15 of the best reality shows to binge while isolating

Brian Bowen Smith/E!‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians.’
  • If you’re stuck at home, there are plenty of reality TV shows you can watch to fill up your time.
  • There are many serialized reality shows worth a binge, like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “90 Day Fiancé,” and “Vanderpump Rules.”
  • If you love reality competition shows, check out “The Bachelor,” “Big Brother,” “Love Island,” and “Top Chef.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you need an escape from the realities of isolating and the coronavirus pandemic, then reality television may be the answer.

There seem to be hundreds of reality TV shows on the air these days, but only a handful are actually worth your time. Some of the best reality shows are serialized while others are competitions. There are even some reality shows that have been airing for decades and now could be the perfect time to catch up.

Keep reading to find out which reality shows you should be watching in quarantine.

When it comes to serialized reality TV shows, the “Real Housewives” franchise reigns supreme.

Andrei Jackamets / Getty Images‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’

Where to watch:

Description: The franchise follows a group of women in different cities around the world, highlighting the drama that ensues between their intricate relationships.

Why it’s worth the watch: While the most entertaining part of the franchise is watching these women fight, it’s even more empowering to watch them deal with love, careers, relationships, and motherhood. It also highlights cities all over the world. With series like “Real Housewives of New York,” “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and “Real Housewives of Orange County,” there’s something for everyone.

“Vanderpump Rules,” a spin-off of the “Real Housewives” franchise, has taken on a life of its own.

Bravo/Getty ImagesLisa Vanderpump form ‘Vanderpump Rules.’

Where to watch:

Description: The show centres on a restaurant owned by Lisa Vanderpump, who was on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” “Vanderpump balances her motherly instinct with her shrewd business sense to maintain control over the restaurant’s wild group of employees who are working at the eatery while pursuing their dreams,” according to the show summary.

Why it’s worth the watch: When “Vanderpump Rules,” premiered in 2013, all the stars were waiters and bartenders struggling to make it in Los Angeles. As the series progresses, you get front row seats to their drama and antics as they evolve into husbands, wives, and homeowners. The series also creates some of the best reality stars of all time: Jax Taylor, Stassi Schroeder, James Kennedy.

“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been a popular reality show for 13 years.

‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’/E!Kim Kardashian on ‘Keeping up With the Kardashians.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians takes viewers inside the hectic lives of Hollywood’s modern-day Brady Bunch,” according to the show summary. “Can two famous clans come together as one united front? Or will their individual lust for the limelight end up fracturing the family?”

Why it’s worth the watch: If you watch from the first season, which aired in 2007, you get to see a seemingly normal family catapult themselves into the spotlight. The Kardashian empire is built right before your eyes. The richer the family gets, the more dramatic the series becomes. The fights, the scandals, and the heartache are all hashed out right on the screen for you to enjoy.

“90 Day Fiancé” has gained a cult-like following after premiering in 2014.

TLC’90 Day Fiancé.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Is three months enough time to decide your future? With a fiancé visa, the sponsor and his or her fiancé must wed within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S. The international fiancés will have to get to know their potential spouses and American culture fast, and then decide whether or not to get married.”

Why it’s worth the watch: This series puts the spotlight on couples who met online and are just getting to know each other in person. As each season progresses, viewers get to guess if each couple will make it to the end of the 90 days. Along the way, you get hilarious plots, awkward encounters, and lots of drama. The successful series also has two spin-offs, “Before the 90 Days” and “Happily Ever After,” so you will never run out of content.

“Jersey Shore” has created a surprisingly loveable cast of characters who remain relevant today.

MTV‘Jersey Shore.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Young adults move into a summer share to indulge in everything Seaside Heights, New Jersey, has to offer. Jersey Shore uncovers sometimes surprising, often hilarious and usually over-the-top personalities.”

Why it’s worth the watch: After premiering in 2009, the cast of “Jersey Shore” was the butt of many jokes. But quickly the cast became some of the most loveable and memorable people on TV – especially Snooki and The Situation. From bar fights to heavy drinking, this show highlighted the drama and the comedy in this friend group. Not to mention, the show introduced a bunch of terminology into the lexicon like “GTL” and “cabs are here.” Recently, the show premiered a revival, “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation,” proving that the cast is here to stay.

“Laguna Beach” and its spin-off series, “The Hills,” were some of the most popular shows in the early 2000s.

MTV/Michael Muller‘Laguna Beach.’

Where to watch:

Description: “This reality series chronicles the lives of several Laguna Beach High School students, including Lauren Conrad, Lo Bosworth, Kristin Cavallari, Stephen Colletti, Talan Torriero, and Tessa Keller. The teenagers must contend with love triangles, strained friendships and questions about their future beyond their lives in Orange County.”

Why it’s worth the watch: Much like “Jersey Shore,” the cast of “Laguna Beach” has stood the test of time. A few of the show’s original characters are still making headlines, including its star, Lauren Conrad. Watching the show from the beginning, you are able to track her progression from high schooler to mogul. If that’s not enough, stay for the high school drama and relationships that are sure to keep you entertained.

