The best Bravo shows you’ve never seen

You regularly practice your Real Housewives tagline as you twirl in front of your medicine cabinet. You believe you could draw SUR’s floor plan from memory. You have wondered what it would take to land an appointment with one of the Married to Medicine doctors. If it were possible, you would only drink Diamond Water, Loverboy sparkling hard tea, and Trop Hop beer. You love Bravo original programming, and you are thankful for the current lineup.

You watch hours of reality TV by Bravo a week, but you want more. It is time to dig into the archives and explore some of the network’s underrated classics. Maybe you watched only a handful of the titles listed below, maybe you caught a few episodes of each show but never finished the series, or maybe all of these programs totally flew under your radar.

And really, is there a better time than now to catch up on these reality TV deep cuts? These are the best Bravo show you’ve never seen.

Bravo's real-life Gossip Girl

Laguna Beach was MTV’s reality TV version of The O.C., and NYC Prep was Bravo’s answer to Gossip Girl. The reality show about Manhattan prep school students premiered in 2009 and only lasted one season. The Daily Beast went so far as to describe the series as “surreal genius,” while The New York Times was less enthused, declaring that the show’s main cast was ” doomed to momentary fame and a great deal of ridicule from friends and peers.”

Thankfully, the show did not end before PC Peterson could throw caution to the wind and take two uninvited friends to Jessie Leavitt’s work event. This move, which happened in a legendary scene in the sixth episode of the season, did not sit well with Leavitt. As she put it in a confessional segment, “Guests of guests do not bring guests.” Apparently, Peterson did not receive that memo. As the party went on and Leavitt’s frustration grew, Peterson let her know that socialite and future High Society (remember that show?) star Devorah Rose was on her way. When Leavitt received the news that her guest brought not one, not two, but three guests, she made a face that was worth a thousand Tory Burch ballet flats. This scene is just one of the moments that make this series 24-karat reality television gold. XOXO, Guest of Guests Girl.

What if Bravo's Real Housewives had fancy accents?

For three glorious seasons, Ladies of London was a part of Bravo’s weekly schedule, and what a gift it was. Fans of Real Housewives will surely enjoy this program about a group of well-to-do women who called the capital of the United Kingdom home. The series roster included socialites, models, a viscountess whose husband is the son of the current Earl of Sandwich, and Danish baroness Caroline Fleming (above), who used to be married to the nephew of Ian Fleming. It is not exactly the most relatable show to ever air on television, or as the AV Club put it: “Ladies Of London is ostensibly a show about how silly these women are — how self-absorbed and superficial they are, with their extremely limited concerns and their willfully ignorant privilege.” Ouch. And yet, the outlet couldn’t help but also call it “charmingly reductive.” Okay, maybe that still not all that great. 

But we’re not complaining! In fact, all of that “reductive charm” also comes with one of the best Bravo reality TV soundtracks — one of the more underrated of the entire network’s lineup, in our opinion, and the intro theme will waste no time getting stuck in your head. However, you will not be upset about it, for the Ladies of London theme song, like the show itself, is bona fide jam.

The Real Housewives of New York B-Squad

Blood, Sweat & Heels was another terrific series with a formula similar to that of the Real Housewives franchise. From 2014 to 2015, this show depicted the lives of a group of New York-based women who worked in real estate, media, and fashion. After the show’s first episode aired in 2014, The Hollywood Reporter noted that it was the network’s biggest premiere for a series at that time.

That premiere earned those big numbers: In the first episode, the show’s stars got together for brunch. One of the cast members blogged about what was said at the brunch, and this did not sit well with her co-stars. That brunch blog fight was an A+ Bravo storyline, and it would be one of the many instantly classic fights to unfold on this great program. 

Blood, Sweat & Heels was glamorous, dramatic, and tragic. In the Season 2 premiere (via OK! magazine), series star Daisy Lewellyn revealed to her cast mates that she had recently been diagnosed with cancer. On April 8, 2016, a Bravo spokesperson informed The Daily Dish that Lewellyn died that morning at the age of 36. The series did not continue following her death.

The Bravo twist the New York art world never knew it needed

Gallery Girls, a reality show about seven young women who were all involved in the New York City art scene, only lasted eight episodes, but those eight episodes packed a punch.The cast consisted of people from the Manhattan and Brooklyn art communities, two scenes that felt like two planets orbiting the same sun.

Ahead of the series premiere, which dropped in August of 2012, cast member Claudia Martinez Reardon told Complex that Gallery Girls brought together two different sectors of the NYC art world. She said, “What’s so interesting about the show is that we have a group of girls who I would not have met otherwise; they lead a very, very different life from me. … It adds a new layer to the show, because you see these different groups of people doing their thing.” And what exactly does “doing their thing” entail? Glad you asked. 

