Cape Town - One person’s trashy TV is another’s binge-watch treasure. These reality shows on Showmax, DStv Now and Netflix offer the perfect escape from real life, with off-the-chart levels of drama, catty remarks, snide asides, routine back-stabbing, and even shocking medical evacuations, just for fun.
1. Love Island S1-3 (Showmax)
All’s fair in love and war – and there’s plenty of both on Love Island. Stream three addictive seasons of this Brit reality show where if you’re not in a couple, you’re booted off the island. It’s been called "the entertainment equivalent of crack cocaine", and it’s waiting for your next indulgent binge-watch session.
2. Survivor S32-34 (Showmax)
There are three recent seasons of the American version of this fan-favourite reality show ready to stream on Showmax - Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty (Khao Rong), Millennials vs Gen X, and Game Changers, plus Survivor SA S6 - but if you want the maximum drama, go for broke by starting with Khao Rong. This season featured the most medical evacuations of them all, with some really grim injuries and dramatic exits.
3. The Real Housewives of Johannesburg (Showmax)
There’s sparkle and shade in equal measure here, as Jozi’s most monied women come up against one another, vying to win viewers’ hearts - and to be the most glamorous, most successful and most perfectly groomed of the group. This is pure candyfloss: You’ll get a cavity if you eat too much of it, but who can resist the sugar rush?
4. My Kitchen Rules SA S1-2 (Showmax)
Both seasons of this delicious cooking competition are now streaming, ready for you to gobble up in short order. Amateur cooks, competing in couples, set up their own pop-up restaurants in their homes (or the beautifully appointed home of a relative, in some cases), where they are judged on their food and hosting skills by their rivals and two celebrity judges. But, unlike some other reality cooking shows, this is about so much more than food, as revenge voting, personal vendettas and unabashed snobbery come out to play.
5. The Bachelor SA S1 (Showmax)
You may or may not know how this show ended, but if you’ve still not watched the boxset of SA’s first ever version of this hugely popular series, then you’re missing out on some memorable snide remarks, staggering evening gowns, awkward first dates and the opportunity to gleefully yell at your screen, "Put a T-shirt on, FFS!"
6. Survivor SA S7 (DStv Now)
We’ve only seen three episodes of this brand-new season, and we’ve already learned that these outcasts aren’t here to play. Expect blindsides, backstabbing, broken alliances, back-breaking challenges, outrageous personalities (where do they find these people?), and rain, rain, rain in the wettest and most exciting season of the SA version of this show to date.
If you haven't heard about this reality show yet, where have you been? Businessman Musa Mseleku allows viewers into his polygamous marriage to four women. See how they navigate tradition in a modern world. Seasons 1 and 2 are on Showmax, with Season 3 streaming on DStv Now.
8. RuPaul’s Drag Race S11 (Netflix)
The new season has just landed on Netflix, gifting us with 13 brand-new episodes of fabulousness as the queens embark on a series of challenges to prove that they deserve the title of The Next Superstar Drag Queen of the World. And the grand finale lands on Friday, 31 May! RuPaul won the Emmy in 2018 for Outstanding Host for a Reality Program, as if you needed more reason to add this to your campy binge-fest watchlist.
9. Queer Eye S3 (Netflix)
With an average rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes for the first two seasons, the third season of this award-winning reality show had a lot to live up to - and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Expect more emotional makeovers and tear-jerking moments as the dream team heads to Kansas City.