The Discovery Channel has been a household name in households around the world for over 30 years. With their slogan, “Grab Life By The Globe,” viewers have been inspired by the beautiful world and the science behind it since the 1980s.
This network has grown with its audience. Originally, this channel focused on documentary based shows, until 2010, when they began to introduce reality television to gain more traction for younger audiences. There is a show on The Discovery Channel for every type of person that will inspire them to see the world differently or gain a unique perspective on the world- through comedy, action, or reality television.
However, with all the good programming The Discovery Channel brings, there is also a few shows worth mentioning, that have viewers questioning how it landed a spot on this world renowned network.
We have compiled two lists for you, where you will notice the good, the bad, and the ugly about the new and old shows that The Discovery Channel has produced and held onto for years. Some shows you may be familiar with, and some you may not have heard of, as they quietly left the network as a result of poor reviews.
You be the judge.
25 Disappointing Discovery: Mermaids
The two seasons of Mermaids: The Body Found and Mermaids: New Evidence aired on Discovery Channel's Animal Planet during 2012 and 2013.
This show was widely popular, as viewers were made to believe that mermaids, in fact, did exist, but the show was pure fiction, leaving fans confused and frustrated.
Slate explains that mermaids are not real, and that there is no actual evidence that they have ever existed. These seasons were not accurately backed, and the stories were fabricated based on myths.
This show brought a lot of future problems for the network, as the trusted science backing that the Discovery Channel usually promises was now deemed unreliable.
24 Disappointing Discovery: Dual Survival
Back in 2010, Discovery Channel introduced Dual Survival to us, and it somehow lasted six years.
Looking back on it, this show was a disappointment to the Discovery Channel, as it lacked any accuracy, and depended too much on the “unrealistic nature” of the show.
ScreenRant validates this inaccuracy, and reveals some of the downfalls of the show, making it one of the most disappointing shows on the network.
One of the hosts of the show, Dave Canterbury, revealed later on that he was significantly underqualified for the show, lying that he was a sniper in the army, ScreenRant claims. This was just one of the multiple false claims on the show, revealed years later.
23 Disappointing Discovery: Eaten Alive
This show, Eaten Alive, was terribly disappointing, because the whole purpose of the show, to be eaten alive by an anaconda, did not end up happening. Ever.
The show was significantly hyped up to showcase 27-year-old Paul Rosolie being eaten by an anaconda in the Amazon, while wearing a snake-proof body suit. This show raised eyebrows because as soon as the act was about to occur, Rosolie called in the camera crew to stop it. Therefore, ending the whole show.
The best part of the show? According to IFL Science, the viewers' reactions on Twitter while the show was happening. One of the most retweeted messages was, “I can relate to this #EatenAlive guy. I’ve been wrapped up in my comforter a little too tight and had trouble breathing. Not impressed.”
22 Disappointing Discovery: Amish Mafia
With one of the lowest ratings on the network, according to IMDb, Amish Mafia truly disappointed Discovery Channel viewers.
While this show tries hard to portray actual Amish life in their communities, it completely missed the mark, and should not be taken as accurate entertainment. This show brings into question whether it is a documentary, fictional or a mixture of both.
According to Snopes, people that belong within the Amish community believe that they are the victims of this show, and they are not being portrayed to the world accurately.
21 Disappointing Discovery: Street Outlaws
When you search “Street Outlaws reviews,” one of the first articles you will see is “NHRA Cracks Down On The Dumbest Fake Street Racing Show On Television,” and we cannot agree more.
Jalopnik explains that this show is awful, even by Discovery Channel standards. This show follows drag racers, who are not only awful drivers, but have been threatened with having their license suspended throughout the taping of the show.
This reality show lacks any sense of reality, and is a disappointment to Discovery Channel fans, lowering the network's credibility.
20 Disappointing Discovery: Canada’s Worst Driver
This show has somehow been on air since 2005, but the reviews say it should not be.
According to HuffPost, Canada’s Worst Driver is a “maddening and alarming hour of television,” and is pretty poor quality of television. The only positive of this show is that driver’s watching will feel pretty good about themselves, knowing that even if they’re not a confident driver, there is much worse out there.
The disappointing feature of this show is that it’s unfortunately accurate, and these drivers truly do exist and drive on the roads we share.
19 Disappointing Discovery: World's Worst Mom
This show raises eyebrows, and is a disappointing choice for the Discovery Channel to host on their network. For many parents watching, it makes them nervous and uncomfortable viewing the carelessness of some parents.
World’s Worst Mom is hosted by Lenore Skenazy, who is nicknamed not only “America’s Worst Mom” but also the “World’s Worst Mom,” for letting her 9-year-old ride the subway to school in New York City, unsupervised.
According to the Chicago Tribune, While her show attempts to encourage parents to be less paranoid and supervise every aspect of their child’s life, it is challenging to feel comfortable watching, mainly because Skenazy lives in the busy city of New York City.
