When it premiered back in 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race changed drag media herstory. The show didn’t just produce the biggest drag superstars of the past decade; it also brought drag culture to the mainstream. The result is a new era of drag reality TV today — great news for those of us looking for something to tune into once All Stars 8 crowns a winner.
Many of the drag reality TV shows below explore drag’s intersecting disciplines of fashion, makeup, comedy, reading, and lipsyncing. Others, meanwhile, add a little something extra to the uniqueness, nerve, and talent of the world’s drag queens and kings, like singing and even cooking.
Dancing Queen (2018)
Netflix’s Dancing Queen centers Alyssa Edwards of the Haus of Edwards, first of her name, multi-awarded pageant queen and star of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 and All Stars 2.
Across just eight episodes, the series gives us a closer look at Alyssa the drag queen, but also Alyssa the business owner and dance teacher. It also features Alyssa’s friends and drag daughters, Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Laganja Estranja.
Expect plenty of tongue pops and fabulous moments — this is Alyssa Edwards, after all. But Dancing Queen also offers up some really great, heartwarming scenes that shed new light on a larger-than-life personality.
Watch Dancing Queen on: Netflix.
We’re Here (2020-2022)
The concept of We’re Here, HBO Max’s three-season drag reality TV series, is simple: Drag Race alums Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara, and Shangela go on a road trip across the country to adopt drag daughters from small-town America and help them put on their very first drag show.
We’re Here doesn’t shy away from tough conversations, often due to the less-than-friendly attitude small towns might have towards LGBTQ+ folk. And so, aside from the transformation of the new drag daughters, we also get to witness many insightful conversations and inspiring performances at a time when legislators are working against drag.
The show has won a Peabody Award, two GLAAD Media Awards, and two Emmys across its 20 episodes. There’s no word yet on a fourth season, so we’re crossing our fingers for more.
Watch We’re Here on: HBO Max
Drag Heals (2018—)
Drag Heals is a show that invites people to create their own drag persona — this time in the Great White North.
Across a ten-week course, the Canadian show teaches aspiring queens (and kings!) not just how to dress, put on make-up, and perform. Drag Heals also helps them look inward, studying themselves and their own dreams, hopes, and fears in order to create a compelling drag performance that is all the more compelling for its vulnerability and authenticity.
The show was created and is hosted by Tracey Erin Smith, with Vicki Lix as co-host. There are currently four seasons up for streaming.
Watch Drag Heals on: Peacock
TLC’s Dragnificent has its roots in a one-episode special called Drag Me Down the Aisle, a 2019 show where drag queens Alexis Michelle, BeBe Zahara Benet, Jujubee, and Thorgy Thor helped a woman plan her upcoming wedding.
A year later, TLC decided to turn it into a full-season show, and so now we get to see these four Drag Race alumni bringing out multiple brides’ most beautiful and confident selves for their big day.
There haven’t been any updates since, so it seems that the show is done for now. But the seven episodes we do have are pretty special.
Watch Dragnificent on: Discovery+
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, a celebration of drag and horror, sticks close to drag’s non-conformist, anti-establishment roots. According to showrunners, “We are not here to judge your drag. Drag is art and art is subjective.”
The result is a competition that is less about show business and more about hardcore drag artistry, with contestants judged on loose principles of Filth, Glamour, and Horror.
Serving as guest judges alongside the Boulet Brothers each week are horror icons like Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Danielle Harris (Halloween). They crown “The World’s Best Drag Super-Monster” at the end of each season.
The show recently introduced its All Stars equivalent in Dragula: Titans.
Watch Dragula on: Shudder
Call Me Mother (2021—)
In the drag competition Call Me Mother, drag kings and queens don’t compete individually. Instead, they’re grouped into houses under the mentorship of one of three drag mothers: Peppermint (House of Dulcet), Crystal (House of Glass), and Barbada de Barbades (House of Harmonie).
Competitors also get additional guidance from “aunties” — Farra N. Hyte, drag mother to Canada’s Drag Race judge Brooke Lynn Hytes, Québec-based queen Miss Butterfly (for Season 1), and Dragula alum Landon Cider (for Season 2). Dallas Dixon hosts the show.
A contestant gets eliminated each week until one of them is crowned as the “First Child of Drag.” Call Me Mother has two seasons available to stream.
Watch Call Me Mother on: OutTV
In the voguing competition Legendary, eight to ten drag houses compete across nine spectacular balls for a US$100,000 prize. The performances, makeup, and outfits are all stunning, and it makes for not just an exciting competition but also a lovely celebration of ballroom culture.
The only downside really is that HBO Max canceled the show way too early — a fate all too common for LGBTQ+ shows — and even took it out of their streaming platform. That’s a shame because the show really is a treasure and was recognized by GLAAD for its excellent representation of LGBTQ+ artists and ball legends.
Watch Legendary on: The Roku Channel, Tubi
Queen of the Universe (2021-2023)
Queen of the Universe is a show produced by the creators of Drag Race and has a judging panel that includes Michelle Visage and All Stars 3 winner Trixie Mattel. The key difference? In this show, contestants actually sing.
In fact, Visage has described it as “a singing competition first… a drag competition second.”
Graham Norton takes on serving duties, while Vanessa Williams, Leona Lewis (Season 1), and Mel B (Season 2) complete the judging panel. Across its two seasons, the show has featured some of the most talented singing queens from across the globe.
Watch Queen of the Universe on: Paramount+
Drag Me to Dinner (2023)
The youngest show on this list, Hulu’s Drag Me to Dinner is a reality competition TV show that combines drag and dinner parties.
In each of the ten episodes, teams of two drag queens are given a theme and 90 minutes to set up a dinner party. They’re then judged in three categories, namely: Food & Drink, Design & Decor, and Entertainment & Overall Vibe, with the winner earning the ultimate title of “The Glorious Golden Grater.”
The show is hosted by New York drag icon Murray Hill, with a judging panel composed of Bianca Del Rio, Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, and Haneefah Wood.
Watch Queen of the Universe on: Hulu