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Best Reality Competition Shows on Netflix


Reality television is a genre that has been around for a long time. The rise of streaming platforms, however, has helped it grow like never before, adapting the format to almost any discipline. While not everyone enjoys this kind of entertainment, this boom in production has been great for those who do. Reality television has become one of the world’s favorite genres, offering light-hearted shows to binge from the comfort of our couches.


One of the most interesting things about this kind of TV show is that there is truly one to suit everyone’s preferences. These days, the range of reality shows has expanded to feature competitions of all sorts, with Netflix being among the streaming platforms hosting the best shows within the genre. TV series like Love Is Blind or The Ultimatum are perfect for those who enjoy immersing themselves in other people’s dramatic love stories, while productions like Is it Cake? is great for sharing with the whole family. But if what you’re looking for is a challenging reality competition show available on Netflix that will make you keep watching every episode until the very end, these are a few productions you should totally check out.

Updated on November 28th, 2023, by Christine Persaud: This article has been updated with additional content about each show, including what makes them great, more details about the cast, release date, and other relevant information, and to ensure it includes the most exciting, watchworthy titles.


15 The Final Table (2018-Present)

A thrilling and intense cooking show, The Final Table pits accomplished chefs from across the globe against each other to compete in a series of challenges inspired by various cuisines. With a set of passionate chefs and invested judges, the show has contestants racing against time to perfect new dishes every episode to impress the judges and do justice to the iconic dishes.

What Makes It Great

The Final Table has stunning food visuals along with a high production value making it a treat for foodies and reality show fanatics. It’s essential viewing if you’re a foodie or a fan of reality shows in general. Moreover, each episode focuses on food from a different culture, making the show diverse and mouth-watering to watch.

14 Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr (2019-Present)

Interior Design Masters With Alan Carr features a group of aspiring interior designers who go through a series of rigorous challenges to showcase their skills and win the grand prize. The ultimate goal is to gain a contract at a swanky London hotel. The challenges in this British series help these designers learn along the way as they work on everything from shops to restaurants and salons.

What Makes It Great

The challenges range from diverse disciplines of interior design and the format of the show contributes to keeping the viewers hooked by making the challenges relatable and easy to understand for everybody. A treat for interior designers and interior enthusiasts, Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr or Interior Design Masters, perfectly marries the workings of a reality show with the interior design industry, creating a show that’s creative in its approach yet competitive in its spirit.

13 Run for The Money (2022-Present)

Run for The Money is based on a bizarre premise where celebrity contestants have to outmaneuver black-clad hunters to win a grand cash prize. Run for the Money takes place in the Huis Ten Bosch theme park and features a diverse range of Japanese celebrities and influencers from singers to actors to athletes.

What Makes It Great

Owing to Japan’s propensity for crazy themes, the show blends athleticism and strategy while showcasing an abundance of twists and turns. Known for its fast pace and unexpected twists, Run for the Money can suck you in and keep you glued to the screen right from the first episode until the last. At just four episodes long, it’s also a quick and fun binge.

12 Ultimate Beastmaster

Ultimate Beastmaster is one of the most thrilling and intense reality competitions. It’s known for pushing contestants to their limits as they try to get through an obstacle course known as “The Beast.” The course is typically divided into four distinct stages, each representing a different challenge ranging from physical strength to mental resilience.

What Makes It Great

With Sylvester Stallone serving as one of the executive producers on the show, the stakes as well as the severity of the course are as high as high can be. Along with Stallone’s involvement, the celebrity hosts provide engaging insights and commentary to help motivate the participants who make the journey to tame the beast, and entertain viewers.

11 Awake: The Million Dollar Game (2019-Present)

Netflix

Hosted by comedian James Davis, Awake: The Million Dollar Game revolves around participants staying awake for 24 hours straight and then competing in various challenges for a shot at $1 million. The challenges range from physically tasking challenges to mentally demanding tasks, that might seem very straightforward to the rested, but get very difficult when you’re sleep-deprived.

RELATED: 10 Reality TV Shows We Love To Hate

What Makes It Great

Awake: The Million Dollar Game is a funny show to binge. It also comments on the importance of sleep by highlighting the clear detriment when there’s a lack of it. In a roundabout way, this might hopefully encourage people to get much-needed rest once they see how much sleep deprivation can impact daily functioning and cognitive abilities. If you’re in the mood for something funny, light yet intelligent, be sure to give the show a watch.