18 Disappointing Discovery: Pawn Stars
Pawn Stars is another reality show on the Discovery Channel that has viewers rolling their eyes.
While the content of the show is somewhat interesting, the purpose of the show is not unique, and not the only one on air. This premeditated and overly planned ‘reality’ show is no different from Hardcore Pawn and their many editions, Pawnography, and Pawn Queens, just to name a few.
On different travel review websites like Tripadvisor, fans of the show have showcased their disappointment in visiting the shop and getting a very different feeling, that was misguided from the show. One fan says the main characters on the show were rude and disrespectful, and it was more of a tourist trap than anything.
17 Disappointing Discovery: Diesel Brothers
The first disappointment of this show is that the deemed Diesel Brothers are not even brothers.
ScreenRant defines Diesel Brothers as the “Mormon version of Orange County Choppers” exemplifying that like most of the reality shows on the network, there is a significant lack in originality.
There has been a lot of backlash for the unrealistic qualities of the show, and some of the poor behaviour that goes into producing the show, simply for higher ratings. Again, ScreenRant explains that “Heavy D’s Dad taught him how to fake seizures to get out of speeding tickets.”
16 Best Of Discovery: Shark Week
This is what the Discovery Channel is most well known for.
For the past 30 years, the network is excited to continue hosting Shark Week, as Discovery Channel proudly claims, “television’s longest running must-see summer TV event.”
As a highly anticipated week-long event, according to Discovery Channel, it is now broadcasted in over 70 countries around the world, and is streamed on platforms like YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Video, and iTunes.
It started out with a few hit shows playing in the summer, including Caged in Fear, Sharks of a Different Colour, and The Shark Takes A Siesta, to name a few. But due to the incredible success and following, Discovery decided to make this a special programming event, and has been growing ever since.
15 Best Of Discovery: Planet Earth
Planet Earth is another fan favourite on the Discovery Channel, and we cannot agree more.
This 11-part documentary is educational and exciting, drawing in audiences from all around the world.
Additionally, Planet Earth drew in impressive ratings, with an expected success. According to Wired, this program was one of the networks highest audiences they had ever seen, with more than 6 millions viewers.
Wired shares that the nature-based documentary took more than five years to film, while producers and film crews travelled throughout 200 cities and 62 countries around the world to capture footage that had never been seen before.
14 Best Of Discovery: Deadliest Catch
The Deadliest Catch was respectfully welcomed back to the Discovery Channel for its 13th season, and fans were thrilled.
This education, informing, and exciting show that differentiates itself from the abundance of reality shows that already occupy the channel.
According to IMDb, this show is extremely accurate, and the footage is raw. This was illustrated through filming in the first few seasons, when there were six fatalities in one season, a sunken boat, and a lost cameraman.
This show does not glamorize deep sea fishing, and demonstrates exactly what goes on in order to bring seafood to your plate.
13 Best Of Discovery: MythBusters
MythBusters has been around for 17 seasons, and is a favourite for viewers of all ages.
The hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, are self-proclaimed nerds, and the Discovery Channel released a hilariously accurate statement, apologizing for “giving a platform to such huge geeks” and “hopes they can earn back its audience’s trust after subjecting them to a bunch of nerds for so long.”
There is always something to learn while watching the show, that will surprise any viewer. The show uses science to test rumours, myths and news stories.
12 Best Of Discovery: Dirty Jobs
While this show was somewhat unpleasant, it was one of the most interesting and honest shows on the network.
This show follows host, Mike Rowe around different job sites around the world to see a behind the scenes on some of the honest to goodness grossest jobs a country offered.
He sees first hand what hardworking individuals must endure in order to make our city properly function. Discovery Channel notes that one of the most eye-opening and dangerous jobs Rowe had to experience was in Coober Pedy, which is home to Australia’s mining industry.
11 Best Of Discovery: How It’s Made
From mascara, to ice cream, to lego: How It’s Made explains it all.
With 31 seasons to date, you can understand why this has been around for 17 years and has no sign of slowing down.
While this show may ruin your taste for some products like cheese puff balls or Hot Cheetos, it also demonstrates the importance of knowing how our products are made and where they come from. So, next time you go to buy an extremely popular food item or toy, you will understand the entire process behind it, and maybe have a better appreciation for it.
10 Best Of Discovery: American Chopper
For ten years, this show has been a fan favourite on the Discovery Channel.
Briefly, it was cancelled because of internal legal issues between members on the show. Since it has been resolved, it is back, and fans could not be more excited.
This show follows a father and son team who manufacture custom chopper style motorcycles in New York. This exciting family reality show is loud, rambunctious, and eye-catching.
Due to the show's popularity, there have been multiple video games made in its honour and even a fantasy bike contest, for the most dedicated fans.
