The best reality TV shows on Netflix

Prepare to binge yourself silly as the cameras roll on 'real' people...

Kem and Amber on Love Island (ITV)

Netflix  has dropped a hefty load of new binge-worthy reality TV shows for us to sink our teeth into as the winter nights draw closer.


So grab a duvet, snuggle up and watch back-to-back episodes of the best of the streaming giants reality TV offerings.

1. RuPauls’s Drag Race

RuPaul season 10, Netflix, TL
RuPaul season 10, Netflix

If you haven’t joined the drag race yet, it’s time to start your engines and get up to speed.

The premise of the show? Think American’s Next Top Model, but sprinkled with glitter and contoured so sharply you could cut your fingers on it.

Drag legend RuPaul sets to find America’s next drag superstar by setting a group of hopefuls a series of challenges to test their skills – from costume design, comedy roasts and runway walking, every facet is examined by RuPaul and a series of judges with a fine-toothed comb.

The queens who are in the bottom two are expected to then ‘lip-sync for their lives’ – with the loser, picked by RuPaul, told to ‘sashay away’ from the competition.

Initially a cult-hit with a devoted following, RuPaul’s Drag Race has now had overwhelming mainstream success, with many of the show’s phrases (Ever thrown shade? Spilt the tea? Thank RuPaul) entering the everyday lexicon.

You will stay obsessed with this show from the opening titles, which is equal parts ridiculous as it is fabulous.

Seasons 8-10 are now available on Netflix

2. Queer Eye

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
The brand new Fab Five (Netflix)

A reboot of early naughties classic, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a crack team of specialists (known as the ‘Fab Five’) offer a series of men (and in the second series, everyone) a chance to completely overhaul their lives – as the sassy tagline states, ‘it’s more than just a makeover’.

While initially so sugary it borders on sickly, the Fab Five’s brisk, breezy, no-nonsense attitudes to provide a little oomph into the life of someone who’s had their confidence knocked for six could bring a tear to the eyes of even the most cold-hearted individual.

Kind, heartfelt and with a big helping of love, Queer Eye is the perfect programme to snuggle up and have a good weep to on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Seasons 1-2 are now available on Netflix

3. The Great British Bake Off

Bake Off 2017 contestants
Prepare to count the innuendos…(Channel 4)

While we’ve now become accustomed to Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith at the helm of the Channel 4 edition of The Great British Bake Off, we will always have a soft spot for the BBC classics with Mel and Sue and, of course, Mary Berry.

Now every classic GBBO series has been put on Netflix for us to feast our eyes on – and rewatch the moments that made it one of the country’s best-loved shows.

Who could forget the baked Alaska in the bin-gate and that overly amorous squirrel amongst all the frankly filthy innuendos and saucy soggy bottoms?

Yes, it’s cosy and safe, and yes it is, at times, horrendously middle-class, but it’s the televisual equivalent of a blanket and a chicken soup when you’ve got the flu – warm, comforting and occasionally leaving you feeling slightly queasy.

Seasons 1-7 are now available on Netflix

4. Love Island

Caroline Flack on Love Island
Caroline Flack is the Love Island host  (ITV)

Fuelled by sun, sex and gratuitous bikini shots, Love Island has since dethroned Big Brother for giving Brits vital water-cooler moments in the office the next day.

While the fourth series didn’t please all die-hard fans (but pulled in huge ratings), Netflix has added its excellent predecessors onto its streaming service for us to relive every muggy moment once again.

Love Island's Chris and Kem
Relive the antics that made Chris and Kem so hugely popular (ITV)

For the uninitiated, (and where have you BEEN for the last few years?) ITV2’s Love Island is a little like Channel 4’s The Island – but think a little less Bear Grylls and a little more Bare Bottom. A literal survival of the fittest; the show sees a series of ‘beautiful people’ swap drizzly Britain for a long hot summer in a Majorcan villa where the goal is to find true love. The tanned and toned villamates, now dubbed islanders, are encouraged to ‘couple up’ with one another – and the one lonely heart left single is unceremoniously dumped from the island.