10 Siren: Survive the Island (2023-Present)

Siren: Survive the Island is a South Korean production, directed by Lee Eun-kyung, Lee So-min, and Hwang Yun-seo. The show takes place on a remote island and features 24 women who, in their daily lives, work as cops, firefighters, soldiers, lifeguards, athletes, or stuntwomen. They are organized into six different teams and must use the skills acquired in their jobs to overcome different challenges to survive on the island. Only the winning team will prevail at the end of seven days.

What Makes It Great

The show follows a format that combines classic elements of the genre along with exciting, new twists. There’s a single season of 10 episodes so you can get through it quickly. The charming show has unsurprisingly been warmly received by audiences. It’s a wonderful spotlight on strong women and a marvel to see just what these contestants can accomplish.

9 Next in Fashion (2020-Present)

This Netflix reality show has a very familiar format, featuring different designers who compete week after week in a series of creative challenges to win a hefty cash prize and the chance to create a collection for the fashion website Net-a-Porter. Next in Fashion premiered in 2020, with Queer Eye‘s Tan France and Alexa Chung as hosts and judges, joined in the challenges by several industry personalities. Not long after, Netflix decided to cancel the production altogether. However, the show was thankfully picked up for a second season in 2023, with France reprising his role and Gigi Hadid stepping in to replace Chung.

What Makes It Great

If you love the fashion world and its trends, Next in Fashion is the perfect reality competition show for you. Not only because it is effectively about new talents trying to make a name for themselves in the industry, but it is also hosted by Tan France and Gigi Hadid, two personalities who are closely related to this world that people have come to know and love.

8 The Big Flower Fight (2020-Present)

The Big Flower Fight is a 2020 British show is hosted by Natasia Demetriou and Vic Reeves and features gifted florist Griffith-VanderYacht as head judge. It introduces 10 teams of florists and garden designers with different levels of expertise in the industry as they compete against each other creating stunning floral sculptures to emerge as overall winners and claim a major prize: the chance to exhibit their work at London’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

What Makes It Great

The Big Flower Fight is one of those reality competition shows that surprisingly hooks the audience while introducing them first-hand to a discipline that is not commonly showcased on television. The intricacy of the artistry on display is truly phenomenal, elevating the show above the vapid label that reality television often receives. It has a single eight-episode season, making it ideal for binge-watching.

7 Glow Up (2019-Present)

This British BBC Three show premiered in 2019, with Stacey Dooley as host and Dominic Skinner and Val Garland serving as main judges. Throughout the five seasons of Glow Up, different groups of makeup artists put their creativity and skills to the test in elimination challenges aiming to become Britain’s Next Make-Up Star. But the opportunities aren’t just for each season’s winner: throughout the episodes, contestants get to meet different industry personalities who offer them major deals that could potentially boost their careers to stardom. While Skinner and Garland stuck around as judges over the years, Glow Up bounced around hosts, with Maya Jama stepping in for the show’s third and fourth seasons and Leomie Anderson joining season five, which premiered this past May.

What Makes It Great

Glow Up is the perfect choice for make-up lovers who usually spend hours watching tutorials from different celebrities. It combines creativity with great tips that can easily be applied to every person’s daily style. It’s both fun and educational for make-up enthusiasts or even those considering starting their own tutorial videos.

6 Rhythm + Flow (2019-Present)

In 2019, Netflix premiered Rhythm + Flow, its first original music reality television series. This production by Sam Wrench features Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I., three of the biggest names in the music industry, as they travel around Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, and Chicago to find the new hip-hop rising star destined to win a cash prize of $250,000. The show has only been on the air for one season, and although its audience has been expecting news regarding a second season since the premiere year, there has been no confirmation of a follow-up as of yet.

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What Makes It Great

The popularity of this production led to the development of Rhythm + Flow France, a 2022 spin-off that has already been airing for two seasons. The talent on the show is fabulous with many videos appearing on YouTube featuring blow-away performances. As far as singing competition shows go, hip-hop is firmly under-represented. This show gives a voice (pun intended) to the genre.