In it’s review of the short-lives series, Slate described several plot lines like so: “The girls size up one another’s boyfriends; Angela’s date that ends as a nondate when the guy doesn’t have cash; and Kerri dragging a mattress up a flight of stairs with her mother who’s driven in especially to help her move.” Sounds decidedly Bravo, no? 

Bravo's peek into the Los Angeles food world

Eat, Drink, Love is more or less what would happen if you took Gallery Girls and moved it to Los Angeles, and then swapped the art world for the culinary world. For one short but sweet season, Eat, Drink, Love gave audiences a glimpse into the L.A. food scene. The series dug into the professional and personal lives of a cooking instructor/caterer, a bakery owner/pastry chef, a publicist, a marketing specialist, and a food editor. Food Network fans will almost certainly recognize Waylynn Lucas (above), co-owner of donut shop Fonuts and Cake Wars judge. 

The show also features a cameo by Top Chef legend (and Lucas’s ex-boyfriend) Michael Voltaggio, and LA Weekly even likened the dialogue in one scene to “a Woody Allen movie.” Not intrigued yet? 

In another particularly stress-inducing storyline, cooking instructor/caterer Nina Clemente threw together a pop-up restaurant in one week. She enlisted the help of her fellow cast members, and… well, you will just have to watch the show to find out how it all played out.

Meet the interior designers to the stars

As one may glean from the title, Million Dollar Decorators was a reality show about four interior designers who were tasked with decorating the homes of the rich. Much like the series that make up the Million Dollar Listing franchise, Million Dollar Decorators combined HGTV home reno-envy with larger-than-life reality television personalities. The designers worked with a number of high-profile clients, one of which just so happened to be actor and pop star Lindsay Lohan. Ahead of the episode, designer Kathryn Ireland revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that Lohan’s cameo came about after they “met at a dinner.”

“She came up to me and said what a huge fan she was and said I was her favorite on the show,” Ireland told the outlet, adding, “She told me she was getting a house and would love for me to look at it. I told her we were shooting a season right now, and they said Lindsay would be more than happy to be on the show.

Sometimes, you need a reality show where people argue about a cheating rumor, call each other’s loyalty into question, or accuse each other of mishandling the adoption of a rescue dog. Other times, you simply need a reality show where someone utters, “The green wallpaper turned out to be a $10,000 mistake.” Million Dollar Decorators will scratch that green wallpaper-covered itch.

Watch a Bravo star date around the country

RelationShep, the Southern Charm spin-off centered on controversial star Shep Rose’s quest to find love, presented a straightforward premise: A guy from a Bravo show bops around the United States, meets new women, and goes on dates. However, as the series plodded along and Rose’s journey began to unravel, it became clear that RelationShep was unlike any other dating show. Part of that was by design: The series intentionally showcased Rose’s friendship with producer Sarah Steinfeld, which essentially obliterated the fourth wall — and the concept extended to the rest of the cast, too.

Rose told Decider in 2018, “Think about this. In one episode, Amber from Austin basically says, and they aired it, ‘Look, I don’t think I can do the whole camera thing.’ That never happens normally. That’s fourth wall, but that’s also negatively looking at the genre, to a certain degree.”

As far as the whole “finding love” part goes, RelationShep was not a success. (Yes, that is technically a spoiler, but if you watch Southern Charm, then you know Rose and the winner of the season did not last long.) However, this show was not about the destination, but the messy road leading to the season’s final moments.

The Bravo show that set rules about crying at work

People’s Revolution founder and The Hills boss Kelly Cutrone starred in Kell On Earth, an eight-episode-long glance at her professional world, as well as her personal life. If you appreciated the energy she brought to the reality TV world on series like The Hills, The City, and America’s Next Top Model, then you will feel right at home watching Kell On Earth. In fact, according to The New York Times, the series gives an unflinching look at how Cutrone “bullies and cajoles her way through the underbelly of the New York fashion world.” Yes, you’re right, that does sound great. 

Kell On Earth was an entertaining, educational, and illuminating program. Over the course of the series’ run, Cutrone showcased her delightfully chaotic strategy for packing a suitcase, handed a friend a Swarovski crystal only for the friend to swallow said Swarovski crystal on the spot, and told her staff that if they “have to cry, go outside.” Much like baseball, there is no crying in Cutrone’s office. Leave the tears at the door, pick up a Swarovski crystal (but try not to eat it), and dive into the intense, hilarious, and highly quotable universe of Kell On Earth.

