What better way to celebrate the season of love than binging drama-fuelled romantic reality TV? Dating reality series have captivated audiences for decades, but today, more than ever, people love to watch them.
While rare, every so often, fans get a glimpse of authentic romantic connection in the best romance and dating reality TV shows. From Love Is Blind (2020-) to The Bachelor (2002) to FBOY Island (2021-), these romance and dating reality series give the viewers what they want: beautiful people, hot gossip, love triangles, and steamy romance.
1. 90 Day Fiancé (2014-)
Couples in 90 Day Fiancé struggle to determine whether their partner truly loves them or only wants to marry them to get a green card. The dramatic series follows international couples as they take on the daunting K-1 visa, often called the fiancé visa, which allows a foreigner to move to the U.S. for 90 days to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé. If they don't get married during this period, they must return to their country of origin.
The series documents couples' struggles in merging their lives and cultures in just 90 days to determine whether or not the couple wants to be together forever.
2. 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way (2019-)
90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way takes the concept of the original U.S.-based dating reality series and spins it on its head. Instead of international couples attempting to build their lives together in the States, people from the U.S. go abroad to join their partners.
Fans love learning about different countries' marriage visa policies as some people who've never even stepped foot out of their home state travel across the world on a whirlwind adventure to start a new life abroad.
3. Are You the One? (2014-)
Experts use a specific romance algorithm to pair twenty singles with their perfect match in this unique dating reality series.
When ten women and ten men enter the luxurious home, they don't know the identity of their pre-selected love. They have just six weeks to connect with their perfect match. If every person finds their pairing, the couples win a hefty chunk of cash. But if they fall back into old unhealthy patterns or get distracted by the many good-looking singles in the house, everyone goes home with nothing.
While most seasons of Are You The One take ten men and ten women and pair them in heterosexual couples, season eight takes twenty pansexual individuals and asks them to partner up regardless of gender identity.
4. The Bachelor (2002-)
This long-time dating reality show favorite started America's obsession with reality dating shows.
For those living under a rock, The Bachelor takes a stunning single man and gives him his pick between 30 or so women to ultimately get engaged at the end of the series. The Bachelor gets a chance to connect with each woman. As the weeks pass, he gets to take his favorites on more exciting dates with each passing elimination.
While some people love this series for the romance, others enjoy the cutthroat nature of asking women to battle it out against one another for one suitor.
5. The Bachelorette (2003-)
Whether ABC felt pressure to create a female version of The Bachelor because of criticism about the series' lack of equality or because they saw an opportunity to rake in even more cash with their dating show premise, The Bachelorette came out one year after The Bachelor premiered.
The series flips the gender of each person on The Bachelor. Instead of many women vying for a man's love, dozens of men attempt to win the heart of the season's Bachelorette. Some fans prefer The Bachelorette simply because they love to watch men squirm, but others love that its creation provides even more Bachelor-like content to binge every year.
6. Bachelor in Paradise (2014-)
Bachelor in Paradise follows a different premise from other dating reality shows, but that doesn't mean it serves any less drama.
Contestants from both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette get the chance to get their faces back on TV and give love another shot at a gorgeous Mexican villa. In each episode, the men and women alternate in their chance to hand out a rose to their most robust connections. If, in the first episode, the pool contains more women than men, the men get to hand out their roses, and the two women without any go home. The next night, the roles reverse.
Of course, the new additions of contestants in each episode bring the stakes up a notch because existing couples constantly fight to stay together as eyes wander and love triangles shake things up.
7. The Courtship (2022)
What would The Bachelorette look like if the series took place in the 19th century? Luckily, fans of The Courtship don't have to wonder for long. One woman brings 16 men to a stunning castle. She turns them into her suitors as they all dress up in Regency-era clothes and engage in traditional courtship with a twist.
The dating reality show comes at the perfect time with the immense popularity of the period drama Bridgerton (2020-), allowing regular 21st-century women to fantasize about hotties in elegant attire. The men must work hard learning period dances, perfecting their calligraphy, and winning cricket games to earn their lady's heart. Men should watch The Courtship and take notes.
8. Dated & Related (2022)
Siblings get slightly too familiar with each others' love interests in Dated & Related when sibling pairs arrive at a spectacular estate on the French Riviera. There, they go through challenges designed to help them find the right match and look out for red flags from their siblings' suitors.
The drama gets intense in this one because some siblings get protective of one another. Others don't want to know any of the juicy details about their siblings' love lives–but can't do too much to avoid finding out.
9. Dating Around (2019-)
Instead of following a cast of potential couples for the entire season, Dating Around takes one single each episode and puts them on five blind dates. It doesn't take long for viewers to see awkward encounters on uncomfortable dates that feel like they'll never end.
But if they're lucky, the audience also gets a glimpse of compatible pairs as they flirt and build connections. After the single completes all five dates, they must choose one first date to turn into a second.
10. Dating Naked (2014-2016)
First dates are stressful enough, so why not add to the singles' anxiety by asking them to remove all of their clothes and go on a blind date? That's precisely the premise of Dating Naked. Set in astonishing tropical locations, the series brings singles together to meet one another for the first time with no clothes on.
