Now That “Scandal” Is On Break: 11 Obscure But Entertaining Shows You’ve Been Sleeping On

April 24, 2014  |  

Scandal is off. Real Housewives of Atlanta is about to conclude. Walking Dead is dunzo until fall. And I did I mention that I don’t feel like paying for premium cable?

What is a girl to watch?

While I love some serious drama and some hilarious comedies, every now and then I like silly reality TV, cool docu-series and shows that give me  a look into people, places and things near and far, and honestly, a little harmless ratchetry from people of all shades and backgrounds. These reality shows aren’t going to be up for any awards anytime soon, and I’m sure you’ve passed them on your way to the channel or show you really desire, but hey, now that you have some free space in your TV time, I would say that these programs are worth checking out at least once.

Note: A majority of these shows are currently airing new seasons. For those that aren’t, you can easily find past episodes either on Netflix or online.

Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel

Naked And Afraid

This show just started last year, but it’s already gaining something of a following. Why wouldn’t it? There’s just something very interesting about watching a naive man and woman get dumped in the middle of Bolivia, Tanzania, Costa Rica and more for 21 days to find food and basically survive while naked (ashy) and afraid. So far, I’ve seen someone get bitten by a snake, a tick on someone’s eyeball, maggots in another guy’s butt wound and watched a woman end up with a deadly Dengue fever and have to relearn some of her motor skills. Did I mention NO money is won for all this suffering?

Lifetime

Lifetime

Bring It

Let my good friend and co-worker, Veronica Wells, convince you to watch this new Lifetime reality series:

“I like the competition aspect. The girls so are driven and well mannered but fiercely competitive. The coach is actually invested in their success and while she’s hard on them she makes sure to celebrate and reward them when they’ve done something right.
If you’re one of those people who likes “thrill of victory, agony of defeat” type of sports movies, this is a good show that focuses solely around black women and girls.”
Vh1

Vh1

Black Ink Crew

Forgive me. I don’t know what it is about this cast of colorful characters on the VH1 show set in Harlem that holds my attention. They literally have the worst judgment ever and spend more time battling with personal issues than bringing in a steady stream of customers in their shop. Folks lose teeth, cheat on camera, face jail time for random offenses and one character, named Oh S**t, is quite possibly the hottest mess I’ve ever seen. It’s like watching a wreck (pick one)…but for some reason, I can’t take my eyes off the screen.

A&E

A&E

Beyond Scared Straight

Everybody knows the “Scared Straight” documentary from back in the day, but I don’t know how many people consistently watch this show based on it. An entertaining series on A&E, it reminds me of those old episodes of Maury where rebellious (aka, bad a**) kids act tough until they’re thrown into boot camp and go crying all the way home. But this time around, replace boot camp with an actual county jail, and actual inmates…who might just throw urine on you to get you to to stay out of future trouble.

CNN

CNN

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

I’m sure you’ve seen former chef and author Anthony Bourdain’s popular No Reservations show that used to come on the Travel Channel, but I hope you’re not sleeping on his current gem of a program, Parts Unknown, which airs on CNN. This time around, Bourdain focuses on putting a spotlight on areas of the world with cultures unknown to most people, and of course, on their food. The show is currently in its third season.

TLC

TLC

Long Island Medium

My boss is a big fan of this show, and I’ve seen a couple episodes. While I’m not 100 percent confident in the idea of a woman (with huge hair) being able to communicate with the dead, there’s something about Theresa Caputo’s personality, as well as her connection with the families/clients she works with that pulls you in on this TLC show.

TLC

TLC

Four Weddings

If Say Yes To The Dress wasn’t good enough for you, I would recommend Four Weddings. Because what other way to cultivate the faux wedding planner in you than to judge the weddings of complete strangers, fighting for a lavish honeymoon trip? Hey, if the contestants can do it to each other, you sure can turn your nose up shoeless weddings and buffet receptions from the comforts of your couch.

