There have been some reality shows I quite enjoyed (and may still if new episodes emerge)—the one about the weird store* in NYC, the road trip make-over show "On the Road with Austin and Santino," the taxidermists in Alaska, "Chopped" (which is more of a game show), "Ace of Cakes," and in the past "Project Runway" (until the producers made it all about drama and making people cry, and made it very clear that my choices don't align with the judges; well I'm not known for my fashion sense anyway).
Cooking shows, however, top the list. Currently the search is on for the Next Iron Chef over at the Food Network.
We get to see talented professionals working hard and fast at their craft, with intriguing results. The spirit among the chefs is also more collegial then on other "competition" shows. They may all be playing for a slot on the Iron Chef roster, and all the promotional and merchandise money that can come from such a position, but the emphasis here is on the food. You still get enough information to get a sense of a chef's personality without the TMI that reigns on other reality shows.
Of course one could argue that for me this show is simply food porn, since I don't have a working kitchen right now. That's fine this is a hearty substitute.
(They are only 3 chefs down so you can still catch up.)
Update: I forgot to mention another favorite reality show: Chris March's "Mad Fashion." March is a clothing designer I first learned about when he appeared on a season of "Project Runway." (He finished his season with a collection made of human hair that was outrageously beautiful.) Each week on "Mad Fashion" he dresses a client for an event in about 3 days. The outfits are outrageous and beautiful and it's great to see how his team executes them.
*Update number 2 and footnote 1, don't get me started: That store is Obscura Antiques and Oddities.