Entertainment The Best Reality Dramas  

TVs Frank
6k votes 590 voters 28.3k views 37 items

The best reality dramas include programs that keep viewers interested with compelling stories and fascinating characters. Yes, reality dramas are technically reality TV, but they aren't silly. They're often serious, sometimes dangerous and always entertaining. This list includes some of the best dramatic reality shows ever on television, so be sure to vote for your favorites. You can also add any outstanding reality dramas that are missing, and rerank the lists to suit your taste!

Many television dramas are popular because they have great, scripted story lines. Not so with reality TV dramas: These are reality shows that manage to keep viewers glued to their televisions with real life happenings. Examples of these kinds of shows include the Discovery Channel's documentary-style reality TV drama Deadliest Catch, the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers and MTV's reality drama series Teen Mom.

And things don't always turn out well on these shows: In 2010, while filming Deadliest Catch, boat Captain Phil Harris became gravely ill. Cameras continued to roll, and Harris later died from complications of a massive stroke.

Some of the best reality dramas on television are medical in nature. Examples include ABC's NY Med, TLC's Trauma: Life in the E.R., and A&E's Emmy-winning addiction program Intervention. These programs follow real-life events in major hospitals and chronicle the journeys of people who are trying to overcome potentially deadly addictions.

What is your favorite reality drama? Again, vote for the shows you like the most, vote down any you think aren't worthy and remember to rerank if you're so inclined.
list ordered by

1
202 92
Dirty Jobs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky, Doug Glover
Dirty Jobs was a TV series on the Discovery Channel in which host Mike Rowe is shown performing difficult, strange, disgusting, or messy occupational duties alongside the typical employees. The ...more

2
170 108
MythBusters is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Jon Lung, Brian Louden
MythBusters is a science entertainment television program created by Peter Rees and produced by Australia's Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is transmitted by ...more

3
173 113
Deadliest Catch is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Rick Quashnick, Sig Hansen, Edgar Hansen
Deadliest Catch is a reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the ...more

4
135 110
Undercover Boss is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Mark Keller
Undercover Boss is an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and produced by Studio Lambert in both countries. Each episode depicts a person who has an ...more

5
135 111
Cops is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay, Wayne Anderson
Cops is an American documentary/reality legal series that follows police officers, constables, sheriff's deputies, and federal agents during patrols and other police activities including vice ...more

6
135 119
Pawn Stars is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison, Corey Harrison
Pawn Stars (History, 2009) is an American reality television series that chronicles the daily activities at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business operated by ...more

7
119 123
Ice Road Truckers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Alex Debogorski, Thom Beers, Hugh Rowland
Ice Road Truckers is a reality television series that premiered on History on June 17, 2007. It features the activities of drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and ...more

8
89 109
Duck Dynasty is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
prkr.river.rat added The Robertson Clan
Duck Dynasty is an American reality television series on A&E that portrays the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their family-operated business, Duck Commander. The West ...more

9
91 114
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Jeff Probst, Rob Mariano, Rupert Boneham
Survivor is a reality game show produced in many countries throughout the world. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a ...more

10
45 41
48 Hours is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
amani2374 added Maureen Maher, Peter Van Sant, Erin Moriarty
48 Hours is an American documentary/news magazine television series that airs on CBS. The series has been broadcast on the network since January 19, 1988. The program airs Saturdays at 10:00 ...more

11
88 118
Intervention is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Jeff VanVonderen, Candy Finnigan
Intervention (A&E, 2005) is an American documentary television series created by Sam Mettler. It follows one/two participant(s), who are dependent or are addicted, documented in anticipation ...more

12
93 132
Hoarders is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Hoarders (A&E, 2009) is an American reality television series that depicts the real-life struggles and treatment of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder.

13
77 118
Trauma: Life in the E.R. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Chip Demarest, Andy Michaels, Brian Plaisier
Trauma: Life in the E.R. is a medical-based television reality show that formerly ran on TLC from 1997 to 2002 and reruns are currently airing on Discovery Fit & Health. At its peak, Trauma ...more

14
75 125
Little People, Big World is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Little People, Big World is an American reality television series that premiered on March 4, 2006, and airs on TLC. The series chronicles the lives of the six-member Roloff family farm near ...more

15
70 127
Real World is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Jamie Chung, Steven Hill, Landon Lueck
The Real World is a reality television program on MTV originally produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray. First broadcast in 1992, the show, which was inspired by the 1973 PBS ...more

16
77 142
Wife Swap is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Wife Swap is a British reality television programme produced by independent television production company RDF Media and created by Stephen Lambert for Channel 4, first broadcast in 2003. In the ...more

17
33 55
Dance Moms is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
marshallthornton00 added
Dance Moms is an American reality television series that debuted on Lifetime on July 13, 2011. Created by Collins Avenue Productions, it is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Abby Lee Dance ...more

18
3 1
Shark Tank is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John
Shark Tank (ABC, 2009) is an American reality television series created by Mark Burnett, and a franchise of Dragons' Den. Aspiring entrepreneur-contestants pitch their business idea to a panel ...more

19
59 120
True Life is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Serena Altschul
True Life is an American documentary television series that has been airing on MTV since March 31, 1998. Each episode follows a particular topic, such as heroin addiction as in the first episode ...more

20
3 2
Big Brother is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Julie Chen, Phil Proctor, Clayton Halsey
Big Brother is a television reality game show based on an originally Dutch TV series of the same name created by producer John de Mol in 1997. The series follows a group of contestants, known as ...more

21
2 2
Laguna Beach: The Real Orange ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Talan Torriero, Lo Bosworth, Morgan Olsen
Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County is an American reality television series that originally aired on MTV from September 28, 2004 until November 15, 2006. The series aired three seasons and ...more

22
2 3
Terrace House is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Terrace House
Terrace House is a Japanese reality series about six strangers living together.

23
0 0
Wife Swap is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Wife Swap (Paramount Network, 2019) is an American reality television series that is a revival of the original 2004 series on ABC. Families from the Metro Atlanta area swap the lives of the ...more

24
62 137
Swamp People is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Troy Landry, Jacob Landry, Bruce Mitchell
Swamp People (History, 2010) is an American reality series that follows the day-to-day activities of Louisiana natives living in the swamps of the Atchafalaya River Basin who hunt American ...more

25
0 2
The Osbournes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Jack Osbourne
The Osbournes is an American reality television program featuring the domestic life of heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne and his family. The series premiered on MTV on March 5, 2002, and in its ...more