5 The Mole (2001-Present)

The Mole is the longest-running reality competition show on this list. Each season of The Mole features a group of contestants that, instead of competing against each other, must work together as a team to raise money for a pot that will go to the winner. The fun twist is that, within the group, there is someone who secretly works to sabotage the missions, and if that person is careful enough not to be discovered, they could emerge as the champion. This reality game show aired on ABC from 2001 to 2008 before its cancelation and was picked up by Netflix for a sixth season last year, gaining popularity in many countries around the world.

What Makes It Great

This production, inspired by a 1998 Belgian show, has a very interesting format that makes it an entertaining choice for audiences. The Mole tests the perception of both players and viewers as you try to figure out who the saboteur is. It requires both a keen eye and strategy, making it a more intelligent show than it might seem to be on the surface. Each episode is engaging and ends in such a way that you simply can’t stop watching without finding out what happens next.

4 Blown Away (2019-Present)

Blown Away is a TV show that bears some resemblance to The Big Flower Fight, in the sense that it allows the audience to witness firsthand a lesser-known discipline. This Canadian production premiered on Makeful in 2019 and shortly afterward hit Netflix, where it gained an even bigger audience. Throughout its three seasons, different groups of glassblowers compete in extreme challenges to avoid elimination and earn a coveted residency at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. Nick Uhas hosts the show with Katherine Gray serving as head judge and different artists join in every week to provide additional feedback to the competitors. Besides its regular seasons, the show premiered a Christmas special hosted by Queer Eye‘s Bobby Berk, in which former contestants came back for a chance to be crowned champions.

What Makes It Great

As noted, Blown Away covers a talented discipline that not many people know about. It’s a unique addition to the reality competition show mix that shows people just how much work and precise care goes into the art of glass-blowing. It might even inspire some to pursue a career in the field. It’s entertaining but also cut-throat as competitors do whatever it takes to escape elimination.

3 Physical: 100 (2023-Present)

Physical: 100 is another South Korean reality competition show that has enjoyed great success on Netflix. Created by Jan Ho-gi, this production features 100 contestants from diverse backgrounds with one thing in common: they are all extremely fit. Throughout the episodes, these contestants face off in tricky challenges aimed at proving who is the strongest, until one of them emerges as the winner and secures a substantial cash prize.

What Makes It Great

The show bears certain similarities to the popular 2021 production Squid Game, mainly regarding the complexity of the challenges and how the participants are eliminated. With a large number of contestants, you get lots of personalities and a more frantic pace than you might see with other reality shows that have fewer competitors involved. It’s a marvel to watch how these extremely fit and strong people can test their bodies’ limits.

2 Nailed It! (2018-Present)

If you’re someone who doesn’t usually thrive in the kitchen, you probably won’t feel capable of pulling off the luxurious meals made by competitors on shows like MasterChef or The Great British Bake Off. However, you’ll certainly find the performances of contestants on Netflix’s popular show Nailed It! extremely relatable. In each episode of the show, three bakers with minimal culinary experience compete in challenges to win a special trophy and $10,000, proving that even terrible cooks can be successful in the kitchen. Nicole Byer hosts this production alongside chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres, and they both judge the contestants with several guest stars. Nailed It! premiered in 2018 and has already aired seven seasons and two Holiday specials.

What Makes It Great

This is one of the streaming platform’s most cherished and award-winning reality TV shows. Throughout its time on the air, it has already earned five Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The relatability is what makes Nailed It! so fun to watch. No one feels embarrassed they can’t do what some of the amateur chefs on the show can do. Instead, viewers can laugh along with them as they try, and often fail, to recreate various dessert treats.

1 The Circle (2020-Present)

Rounding out this list is one of the most innovative and gripping reality competition shows of recent years, The Circle. This 2020 show is an adaptation of the British production of the same name and draws its inspiration from the use of social media and how important it is in today’s society. Each season of The Circle features a group of players who move into a common building but cannot see each other or communicate in any way other than through a social media app. The contestants must rate their peers secretly, and the two with the highest scores must agree to eliminate another player. The peculiarity of this reality show is that contestants can either choose to be themselves or impersonate someone entirely different.

What Makes It Great

This production has already been on the air for multiple seasons and has spawned its own versions in different countries around the world, which are also available on Netflix. What makes The Circle so compelling to watch is that it displays some of the best of humanity. People who would likely never have met and become friends outside of the game speak candidly about their feelings and challenges. Oftentimes, unlikely friendships form in the most heartwarming ways.



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