7 reality shows you should be watching in April

While April is bringing us at least one show that seems like parody but is very real, it also has several new shows debuting, in addition to the shows that started airing in March. Four of those are ones I hope you’re watching now:

  1. CNBC’s The Profit is having a strong second season that comes off as more produced than season one, but it’s still engaging and real (here’s a news story about last night’s satisfying story, for example).
  2. OWN’s Lindsay, which I love for its fourth wall-breaking.
  3. Syfy’s Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, which started last week and is pretty much just like Face Off, except the process of construction is much more interesting and doesn’t lead me to fast-forward, like I now do during the middle of Face Off episodes. There’s also the bonus of Jim Henson nostalgia.
  4. Discovery’s Naked and Afraid, which is back for its second season and although it’s paired with an obnoxious after-show, Naked After Dark, the series itself is as compelling as ever, with varied locations and personalities making each episode very different.

There are others that I haven’t been able to watch fully yet, such as Chicagoland and The Freshman Class, that I’m looking forward to, and perhaps I’m missing others. (Let me know!)

This month, three new series among the many, many debuts stand out to me. They are:

Knife Fight, April 15, Tuesdays at 9. Esquire’s fun cooking competition–hosted by a former Top Chef winner–returns for its second season with impressive chefs competing in the stripped-down showdown, including Sue Zemanick, Traci des Jardins, Charles Phan, Tim Love, and Mark Peel. The prize-less, half-hour show is quick and not at all gimmicky, so you’re just watching two (usually very competitive) chefs show off their skills.

Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime, April 13, Sundays at 10. A reality series executive produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron about climate change and starring celebrities sounds like it could be parody, straight out of Team America: World Police, but the trailer suggests otherwise. In it, James Cameron sums up what the series is about: “the stories of people whose lives have been transformed by climate change.” Those stories are told and explored by a group of journalists, scientists, and celebrities, including Harrison Ford, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jessica Alba, and aided by some tremendous cinematography and

Deadliest Catch, Discovery, April 22, Tuesdays at 9. I admit that I haven’t watched in a few seasons, having grown somewhat tired of the repetition. But I’m thrilled this show exists, and not just because, along with shows such as Naked and Afraid, it proves Discovery is capable of high-quality nonfiction despite airing reputation-destroying crap like this. It’s Deadliest Catch‘s 10th season this year, and its brutal reality is matched by its artistry, which is evident in this trailer.

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Ben Folds

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A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

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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.