A Rachel Zoe alum's spin-off

After Rachel Zoe’s assistant Brad Goreski left The Rachel Zoe Project, he went on to star in a spin-off of his very own. The series, which was titled, It’s a Brad, Brad World, depicted Goreski’s career as a celebrity stylist, as well as his relationship with TV writer and producer Gary Janetti. But wait, there’s more: Some of Goreski’s famous clients, like Rashida Jones and Shay Mitchell (pictured above), popped up on the show.

Reviewing the series premiere, the AV Club noted, “Brad can make for good reality TV and seems savvy enough to ham it up for the cameras without reeking of total desperation. His boyfriend of ten years, TV producer and writer Gary Janetti … helps reign in his fashionable other half, too.” Apparently, Janetti decided to stop things up at some point. 

In addition to celebrity cameos and celebrity fashion, this series also had a flash mob (hello, 2012!). Sorry about the spoiler, but the following is a crucial bit of information about It’s a Brad, Brad World that does not get talked about enough: At the end of the first season, there was a scene where Janetti surprised Goreski at their anniversary party with a flash mob performance of “One Day More” from Les Miserables. Oh, and among the flashmob performers was actor Megan Mullally. It was a treat then, and it is a treat now. 

Bravo imagines Project Runway … for hair

Talk about a time capsule. The hairstyling competition series Shear Genius was on Bravo from 2007 to 2010, and it has the late ’00s fashion and hairdos to prove it. The looks may be dated, but the competition format remains timeless. Think Project Runway, but with less muslin and more round brushes.

In addition to wonderful aughts style, Shear Genius also features Tabatha Coffey’s Bravo debut. The future Bravo icon was on the first season, but was cut on the sixth episode. Though she did not win the competition, things seemed to work out in her favor. As she told Bravo’s The Daily Dish podcast in 2018, the network scheduled a meeting with her after she was eliminated from Shear Genius to talk about working on another show with her. With that, the series Tabatha’s Salon Takeover (which later became Tabatha Takes Over) was born.

Coffey has been a fixture of the network: In 2018, a full decade after Tabatha’s Salon Takeover premiered, Relative Success with Tabatha premiered on Bravo.

The Bravo show about three families

This reality show about three Mexico City-based families was one of the strongest additions to Bravo’s 2019 lineup. Mexican Dynasties followed the Allendes (pictured above), the Bessudos, and the Madrazos, a trio of wealthy, well-connected families that all have ties to the entertainment industry. The cast included, but is not limited to: a former teen idol/telenovela star/singer, a brother/sister duo who host a talk show together, and a celebrity fashion critic. As far as the show’s breakout star goes, that title almost definitely belongs to Adán Allende (above left), a musician who drank so much milk that it became a running joke on the show.

Unfortunately, it looks like Bravo wasn’t so impressed. In early 2020, Jenny Allende commented on the fate of Mexican Dynasties on an Instagram post about another Bravo series. After a few fans took to the comments section of Bravo’s Instagram post about Family Karma to ask if Mexican Dynasties will come back, Jenny replied (per Showbiz Cheatsheet), “Unfortunately Bravo said NO to a second season!” She also thanked fans for their support and expressed gratitude toward Bravo. Her co-star Doris Bessudo chimed in, writing, “I have to say personally I feel quite disappointed with @bravotv.” Their colleague Oscar Madrazo also replied to a number of comments, posting, “We are grateful that Bravo gave us the opportunity to showcase Mexico in a different light and we would love for them to reconsider a Second Season!

The Bravo show about three friends

Sweet Home Oklahoma introduced viewers to Jennifer Welch, Lee Murphy, and Angie “Pumps” Sullivan, a trio of best friends from Nichols Hills, Okla. It was a feel-good series full of laughs, pranks, and more pranks. Sweet Home Oklahoma is light on major drama, but that is okay. Sometimes, the occasion calls for a positive and fun reality show about pals being pals.

After its debut season, Sweet Home Oklahoma was retooled a bit, and the show reemerged as Sweet Home, a design program starring just Welch and Sullivan. In a 2018 interview with AOL, Welch explained how Sweet Home came to be and why she insisted on doing the show with Sullivan.

“It was proposed to me by the production company, like, ‘Hey, we want to keep you guys around, but we think maybe focusing on your design business and having some of those shenanigans in there might be a really great fit for us,'” she told the outlet, adding that she agreed with one caveat. “I said I won’t go forward without [Sullivan].” Welch recalled. Aw, how… sweet. 

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