Binge Watch Guide: America's Next Top Model

Binge Watch Guide is a blog series to lead you through the many available series for streaming.

Have you ever gone through a week where you woke up, took two midterms back to back, sat down to finish a paper due that evening, and just needed a break from life? I'm sure you have — you're a student and that's what students do.

What's my favorite way to relax when the going gets tough? It's not exercise. I didn't take up a hobby. Nope, I sit down with my friends and watch reality television. It's a guilty pleasure that I've kept secret for a little while, but now I have to share because I don't want you to miss out.

Don't think that you're interested in Reality TV? I didn't either until "America's Next Top Model." ANTM is the best introduction into the reality TV, and below I'll outline why you should watch it and follow in my footsteps towards this addiction.

Time Commitment: Fairly low

Since the characters switch out every cycle (their word for season) of ANTM, you don't get left with a cliffhanger after a season ends pulling you in to watch the next one. There's a sense of closure that allows you to walk away after a couple dozen episodes, so you don't have to be invested for multiple years. It's only available on Hulu though, unfortunately, so it'll be tough if you don't have a subscription.

Most Interesting Character: Nyle DiMarco

Since each cycle has different characters, I'll just focus on the most recent one. Nyle is the first deaf character on ANTM and is hands down the most interesting character. Even with his severe handicap he can still hold his own in the competition. Also, he's just an overall nice guy who avoids most of the drama around the house. Here's a quick introduction to him:

The Good: The nice thing about this competition is that it's actually a challenge for the models that will help them in their careers.  So it's interesting to see how each character grows over the course of the season, as some will take their weekly feedback and learn from it while others stagnate and eventually get eliminated. The whole process gives a little bit of depth to the characters.

Also there's a ton of drama that goes on in the house all the contestants live in, which always keeps the show pretty interesting.

The Bad: Some of the tasks that the models are required to do as tasks are almost impossible.  There was one episode where each person had to go and perform four "go sees" (the equivalent of interviews in the modeling industry), and none of the contestants were able to do all four.  Also, at some point in the season, one of the challenges put Nyle in last place because they couldn't see and it required them to use their hearing.  It was really disappointing to see them do that to their contestants.

There's also some blatant advertising for parts of Tyra Banks' business sprinkled throughout, usually in pretty unrelated ways, but it's her show so we'll cut her a little slack.

The Takeaway: This show is perfect for someone interested in checking out reality TV for the first time. It has good character development through the performance-based competition, and it has enough drama to keep it interesting without being too over-the-top.

If you liked this, consider watching this too: Now that you've been introduced into the reality TV universe, it's time to go deeper.  There's a bunch of shows that span so many genres: "Say Yes to the Dress," "Pawn Stars," "Iron Chef" and so many more.  The opportunities are almost endless.

If you're really looking for some over-the-top drama, watch "The Bachelor."  It follows dozens of girls as they date the same guy and he eliminates some every week until he finds the one he wants to marry.  It's the epitome of the reality TV stereotype, which can be a bad thing or a really great thing depending on your outlook.


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