Circus goes behind the scenes of the Big Apple Circus

Tonight, a six-part reality series on PBS explores circus life as goes behind the scenes of the Big Apple Circus, a one-ring, European-style circus. The series, called simply Circus, was created by the same people who produced last year’s Carrier, which took cameras on board an aircraft carrier.

The series finds its cast members in transition, from the retirement of its founding artistic director to the hot gay twin juggler who’s ending their act by heading off to medical school while his brother stays behind. It’s simultaneously an overview of circus life today and a more intimate portrait of its cast members, though a different kind of intimacy than, say, Bravo’s unscripted series offer.

The pace is slower than a typical reality show, but that’s part of its charm, and the first hour tonight builds to a pretty dramatic series of events. (The six-hour series airs two hours over each of the next three Wednesdays; check your local PBS listings for times.)

What really stands out to me is its stunning cinematography. Even in the slower moments, it’s just nice to look at, something ignored by a lot of reality series that just point the camera and shoot. Just watch this preview that highlights its impressive visuals and characters:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.