12 days of reality: Six Deadliest Catch seasons

As entertaining and awesome as completely constructed reality shows can be, some of the best reality shows are just edited versions of a reality that would exist even if cameras weren’t there. Deadliest Catch remains the best example of this, as it proved earlier this year with its episode about Phil Harris’ death.

Executive producer Thom Beers created and defined a subgenre with the show, and followed it with similar series, from Ice Road Truckers to Black Gold, that have had varying degrees of success. And certainly other shows such as Whale Wars owe something to the show, which is why it’s a gift worth celebrating during the 12 Days of Reality TV.

The best of those shows and Deadliest Catch offer us access to something we’d probably never see otherwise thanks to their access, never mind the bravery and craftsmanship of the people who actually film the show and are standing on the freezing deck of a crab boat for hours and hours. The show’s Emmy loss is unbelievable.

The narrative structure of docudrama reality shows allows us to get know the characters in a way that a single, two-hour documentary never could. To be sure, the shows edit down lives to moments that are the most dramatic, and the camera’s presence (and subsequent fame) may have an impact. But that is to be expected and is the reason why this site has the word “blurred” in the title. The blurring of reality should not be the faking of reality, but rather the packaging of reality to deliver television such as this:

The 12 Days of Reality TV (introduction)

  1. Richard Hatch it a tree
  2. Two dog bites in the vagina
  3. Three people fighting on Real World, and “it wasn’t not funny”
  4. Four seasons of The Mole
  5. Five golden vetoes
  6. Six Deadliest Catch seasons
  7. Charla and Mirna race around the world
  8. Joe Millionaire’s slurps, Joe Schmo’s schmo
  9. Bands running on VH1’s Bands on the Run give birth to Magical Elves
  10. Osbournes ham-throwing
  11. Regifting 11 years of reality blurred end-of-year recaps
  12. 12 reader suggestions, from Erik giving up immunity to The Real World’s Pedro

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.