Are you into competitions, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your favourite celebrities or shows that put ordinary people in extraordinary situations? It doesn’t matter. Foxtel Now has your back.
There has been a significant rise in unscripted television in recent years. It’s getting harder to escape it, with more networks embracing the trend. That’s not surprising – reality shows are cheaper to produce and viewers seem to love them. They are intriguing and relatable, funny and dramatic, fabulous and relaxing. Plus, there’s something comforting about enjoying a couple of episodes that don’t require too much brain power, especially after a hard day.
Whether you love the medium or can’t understand the charm, one thing’s for sure: reality TV is incredibly influential. It has become a part of our culture, often dominating our water-cooler conversations and elevating "regular people" to celebrity status. Even if you don’t watch these shows, there’s a good chance you know who Kim Kardashian, Snooki or Bethenny Frankel are. This only proves that reality TV is here to stay, warts and all.
As a result, most streaming services are striving to put together a strong selection of reality television, whether we’re talking competitions or lifestyle shows. Foxtel Now offers a balanced blend, with everything from huge international hits to local productions. Here are the best titles currently available to stream.
1. Keeping Up With the Kardashians
How did the Kardashians get so famous? Simple: they hustled. The clan understands reality television like no other and makes the most of it, building a billion-dollar empire in the process. This includes numerous spin-offs, merchandise, apps, books, mobile games and more.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians first debuted in 2007 and is still going strong, chronicling the ups and downs of one of the most famous families in the US. The show features the day-to-day lives of Kris Jenner, her children and their entourage. You have to give them credit – they’re always there for each other through thick and thin, regardless of how many scandals and controversies come their way. Their continued relevance is nothing short of astounding.
2. Love It or List It Australia
Based on the Canadian series with the same name, Love It or List It Australia is hosted by Andrew Winter and Neale Whittaker. The show aims to help undecided homeowners solve one of life’s biggest dilemmas – should they renovate or sell up? Each episode features exciting renovations and property searches. Plus, there’s some good-natured competition between the hosts, as Whitaker oversees the renovations and Winter looks for new properties the homeowners might like.
Love It or List It Australia appeals to a large plethora of reality TV fans thanks to its intriguing structure. DIY enthusiasts will love the renovation part, while real estate fans can get a glimpse of some amazing properties. Moreover, there’s also the suspenseful will they or won't they element, as homeowners must decide whether to stay in their current place or get a new one. It might even prompt you to appreciate your own home a little more.
3. Below Deck Mediterranean
Part of the Below Deck franchise, Below Deck Mediterranean follows the members of a crew who live and work aboard a yacht. As the ship journeys through the Mediterranean, the series focuses on the different challenges the cast has to face when dealing with elite passengers.
The show highlights the first world problems of the rich and famous, while also treating viewers to the drama and gossip that occurs among the crew. If you think about it, it’s kind of like Downton Abbey, but less posh. You’re free to judge the passengers for their silly food requests, only to immediately switch your attention to the crew and their after-hours binge-drinking. Fair warning: it’s pretty addictive.
4. Gogglebox Australia
Why watch a show about people watching television? Because it’s so much fun! Based on the UK smash hit of the same name, Gogglebox is an observational series that captures the reactions of ordinary Australians as they watch the week’s biggest television moments.
With seven seasons under its belt, Gogglebox wins your heart thanks to its diverse and interesting cast. The series features some of the country's most opinionated and avid TV viewers, but not only that – the audience gets to see them laugh, cry and shout freely at some of the best and worst programs on television. This is as relatable as media content gets.
5. The Real Housewives Of Melbourne
The Real Housewives franchise has been taking over the world since 2006, so it was only a matter of time until the juicy show reached Australia. The Melbourne version chronicles the glamourous lives of some of the city’s most fabulous socialites, with fans able to follow them as they go about their day-to-day lives. The fact that this translates to glamorous cocktail parties and exotic weekend getaways doesn’t hurt one bit.
Four seasons have aired so far, with Venus Behbahani-Clark and Sally Bloomfield joining the cast in Season 4. There’s no shortage of drama in the Real Housewives world, so you’d better buckle up.
6. Vanderpump Rules
Vanderpump Rules stars Lisa Vanderpump of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. It focuses on her full-time job as the boss at SUR, a fancy restaurant in West Hollywood, while also shining the spotlight on her employees.
Drama seems to constantly follow the crew, as co-workers have an unhealthy tendency to date and break up among themselves. They’re mostly hopeful actors, models and singers who work at the eatery while simultaneously following their bigger dreams. We’re not going to lie: this show is pure voyeuristic guilty pleasure. But if you’re into that, it more than delivers the goods. Plus, there’s something strangely compelling about watching young people trying to make it in Hollywood.
7. The Great Australian Bake Off
What can be more comforting than a feel-good show about people trying to bake stuff? Judged by culinary icon Maggie Beer and acclaimed chef Matt Moran, The Great Australian Bake Off is sweet and addictive, just like the desserts featured on the show. The competition series follows 12 home baking enthusiasts as they are put through a series of intricate challenges until only one of them is crowned Australia’s Best Amateur Baker.
There are no villains here, no drama, no backstabbing – just talented individuals showing off their skills and competing in a civilised manner. Consequently, The Great Australian Bake Off is a great palette cleanser between more intense binges. Not only will you thoroughly enjoy the contestants’ sparkling personalities and the inventive challenges, you’ll also get plenty of tips that come in handy if you’re an amateur baker yourself.
8. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Another successful entry in the franchise, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has been on the air since 2010. Currently, the cast includes Kyle Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Lisa Rinna, Erika Girardi, Dorit Kemsley and Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave.
Beverly Hills is the ideal setting for this type of show, although we’re sure the producers would be able to put together a fascinating group of well-groomed and ill-mannered women pretty much anywhere. Alas, drama runs high in RHOBH and viewers get a front-row seat to watch these ladies deal with anything from their personal lives to their business endeavours, while thoroughly enjoying the lavish lifestyle only Beverly Hills can offer. If you feel the need to live vicariously through someone for a few hours, these housewives are a safe bet.
9. Ex on the Beach
The premise of this sexy show is pretty straightforward. Eight single guys and girls head to an idyllic beach to enjoy a summer holiday in paradise. The twist? Their exes show up. Are they there to rekindle the romance or get revenge? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
As exes face off, you can expect tons of fireworks, especially since hook-ups and drinking abound in this MTV production. Ex on the Beach may not send too many positive messages as far as healthy relationships and conflict resolution are concerned, but it’s hella fun. In fact, good-looking people in bikinis and explosive showdowns make it the perfect mindless binge.
10. Project Runway
Not all long-running reality shows age well but Project Runway is one of the exceptions. The fashion competition premiered back in 2004 and has aired 16 seasons so far, never failing to delight or entertain. The series is set in the fashion industry, following a group of designers who compete to create clothes meant to impress the panel of fab judges consisting of Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen. Tim Gunn serves as a mentor.
The beauty of Project Runway is that, besides being enjoyable, it manages to tell a nuanced story about why it’s so hard to achieve success in today’s fashion industry, as well as questioning what success actually looks like. Plus, who would have thought that designing clothes could be so riveting?
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