Five of the Best Reality Television Shows on Satellite TV

There’s an old and often forgotten movie from the 1990s featuring Matthew McConaHot and Ellen DeGeneres where he’s the subject of the very first reality television show. She’s in charge of the film crew, and is surprised that audiences are so interested in seeing a regular person’s life. She definitely doesn’t want to be messing with him, but the higher-ups have better ideas, and start placing obstacles in his life to boost ratings. He, of course, is clueless the entire time.

While that film was a work of fiction, the truth is that reality television has become a staple of entertainment, and has definitely changed the content landscape for satellite tv in a way that doesn’t seem as though it will be reversed anytime soon. And instead of shows that are simple, slow, and focusing on one person, the landscape nowadays looks more like a trainwreck of a high school reunion. There are people who simply want to be on television, and it seems as though eating bugs or getting beat up or spit on is reason enough to go for it—Andy Warhol sure was right about everyone getting their 15 minutes.

If you want to be captivated or horrified, here are five of the best reality television shows on satellite tv. Whether from the past or the present, all can be found somewhere in prime-time or on reruns.

5. The Real World. This was the start of reality television as it hit the mainstream, and it focused on a group of twenty-somethings who were supposed to initially have jobs and interesting, insightful conversations. But the show quickly changed from earnest, hardworking people from all walks of life into a frat party that didn’t end, with plenty of shoving and shouting. Comparing seasons like “San Francisco” and “Chicago” to later mayhem only shows how important the show once was–and how far it’s fallen.

4. Jersey Shore. For the next step in MTV reality, this is the show that was everywhere on satellite tv and beyond for the past year, and which is gearing up for a second season in Miami, though chances are it won’t come close to being as successful. Somehow, MTV found the only people in the world who still weren’t aware they were being filmed when they signed up to be on television. The results were surprisingly priceless.

3. Laguna Beach – The Real O.C. This was another MTV venture, but the reason that it counts is because it was the first shot at looking at a “real” something instead of a “fake” something. In this case, it was the adorable and earnest show “The O.C.” The reality was nowhere near as cute, sadly.

2. The Real Housewives. This was Bravo’s fault, and the franchise works its way through different cities around the country. From Atlanta to New York, you can now play peeping Tom on the trophy wives of the entire nation. A serious disaster as far as programming goes.

1. Survivor. This makes the list because it launched the trend of actually featuring shows on satellite tv where people didn’t just sit around and yell at each other or try to date. “Survivor” actually picked you up and dropped you on a desert island somewhere, leaving you to fend for yourself with other enthusiastic yoga fans from San Francisco. Definitely paved the way for other more extreme attempts at reality, including “Fear Factor” and “Man V. Wild.”

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There’s an old and often forgotten movie from the 1990s featuring Matthew McConaHot and Ellen DeGeneres where he’s the subject of the very first reality television show. She’s in charge of the film crew, and is surprised that audiences are so interested in seeing a regular person’s life. She definitely doesn’t want to be messing with him, but the higher-ups have better ideas, and start placing obstacles in his life to boost ratings. He, of course, is clueless the entire time.

While that film was a work of fiction, the truth is that reality television has become a staple of entertainment, and has definitely changed the content landscape for satellite tv in a way that doesn’t seem as though it will be reversed anytime soon. And instead of shows that are simple, slow, homeland project free tv and focusing on one person, the landscape nowadays looks more like a trainwreck of a high school reunion. There are people who simply want to be on television, and it seems as though eating bugs or getting beat up or spit on is reason enough to go for it—Andy Warhol sure was right about everyone getting their 15 minutes.

If you want to be captivated or horrified, here are five of the best reality television shows on satellite tv. Whether from the past or the present, all can be found somewhere in prime-time or on reruns.

5. The Real World. This was the start of reality television as it hit the mainstream, and it focused on a group of twenty-somethings who were supposed to initially have jobs and interesting, insightful conversations. But the show quickly changed from earnest, hardworking people from all walks of life into a frat party that didn’t end, with plenty of shoving and shouting. Comparing seasons like “San Francisco” and “Chicago” to later mayhem only shows how important the show once was–and how far it’s fallen.

4. Jersey Shore. For the next step in MTV reality, this is the show that was everywhere on satellite tv and beyond for the past year, and which is gearing up for a second season in Miami, though chances are it won’t come close to being as successful. Somehow, MTV found the only people in the world who still weren’t aware they were being filmed when they signed up to be on television. The results were surprisingly priceless.

3. Laguna Beach – The Real O.C. This was another MTV venture, but the reason that it counts is because it was the first shot at looking at a “real” something instead of a “fake” something. In this case, it was the adorable and earnest show “The O.C.” The reality was nowhere near as cute, sadly.

2. The Real Housewives. This was Bravo’s fault, and the franchise works its way through different cities around the country. From Atlanta to New York, you can now play peeping Tom on the trophy wives of the entire nation. A serious disaster as far as programming goes.

1. Survivor. This makes the list because it launched the trend of actually featuring shows on satellite tv where people didn’t just sit around and yell at each other or try to date. “Survivor” actually picked you up and dropped you on a desert island somewhere, leaving you to fend for yourself with other enthusiastic yoga fans from San Francisco. Definitely paved the way for other more extreme attempts at reality, including “Fear Factor” and “Man V. Wild.”

 

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