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This week’s reality TV and documentary premieres: May 10 to 16, 2021

Good Monday morning! It’s National Clean Your Room Day, which reminded me that this book is probably responsible for my fascination in reality TV shows that involve cleaning and organizing.

From Niecy Nash’s Clean House to Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to Hoarders (which is in the middle of yet another very strong season, thanks to its newly extended episodes, which air Mondays at 8 on A&E), I just can’t get enough. I even watched all of this show, which is basically just about buying things, not purging and cleaning.

Also, shout out to everyone who’s also from the timeline where that book series was called the Berenstein Bears.

If you don’t plan to spend all day cleaning, there’s plenty of unscripted TV coming your way this week, including several documentary premieres.

First, Michael Urie hosts and Martha Stewart judges a new topiary competition, Clipped (Discovery+, Wednesdays). I’ll have thoughts about that and the HBO Max show Full Bloom later this week.

It’s somehow been 11 years since The Hills ended its run with a finale that nodded at how scripted and fake it’d become, and two years since it returned as The Hills: New Beginnings.

The sequel is back for a second season (MTV, Wednesdays at 9), with Justin ‘Bobby’ Brescia, Frankie Delgado, Kaitlynn Carter, Jennifer Delgado, Brody Jenner, Brandon Thomas Lee, Audrina Patridge, Whitney Port, Heidi Pratt, Spencer Pratt, Ashley Wahler, and Jason Wahler, plus new cast member Caroline D’Amore and a guest appearance by Kristin Cavallari.

Also returning for new seasons:

  • Shahs of Sunset (Bravo, Sundays at 8)
  • Siesta Key (MTV, Wednesdays at 8)
  • Little People, Big World (TLC, Tuesdays at 9)
  • Growing Up Hip Hop (WE tv, Thursdays at 9)

The six episodes of Pride (FX, Fridays, May 14 and 21, at 8, and on Hulu the next day) are each directed by a different LGBTQ+ director, and together they explore how queer people have fought for civil rights since the 1950s.

The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship (BBC Select, Tuesday) follows a journalist investigating Britney’s conservatorship that has run her life for 13 years.

A special episode of Uncensored (TV One, Sunday, May 16, at 8) includes the final interview with DMX, which was conducted three weeks before he died.

China: Nature’s Ancient Kingdom (BBC America, Saturday, May 15 at 8) is “a deep dive into the world’s largest conservation project,” according to the network.

In documentary premieres, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (PBS, Tuesdays at 8) explores how science has helped us lived longer.

Through the Night (PBS, Monday, May 10, at 10) follows three mothers who all use the same overnight child care: “a mother working the overnight shift as an essential worker at a pediatric hospital; another holding down three jobs in order to support her family, and a woman who, for over two decades, has cared for the children whose parents have nowhere else to turn,” according to PBS.

Fighting For Fertility (PBS, Wednesday, May 12, at 9) is NOVA’s look at “the journeys of people navigating challenges from structural inequalities and racism to falling sperm counts, egg freezing, and IVF.”

The Crime of the Century is a two-part documentary (HBO, Monday, May 10, and Tuesday, May 11, at 9) directed by Alex Gibney that focuses on pharmaceutical companies and “and the political operatives and government regulations that enabled over-production, reckless distribution and abuse of synthetic opiates,” according to HBO.

Finally this week, Money, Explained (Netflix, Tuesday) has a pretty self-explanatory title.

I hope you enjoy whatever you watch, whether it’s one of these premieres or one of the dozens of shows that’ve premiered in recent months.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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