3. Shark Tank
For whatever reason, the majority of reality television shows feel the need to shoehorn in contrived drama and little gags. Even those that bill themselves as being historical, educational and informative like American Pickers and Pawn Stars bizarrely get off topic on a regular basis, as if moments of contrived banter are what viewers actually want to see. Fortunately, Shark Tank is better than that, and thanks to a few minor changes, it’s seemingly getting better by the episode.

On paper, the Tank is pretty formulaic, but because of the wide variety of pitches, each episode actually feels very unique. At some point, producers made the decision not have any rhyme or reason to which pitches are shown each week, and that makes a very big difference for viewers because it’s damn near impossible to predict whether people will get a deal. Sometimes entire episodes will go by with every single investor walking away with their tails between their legs. Other times, it’s the exact opposite. Either way, everyone watching is learning interesting things about business, company valuations, earnings potential and a whole lot more.

There aren’t enough shows on television that are unapologetic about how much thinking they require. Shark Tank is one of them, and in my spreadsheet, it’s a must watch.

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