Good morning, and happy National Fast Food Day! That seems like the most American of days, celebrating our access to cheap, quick, delicious, unhealthy shit produced by people paid very little to work in environments that were dangerous before there was a raging virus fueled by ignoramuses who refuse to put some cloth on their faces to protect other people.
But that’s reality. We’re here to look ahead at what reality television is bringing this week, which includes several Christmas competitions, the Oak Island brothers digging for stories instead of treasure, and a show that’s like The Amazing Race if you replaced one team member with a dog.
The big event in reality TV this week is the 500th episode of Snapped (Oxygen, Sunday, Nov. 22, at 6). The true-crime series about women who kill premiered in 2004 and has been produced for 16 years and 28 seasons now, which is an impressive accomplishment—unless it’s just been reinforcing “offensive and archaic” ideas.
The 500th episode focuses on “the harrowing murder of Randy Sheridan who was shot five times while he was jogging less than a mile from his home nearly 30 years ago,” according to Oxygen, which notes that the man’s ex-wife was having an affair with a pastor.
Before that episode airs, Oxygen will broadcast the unaired pilot of Snapped, which the network says is about “a doctor who was found dead on the lacquered floor of his brick mansion, elegant twin sisters with refined Southern accents and millions of dollars at stake.”
In a press release, Stephen Land, the CEO of the show’s production company Jupiter Entertainment, said, “We wanted to find a special way to thank our fans for watching all these years. We figured what better way than to air the pilot episode for the very first time and show them where it all began.”
In other true-crime TV, Murder on Middle Beach (HBO, Sundays at 10) is a man’s attempt to solve his mother’s murder—and learn more about her.
And murderer-studying psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis is profiled in Crazy, Not Insane (HBO and HBO Max, Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 9), which is about “lifelong attempts to look beyond the grisly details of homicides into the hearts and minds of the killers themselves.”
Competitions—and more Christmas competitions
Here are two new streaming competitions that I’m looking forward to, and will review in-depth later this week:
- The Pack (Amazon Prime Studios, Friday) is basically The Amazing Race except half of each team is a dog. It’s hosted by Lindsey Vonn
- We Are the Champions (Netflix, Tuesday) focuses on a different type of competition in each episode, from chili pepper-eating to frog jumping.
- Voices of Fire (Netflix, Friday) is a music competition series set at Pharrell Williams’ “hometown church as it builds the world’s best gospel choir with undiscovered talent in the community,” according to Netflix.
Last week, Full Bloom quietly debuted its first two episodes (HBO Max, Thursdays). It’s a competition between 10 florists. In concept, at least, it’s at least somewhat similar to Netflix’s disappointing flower-arranging competition from earlier this year.
And three more Christmas-themed reality shows are premiering this week:
- Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas (Netflix, Wednesday), which follows Benjamin Bradley who gives Christmas makeovers to people’s homes
- Buddy vs. Christmas (Food Network, Sundays at 10), which is essentially the third season of this mess. Buddy Valastro will compete against “non-cake artists” in Christmas-themed challenges.
- Holiday Crafters Gone Wild (HGTV Friday, Nov. 20, at 9), a two-hour special hosted by Top Model’s Jay Manuel. He’ll have four teams create things from “from over-the-top tablescapes to one-of-a-kind tree toppers,” HGTV says
Meanwhile, Beyond Oak Island (History, Tuesdays at 10) sounds like it could be a show where Rick and Marty Lagina start digging holes in other places just to extend the life of their TV show. But instead, they’re just looking at “the greatest treasure hunts across the globe of the past, present and future.”
Fans of Dr. Pimple Popper may want to check out the UK series When Skin Goes Wrong, which TLC renamed from Skin A&E. It follows four London dermatologists and shows the skin-fixing procedures they conduct (TLC, Nov. 19, Thursdays at 10).
Returning for new seasons are Jersey Shore Family Vacation (MTV, Thursdays at 8) and Life After Lockup (WE tv, Fridays at 9).
A Property Brother travels, the real Right Stuff story, and other docs
Between The World And Me (HBO, Saturday, Nov. 21, at 8) is based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir and the “the 2018 adaptation and staging of the book at the Apollo Theater,” HBO says. The special includes “elements of the Apollo’s production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation.”
Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip (PBS, Monday, Nov. 16, at 10) follows the Property Brothers star travels “across the U.S. to uncover why clean, renewable energy isn’t available to all,” according to Independent Lens, which is airing the documentary.
The Real Right Stuff (Disney+, Friday) tells the story of the Mercury 7 crew using “hundreds of hours of archival film and radio broadcasts, interviews, home movies and other rare and never-before-seen material to catapult viewers back to the late 1950s.” It’s premiering the same day as the finale of Disney+’s scripted “competence porn” drama The Right Stuff.
Just Let Go: Lenny Kravitz Live (AXS, Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 9) is a “portrait of the deep bond between Kravitz and his long-time backing band” during a tour that takes them from Paris to New Orleans.
Flavorful Origins: Gansu Cuisine (Netflix, Friday) focuses on the food from Gansu province in China.
The Teenager Who Hacked Twitter (FX and Hulu, Friday) is about the 17-year-old who hacked celebrity and politicians’ Twitter accounts earlier this year and encouraged people to transfer Bitcoin
Belushi (Showtime, Sunday, Nov. 22, at 9) is director R. J. Cutler’s look at “too-short life of the once-in-a-generation talent who captured the hearts and funny bones of devoted audiences,” according to Showtime.