TLC

TLC

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Feel free to judge me. I found myself stumbling upon this series on a random Saturday afternoon and ended up watching  it like it was a Law and Order SVU marathon. It was probably because I knew very little about the gypsy culture, and then when I saw the dresses (which looked unreal in color, size and rhinestones), I was sucked in. Be prepared for bright hues and hump hairdos that would outdo the old Snooki.

Bravo/HGTV

Bravo/HGTV

Million Dollar Listings and House Hunters

I live for house shows, maybe because renting in New York usually leaves you with a tiny box compared to some of the dope places featured on both of these shows. Million Dollar Listing comes on Bravo, and both the LA and NYC versions are good (though the latter keeps my attention solely because of drama-king realtor Fredrik Eklund). House Hunters, an HGTV gem, gives a cool inside look into real estate around the world. I watch and all I’m thinking is, if I can at least have a nice kitchen and a decent-sized closet, I can compromise on whatever else is in the joint…

MSNBC

MSNBC

Lockup

I’m not a big MSNBC fan for most of the hours of the day, but on Saturday nights, I always find myself in somebody’s prison, learning about the sad/crazy circumstances of inmates all over. Just looking at the teeny tiny cells of those inmates makes me want to stop at red lights (including no turn on red), pay my taxes and do whatever else is necessary to keep my behind out of trouble.

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  • Jaz

    Chile Ms D is raw and uncut and I love it! She be giving to them judges and other dance sponsors. She’s hilarious.

  • sarasefree

    sorry MN but i wouldn’t waste my time watching half these shows.

  • lilli lilian

    I have never once, not once, watched a clip, snippet, full episode of Scandal. Never once did the concept of the show peek my interest, IJS, there’s a lot of hype over the show like it’s being watched by many, but I don’t know a single person in my social circle that lives for it, and my mother said she could do without it, she DVR’s while she watches other stuff. The hype just seems weird, maybe it’s just my neck of the woods that doesn’t feel it.
    I do watch “BRING IT” every week and it’s cool, best part is the coach prays and encourages the girls to be humble/cordial, ladylike young girls (not covered in make-up and lipstick, she yelled at them for wearing lipstick, told them to take it off because they’re not Nicki Manaj) she discourages vulgar dancing and she worries about them being perceived as inappropriate.Nice to see a show where fast tail behavior, fighting/hostility, absence of God/Jesus is not promoted, and mom and dad are both showing up to support. Lifetime did a good job adding Miss D and the Dancing Dolls to the network. Very positive.

    • leeleebaby

      I agree I love Miss D. I love the way she prays as well and keep the girls encouraged and motivated. Those girls can come here to Texas and teach a few high school girls I know of a lesson just saying.

    • Jaz

      Funny you are concerned about the hype of scandal and admit to never even watching it.

  • leeleebaby

    Now I tune in to a few of these shows with Bring It being my favorite I love those girls with that country accent. They make me wish I was back in high school on the drill team, but not even the drill team at my high school was this good. Any who, those are shows that don’t come on, on Thursday. I needed a Thursday night show in my 9 o’clock (central time) slot. Cause after Mary Mary goes off I have nothing to watch 🙁

    • NHead

      Girl, as a Mississippi native and Jackson State Alum, I love it and support a fellow alum! That show is awesome!

      • leeleebaby

        That show make me want to make a trip Jackson to see me some Dancing Dolls. Hollering DD4L 🙂

  • Chaz

    I always ask myself every Monday when I sit down to watch Black Ink Crew. Lord why do I watch this foolishness!! Lol. But it is soooo entertaining. Smh. Now that Scandal is gone off I must find me some other shows to watch.I like 4 Weddings also. Will try and catch some of the other shows though

    • leeleebaby

      I just started watching this show, and I ask myself the same thing “y do I watch this” but I just can’t stop.

  • Lurking

    I am totally addicted to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding & Naked & Afraid. I will watch those for hours.

