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5 nostalgic reality TV shows in need of a comeback

Reality TV has had its exciting (and sordid) past as a guilty pleasure. Ever since the early days of The Real World and An American Family, the genre has pushed the boundaries with new topics and different formats. Whether it’s watching people find love on an island or watching singers compete for a record deal, viewers keep coming back for more. And suffice it to say, I’m hooked!

Nearly every network has dipped its toes into the reality-show waters, trying to find the next big hit. For every Survivor, there are countless others that have come and gone; those who make a big splash before ending, and those who gain a cult following years after they’ve ended.

Sometimes we lose our favorites, and sometimes (if we’re really lucky) they come back. Given the return of America’s Best Dance Crew on MTV on July 29, it’s not unheard of for a show to come back from the grave. Plus, with a little tweaking and updating, an old show can feel like new again.

Here are five nostalgic reality TV shows that need to come back to the small screen:

Host of ABC

5. The Mole

The Mole is an interesting case in the TV world. The show originally ran on ABC for four seasons, from 2001 to 2004, before returning again in 2008. The series has spanned over three regular seasons, two celebrity iterations, and three hosts. Compared to many, The Mole has enjoyed its fair share of reboots. But that’s not to say it couldn’t work again!

The premise was unique: A group of contestants work together to earn money, but one of them (the “Mole”) was working for the show to sabotage the missions and prevent the team from winning.

The Mole relied on contestants (and its viewers) to be suspicious of everyone; anyone could be the traitor. The Mole offered a competition for viewers to bring out their inner Sherlock Holmes, dust off their Clue board-game skills, and look for the hidden secrets in every episode. There is always room for a mystery show, and after 2013’s Whodunnit?, a return to the investigation format may be just what the reality TV world needs.

4. Beauty and the Geek

Airing for five seasons on The WB and The CW, Beauty and the Geek explored beyond the “stereotypes” of its cast. Cast members were either classified as materialistic “Beauties” or intelligent “Geeks,” who were then paired together as teams. While it didn’t venture away from conventional roles, the show did urge viewers to not judge a book by its cover. The Geeks learned more about confidence and pop culture, while the Beauties learned new topics they might never have thought of, like robotics. Beauty and the Geek was a show that was more than just its laughable title. (I’m looking at you too, Cougar Town!)

Star of MTV

3. The Hills

At the height of its fame, the stars of The Hills ruled pop culture. Airing for six seasons on MTV, the onscreen (and offscreen) exploits of cast members Lauren Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge, and Whitney Port were all anyone could talk about. The infamous sex-tape rumors, Lauren’s mascara tears, the endless “real or fake” debate—the show had a dedicated following.

When The Hills ended in 2010, the cast branched off into different areas, like fashion and marriage. Picking up years later, The Hills can explore where the cast members are now, and if those rivalries are still there. Plus, we need more GIF-worthy moments from the cast in our lives.

2. For Love or Money

Reality TV loves its dating shows. Some hand out roses, while others try to find a perfect match out of 10 possible daters. For Love or Money called into question a person’s true intentions: Do they want love, or would they take cold, hard cash instead?

For Love or Money aired on NBC for four seasons, from 2003 to 2004. Contestants were presented with the option of finding love, or taking a check with a mysterious value. A reality show, even a dating show, is a competition. When someone was playing for a certain prize, viewers could root for true love or the big payday.

While the show only ran for two years, the reveal of finding out if someone’s check was worth a million dollars (or worse, nothing!) is still a must-see moment. Some claim they want true love on reality TV, but would they make the same choice if an alternate option was presented to them? The call of the competition (and cash!) might just be too tempting to resist.

1. Murder in Small Town X

In the summer of 2001 on Fox, Murder in Small Town X featured 10 contestants heading to the fictional town of Sunrise, Maine, to play a killer’s game. Among 25 potential suspects from the town’s citizens (played by actors), the contestants had to identify the killer before he or she struck again.

As compared to The Mole, Murder in Small Town X focused rather on investigations to learn more of the town’s secrets and the story itself. It was a mystery that spanned any entire town. This story worked for the first season, but if it ever came back, a new mystery can be explored every season. Now that miniseries with plots that change each season have become popular (e.g., American Horror Story, True Detective), a reboot could fit the current TV landscape. Murder in Small Town X was just too ahead of its time.


What reality TV show(s) do you think should make a comeback? Share your thoughts below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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