Oh, and Caroline Flack turns up every now and then to sashay into the villa for about twenty minutes before leaving… what’s not to like?

It’s gaudy, bright, and some of the islanders will leave you despairing at the state of humanity, but its tender moments, epic rows and the fact that Love Island has coined the phrase ‘d*cksand’ makes it utterly unmissable viewing. Get ready to couple up with your sofa to obsessively watch every episode back to back.

Seasons 1-3 are now available on Netflix

5. Terrace House

Terrace HouseAloha State, Netflix
Terrace House Aloha State, Netflix

Netflix sleeper-hit Terrace House is in some respects the anti-Love Island. While operating under the same premise (a series of people move in together in the hopes of forming meaningful, long-standing relationships), the Japanese language-programme differs hugely because throughout the course of the show, absolutely nothing happens!

There are no real tasks, no claws-out catfights, and under-the-covers bedroom antics are out of the question. Instead, the most high-octane moments of the show see the temporary tenants of Terrace House talk about ‘what they had for dinner’, ‘what are they up to’, and sometimes, quite daringly, ‘who they are attracted to.’

It sounds like it should be the most boring programme to ever grace our screens, but there’s something strangely hypnotic and comforting to watch ordinary people doing utterly mundane things.

In a world where structured reality reigns king, it’s somewhat refreshing to watch a show where genuine people act totally naturally, no matter how pedestrian their lives may be.

Seasons 1-4 are now available on Netflix

6. Nailed It!

Nailed It / High Society
Nicole Byer fronts Nailed It! (Netflix/High Society)

Much as Terrace House is the anti-Love Island, Nailed It! is the anti-Great British Bake Off. This is a very much an all-American ‘comedy’ baking show, in which hapless and hopeless bakers try and create exact replicas of extravagant cakes – only for them to turn out just a little bit rubbish. Failed It! may be a more apt title.

The show, hosted by comedian Nicole Byer and a panel of judges, is compelling viewing even if it’s just to see the frankly impossible cakes the hopefuls have to try and replicate. In one episode, contestants were told to make cakes that looked like a traditional British high tea with the Queen, only for hopefuls to create something that look very much like a dog’s – specifically a corgi’s – dinner.

Nailed It on Netflix
Nailed It on Netflix (Netflix/High Society)

The least bad baker wins $10,000 – but the real heart of the show stems from everyone’s sheer joy at just having taken part. Definitely worth a watch, if only to make you feel better about your own life.

Seasons 1-2 are now available on Netflix

7. Ultimate Beastmaster

Ultimate Beastmaster Season 3
Ultimate Beastmaster Season 3 (Netflix)

Think Takeshi’s Castle meets Ninja Warrior meets Total Wipeout multiplied by ten, Ultimate Beastmaster sees twelve contestants run an obstacle course called ‘The Beast’. Those successful in sleighing said ‘Beast’ and becoming ‘Beastmasters’ are then put forward to run the final course to be crowned the ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’ – which sounds a little like a superhero name put forward by a teenage boy.

The UK volunteered its own sacrifices as tribute to the Ultimate Beastmaster for the third season, and (spoilers) we didn’t do too badly.

Executive producer Sylvester Stallone (I mean, as if that’s not reason enough to tune in) says on the programme, “The course is the most physically and psychologically demanding obstacle course in the world, the ultimate battle of man vs beast,” and, while you get over the initial disappointment when you realise the contestants aren’t actually fighting tigers, you can see he’s not really wrong.

The assault course is designed to look like some huge unwieldy dragon, with contestants expected to slip and slide within the literal belly of the beast in order to gain the accolade of being ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’.

It’s hugely silly but endlessly entertaining, even if you’re watching just to see grown adults being hurled into large bodies of water.


Seasons 1-3 are now available on Netflix