20 underrated reality show gems you should be watching

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The premise: Dangerously addicted individuals agree to be a part of a “documentary about addiction” which is really an intervention staged at the behest of their loved ones. The first three acts of an episode introduce you to the ailing lead, uncovering all the factors that brought him to his current situation.

It also interviews all the people who will participate in the intervention, getting their heartbreaking perspective on their loved ones’ behavior. The fourth act involves the intervention itself in which the addicted person may or may not agree to go to rehab, and the last few minutes documents their arrival at a facility and their subsequent success or failure.

Why you’ll love it: It’s not as trashy or upbeat as some of the other shows on this list, but it is one of the most moving and affecting. The series humanizes addicts in a way that our culture often avoids, showing them as whole humans grappling with a disease. It doesn’t define them by their addiction, but instead offers a three-dimensional look at who there were, and who they could be again. It’s really emotional.

It’s also an important contribution to the current conversation about addiction and mental illness in our country. The show offers addicts from varying walks of life, illustrating that this disease is as indiscriminate as cancer. It often indicts our societal prejudices about how or why people become addicted to drugs and asks us to consider what role our culture plays in this epidemic.

How to watch: Seasons 10-16 are available on Hulu. You can watch some of the latest episodes on A&E’s website.