reality TV reviews and news

31 reality shows and 10 documentaries debut this week

Cynthia Bailey, Kenya Moore, and Candi Burruss during the Real Housewives of Atlanta season 9 reunion. All three are returning for RHOA season 10. (Photo by Annette Brown/Bravo)

The first full week of November has brought with it a deluge of reality shows, new and old, that are starting new seasons.

They range from The Real Housewives (which started last night) to Jackson Galaxy’s new series, and include the return of Iron Chef America, which has a new format, and a new competition that will give its winner a Food Network show.

If that isn’t enough, there are four specials—including a Housewives reunion and two from the Dance Moms universe—and seven new (or new-to-TV) documentaries. They’re all listed below.

Happy watching, and a happy start to the work week!

The 31 reality shows debuting this week alone

Here are the shows, excerpted from the calendar I update constantly.

Descriptions are in italics, and phrases or sentences in quotation marks are direct quotes from that show’s network and/or other publicity materials.

  1. The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo, Nov. 5, Sundays at 8). “This season business may be booming for the ladies, but it’s the friendships that are on the line when the old are threatened by the new and loyalties are put into question.”
  2. Xscape Still Kickin It (Bravo, Nov. 5, Sundays at 9). The series “will follow the four original members of the multi-platinum hit 90’s girl group, as they make their triumphant return to the stage after nearly 20 years apart.”
  3. Guy’s Big Project (Food Network, Nov. 5, Sundays at 9). A competition between people for their own Food Network travel show, hosted by Guy Fieri.
  4. Vegas Cakes (Food Network, Nov. 5, Sundays at 10). Follows the cake-making staff at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  5. Married to Medicine (Bravo, Nov. 5, Sundays at 10). Season five of the show that follows “ladies of Atlanta’s exclusive medical inner circle.”
  6. WAGS (E!, Nov. 5, Sundays at 10). The franchise’s first series following “Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars” returns.
  7. Ride with Norman Reedus (AMC, Nov. 5 at 11, then Mondays at 9). “The Walking Dead star and motorcycle enthusiast … hits the open road to explore local biker culture and celebrate the best and brightest collectors, mechanics and craftsmen around the country.”
  8. Long Lost Family (TLC, Nov. 6, Mondays at 8). “shares the highly emotional and touching stories of people who have suffered a lifetime of separation and are yearning to be reunited with family members”
  9. Stove Tots (FYI, Nov. 6, Mondays at 9). “a first-hand look at the cut-throat world of junior culinary competitions”
  10. Long Island Medium (TLC, Nov. 6, Mondays at 9). Theresa Caputo does readings for Kelsey Grammer, Chrissy Metz, Bob Harper, Mark McGrath, and others.
  11. Holiday Baking Championship (Food Network, Nov. 6, Mondays at 9). A “seven-week competition stuffed with difficult challenges and delicious desserts to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Chanukah.”
  12. Christmas Cookie Challenge (Food Network, Nov. 6, Mondays at 10). In this competition, “host Eddie Jackson gives five confident and daring bakers a chance to prove their holiday cookie-making skills”
  13. The Healer (TLC, Nov. 6, Mondays at 10). Follows Charlie Goldsmith, who TLC says “is sought after by athletes, celebrities and people from all walks of life hoping to be cured of their chronic and debilitating ailments.”
  14. People Magazine Investigates (ID, Nov. 6, Mondays at 10). Tells the “stories of ordinary people thrust into the spotlight following notorious crimes”  through “archival footage, dramatic recreations and emotional interviews with those closest to the cases.”
  15. The Curse of Oak Island (History, Nov. 7, Tuesdays at 9). Rick and Marty Lagina “are doubling down with new technology and heavy machinery as they go full bore into what they believe is the famed Money Pit.”
  16. Bargain Mansions (DIY, Nov. 7, Tuesdays at 9). “Home renovator Tamara Day transforms Kansas City’s forgotten centuries-old properties into spacious dream homes”
  17. Texas Metal (Velocity, Nov. 7, Tuesdays at 10). The show goes “inside the clever custom creations of mastermind Bill Carlton and his team.”
  18. Homestead Rescue (Discovery, Nov. 7, Wednesdays at 9). Marty, Misty, and Matt Raney “will help struggling families learn new bush craft skills, protect their livestock, grow food, and face the most grueling challenges yet” on their homesteads.
  19. Hodges Half Dozen (TLC, Nov. 7, Wednesdays at 9). “Mom Liz Hodges and dad Daniel Hodges used fertility drugs to conceive now 2-year-old son Rowan and tried using the same drugs for a second baby, but instead got five”
  20. Iron Chef Showdown (Food Network, Nov. 8, Wednesdays at 9). Iron Chef America returns with a new format.
  21. The Job Interview (CNBC, Nov. 8, Wednesdays at 10). “a real employer conducts real interviews with real candidates—only one of whom will land an offer.”
  22. Iron Chef: Behind the Battle (Food Network, Nov. 8, Wednesdays at 10). Alton Brown “revisits fan-favorite battles from the past.”
  23. Bushcraft Build-Off (Discovery, Nov. 8, Wednesdays at 10). A “competition series where elite builders compete in a gruelling, seven-day race against the clock” in which “builders can only use the natural materials in their immediate surroundings.”
  24. Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour (A&E, Nov. 8, Wednesdays at 10). Ozzy and Jack Osbourne “travel across America on the road trip of a lifetime in season two.”
  25. The Carbonaro Effect (truTV, Nov. 9, Thursdays at 10). “Michael Carbonaro performs ingenious tricks on unsuspecting people, all caught on hidden camera.”
  26. Tamar and Vince (WE tv, Nov. 9, Thursdays at 9). “Tamar and Vince reach a breaking point in their career and marriage.”
  27. Toymakerz (Velocity, Nov. 10, Fridays at 8). Follows David Ankin, owner of ToyMakerz, and “his team as they bring unrivaled ingenuity and a unique skill set to motorized builds.”
  28. Extreme Cake Makers (Cooking Channel, Nov. 10, Fridays at 11). “bakers and sugar craft specialists dream up ever more elaborate ways to satisfy our sweet tooth”
  29. Cat vs. Dog (Animal Planet, Nov. 11, Saturdays at 10). My Cat from Hell’s Jackson Galaxy “and dog expert/trainer Zoe Sandor provide support, direction, key insight and much needed help to families seeking to establish peace between dogs and cats in turbulent homes”
  30. Unexpected (TLC, Nov. 12, Sundays at 10). “focuses on three teen couples who are entirely unprepared to have a child and their parents or grandparents who must step in and help through this huge life change.”
  31. Visionaries (AMC, Nov. 12 at 11, then Mondays at 10). “The six-part one-hour documentary series takes a deeper look into the stories, people and events that have transformed the world of comic books,” starting with the two-part Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics.

