We pick "American Pickers" as a hidden reality TV gem (Joey L/A&E)It seems that nearly every day there's a new reality show popping up to vie for our attention, and while most of them are instantly forgettable or boring clones of existing hits, some of them are actually pretty great. While we mostly talk about competitive reality shows or docu-soaps that feature reprehensible rich people, toddlers, tiaras, and chefs, we enjoy plenty of other unscripted programs that don't get that much attention. Here's what more reality fans should be watching:
10. "Big Shrimpin'"
We tuned into this History Channel series purely for the name, which is genuinely awesome. It's sort of like "Deadliest Catch," but with a lot fewer teeth and much warmer weather. And we learned a valuable lesson about playing with gasoline in bare feet.
9. "American Pickers"
We love "Pawn Stars" -- we might have already mentioned that about one or two hundred times -- but we also love History Channel's other Monday-night show, mostly because of Frank and Mike's banter. They are a modern-day odd couple who see treasures in what we'd describe as slightly cleaner hoarder homes.
8. "My Fair Wedding"
There's something adorable about the way that David Tutera, the host of this WEtv series, can take a bride's wacked-out concept for a wedding theme and transform it into something classy and tasteful in a matter of days. We're not sure what he'd do with our "My Little Pony" sparkle glittery rainbow princess idea, but we're convinced he could pull it off. Also, he's had some really deserving brides this season, and that warms our cold, dead hearts.
New episodes of the A&E hit start January 2, and we're more than a little bit excited to see how they can top the woman with all the damned dolls. The show's a fascinating look on life, and while we also watch TLC's "Hoarding: Buried Alive" (how could we not with a title like that?) and Animal Planet's "Confessions: Animal Hoarding," this one is still the best, mostly because of the fantastic cleaning crews and therapists.
Showtime's late-night series is kind of a gross trainwreck of a show that's half porn and half about these guys talking about their feelings and working out... but we just can't look away.
5. "Storage Wars: Texas"
It's only just started on A&E, but there's already a guy like Barry on the original "Storage Wars," who actually has an interest in making a profit, so that's appreciated. No obvious bully-Dave types or odd catchphrases here, but we've got plenty of room in our DVRs for both versions of this show.
4. "The Layover"
Instead of bizarre foods in strange places, Anthony Bourdain's new Travel Channel show finds him going to major destinations and showing how much culture and cuisine he can cram into a few hours. It forces him to make nice about touristy places (while still dissing the tourists) and use public transportation. Torture for him, fun for us.
3. "Glam Fairy"
The folks at the Style Network gave Alexa from "Jerseylicious" her own show and surrounded her with some magnificently dense, but attractive, people to do makeovers and assist her on photo shoots. There's a lot of talk about Glamming (love ya, Briella), more smoky eyes than you can shake a stick at, and, every once in a while, stripper aerobics. So, something for everyone.
2. "Full Throttle Saloon"
This truTV show is filled with attractive and scantily clad bartenders, lots and lots of men on motorcycles, some fascinating behind-the-scenes drama, and a hard-rockin' frontman who may or may not have a death wish. And all this is crammed into 10 crazy days.
1. "Extreme Couponing"
Only a few more weeks until we get new episodes on TLC. Perhaps it will teach us how to be thrifty in the new year. Or perhaps we'll just continue to marvel at the people who stockpile 400 bottles of dish detergent and thousands of bags of chips in their basement, which they purchased for about 12 cents.
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