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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

Some of the best TV in the world has been created from nothing more than a couple of people, no script and a camera.

Reality TV is one of the ultimate forms of escapism. According to Guinness World Records, the first reality TV show dates all the way back to 1948, and the quantity has only increased from there. I, and I’m sure many others, have spent countless hours distracting ourselves by looking into the lives of these TV personalities. You can watch an intense competition show with hissy fits and fights, or maybe you just want to watch a kooky cast of characters living with one another. Whatever it is, there’s a reality TV show for everyone.

But exactly what show should you watch? Which shows would best entertain you? Which seasons are duds and which ones are gold? Going in blind into the endless sea that is reality television can be intimidating – so I’m here to help. 

Grab the remote and your comfort snack because I’m letting you in on which reality TV shows are must-sees. 

So you want to watch a cooking show?

  • Worst Cooks in America

The ingredients to a good cooking show are personality, competition and good food – or in this case bad food. “Worst Cooks in America” takes everything good about a cooking show and adds a disgusting twist that makes it very sweet to watch. Regular people with below-average cooking skills come to a boot camp to learn from some of the best celebrity chefs. Personalities like Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are a couple of the most popular mentors over the course of the show’s 26 seasons. Some great places to start are season three, the first one to feature Bobby Flay, and season five. This show thrives during its earlier seasons, so most seasons that are 10 and below will serve you right – and the worst food in America.

So you want to watch a dating show?

  • Love Island 

There are just as many dating shows as there are white cowboy boots at a college football game. With there being so many, finding the right one for you can be an intimidating task. For first time reality TV watchers, I suggest you begin with the love and drama filled mess that is “Love Island.” A couple of hot singles, a secluded island and alcohol is all the show needs to provide good television. The British TV show has the singles match up each week in couples. There is always an odd number of people, so one person will be left after the couplings without a partner and will therefore be eliminated. Whether the show actually cultivates true love is up for debate, but there’s no doubt it creates TV gold. When it comes to where to start watching, basically any UK season will do – honestly, avoid the American version. A fan-favorite season and one that’s sure to entertain is season five. Not only was it labeled as the best season of “Love Island” by Time magazine, it’s also a great start to get into the show. So go turn on your TV, and I’ll see you at the villa.

So you want to watch a competitive strategy show?

  • Survivor

From one island to another, “Survivor” takes aspects from several shows and throws them all together in a secluded part of Fiji. Survival, strategy and drama are all things the contestants, or “castaways,” face in their approximately one month long adventure. In each episode, the castaways face a challenge where the losers have to go and vote out one of their own all while surviving the elements with little resources. These high stakes and the $1 million dollar grand prize forge a fantastic show. With seven Emmys and 67 nominations, it’s no blindside that the show is addictively entertaining. The 40-plus seasons all have their own draws, but I recommend you choose a season that doesn’t have any returning players on the cast. Some good ones would be seven, 15 or 28. The tribe has spoken: go watch “Survivor.”

So you want to watch a Netflix original show?

  • The Circle

Sometimes when picking a show, accessibility is a top priority, and almost everyone has their own, or someone else’s, Netflix account. So, if you’re perusing the catalog for good reality TV, look no further than “The Circle.” This social media inspired show has people enter their own secluded room and communicate with other contestants via a fake social media app. Each week, players are elected to decide which among them will go home, and who will stay to continue to compete for the $100,000 grand prize. The combination of the silly campiness and hectic drama that the show delivers is phenomenal. The format is also explained in great detail in the beginning of the show, making it very friendly to those unfamiliar with the genre. When it comes to what to watch first, you can just start from the beginning with this one. There’s only five seasons as of 2023 and each one has its own draws. If you’re really looking for a standout season though, start with season two. Its amazing cast and additions to the format create some of the best television on the streaming platform.

So you want to watch a fashion/makeup show?

  • RuPaul’s Drag Race

If you’re more into the glitz and glamor side of things, then I suggest you ‘sashay’ over to “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s still got all the juicy drama and realness that you’re looking for, but with a fabulous spin. The show takes drag queens from across the country and has them compete in a series of challenges and fashion runways. Each episode, a group of queens compete in a main challenge that tests their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Then, they hit the runway to show off ‘sickening’ looks in hopes of wowing the judges and avoiding elimination.  The show, similar to “Survivor,” has its own array of success in awards with 63 Emmy nominations and a whopping 26 Emmys. RuPaul delivers on his ability to provide heartwarming moments as well as intensely drama-filled ones. The best places to start on your drag racing journey are seasons five, six and nine. If you’re feeling more dedicated, however, you can begin from season one and watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” after every couple of seasons. Regardless of where you start, RuPaul is sure to bring some ‘fierce’ TV your way.

Maddox Karnes is a new member of her campus and is a freshman studying journalism at the University of Missouri. He enjoys writing and reading about pop culture and fashion. In his free time he can often be found watching reality tv such as Dance Moms, RuPaul's Drag Race, and survivor.