While viewers get a blurred-out version of the bodies, the contestants get the whole, uncensored experience of baring it all on a first date.
11. Down for Love (2022-)
This New Zealand reality dating series focuses more on building love and connection than staging dramatic encounters. It follows people with Down syndrome searching for significant others while dispelling myths and prejudices about the developmental condition.
The series' cast contains singles searching for love and established couples happy together. The goal isn't to put their contestants in challenging conditions to squeeze out moments of emotional upheaval like in many other dating reality series. Instead, this wholesome series focuses on the most important thing: love.
12. FBOY Island (2021-)
Women take back the power in this unique dating reality series. Well, sort of.
Each season, three women get to choose a man from a pool of 24 suitors vying for the women's attention. But there's a catch: twelve men genuinely want to build a connection and leave the show in a relationship with one of the gorgeous women. But the other twelve came into the competition with one selfish goal: to trick the woman and walk away with a hefty cash prize, leaving her in the dust.
It's undeniably tense, but with comedian Nikki Glaser as a host, fans love to watch her poke fun at all the men–especially the fboys– in the house.
13. Game of Clones (2019)
Everyone has a celebrity crush, but not everyone goes so far as to date someone who looks just like them. In Game of Clones, however, reality stars like DJ Pauly D of Jersey Shore (2009-2012) and Kailyn Lowry of Teen Mom 2 (2011-) date seven doppelgangers of their celeb crush to ultimately find a new partner.
While weird and often unsettling, Game of Clones keeps up the suspense. Viewers can't look away from the rampant celebrity worship and ridiculous challenges the lookalikes go through to win the heart of their reality star.
14. Indian Matchmaking (2020-)
In many cultures across the world, including India, people opt for arranged marriages over self-selected romance due to long-standing traditions. This compelling reality series follows Sima Taparia, an experienced marriage consultant from Mumbai who meets with families, learns their preferences and serves as a matchmaker. Not only does the series contain romance and a hint of drama, but it also teaches Westerners about the role of matchmaking in Indian culture.
15. Jewish Matchmaking (2023-)
Jewish singles in both the U.S. and Israel engage in a traditional dating practice called shidduch dating in this reality series. Shidduch dating involves a matchmaker setting up two singles who get to meet and decide whether or not they want to marry.
Aleeza Ben Shalom serves as the matchmaker in Jewish Matchmaking, helping couples meet up, bond, and eventually determine if they want to spend their lives together.
16. Love Island (2015-) and Love Island U.S.A. (2019-)
Scantily clad hotties and disastrous love triangles take center stage in both the U.S. and U.K. versions of the hit reality series Love Island. When the contestants arrive at a stunning villa, they must pair up with one another to stay in the house. At each coupling ceremony, the last single person standing gets eliminated from the island, and new faces appear the following day.
But that's not the only danger the contestants must watch out for. The public also gets to vote for their favorite couples, so the least popular ones can be eliminated, too. The last couple standing gets to take home a hefty cash prize and, with it, a new romance.
17. Love Trip: Paris (2023-)
What better setting for a romantic dating series than the City of Love? Love Trip: Paris plops four American women in the heart of Paris to search for love amongst a group of French suitors who live in the apartment directly below them.
Playing on French stereotypes, this delightful series discusses cultural differences and the romantic appeal people know French men for. It's like if The Bachelorette flew to Paris and focused on stereotypically French things in its challenges, dates, and conversations. But luckily for LGBTQ viewers, the three women don't date only men. They also have female suitors to date.
18. Love Is Blind (2020-)
Nick and Vanessa Lachey's first jab at reality TV became one of the most talked about dating series ever because of its jaw-dropping premise.
Love Is Blind feels like a mix of Married at First Sight and Love Island–a dozen women live in an apartment together and date a dozen men with the ultimate goal of getting married in less than a month. But the series gets more interesting because the dates occur inside Pods, where the contestants can't see each other. They date based on voice and conversation alone before someone proposes, and only then do they catch a glimpse of one another for the first time.
After leaving the pods, the couples live together and figure out whether or not they're truly compatible. But drama ensues whenever the couples meet up in the same place because they often dated more than just their fiancé in the Pods.
19. Love on the Spectrum: Australia (2019-2021) and Love on the Spectrum U.S. (2022-)
Individuals on the autism spectrum, ranging from high to low support needs, come together on a quest for love in both U.S. and Australian versions of Love on the Spectrum. The series follows some of the same people from previous seasons and introduces new singles and couples to feature on the show.
Fans love to follow along as their favorite singles go on blind dates and either find a romantic partner, a new friend, or an incompatible connection. This charming series earns fans' attention not for the outrageous antics common in romance reality series but for its dedication to helping autistic people find romantic love.
20. M-L-F Manor (2023-)
Imagine showing up at a tropical villa as a beautiful older woman, ready to date some young hotties, when you realize your son is in the dating pool. Sounds like a nightmare to live and a trainwreck viewers can't look away from–or get enough of. M-L-F Manor follows this exact premise, humiliating both sons and moms at every turn. But can any singles in the series sort through all the muck to build an authentic, loving relationship?
