Reality dramas are an addicting genre of TV that keeps viewers hooked with captivating stories and intriguing characters. These shows are anything but ordinary, often exploring serious and sometimes risky situations, while always providing top-notch entertainment. This list showcases some of the most incredible reality dramas ever aired, so make sure to let us know your top picks. Feel free to suggest any outstanding reality dramas that we may have missed and rearrange the rankings to suit your personal taste!
While many TV dramas rely on well-crafted scripts to captivate audiences, reality TV dramas achieve the same effect by showcasing real-life events. Examples of these shows include the gripping documentary-style reality TV drama, Deadliest Catch, where brave fishermen battle treacherous waters, the heart-racing Ice Road Truckers, where drivers tackle icy terrain, and the popular reality drama series, Teen Mom, which follows the ups and downs of young mothers.
In these shows, not everything goes according to plan. In a somber incident on Deadliest Catch in 2010, boat Captain Phil Harris fell seriously ill while filming. Cameras continued to roll, capturing the harsh reality of the situation, and sadly, Harris later passed away due to complications from a massive stroke.
Some of the most captivating reality dramas on television revolve around medical scenarios. Shows like NY Med, which takes viewers inside the bustling world of hospitals, Trauma: Life in the E.R., a compelling depiction of life-saving efforts in the emergency room, and the Emmy-winning addiction program, Intervention, which chronicles the journeys of individuals battling life-threatening addictions.
Now, it’s your turn to share your favorite reality drama. Let us know which shows resonate with you the most, and feel free to rearrange the rankings to your liking.
1. Dirty Jobs
Host: Mike Rowe.
Premiered: November 7, 2003
Actors: Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky, Doug Glover
Hosts test urban legends.
Premiered: January 23, 2003
Actor: Jon Lung, Brian Louden
3. Deadliest Catch
Venturing into the perilous waters of the Bering Sea, this gripping reality series takes you on a wild ride with fearless fishing vessels and their brave crews. They navigate treacherous conditions and battle fierce storms, risking their lives in pursuit of the lucrative Alaskan king crab.
Deadliest Catch has received numerous accolades, including 16 Primetime Emmy Awards. This show is a true testament to human resilience and determination. It captures the attention of viewers with its nail-biting drama, allowing them to follow the trials and tribulations of unforgettable characters like Captain Sig Hansen and Edgar Hansen.
The emotional connection forged between the audience and these characters keeps audiences enthralled season after season. Deadliest Catch delivers an intense and captivating experience that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Premiered: April 12, 2005
Actors: Rick Quashnick, Sig Hansen, Edgar Hansen
4. Pawn Stars
Three generations of men run a family-owned pawn shop in Las Vegas.
Premiered: July 19, 2009
Actors: Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison, Corey Harrison
Cameras catch police in action as they confront crime and comfort victims.
Premiered: March 11, 1989
Actors: Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay, Wayne Anderson
6. Undercover Boss
Corporate execs take low-level jobs at their firms to see what really takes place.
Premiered: February 7, 2010
Actor: Mark Keller
7. 48 Hours
Investigative reports on crime and justice cases.
Premiered: January 19, 1988
Actors: Maureen Maher, Peter Van Sant, Erin Moriarty
8. Joseline’s Cabaret: Miami
Joseline’s Cabaret: Miami (WE, 2021) is a reality series that takes us into the lives of Joseline Hernandez, along with a group of strippers and sex workers living in Miami, Florida. The show offers a candid glimpse into their daily experiences and challenges.
Actors: Joseline Hernandez, Daisy Delight, Chazzity Grade A.
9. Ice Road Truckers
Long-haul truckers risk their lives to bring supplies to remote locations.
Premiered: June 17, 2007
Actors: Alex Debogorski, Thom Beers, Hugh Rowland
10. 7 Little Johnstons
An average American family of little people proves size doesn’t matter.
Premiered: January 6, 2015
Actors: Trent Johnston, Amber Johnston, Jonah Johnston
11. Shark Tank
Venturing into the exciting world of entrepreneurship and innovation, this reality TV series provides a unique opportunity for aspiring business owners to showcase their ideas to a panel of industry moguls. The show features a diverse group of investors, including renowned figures like Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, who are ready to offer financial backing and invaluable mentorship to help turn these dreams into reality. With its impressive track record of multiple Emmy nominations, Shark Tank takes viewers on a captivating journey through the challenging and rewarding realm of startups. Through its engaging format and insightful interactions, the show not only entertains but also imparts valuable lessons on the art of negotiation and effective business strategy.
Premiered: August 9, 2009
Actors: Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John