Fall television has arrived: CBS’s Survivor returns at long last, and so do shows from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars to Fox’s The Masked Singer, Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules to Bravo’s new Winter House.
More than 90 reality TV shows premiere over the next two months, and among those are some I’m really looking forward to, starting with Survivor 41. Below you’ll find that list: nine shows that I’m most excited to watch this fall.
After I compiled this list, I realized there aren’t many brand-new shows, but that’s true of fall reality TV: the shows that have been announced so far are mostly returning for new seasons.
Perhaps I’m still gravitating toward the familiar for comfort; after all, I can’t stop watching The Golden Girls and 1990s sitcoms. And perhaps I’ll be surprised. As I looked over the fall premieres, I did see some new series that I’ll absolutely check out, and they may surprise and delight me, just as some of the ones on this list might turn out to be disappointing.
As the air gets cooler, there will undoubtedly be even more shows added to the schedule. But for now, here’s what’s definitely on my fall DVR.
Survivor has been off the air for an entire year, and has used that opportunity to reinvent itself.
The question is what direction those changes will take the show in: back toward its roots as a competition show that found real-life drama in what happened as people played a game together, or further down the road that it's been traveling for the past 10 years or so now?
Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens on Survivor 41 (CBS, Wednesdays at 8)! For now, I'll just overreact.
It's back, but for a season that focuses entirely on holiday traditions and cuisine, such as Korean New Year and Miami's Cuban Christmas celebrations: Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi: Holiday Edition (Hulu, Nov. 4).
Yes, The Mole is coming back! A new season was ordered by Netflix and filmed this summer, in Australia, with American contestants; the show used the title The Insider during casting, but it is 100 percent The Mole.
Including the show here is a cheat—or at best, wishful thinking—since I don't actually know when it will premiere. It could be this fall! It could be next spring or summer! Netflix does film things in advance, and usually announced shows only a few weeks before they premiere.
For now, The Mole season 1 and The Mole season 2 are on Netflix, and they really hold up, whether you've never seen them or watched back in 2001. And here's what we know so far about the Netflix show:
"You think you're uncomfortable hearing my story? Imagine how uncomfortable it was living it." That's what one U.S. Armed Forces veteran says in the new PBS series American Veteran (PBS, Oct. 26, Tuesdays at 9), which promises that "[e]very voice featured is a veteran’s," and that includes the four episodes' narrators.
I appreciate that approach, since we often hear people talking about veterans, and the trailer is compelling. As another veteran says, "We are living history. I am primary source. I'm telling you my story." I look forward to hearing those stories.
We're Here returns for season two (HBO, Oct. 11, Mondays at 9) on National Coming Out Day.
Just like season one, Bob the Drag Queen, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Eureka O’Hara will venture into small towns, where they'll use drag and their own experiences to connect with people—and help those people connect with themselves and their communities.
It's a difficult-to-summarize series, but it's full of life, joy, and connection, and doesn't pretend that a reality show alone is going to solve everyone's problems.
Hoarders (A&E, Oct. 18, Mondays at 8) was once cancelled by A&E, but it's been back in recent years, and it's been better than ever.
The new version gives two hours to one story, rather than trying to split two stories across one hour. As the show's experts work to help someone in crisis, they also help that person and their family understand the effects of a mental disorder, and do so with compassion and care, helping us to understand, too.
The images may be sensational, but the work the show is doing—with the junk, sure, but also with helping to illustrate and elucidate mental illness—is important and excellent television.
The Great British Baking Show returns for its 12th season (Netflix, Fridays), streaming on Netflix a few days after its UK premiere.
Its charm and simplicity made it the reality TV show of the 2010s, and while I still miss the days with Mel and Sue and Mary Berry, last fall's season was exactly what I need from this quaint competition, and I'm hoping that'll be the case again this fall.
I’m Andy Dehnart, a writer who obsessively and critically covers reality TV, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.
I created reality blurred 20 years ago as a place to collect interesting links I found. Today, I review and recommend reality shows, documentaries, and nonfiction entertainment; analyze news and report from behind the scenes; and interview people who create and star in reality TV shows. You'll also find other people's insightful takes on reality TV in these pages, too.
I believe pop culture can both entertain and affect us, and so reality blurred's goal is to amplify the best and hold the worst accountable. In other words, I’m here to call it out when it sucks and celebrate it when it’s amazing. Let’s talk about it together!