21. Married at First Sight (2014-)
A group of expert matchmakers take on the ultimate challenge in Married at First Sight when they select a few singles from a large pool of applicants vying to be on the series. The matchmakers interview singles and set them up with a partner whom they don't get to meet until they're face-to-face at the altar.
The series follows the couples who choose to marry at first sight in the aftermath of their choice as they struggle to mesh their lives with a stranger and create the foundation for a lasting marriage.
22. Naked Attraction (2016-)
This ridiculous British dating reality series throws emotional connection and personality out the window. In each episode, a new single gets their pick of six potential dates and must choose them based on physical attributes alone. Each contestant stands there completely naked, and this isn't American television. That means the audience sees every single detail of the contestant's bodies right there on the screen, with the single in charge picking apart each physical aspect of what they like in a partner–and what they don't.
First, the contestants reveal their bottom half, and the single must eliminate one contestant based on what they see. At the end of the episode, fans watch as the last man or woman standing goes on a date with the single who chose them.
23. Perfect Match (2023-)
Fuelled primarily by drama and a hint of romance, Perfect Match takes Netflix reality shows from series including Too Hot to Handle, The Circle (2020-), The Ultimatum, and Love Is Blind and puts them in a house together to find love and win a week-long all expenses paid vacation.
The series follows a premise similar to Love Island and Are You the One: couples compete in challenges to win dates, and every night, they must match themselves with another single in the house. Whoever doesn't have a match gets eliminated before new singles enter the villa.
24. Ready to Love (2018-)
Less flashy and more grounded than other romance reality series, Ready to Love takes viewers into the lives of black men and women in their 30s and 40s, ready to find commitment and settle down with a partner.
Each season, Ready to Love visits a new city in the U.S. to give singles across the country a chance to show off their quest for romance on the big screen. But contestants must beware because if it looks like they're not yet ready for love and commitment, they may be eliminated.
25. S-xy Beasts (2021)
Many people believe dating would be much easier if people didn't focus so much on each other's physical appearance on the first date. S-xy Beasts brings singles together on blind dates while wearing impressive costume makeup.
Disguised as pandas, lizards, demons, dolphins, or other creatures, the singles meet up at a restaurant or bar to learn more about each other without physical attraction–or a lack of it–standing in their way. Hilarious and empowering, this reality dating series finally reveals the people under the mask at the end of each episode.
26. Temptation Island (2001-)
Temptation Island differs from many reality dating series because it begins with already-established couples who come to a magnificent villa for the test of a lifetime. For two weeks, the couples part ways to mingle with beautiful singles on a mission to break their loyalty to their partner. Can the contestants stay committed, or will they give in to temptation?
27. Too Hot to Handle (2020-)
Hosted by the hilarious Desiree Burch, Too Hot to Handle takes a group of raunchy singles with no desire to enter a committed relationship to an awe-inspiring oceanside estate to mingle with one another.
The contestants believe they're on a steamy dating series where they can let loose and run wild with their wildest fantasies until they get a reality check. They're actually on Too Hot to Handle, and they're not allowed to kiss one another, let alone take things further. If they break the rules, the cash prize dwindles for each breach, and they could be up for elimination.
A British AI in the shape of a cone makes the rules and asks the singles to set aside their fears, insecurities, and sexual desires to form meaningful relationships.
28. Twin Love (2023-)
Twins searching for love flock to a serene, tropical setting to date other twins in Twin Love. But they don't know that each set of twins will be split up and put in two separate villas to date other twins. Some twins struggle because they've never been apart for much time during their entire lives, while others realize they like this newfound freedom.
At the end of each week, the twins reunite and hear a rundown of the other twins' dates and connections. Can the twins find love when they're torn apart, or do they fare better with their sibling by their side?
29. The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On (2022-)
Perhaps one of the most unhinged reality series premises of all time, The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On takes the premise of Temptation Island to a whole new level by including the added pressure of marriage. Established couples in a specific situation come on the series–one partner feels ready to get married, while the other isn't so sure. The first partner issues an ultimatum: either the couple must get engaged by the end of the series, or they will break up.
But the show becomes even more dicey when the couples must break up and date other people in the same boat to determine whether or not they truly want to build a life with their original partner. They start relationships with their new temporary partner and live together for three weeks before coming back together with their original partner for another three weeks. After the experiment ends, they decide whether or not they want to propose or say yes.
While sometimes painful to watch, The Ultimatum remains one of the most intriguing dating reality series on TV.
The Ultimatum: Queer Love (2023-)
The LGBTQ+ community rarely gets to see their love depicted on screen, especially in reality TV. But The Ultimatum: Queer Love gave lesbian couples a chance to gain fifteen minutes of fame as they join the experience to discover whether or not they're ready to marry their partner. It follows the same premise as the straight version of The Ultimatum, but the women have more options in their dating pool.
Just as dramatic and outrageous as the original series, The Ultimatum: Queer Love also gives lesbians a chance to see real-life queer romance bloom–and fall apart–on screen.