9 Best Of Discovery: Moonshiners
While this show constantly has it’s fans questioning if it’s real or not, it is some hilarious entertainment that goes far beyond what viewers usually expect to see on the Discovery Channel.
ScreenRant claims that this show is so far from the truth because of how illegal the activity is on the show. But the Southern US drama keeps everyone questioning the purpose of the show every week.
We think what keeps viewers tuned in each season is that Virginia law authorities have stated that it is indeed fake, and completely misleading, but it is the only show on air that is of its kind.
8 Best Of Discovery: Storm Chasers
This suspenseful docu-series is intense and scarily accurate.
Viewers are captivated by the title of the show, knowing they are in for a full hour of intensified, powerful, and jaw-dropping storms, being chased by a fearless and risk-taking team.
Storm Chasers has such dedicated fans and was a favourite on the Discovery Channel for five years because the main characters would take on roles that we regular folk would never attempt.
Partnering with another Discovery Channel favourite, Storm Chasers was featured on an episode of MythBusters, according to IMDb to validate if the vehicles they used could actually withstand the storms.
7 Best Of Discovery: Brew Masters
This light-hearted and easy to watch series was a favourite.
Sam Calagione, the owner of Dogfish Head Brewery, shares recipes of his favourite beers and how craft beers came to be so popular. This show was admired by craft brew lovers and those who value the work of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, this show was pulled after one season. According to IMDb, Anthony Bourdain stated that larger beer companies that were currently advertising on the Discovery Channel had threatened to pull their ads, as this show was promoting a small, craft brewery.
6 Best Of Discovery: How Do They Do It?
This show solves all the little questions you may have been pondering.
The slogan, “behind the ordinary is the extraordinary,” accurately describes how the work that goes into designing and building the little things that we take for granted every day, are just as exciting as the final product.
From contact lenses, golf balls, and chocolate, we get to go behind the scenes and see exactly how these unexciting products that we use on a day to day basis are formed.This show was so popular because it resembled Discovery Channel’s other hit show, How It’s Made.
5 Best Of Discovery: Daily Planet
Daily Planet explored the science behind current events that shape our everyday lives.
This popular show ended in June 2018, after being on air for 23 years.
The exciting part of Daily Planet was that it was not limited solely to discoveries in Canada. It explored different worldly viewpoints from countries around the world, like China, Australia, and Scotland. It broadcasted specific popular events like Burning Man in the USA, and hosted week-long segments dedicated to significant worldly events like Earth Day.
4 Best Of Discovery: Cash Cab
This Discovery Channel favourite had everyone in the Big Apple hoping the cab they hailed would be a Cash Cab.
This fun, travelling trivia game is entertaining for not only the participants, but for the viewers back home.
According to Mental Floss, there are Cash Cabs all over the world, and they are just as popular. From Canada, Jamaica, and Egypt, as soon as locals found out that the game was heading to their city, the use of taxis increased more than usual.
The best part of the Cash Cab? Your cab fare is automatically free, regardless of the meter.
3 Best Of Discovery: Alaska: The Last Frontier
Alaska: The Last Frontier follows the Kilcher family as Alaskan pioneers, and is by far the most popular show on the Discovery Channel.
While the family has faced some challenges, they make the best of their family time. Even on their 600-acre property, they are always safe, as much as they like to exaggerate during their episodes.
However, even if foreign viewers like us love the show, local Alaskans cannot say the same. According to ScreenRant, the shows illustrates Alaska to be completely isolated from the Western world, and they do not their best to portray it as a liveable place.
2 Best Of Discovery: Man vs Wild
You may know the man in Man vs Wild as Born Survivor, Bear Grylls, Ultimate Survivor, or Real Survival Hero, and this is reason itself showcasing how popular this show is.
The show has not received too much flack for “being fake” but according to ScreenRant, the disclaimer at the beginning of each episode explains that “Bear Grylls and the crew receive support when they are in potentially life-threatening situations.”
While this show is as real as it can get, the host, Bear Grylls has unfortunately been injured quite a few times. His major accident occurred when he was 21 and just starting out, when he was jumping out of a plane. But, after doctor’s named him a miracle man for not being completely paralyzed after these incidents, Grylls was inspired to continue.
1 Best Of Discovery: Vintage Tech Hunters
Discovery Channel’s newest show, Vintage Tech Hunters calls to audiences of all age groups.
This show inspires nostalgia from all generations, and according to TV-EH, the show’s hosts are on a “quest to uncover rare, weird, and nostalgic tech, pursuing the most valuable items, and working to connect with the right collector to drive sales.”
Some of the more popular episodes thus far include rare items from as early as the 1950s. These outdated products include the Vitamaster Model 35 Vibrator Belt Exercise Machine, completed with the Vitamaster Roller Massager.
We cannot wait to see what else they find!
References: The Discovery Channel, ScreenRant, IFL Sciences, Snopes, Jalopnik, HuffPost, Wired