Best TV Shows The Best Reality Dramas  

TVs Frank
5.9k votes 568 voters 27.8k views 31 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
193 91
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
169 111
Deadliest Catch is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
162 104
MythBusters is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Jamie Hyneman, Robert Lee, Adam Savage 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

4
130 108
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
133 113
Pawn Stars is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
129 110
Cops is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
117 121
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
87 105
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
44 38
48 Hours is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
88 115
Intervention is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
85 112
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
93 128
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
74 116
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
74 121
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
74 139
Wife Swap is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
67 125
Real World is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
30 52
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
57 118
True Life is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
61 135
Swamp People is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
9 28
Born This Way is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Born This Way (A&E, 2015) is an Emmy Award-winning American reality television series. It features seven adults with Down Syndrome who work hard to achieve goals and overcome obstacles.

21
59 158
Teen Mom is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Teen Mom, renamed Teen Mom OG in the fifth season, is an American reality television series that premiered on December 8, 2009 on MTV. Developed as the first spin-off of 16 and Pregnant, it ...more

22
42 146
Sister Wives is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Kody Brown, Meri Brown, Janelle Brown Sister Wives (TLC, 2010) is an American reality television series that documents the life of a polygamist family, which includes patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives, and their 18 children.

23
45 158
The Real Housewives of Beverly... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Yolanda Hadid, Kim Richards, Camille Grammer The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is an American reality television series that premiered on October 14, 2010 on Bravo. Developed as the sixth installment of The Real Housewives franchise, ...more

24
33 129
NY Med is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Katie Duke, Diana Costine, Mehmet Oz NY Med is a medical documentary series which premiered on ABC on July 10, 2012. It follows the medical staff and patients of Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center ...more

25
47 172
16 and Pregnant is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Drew Pinsky, Weston Gosa Jr., Weston Gosa 16 and Pregnant is an American reality television series that debuted June 11, 2009, on MTV. It follows the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of teenage ...more

26
44 169
19 Kids and Counting is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Michelle Duggar, Jackson Duggar, Jennifer Duggar 19 Kids and Counting, rendered graphically as 19 Kids & Counting in its onscreen logo, is an American reality television show on TLC. The show is about the Duggar family, which consists of ...more

27
35 143
The Hills is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, Lauren Conrad The Hills is a semi-scripted American reality television series that originally aired on MTV from May 31, 2006 until July 13, 2010. Developed as a spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange ...more

28
35 147
I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Dave Wittenberg I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant was an American documentary television series on Discovery Fit & Health and TLC. The series debuted on May 26, 2009 on Discovery Fit & Health. Each episode ...more

29
36 159
Jon & Kate Plus 8 is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Aaden Jonathan Gosselin, Jon Gosselin, Collin Thomas Gosselin Kate Plus 8, formerly Jon & Kate Plus 8, is an American reality television series starring Kate Gosselin, which has aired since April 4, 2007.

30
24 133
Abby & Brittany is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Abby & Brittany

31
2 31
WAG's is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Reality Dramas
Amonte Taylor added WAG's Barbie Blank, Olivia Pierson