a $US250,000 cash prize (as well as exposure and notoriety).
“Rhythm + Flow” was renewed for a season two in March.
“Next in Fashion” was Netflix’s foray into the fashion design world, and was hosted by “Queer Eye’s” Tan France and Alexa Chung.
For those who aren’t satisfied with “Project Runway” or “Making the Cut,” “Next in Fashion” might be what you’re looking for. Eighteen hopeful designers compete for a $US250,000 prize and the chance to debut a collection with Net-a-Porter, a luxury brand.
Unfortunately, “Next in Fashion” was only destined to be a one-season wonder, and was cancelled in June.
“Singapore Social” is basically “The Hills,” but in Singapore. While you may not be able to travel right now, you can always hop on Netflix and pretend you’re there.
“Singapore Social” follows the lives of a group of friends in Singapore as they navigate their careers, dating, family expectations – things that all 20-somethings can relate to, no matter where they are in the world.
The show, which sparked some backlash among Singaporeans, has not been renewed for a season two yet.
“You vs. Wild” is an interactive nature show starring Bear Grylls, in which the viewer gets to decide his every move.
Like “Bandersnatch,” the show “You vs. Wild” allows viewers to decide what happens to Grylls on his many adventures – except this isn’t scripted, it’s real life. You can decide what cave Grylls should explore, if he should eat bugs, or if he needs to crawl or walk across a frozen lake. It’s a lot of power for one Netflix viewer.
One season is currently streaming on Netflix.
“Amazing Interiors” focuses on homes that look normal on the outside, but are totally unbelievable on the inside.
An advantage of Netflix is its ability to offer a breadth of content, instead of sticking to one genre, like the Food Network or HGTV. That’s why it’s able to produce a show like “Amazing Interiors,” a home design show. Each episode showcases three homes that, though they may look normal on the outside, are hiding spectacular interiors.
The episodes have names like “Doll House, House of Murals, Shapeshifter Flat,” or “Ultimate Greenhouse, Skatepark Living Room, Tiki Lounge,” so you know exactly what to expect, though it must be seen to be believed.
Twelve episodes are available to watch.
“Sugar Rush” is a baking competition in which bakers create cupcakes and other confections for a chance to win $US10,000.
“Sugar Rush” is perfect for those who have run out of “Cupcake Wars” to stream – it’s a similar concept. Each episode sees four duos of professional chefs compete in three rounds: cupcakes, confections, and cakes. Their goal is to win $US10,000.
The show is hosted by Hunter March, and judged by professional chefs Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo.
“Sugar Rush” has three seasons available to stream now – the third season dropped in July.
- Read more:
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- The 101 best TV shows to watch on Netflix right now
- The most iconic reality TV stars of all time – and where they are now
- Almost all reality TV production has ground to a total halt at a time when fans ‘need it more than ever’
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