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Jonas Brothers attempt Olympic sports, and 18 other reality shows premiering this week

Good Monday morning, and happy 10th anniversary of the premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger, which I mention because we get to see real people doing incredible, sometimes impossible-seeming things starting Friday when the Summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo.

Also, a few of this week’s reality TV and documentary premieres are more explicitly connected to the Olympics than my stretch of a metaphor, so let’s get to them.

Netflix’s next dating series, Sexy Beasts, premieres this week (Netflix, Wednesday). On each episode, a single person wearing one of these costumes goes on several dates with people who are also wearing prosthetics to turn them into an animal. Though wouldn’t the Olympics be more interesting if some athletes were in animal makeup?

In other ridiculousness, there’s Hunting Atlantis (Discovery, Wednesdays at 9), on which two people set out in search of the fictional and mythical city of Atlantis, which I’m sure they’ll be successful in finding.

There’s a new competition series premiering, between 24 drivers, and Discovery is calling it “the real life Fast & Furious” and “Part Baby Driver, part Grand Theft Auto.” Getaway Driver (Discovery, Mondays at 9) will be hosted by Michelle Rodriguez.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners (A&E, Mondays at 10) says it “follows extreme cleaners facing the filth of Florida as they dive into a never-before-seen side of the Sunshine State.” I live in Florida, and I’m pretty sure we just let all our dirty laundry hang out there for the rest of the world to laugh at, which is I guess why this show exists.

Betraying the Badge (Vice, Mondays at 10) looks at “some of the most explosive police corruption cases in America”, while Man vs. History (History, Tuesdays at 10) follows a storyteller and historian who explores American legends such as Billy the Kid and Johnny Appleseed.

Behind the Attraction (Disney+, Wednesday) goes behind the scenes of attractions at Disney parks, including Tower of Terror and the Haunted Mansion. I’ll have an interview with its director on Wednesday; he also made The Movies That Made Us, which is coincidentally returning this week (Netflix, Friday).

Other reality shows returning for new seasons:

  • Too Hot to Handle: Brazil (Netflix, Wednesdays)
  • Married at First Sight (Lifetime,Wednesdays at 8)
  • Darcey & Stacey (TLC, Mondays at 8)
  • Destination Fear (Travel Channel, Saturdays at 9, and Discovery+, Saturdays)
  • Ghost Adventures (Discovery+, Thursdays)
  • Expedition Unknown (Discovery+, Wednesdays at 8)
  • Bloodline: Deadliest Catch (Discovery, Tuesdays at 9), which moves back to Discovery
  • Street Outlaws: Memphis (Discovery, Mondays at 8)
  • Mind for Design (Discovery+, Fridays)
Nick Jonas stretches on the NBC reality TV special Olympic Dreams with Jonas Brothers
Nick Jonas stretches on the NBC reality TV special Olympic Dreams with Jonas Brothers (Photo by Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

The Summer Olympics start on Friday night, and NBC is enlisting the Jonas Brothers to help with its promotion.

They’re starring in a new special, Olympic Dreams Featuring Jonas Brothers (NBC, Wednesday, July 21, at 8), which turns out stars the Jonas Brothers. They’ll be competing against each other in Olympic sports after being trained by Olympic athletes.

Right now, it’s just one episode, but since that episode is titled “Pilot,” I’m guessing we’ll see more of it if it does well, possibly for the Winter Olympics next year.

Meanwhile, For Ball and Country (Peacock, Monday) follows actual Olympians as the USA Basketball Men’s National Team get ready for competition at their training camp.

Finally, here are the documentaries premiering on TV this week:

  • Playing with Sharks (Disney+, Friday) profiles Valerie Taylor, “the trailblazing ocean conservationist, photographer and shark expert”, who, among many other things, filmed some of the shark footage for Jaws
  • The Sisters of ‘96: The 1996 USA Women’s Olympic Soccer Team (Peacock), which “reunites stars Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan, Briana Scurry, and Tisha Venturini on the field where they played that inaugural Olympic final to watch the match together for the first time.”
  • PBS’s 10th annual Short Film Festival is ongoing—and, of course, free—with 25 short independent films across six categories.
  • Snapped Notorious: The Cleveland Strangler (Oxygen, Saturday, July 24, at 9) tells the story of the “five women who suffered vile abuse while trapped inside the home of a prolific serial killer from which they eventually escaped,” Oxygen says
  • Stateless (PBS, Monday, July 19, at 10) “follows families of those affected by the 2013 legislation stripping citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent,” according to POV.
  • Frontline focuses on the United States Leaving Afghanistan (PBS, Tuesday, July 20, at 10), followed by a story about “politics and rape in India.”
  • In Their Own Words returns with a special focusing on Pope Francis (PBS, Tuesday, July 20, at 8).
  • Stuntman (Disney+, Friday) “follows professional stuntman Eddie Braun as he attempts one of the most dangerous stunts in history … recreating the infamous Snake River Canyon rocket jump”
  • In Their Own Words returns with a special focusing on Pope Francis (PBS, Tuesday, July 20, at 8).

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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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