reality TV reviews and news

DWTS, AYTO, and The Little Couple return, plus more reality TV this week

During The Little Couple season 9, Bill, Zoey, Will Klein, and Jen Arnold visit Abbey Road in London. (Photo by TLC)

Good Monday morning. Here’s our regular look at reality TV and documentaries ahead this week, though it still feels weird to return to televised frivolity in the wake of two major natural disasters, and I don’t want to pretend everything is normal.

There’s a lot of post-hurricane suffering still going on in Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean. For just one example, please read this powerful Facebook status update from someone in my hometown of Collier County, Fla., where Irma’s eye hit directly.

<awkward transition to frivolity>

So, this week’s new and returning reality shows group nicely into three categories:

  1. There are two regular competions returning this week (season 25 of Dancing with the Stars, ABC, Sept. 18, Mondays at 8, and season five of Are You The One?, MTV, Sept. 20, Wednesdays at 10). There’s also a brand-new competition between stylists (American Beauty Star, Lifetime, Sept. 21, Thursdays at 10:30).
  2. Three TLC shows focus on families. Two are returning favorites (The Little Couple, TLC, Sept. 19, Tuesdays at 9 and 7 Little Johnstons, TLC, Sept. 19, Tuesdays at 10), while a brand-new series, Behind Closed Doors: The American Family (TLC, Sept. 18, Mondays at 11), follows three different families using 24/7 surveillance. So kind of like Big Brother, but with a purpose.
  3. Finally, there are two shows about road trips: Paul Hollywood’s Big Continental Road Trip (Netflix, Sept. 21), which follows the Great British Bake-Off judge, and Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father (Netflix, Sept. 22), which follows the comedian and his father on their road trip.

For full descriptions and all other show debuts, see the fall 2017 reality TV schedule.

Also don’t forget that PBS’ The Vietnam War started last night; all of it will be on PBS’ web site and apps if you miss an episode.

A new series of one-off documentaries

Starz is launching its own Monday night documentary series starting tonight. These are its first five films:

  1. The Age of Consequences (Sept. 18) “investigates the impacts of climate change, resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability,” as “Pentagon insiders make the compelling case that if we go on with business as usual, the consequences of climate change—waves of refugees, failed states, terrorism—will continue to grow in scale and frequency, with grave implications for peace and security in the 21st century.”
  2. 3 Hikers’ (Oct. 9) “tells the story of three Americans (Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal) who went hiking in Northern Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009, and were captured and held as political hostages by the Iranian Government for more than two years.”
  3. All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (Nov. 6) is from Oliver Stone and “follows investigative journalists Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Moore, Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi and others as they expose government and corporate deception.”
  4. Woman on Fire (Nov. 17) “celebrates New York City’s first openly transgender firefighter,” Brooke Guinan, whose “father and grandfather served in the FDNY. But as a transgender woman, her path to service has not been without obstacles.”
  5. Tickling Giants (Dec. 18) is “the story of Bassem Youssef, a cardiologist turned comedian, the Jon Stewart of Egypt, and his show ‘The Show.'”

Also this week