Another year is almost gone. Since Survivor and Big Brother came to CBS one otherwise dreary summer, preceded by ABC’s Making the Band, six and a half years have passed. Those years have brought us plenty of joy in the form of real people living and competing in often unreal situations.
This year was no exception. From a flying loogie to a loopy judge, the year had its moments. Here, in no particular order, are the highlights from this past year that made me proud–or just slightly less ashamed–to be a reality TV fan and critic. See you in 2007 for even more fun and excitement.
- Project Runway catches on. Bravo’s fashion design reality show first debuted more than two years ago. Those of us who have been addicted since then knew it was a hit. But it was in 2006, when seasons two and three aired (almost back-to-back, as the show moved to the summer), that the rest of the country caught on, finally. It’s American Idol for the educated, or at least for those who have grown tired of five months of karaoke. The show was again fueled nearly entirely by its cast, from star Tim Gunn to lovable villain Santino Rice, whose impressions of Tim Gunn are already a part of reality TV history. As the world began to pay attention, the reverberations were apparent on Bravo, which seemed to basically start photocopying the show’s format, and on other networks. HGTV debuted the talent-focused series Design Star and CBS aired another season of a musical talent competition featuring only talented people. So, thanks, Project Runway, for two more entertaining seasons, and for helping to send reality television in a new direction.