9. Noble Exchange (Halogen)
At its best, reality TV uses the same tools as documentarians to shed light where it’s most needed. But Halogen’s Noble Exchanges doesn’t just throw a pity party for its subject. It’s a love letter to Africa that actually looks to what the West can learn from those overcoming obstacles in African nations.
8. Man Vs. Wild (Discovery)
Bear Grylls skinned a camel and crawled inside for shelter. And drank elephant poop juice because he was thirsty. And ate a dead sheep’s eyeball—not sure why he did that though. Don’t watch this show if you have a weak stomach. Kate Kiefer
7. The Oprah Winfrey Show (ABC)
Oh, don’t give us that look. The queen of daytime—I mean all creation—has redefined what a talk show could be. In her 25th and final season, she’s continued to up the ante, making each show feel like an epic (and convincing her audience to stop texting while driving that new VW she just gave you).
6. Deadliest Catch (Discovery)
This show’s strength lies completely in its subject matter. The series follows crab fishermen as they perform one of America’s most dangerous jobs, which means the Discovery Channel’s crew members are risking their lives too. But it wasn’t the sea that claimed the life of the Cornelia Marie’s captain, Phil Harris, this year. He insisted that the camera crew continue filming in the wake of his fatal stroke. Kate Kiefer
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