Ranking My All-Time Favorite Canceled Reality Shows

Throughout my years I have watched a lot of reality television. For some reason, though, I always seem to be drawn to the more offbeat and absurdist concepts that end up being canceled just after I get invested. These shows are not your typical canceled show; these are shows that have such unforgettable moments that I am convinced they will forever live in my brain. They are ranked by how chaotic, memorable and confusing they were. Here are seven of my all-time favorite shows accompanied by some of their best moments!

  1. 1. 'The Glee Project' (2011-2012)

    “I wish that I was Jessie’s girl!”

    This show was a cultural reset! The Glee Project was a reality competition show where people compete to become a guest star on the show Glee. Each week the contestants were given a new challenge that they had to show strength in during their rendition of a song and music video. This show was so compelling to me that I watched it even though I had never watched Glee. Unforgettable moments include when Damian McGinty (who went on to be Rory Flanagan on Glee) sang that he wished he “was Jessie’s girl” and when the cast sang “The Only Exception.” This show was full of appearances from the cast of Glee and was judged by Ryan Murphy, making it feel much more authentic. It gave us some of the future series regulars and introduced the world to some very talented performers with many memorable moments.

  2. 2. 'House of DVF' (2014-2015)

    “Why would you wear a pretty dress with a blazer, Cree? Like, come on now.”

    I think that this show could have had more of a generation-defining impact if anyone had actually watched it. House of DVF was a reality competition show where a group of eight young women attempt to land a dream job as a brand ambassador for acclaimed fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. This show is like Project Runway, but all of the contestants have no idea what they are doing and are just making it up as they go. It is often unclear as to how these people even got on the show or if they have any qualifications, but it makes for two seasons of excellent television. This show is what I imagine people think my major in fashion design is like. Enjoy watching these ladies panicking over making a mood board, modeling for no apparent reason and flirting with Parisian men…because fashion!

  3. 3. 'Kicking and Screaming' (2017)

    ”The future I envision is full of very little work and a lot of reward.”

    Another strange survival-based competition show from Fox! In Kicking and Screaming, ten expert survivalists are paired up with “nature-phobic” partners to tackle challenges in the jungle of Fiji. The “nature-phobic” individuals were mainly just the most annoying people that the producers could find, who never stop complaining about simply being outdoors. The experts hate them but have to work with them in order to motivate them to endure the challenges. Although I do not remember many specific moments from this show, I remember the chaotic energy that it had for it being a clear rip-off of the success of Survivor.

  4. 4. 'Married At First Sight: Second Chances' (2017)

    “It’s a loofah! I will be more mindful about your loofah.”

    When people ask me what The Bachelor would be like if it had normal people living their normal lives, I tell them this is it. Accompanying most seasons of Married At First Sight is some kind of strange spinoff that I usually ignore. There has been Love At First Flight, Bride & Prejudice, Seven Year Switch and countless others, but nothing quite compares to the disaster that is Married At First Sight: Second Chances. Two individuals, (Vanessa Nelson and David Norton) whose marriages on the original show did not work out, become the leads in this complete rip-off of The Bachelor where both leads have their own journey to find love from a large group of potential suitors. Although Vanessa’s part of the show was interesting, David’s never-ending awkward moments are often unforgettable and the perfect recipe for second-hand embarrassment. What makes this show stand out is how real it is: the contestants have work hours to navigate around and the leads go to the houses of the contestants to breakup with them. This was one of those shows that was a mess that I could not look away from.

  5. 5. 'Utopia' (2014)

    “Who cares about a pickled radish?!”

    This is one of the shows that I definitely could have made up, but for once this show actually happened. In 2014, Fox announced a new social experiment called Utopia. A huge undertaking, they planned to film fifteen Americans from different walks of life as they developed a new society over the course of one year. Viewers could watch live at any time and contestants would be voted out throughout the experiment. However, this was a lot more work than it was apparently worth. After airing the first episode on September 7th, the show was promptly canceled after a very memorable episode on Halloween. Low ratings and poor marketing were to blame for this colossal failure for Fox, who spent millions on the project…but fourteen-year-old me enjoyed every second of it and was devastated to see it go.

  6. 6. 'The Bachelor Winter Games' (2018)

    "I'm not sure what happens in the U.S. but in Germany when we say we go in the jacuzzi, it’s a date."

    This four-episode spinoff of The Bachelor franchise is somehow often forgotten about, but not by me! Just imagine: it is 2018 and you are in the middle of watching Arie Luyendyk Jr’s season of The Bachelor (yikes). All of a sudden, the clouds part, and there it is: The Bachelor Winter Games. An escape from a dreadful season, this spinoff brought people from various international versions of The Bachelor to Vermont to fall in love while attempting to play various winter sports. Recently, people have been asking my opinion of Clare Crawley as the newest Bachelorette, and when I ask if they watched her on this show, they say they do not remember what happened. How could you forget her love triangle with Christian from Germany and Benoit from France, eventually breaking Benoit’s heart to only later get engaged to him on the World Tell All?! This show brought an international twist to the franchise and eventually led to some other relationships (Kevin and Astrid). After two years of me begging them to bring the show back, they announced a 2020 Bachelor Summer Games…but that obviously did not happen.

  7. 7. 'Kid Nation' (2007)

    "We sped up the natural cycle of life and death! We gave these two suckers a shortcut!"

    Yes, I know I just talked about this show... but can you really blame me for talking about it again? Although I did not watch it while it aired, Kid Nation had a lasting impression on me from the first time I heard about its existence. Here’s the premise: forty kids are sent to an abandoned town with no adults to create their own society in forty days. What makes this show so perfect is how real it is. Yes, there was a lot of producer interference, but this show has the unpolished feel that we never have with reality television anymore. In episode two, the kids decide to kill a chicken and the editors had the audacity to put a warning on the screen that the scene may not be suitable for some children. As a surprise to no one, this show was canceled after only one season, mainly due to the changing child labor laws in the state of New Mexico (where Bonanza City was located). The whole season is on YouTube, but the video above offers some of the best moments from the show.

I hope you enjoyed this list and that it helped you remember some unforgettable moments from your favorite reality television shows!