Jan 17, 2020

Good-Natured Reality TV to Take Your Mind Off the World

Reality TV may be one of today’s most popular guilty pleasures. But sometimes, even your favorite reality series can be a lot of drama, bad behavior, and terrible choices. Turning on the TV – whether you’re tuning in to your favorite shows or the nightly news – can seriously stress anyone out.

But not everything on TV brings bad news and stress. You can tune in and restore your faith in humanity. You just need to watch the right reality TV shows. There are shows that are refreshingly drama-free, and many even highlight the best parts of humanity. 

Here are some of the best good-natured reality TV shows that’ll help take your mind off everything else. 


  • The new Netflix reboot of the 2000s-era show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy returned to TV screens everywhere in 2018 as Queer Eye. Reimagined for a new generation by the original producing team, the show was an immediate hit when it premiered on Netflix. 

    An all-new Fab Five leap right into action, making over tons of regular ole straight guys, but they also help others – like a female cancer survivor and a young trans man. Every one of the show’s episodes is a relentlessly positive, uplifting, and funny 45 minutes of television. More seasons are already on the way.

  • If you miss Parks and Recreation, you’ll be thrilled to know that a crafting competition produced and hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman was quietly released during the summer of 2019. Making It was only six episodes long, but managed to cram a whole lot of talent into those few episodes. 

    Featuring a group of “makers,” the show hosted challenges ranging from creating an outdoor seating area to designing a wedding arch. The show gave a $100,000 prize to the overall winner, but each mini-challenge winner was rewarded with a custom designed patch, which they all wore with touching pride. NBC has already released the second season of Making It, and hopefully there will be even more to come.

  • One of the greatest reality TV franchises of all time was created from a British show called The Great British Bake Off. This humble show, which challenges talented amateurs to create beautiful edible creations over the course of ten weeks, catapulted to international fame. One person was eliminated each week, and the winner was crowned the Best Amateur Baker in Britain. The prize was the honor of the title- there’s never been any money involved in this competition. 

    Over the show’s seasons, contestants have ranged from parish priests to high school students. The overall atmosphere of the baking tent is one of both camaraderie and intense, focused effort. There have been multiple seasons since it premiered in 2010, and it’s inspired other countries like Canada and the USA to make their own versions of the show as well.

  • The Quest was a unique hybrid between fantasy drama and reality TV. It followed a group of self-proclaimed nerds who were selected to travel to a magical place called Everealm. The catch? Everealm was undergoing an attack by a dark creature known as Verlox. The twelve contestants, called Paladins, underwent training that also served as an elimination challenge. 

    This show was so unique because although one contestant had to be eliminated by their fellow Paladins in every episode, the contestants took their role as saviors of the realm very seriously. The Paladins would often sacrifice themselves to save the person they thought could defeat Verlox. Unfortunately, the format was a bit confusing, and this gem was shelved after just one season.

  • Even though there’s a lot of delicious drama in RuPaul’s Drag Race, the overall message of this show is uplifting. This long-running reality TV competition teaches viewers – and the drag queen participants – that we can only succeed through mutual respect, self-love, and by staying true to ourselves. 

    The show puts its contestants through acting, singing, dancing, and lip-syncing challenges until eventually one is crowned America’s Next Drag Superstar. Each season builds on the artistry of the last, and there have been a ton of well-known pop culture icons to come out of this show, including Alyssa Edwards, who now has her own show on Netflix called Dancing Queen. It’s also became a centerpiece of pop culture, giving us iconic looks, phrases, and so much more.

  • The Great Interior Design Challenge is a British reality show that takes amateur designers and challenges them to see who can create the best design for a regular British family. Each episode takes place in a different part of the country with unique architecture. Instead of bickering or fighting amongst themselves, the designers all collaborate and do their best to make sure their work reflects the family’s taste and style. 

    There’s also a solid focus on making sure the designers learn from their experience on the show and take away real skills that will benefit their careers. What’s better than a reality TV show that’s actually designed to help its contestants and competitors?

  • Hosted by comedian Nicole Byers, Nailed It! is a triumphant celebration of those who possess no creative skills whatsoever. On this Netflix series, which includes regular seasons and special holiday seasons, average people make audiences laugh. In every episode, three contestants undertake two separate challenges which test their baking and confectionary skills. Winners of the initial challenge get to wear a gold chef’s hat for the rest of the episode, and in the second challenge, each contestant gets a panic button that allows them to receive three minutes of help from one of the judges. 

    Throughout the seasons of Nailed It!, the baking creations get increasingly more fun. From hilarious judges to confident contestants, it’s all around a great watch. The show is a fun, lighthearted competition that makes everyone without amazing baking skills feel better about themselves.

  • If you’re looking for a show that highlights its competitors, warms your heart, and makes you root for everyone, you need to watch American Ninja Warrior. Based on a Japanese competition show of a similar name – Ninja Warrior – this show puts amateur athletes through an intense, impossible obstacle course.

    Even though it may seem like just another adventure competition, American Ninja Warrior does a great job of presenting each contestant’s back story, which makes viewers realize just how much work and determination it takes to conquer just one piece of the obstacle course. Even though there’s only been two competitors who’ve completed the entire course, it’s an incredible thing to watch as people push themselves to their limit to beat their personal goals.

  • The Japanese reality show Terrace House has recently attracted a ton of viewers from North America after the English-subtitled version of the show premiered on Netflix. In the show, a group of young people live in a house together. 

    Contestants come and go as they please, no one is voted out, and house members do their best to respect each other and deal with conflict head-on as it arises. There are no screaming fights that you’d find typical of shows in a similar format like Big Brother or The Real World. Sometimes couples emerge from the show, but often they take it slow, dating for weeks before they kiss or even hold hands.

  • Everyone loves a wedding, and Say Yes to the Dress gives you all of the beautiful wedding preparations with none of the drama – or at least, very limited drama. The show focuses on different brides who arrive at Kleinfeld to try and find their dream dress. From dreamy designer dresses to family shopping drama to heartwarming stories of different couples, SYTD has it all. 

    In fact, the show has become such a hit that there have been a number of spin-offs. You can still watch the original, which began in 2007 at Kleinfeld New York City. It’s now on season 16, and is a staple of TLC’s afternoon line up.

  • You know him as Snoop Dogg, the hip-hop artist behind songs like “Gin & Juice” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot”. On Netflix’s latest reality show Coach Snoop, however, the rapper we know and love takes on a totally different role. 

    We get to see Snoop as the coach of the Snoop Youth Football League, which focuses on taking at-risk kids off the streets. The show is really uplifting and shows firsthand the positive effect of mentorship and community. Plus, for all of his millions of dollars, Snoop Dogg is really a goof, and it’s awesome to see him joke around with all the young players. Snoop is caring, kind, and all around inspiring in this series.

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