I admit it: I watch some pretty toxic reality TV shows -- from Big Brother and Survivor to every spinoff of The Bachelor. But not all reality TV is bad. Not every competition show is negative. In fact, Netflix is packed with positivity with so many heart-growing and soul-cleansing series in the genre. Here are just five options worth streaming right now to Ctrl-Alt-Delete your attitude about reality TV.
The Great British Baking Show
I can't even tell you how excited I was when I logged onto Netflix and saw there were new Great British Baking Show episodes coming this very Friday, August 30! This show is called The Great British Bake Off in the U.K. and what they call Series 10 is just starting to air August 27. We're getting those episodes as "Collection 7" this Friday. I absolutely miss Mary Berry, plus Mel and Sue, from the original Baking Show. But the bakers are the heart of the show, and I love how they work together and support each other. As cheesy as it sounds, the camaraderie is the most delicious part of this beautiful show. And I want desperately to visit that tent someday.
Glassblowers! I'd never imagine a competition series following 10 glassblowers in Canada would be gripping. Critics and fans were -- wait for it -- blown away by how impressive the first season of the reality show turned out to be. It's a visually stunning showcase for these artists. As Esquire put it, "The series waffles between the innocence of Great British Bake Off and the dramatic gravitas of American Ninja Warrior." I'd add Project Runway vibes to the list as well. And, as a Big Brother fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see BB15 alum Nick Uhas on board as host. No scheming required this time!
Stream Blown Away on Netflix.
As much as I aspire to be one of the Great British Baking Show bakers, I am much more like the folks on Nailed It! What I appreciate about this bake-off competition show, following contestants who fail miserably at making elaborate baked goods, is how positive the judges can be if the bakers make slow improvements across each episode. The encouragement is inspiring. It could've easily gone the way of early American Idol episodes, with a Simon Cowell type just reducing bakers to tears. Instead, host Nicole Byer and company are usually gentle and keep things light and fun. But some of the disasters are really hilarious, and do make me feel a wee bit better about the messes I create in my own kitchen.
Stream Nailed It! on Netflix.
The World's Most Extraordinary Homes
Netflix has a wealth of fantastic home and garden shows, so you can really take your pick. I've come to love following serious architect Piers Taylor and playful actress/property enthusiast Caroline Quentin as they travel the world to visit extraordinary homes. Sure, she can get a little randy. And sure, they do tend to visit a few too many contemporary homes for my taste. But my HGTV-loving self is fully served by this globe-trotting show. I love the houses, the landscapes, the building process, the architectural angles, the humor, everything. It's a perfect binge, too, with each episode having a country or location theme like "Mountain" or "Forest." I want to move into a few places they visited in New Zealand. Not that I'd turn down a chance to live in any of these homes.
This heartwarming series is about so much more than a typical "makeover." The lovable Fab Five elevated the original Bravo show -- called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- to be more substantial. They are basically life coaches for both men and women, helping people from every background and all walks of life. It's one of the most life-affirming shows you could ever see. I'm not surprised the reboot has been a huge hit for Netflix, with the streamer dropping eight episodes in February 2018, eight more in June 2018, eight more in March 2019, and another eight in July 2019. We're getting a fifth season too, so keep some tissues handy for those happy tears.
Stream Queer Eye on Netflix.
If you're looking for more streaming recommendations, check out these past Monday streaming features:
Here are more Netflix premiere dates to keep an eye on. What reality TV shows do you like to stream on Netflix?
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Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.