vote on everything
Watchworthy
40 voters

The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series

Updated October 6, 2020 2.5k votes 40 voters145 items

List RulesVote up your favorite docusoaps.

The best docusoaps mix reality television and documentary to offer an unscripted look into a world.  While some docusoaps follow the exploits of a unique family, other docusoaps examine the difficulties of specific professions and subcultures. Many different kinds of reality series offer documentary-style drama, letting audiences behind the scenes and letting the plot occur more naturally, offering a more realistic sense of story.

From MTV's True Life, which follows people involved in different subjects each episode, to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which has many spin-offs and long, ongoing stories - docusoaps offer the audience a stronger feeling of authenticity. That's not to say documentary reality series aren't edited to up the tension or tighten a story, just that the plot arcs in reality documentary series such as Toddlers & Tiaras or Duck Dynasty feel as much like a docuseries as they do a reality show.

Vote up the best docusoaps and documentary reality series and vote down the shows that don't bring the drama!

...more
  • 1
    True Life is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    44
    5

    True Life

    Serena Altschul

    Premiered1998

    True Life (MTV, 1998) is an American documentary television series. Each episode follows a... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Toddlers & Tiaras is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    44
    5

    Toddlers & Tiaras

    Alana Thompson, Eden Wood

    Premiered2009

    Toddlers & Tiaras (TLC, 2009) is an American reality television series. The series follows the... more on Wikipedia

    More Toddlers & Tiaras 

    The "Toddlers and Tiaras" Drama Is Completely Staged By The Show's ProducersThe 20 Most Scandalous Toddlers and Tiaras Outfits

  • 3
    Breaking Amish is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    44
    5

    Breaking Amish

    Kate Stoltz, Rebecca Byler

    Premiered2012

    Breaking Amish: LA (TLC, 2012) is an American reality television show. It follows a new group... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    The Real Housewives of Beverly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    42
    5

    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

    Yolanda Hadid, Kim Richards

    Premiered2010

    The Real Housewives (Bravo, 2010) of Beverly Hills is an American reality television series... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Up Series is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    40
    5

    Up Series

    Bruce Balden, Jackie Bassett

    Premiered1964

    Up (ITV 1963) is a documentary film series. It follows the lives of fourteen British children since 1964, with one episode being made every seven years—thus spanning 56 years. 

  • 6
    Amish in the City is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    38
    5

    Amish in the City

    Jonas P. Kurtz, Kevan Moezzi

    Premiered2004

    Amish in the City (UPN, 2004) is an American reality television series. The show follows Amish... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Teen Mom is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    38
    5

    Teen Mom

    Farrah Abraham, Maci Bookout

    Premiered2009

    Teen Mom (MTV, 2009) is an American reality television series and a spin-off of 16 and... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    38
    5

    Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

    Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, Jessica "Chubbs" Shannon

    Premiered2012

    Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC, 2012) is an American reality television series. It features the... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Duck Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    38
    11

    Duck Dynasty

    Phil Robertson, Si Robertson

    Premiered2012

    Duck Dynasty (A&E, 2012) is an American reality television series. It portrays the lives of... more on Wikipedia

    More Duck Dynasty 

    The Truth About "Duck Dynasty"#305 of 395 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

  • 10
    Airport is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    37
    11

    Airport

    John Nettles, Liza Tarbuck

    Premiered1996

    Airport (BBC One, 1996) is a British documentary television series. The show is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Teen Mom 2 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    37
    11

    Teen Mom 2

    Jenelle Evans, Chelsea Houska

    Premiered2011

    Teen Mom 2 (MTV, 2011) is an American reality television series. It follows the lives of four... more on Wikipedia

    More Teen Mom 2 

    #788 of 1,321 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows#32 of 32 The Best Spin-Offs of the 2010s

  • 12
    Bug Juice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    27
    1

    Bug Juice

    Jon Adler, Rhett Bachner

    Premiered1998

    Bug Juice (Disney Channel, 1998) is an American reality series. The series focuses around 20... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Airline is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    37
    12

    Airline

    Caharlie Higson, Tony Robinson

    Premiered1998

    Airline (ITV, 1998) is a British fly on the wall television program. It showcases the daily... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Making the Band 2 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    25
    1

    Making the Band 2

    Fonzworth Bentley

    Premiered2002

    Making the Band 2 (MTV, 2002) is an American reality show and sequel to MTV's Making the Band.... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    U8TV: The Lofters is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    25
    1

    U8TV: The Lofters

    Trevor Smith, Arisa Cox

    Premiered2001

    U8TV: The Lofters (U8TV.com, 2001) is a Canadian reality web series. The show followed the lives of eight Canadians in their 20s who lived together in a Toronto loft for a one-year period, while at the same time producing and hosting their own television programs for Life Network or other cable TV networks, and for the website U8TV.com.

  • 16
    Bad Girls Club is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    24
    1

    Bad Girls Club

    Tanisha Thomas, Neveen Ismael

    Premiered2006

    Bad Girls Club (Oxygen, 2006) is an American reality television series created by Jonathan... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Jersey Shore is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    24
    1

    Jersey Shore

    Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Vinny Guadagnino

    Premiered2009

    Jersey Shore (MTV, 2009) is an American reality television series created by SallyAnn Salsano.... more on Wikipedia

    More Jersey Shore 

    Little Known Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Jersey Shore'The Best Seasons of 'Jersey Shore'

  • 18
    The Real World is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    32
    11

    The Real World

    Jamie Chung, Steven Hill

    Premiered1992

    The Real World (MTV, 1992) is an American reality television program inspired by the 1973 PBS... more on Wikipedia

    More The Real World 

    Ranking The Best Seasons of 'MTV Real World'#1 of 6 Longest Running Reality TV Shows in the US

  • 19
    Jamie's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    27
    5

    Jamie's Kitchen

    Mark Halliley, Jamie Oliver

    Premiered2002

    Jamie's Kitchen (Channel 4, 2002) is a British documentary TV series. It follows chef Jamie Oliver as he attempts to train a group of 15 disadvantaged youth, who will—if they complete the course—be offered jobs at Oliver's new restaurant Fifteen. 

  • 20
    Sorority Life is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    32
    12

    Sorority Life

    Amanda Hale

    Premiered2002

    Sorority Life (MTV, 2002) is an American reality television show. The show consists of girls... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    American Chopper is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    25
    5

    American Chopper

    Paul Teutul Sr., Paul Teutul Jr.

    Premiered2003

    American Chopper (Discovery, 2003) is a reality television series. The series centers on Paul... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Fraternity Life is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    25
    5

    Fraternity Life

    Tim Kukulka, Earl Altheide

    Premiered2003

    Fraternity Life (MTV, 2003) is an American reality television show and a spin off of Sorority... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Road Rules is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    25
    5

    Road Rules

    Cara Zavaleta, Veronica Portillo

    Premiered1995

    Road Rules (MTV, 1995) is an American reality show created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    The Restaurant is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    21
    1

    The Restaurant

    Rocco DiSpirito, Natalie

    Premiered2003

    The Restaurant (NBC, 2003) is an American reality show. It follows celebrity chef Rocco... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    The Salon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Docusoaps and Dramatic Reality Documentary Series
    31
    12

    The Salon

    Brian Dowling

    Premiered2003

    The Salon (Channel 4, 2003) is a British reality TV show. Various members of the public are... more on Wikipedia
TV ProgramsTVEntertainmentReality TVParentingAnimatedtop 100Animated TV SeriesKids EntertainmentLiving