“Love is Blind” is an interesting relationship experiment that captivated audiences this winter.

Netflix‘Love is Blind.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where single men and women look for love and get engaged, all before meeting in person.”

Why it’s worth the watch: Although “Love is Blind” may feel like a competition show, there is no prize and the singles are not competing against each other. Therefore, this series is a breath of fresh air in the world of reality TV, as viewers get to watch couples really struggle with falling in love with someone they have never seen before. Not only is the series extremely binge-able, but it also brought viewers together in disliking one individual: Jessica.

When it comes to reality competition shows, “Survivor” is one of the longest-running series.

Robert Voets/CBS‘Survivor.’

Where to watch:
CBS All Access

Description: “A reality show where a group of contestants are stranded in a remote location with little more than the clothes on their back. The lone survivor of this contest takes home a million dollars.”

Why it’s worth the watch: “Survivor” has had 40 seasons and has been on the air for 20 years, so that should be proof enough that this series is worth a watch. Through the show, audiences connect with everyday people placed in extraordinary situations. Filled with alliances, challenges, villains, and heroes, “Survivor” is the perfect show to binge right now.

“Big Brother” is another long-running reality competition show that audiences love.

CBS‘Big Brother.’

Where to watch:
CBS All Access

Description: “Contestants must compete against each other for a chance to win $US500,000 in a house wired with cameras and microphones, capturing their every move for a TV and Internet audience.”

Why it’s worth the watch: “Big Brother” preys on the voyeuristic side of human nature. This show is unlike anything else on TV, in that audiences can watch the live feeds in the house 24/7. The episodes that air on TV are a condensed version of what happened over each week in the house. Its an experience no other show provides.

“The Bachelor” is one of the most beloved franchises in the US.

ABC‘The Bachelor.’

Where to watch:

Description: “A single man searches for his soul mate through a series of dates with 25 contestants ready to romance him for a chance at love.”

Why it’s worth the watch: “The Bachelor” has 24 seasons and its spin-off, “The Bachelorette,” has 14, but that doesn’t mean the series has gone stale. In fact, each season somehow is more shocking than the last. Although the format is pretty much the same from season to season, every year a new batch of characters are introduced to audiences – and they are pure entertainment. It’s also great – and sometimes funny – to watch people fall in love and try to get engaged in just a few weeks.

“Top Chef” is a competition show that has brought some of the best chefs in the world into the spotlight.

Bravo‘Top Chef.’

Where to watch:

Description: “‘Top Chef’ offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. The series features seventeen aspiring chefs who compete for their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of ‘Top Chef.'”

Why it’s worth the watch: “Top Chef” has jump-started the careers of several celebrity chefs around the world over the course of its 17 seasons. The show’s host and judges, Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, became stars in their own right. This was all made possible because audiences love food competition shows, and the series’ high adrenaline challenges and gourmet dishes are sure to impress anyone who watches.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” started as a niche competition show for drag queens, but it has become a mainstream cultural juggernaut.

VH1‘RuPaul’s Drag Race.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Join RuPaul, the most famous drag queen in the world, as the host, mentor and inspiration on … RuPaul’s Drag Race, the ultimate drag queen competition.”

Why it’s worth the watch: While drag culture has always been considered niche, “Drag Race” helped usher the world of drag into the mainstream. After moving from Logo to VH1, the series has gained more fans than ever before because of the show’s hilarious challenges. If you love makeup, singing, performance, or comedy, then you’ll find something to enjoy in this series. The show also created some of the most popular memes on social media in recent years.

“Love Island” is a British competition show that has gained a huge fan base in the US.

ITV Studios‘Love Island.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Glamorous singles live in a beautiful villa under the watchful gaze of the audience at home, who have the power to decide who stays and who goes.”

Why it’s worth the watch: Much like “Big Brother,” “Love Island” has an unusual viewing experience. Since the experience is happening as the episodes air, audiences have unprecedented power over what happens on the show. They can vote on who stays in the house and who goes home. With over 50 episodes per season, the show is an undertaking, but real fans love the series for the witty banter, the perfect casting, and the comical challenges.

“Project Runway” has been creating some of the fashion world’s biggest designers for 18 seasons.

Getty Images/Dimitrios Kambouris‘Project Runway.’

Where to watch:

Description: “Project Runway is a reality competition where fashion designers fight for their big break in the fashion industry. Designers compete in weekly challenges, presenting their work on the runway.”

Why it’s worth the watch: Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum were at the helm of the series for 16 seasons, creating a show that viewers loved for the creative design challenges. The show also helped launch the careers of several designers like Christian Siriano and Leanne Marshall. Now the show has reinvented itself with Siriano and Karlie Kloss at the wheel.

The reality game show “Wipeout” is the perfect escapism content.

Mike Weaver/ Getty‘Wipeout.’

Where to watch:
Amazon Prime

Description: “Contestants will compete in the world’s largest extreme obstacle course, providing the biggest spills and spectacular wipeouts ever seen on television.”

Why it’s worth the watch: Whenever you need to escape reality and you’re craving a belly laugh, “Wipeout” is the perfect show to turn to. People falling off comically large obstacle courses surely will never get old.

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