Four reality show specials

10 documentaries, from lions to serial killers to jazz

  1. Nature Boy (ESPN, Nov. 7) is a 30 for 30 doc about wrestler Ric Flair that’s pitched as “an inside look at Flair’s story, including his triumphs, his tragedies, and his pivotal role in turning pro wrestling into mainstream sports entertainment.”
  2. Danica (Epix, Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8) follows racing star Danica Patrick. Watch for an interview with her this Wednesday.
  3. All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone (Starz, Monday, Nov. 6, at 9) is a new documentary that “follows investigative journalists Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald, Michael Moore, Jeremy Scahill, Matt Taibbi and others as they expose government and corporate deception.”
  4. Civil war in Rwanda killed millions and also left all of the country’s lions dead, but there’s an effort to bring them back, and the documentary Lions Unleashed (Smithsonian, Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8) looks at how that’s happening: following five female and two male lions that are transported from South Africa to their new home in a Rwandan national park.
  5. VA: The Human Cost of War (PBS, Monday, Nov. 6, at 9) is a “history of the Department of Veterans Affairs, from the troubled beginnings of the Veterans Bureau of 1920s to the modern VA system,” according to PBS, and highlights “its successes, failures and need for reforms.”
  6. History is reairing its hybrid series The Warfighters (History, Nov. 11 starting at 8) for Veterans Day; it tells the stories and recreates moments of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan using interviews with veterans.
  7. Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks (Oxygen, Nov. 11 and 12 at 9) includes a journalist’s interviews with serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
  8. Obey Giant (Hulu, Nov. 11) focuses on artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic “Hope” image of president Barack Obama, and tells his story of “his roots in punk rock and skateboarding, to his role as one of the most well-known and influential street artists in the world,” according to Hulu.
  9. Chasing Trane (PBS, Monday, Nov. 6, at 10) is about the jazz musician John Coltrane, and Denzel Washington speaks Coltrane’s words in the documentary.
  10. A&E’s Biography returns with Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography (A&E, Nov. 12 and 13 at 9), which is airing a week before Lifetime’s scripted film I Am Elizabeth Smart debuts. Smart will tell “her story in her own words and provides previously untold details about her infamous abduction and nine-month nightmare,” according to A&E.