  • cathy

    Dear Madame Noire to say that you are not a fan of MSNBC , yet you are telling people to watch a show about convicted felons is irresponsible. MSNBC actually has a lot of political programs that are easy for young black adults to follow. There are great informative shows: like Politic Nation, The Joy Reid show and The Melissa Harris Perry show to name a few. Gone are the days when black people would say, I don’t care who the president is; that don’t got nothing to do with me. The hip hop generationstood up and put President Obama in the white house, OK.

    • Chaz

      This is obviously a list of shows that the writer watches.And she is giving insight on why you should tune in to an episode.With that being said you dont have to watch the show.Stop reading so much into it. If you prefer to watch political shows, watch them. But she isnt making you watch these shows inparticular. This is simply a list of shows that she is SUGGESTING you check out an episode or 2. And watch a show about inmates is irresponsible? Child please! If anything that show should make you not want to go to jail.

  • scandalous7

    Yal need to be watching Bring It!! that show is it!

    • taste of light

      Myself and my daughters watch is faithfully.

    • leeleebaby

      Yes indeed I watch I love that show.

    • htxhotgyrl

      I love this show. Mrs. D is a great role model for the girls. You can tell she genuinely cares about them.

    • Tee Elyse

      The season finale is this Wednesday and I’m so upset about it!!!!

  • Guest

    What about Vikings, that show is SICK!!!! I’m so hooked!!

  • nosrednakal

    I’m so over reality tv (for the most part) but I love RuPaul’s Drag Race & of this list, Anthony Bourdain is my favorite. I’ve seen almost all of them. That dance teacher’s shrieking is too much.

  • deegee

    Mad Men? Nurse Jackie? these are good shows

  • yoda

    Lock up is my show on many Saturday nights. I have no idea what my fascination with that program is. Maybe because I don’t really know anyone who’s been to prison? Idk. I used to live for To Catch a Predator too. MSNBC got Saturday nights on lock. Lol.

    • Reese

      Lock is awesome. Especially when they interview the gay male unit or the crazy unit .

    • TakDatTakeDatTakeDat

      I was wondering if anyone actually watched Lock Up. Now I know! LOL! As soon as Rachel Maddow goes off I change the channel.

      • yoda

        i watched lockup up too much in the past few years lol

    • fshankle

      I live for Lockup. It has a permanent place on my DVR.

  • MissFLondon

    Confused; what about House of Cards, Game of Thrones. Some of these suggestions are a bit lacking?

    • stormviking

      This is an list of “obscure” shows. These shows aren’t that widly known yet but may be still good. Game of Thrones, House Of Cards, OITNB etc… are not obscure in the slightest and are just as popular as Scandal is.

      • MissFLondon

        I wasn’t referring to the level of popularity of the shows; a few of the shows on the list are more popular than House of Cards for instance. Perhaps I was being a bit subtle; I was referring to the fact that while some of the shows are quite entertaining (I love Million Dollar Listing NY). They are not so engaging. There is no mystery to it and non of these shows are particularly thought provoking.

    • juicyco

      no one is sleeping on game of thrones

    • JustMyThoughtsToday

      Game of Thrones trumps all theses shows including Scandal!

  • tv_queen

    I love my big fat gypsy wedding. It just proves ghetto comes in all walks of life lol. And the hot mess black ink crew. Never saw the Anthony bourdain show but I just put it on my DVR.

    • yoda

      those chicks on the gypsy wedding show and it’s spinoff are the hottest messes i have seen in a while.

    • Laine

      LOL do you know Gypsy Sisters? That show is a hot mess…..

    • taste of light

      I agree with everything you stated except Anthony Bourdain, he is friends with Ted Nugent and even had him on his old show….he gets NO LOVE.

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  • Laine

    Million Dollar Listing NY is my show! Jeesh, I’m amazed every time… who can afford these houses? And can I have their job, please? I want to be able to afford those apartments, too…:-)