Love Is Blind and Selling Sunset to Queer Eye and American Idol: The best reality shows streaming on Netflix right now

Dating shows, singing contests, cookery competitions – the streaming service has it all. Here’s our pick of the best reality shows to binge-watch at your leisure.

By Katie Archer Published: 25 May 2021 - 4.24pm
Netflix Selling Sunset

Reality shows and binge viewing go hand in hand, so unsurprisingly Netflix has a huge range to choose from.

Whether dating shows, documentary series, cooking contests or singing competitions are your thing, you’ll find what you’re looking for and some hidden gems to go with it.

Find inspiration in our list of the best the genre has to offer at Netflix.

Love Is Blind

Love is Blind Netflix

If you like Married At First Sight, you’ll love this new spin on the dating show genre.

Upping the ante on MAFS, which it’s very similar to, these singles actually form a bond with each other through 'blind' dates on opposite sides of a wall before they say “I do”.

Predictably, not every love story has a happy ending, but it’s the ultimate in car crash telly watching the drama unfold.

Season 1 of Love is Blind is available on Netflix

Below Deck

Fancy boats, wealthy lifestyles and no end of arguments over absolutely nothing – Below Deck has all the elements of the perfect reality show.

The crew that feature in it may look the part on their yacht, but most of them couldn’t be less suited to working in service, which makes for an explosive situation when the people they’re working for are about as demanding as you can imagine.

All 8 seasons of Below Deck are available on Netflix

RuPaul’s Drag Race

The Grand Dame of reality contests has all the back series for a marathon binge at Netflix.

Enjoy the costumes, the performances, the fighting and the incredible guest judges in this drag queen knock-out contest before you sashay away for the next series.

All 13 seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race are available on Netflix

The Circle USA

The Circle USA Netflix

If you couldn’t get enough of The Circle and The Celebrity Circle at Channel 4, the good news is that you don’t need to be devastated by the news that it’s been dropped.

The US version of The Circle is available to stream on Netflix and it’s every bit as absorbing as ours.

Contestants move into isolated apartments and play a long-running popularity game through social network The Circle, but none of them know whether the others are competing as themselves or catfish.

Both seasons of The Circle USA are available on Netflix

Too Hot to Handle

Too Hot To Handle Netflix

When it launched in 2020, some said that Too Hot to Handle had brought reality TV to new lows of trashiness, but that entirely depends on how much you love a dating show.

Singles in swimsuits move into a beach paradise where they could potentially meet their perfect match.

But to win the grand prize, they need to give up sex.

Too Hot to Handle is available on Netflix

Selling Sunset

Selling Sunset Netflix

Like Cribs mashed up with The Hills, Selling Sunset combines Hollywood real estate with the lives, loves and workplace rows of the people selling them.

Not only do you get a sneak peek into some ridiculously Instagram-worthy homes that most of us wouldn’t even make the cut to go and view, there’s also a front-row seat to some of the most extreme office politics you’ll ever see.

All 3 seasons of Selling Sunset are on Netflix

Keeping Up with the Kardashians

It defines the reality genre, so there is no best of list that doesn’t include the Kardashians.

Watching the early episodes now is a little strange when we know so much about how the Kardashians’ lives are still playing out today, but it also makes them oddly more fascinating to see where things started for Kim and co.

The family are incredibly skilled at making the most mundane of developments into a major issue – there’s a reason the show (and the Kardashians) is so ridiculously successful.

Seasons 1-4 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians are available on Netflix

Next in Fashion

Following the format of Bake Off and Pottery Throwdown, Next in Fashion pits some of the most talented fashion designers against each other… except this contest is international.

If the concept alone isn’t enough to draw you in, consider that the presenting team is made up of Alexa Chung, and Queer Eye’s Tan France.

Next in Fashion first aired in 2020, but will surely be getting a second season at some point.

Season 1 of Next in Fashion is available on Netflix

Cheer

Cheer Netflix

When Cheer started streaming in 2020, it fast became the Netflix launch that everyone was talking about.

Following the competitive cheer squad of Navarro College as they pursued their dream of winning a national title, it lifted the lid on the blood, sweat and tears involved in each perfectly synchronised performance.

Season 1 of Cheer is available on Netflix

Nailed It!

Nailed It! Netflix

Imagine Bake Off for people with absolutely no talent in the kitchen… and consider how that would actually make for a better show.

Nailed It! sets three skill-free amateurs the challenge of recreating complex cakes for a cash prize, with the condition that they must be the worst bakers around.

There are a number of spin-offs, including holiday specials for Christmas and Double Trouble, where contestants compete in pairs.

All 5 seasons of Nailed It!, 2 seasons of Nailed It! Holiday and 3 seasons of Nailed It! Mexico! are available on Netflix

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Netflix

She sparked joy, and a trend for relentless tidying of your home with it when Marie Kondo published her now-infamous book on getting your belongings in order.

It was only a matter of time before a TV series would follow, and oddly enough watching a programme about tidying up does seem less strange than reading a book about it.

You’ll be Kondoing your cupboards in no time with Tidying Up as the perfect background streaming to your chores.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is available on Netflix

Indian Matchmaking

Indian Matchmaking Netflix

In these times of online dating where potential partners can be written off after one badly selected emoji, Indian Matchmaking is the perfect antidote.

An experienced matchmaker puts her skills to the test as she searches for The One for clients in India and the US, but while she certainly has some picky customers, their overinvolved families take things to a whole other level.

Covering every base from family to ambition to whether their birthdays align, and even employing the services of a face reader, this is about as far from swiping right as you can get.

The first season of Indian Matchmaking is available on Netflix

Terrace House

Terrace House Netflix

It’s difficult to describe the appeal of Terrace House. You just have to watch it. A lot. Which isn’t hard, when there are endless episodes available on Netflix.

A bit like old favourite The Real World, a group of strangers move in as housemates in Tokyo (although in some series, they’re not in Tokyo… you really do just have to watch it) and we see their lives develop until eventually, one by one they decide to move on and are replaced. Which confusingly happens mid-series, with each season running for months on end.

Once you’ve binged a fair bit of Terrace House, the confusion and trying to keep up with the subtitles sort of washes over you and it becomes a relaxing look at a group of ambitious people who almost never confront each other, cooking lots and lots of food.

Episodes are interspersed with a lively celebrity commentary that serves to make things both more and less clear, in equal measure.

Six seasons of Terrace House are available on Netflix

American Idol

It’s spawned some huge stars on US soil and now you don't need to live Stateside to watch it, as American Idol is streaming on Netflix.

Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Ryan Seacrest star in the series available to watch, which fills the hole left by the X Factor having been absent from our screens for so long.

If you’re looking for a singing contest fix, this is arguably a better place to find it than the likes of I Can See Your Voice.

Two seasons of American Idol are available on Netflix

Queer Eye

Queer Eye Netflix

The reboot of Queer Eye has been one of Netflix’s biggest successes with a brand new gang of experts looking to bring out the best in their subjects.

Each episode, a guest whose appearance and home are sorely in need of sprucing up gets the Queer Eye treatment, but with much more heart and empathy than your usual makeover show.

The on-location-in-Tokyo season, We’re in Japan!, is also well worth a look.

All 5 seasons of Queer Eye and the one-season special Queer Eye: We're in Japan! are available on Netflix

Baby Ballroom

If you like Strictly, you'll love Baby Ballroom, which shows the crazy competitive world of junior ballroom dancing.

The two-season documentary from 2017 showcases some pint-sized performers, but just as watchable are their overly competitive instructors and pushy parents who’ll stop at nothing to see them win.

Both seasons of Baby Ballroom are available on Netflix

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