Best of 2014: ‘Ink Master: Rivals,’ ‘The Quest,’ ‘Big Brother Canada’ among Reality Show nods

If you look on the surface of reality TV these days, you may think that the genre is growing stale. Most broadcast networks (save for ABC) and the Emmys tend to only take notice of a small sampling of shows, and most of them have been around for at least half a decade. When “The Voice” is the last major property to come from one of the Big Four, and it has been on for seven seasons, we understand why some would feel that way.

However, we’ve got proof with this Best Reality Show category (new to the CarterMatt Awards this year) that there are a number of gems out there. The problem is that they either air on cable and don’t get the attention they deserve, aired on a major network in the summer, or they air outside of the United States.

You can vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of this article. As with all other Best of 2014 categories, the results will be announced two weeks from the article being posted. With that, come back on December 22 to learn the winner!

Big Brother Canada (Slice) – Season 2 of the Canadian version of the competition was, for the second straight year, far and away better than the American counterpart. For one, we had some of the best casting we’ve seen on reality TV. Also, the show is taking advantage of its creative freedom to constantly throw some new twists against the wall, and in the process continue to give the house a jolt.

Ink Master: Rivals (Spike) – There have been many intense seasons for “Ink Master,” but the one airing this fall has to be one of the best that the competition has come up with. Great characters (Emily is nominated for Best Reality Star), great drama (the whole Joshua Hibbard controversy), and a new twist with the rivals have added new spice to a show that could have otherwise started to show its age.

King of the Nerds (TBS) – Nerds rule! Also, this show does. Once again, season 2 brought us an excellent cast, great moments throughout, and some super-sharp editing that continued to make us confused as to who was going to be the winner in the end. It is very hard for a reality competition in 2014 to actually bring something new to the table, but this show finds a way to do it … and also make us laugh in the process.

The Quest (ABC) – “The Quest” was a completely new concept this year, and it brought back a whole lot of memories of doing this sort of thing as a child with some of our friends. It was wonderfully imaginative, and thanks to some good actors and storytellers, placing real people within this scripted world really worked. It was the sort of reality show that, like “King of the Nerds,” really proved itself to be a celebration of its contestants. At this point, we much prefer these to the ones that go through a ton of effort to embarrass their participants. Now, if only ABC could give this show another shot…

Survivor: Cagayan (CBS) – While we feel like “Survivor: San Juan del Sur” was in many ways one of the biggest disappointments this year, part of that may be because the season before was so awesome. Its winner Tony Vlachos is also nominated for Reality Star, and even aside from him you have great characters like Spencer, Kass, Trish, and even some surprise early boots like David, Garrett, and the supremely entertaining Brice. The whole season was so great, we didn’t even hate the new immunity idol as much as we thought we would.

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