Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
EntertainmentTVReality TV

A fresh batch of 'real' folks

That's the great thing about TV. Every week -- heck, every day -- delivers another passel of peculiarity potential.

Especially among "unscripted" cable shows. Last week brought History's "The Legend of Shelby the Swampman," with its plunky music and gosh-golly narration heightening the title boondocks dude's "natural" (mis)behavior. There's always some new wack-a-doodle way producers try to package "real" people, to attract some smidgen-sized fragment of our much- divided attention, at a fairly thrifty production price.

Tuesday night's cable lineup includes at least four more, summarized herein to aid your viewing choices or lack of same.

"Don't try any of this stuff at home," you know. They all say that.

Tickle (10 p.m., Discovery). Because "Moonshiners" jus' tain't 'nuff, here's a spinoff, featuring the bleary-eyed drawler of the title. Turns out our boy Tickle has "stumbled" on a hidden stash of 'shine in a ravine. (Cameras in tow, of course.) So he turns his attention from making to marketing. "Tickle must remain careful," say Discovery publicity materials, "to dodge the authorities, snooping townspeople and, most importantly, the true owners, who may or may not have serious criminal ties." And this show may or may not be "un"-scripted. "Man," marvels a pal ogling Tickle's new stash, "I haven't seen this much moonshine since Mo's bar mitzvah. And he ain't even Jewish." Ha-ha! ("Moonshiners" airs 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. today on Discovery.)

Porter Ridge (10:30 p.m., Discovery). Thanks to the insatiable appetite for "Duck Dynasty," that hit show's creators now head north to "the rolling hills of Indiana," my home state. But I grew up in the industrial North, far from the likes of shirtless junkyarder Terry Porter and his "backwoods clan." Cue the dialogue subtitles! Here come scrapper Dirty Andy, blowtorch boy Danny Bob, garbage man Elvis Larry, "country calendar model" Kayla, and "a dadgum bear." In fact, I'm not sure I even really know what a ridge is, but perhaps I'll find out, as Porter battles his "personal nemesis" from over yonder at Dog Killer Ridge. Expect hair, beards, wrasslers, junkers -- and bears! (BTW, "Duck Dynasty" returns to A&E tomorrow night at 10.)

Doomsday Castle (10 p.m., NatGeo). Another spinoff, from survivalist smash "Doomsday Preppers" (which starts new episodes tonight at 9), this debut spotlights "disaster preparedness" in the form of a half-built castle in the Carolina mountains. Long Islanders might think disaster prep involves extra water, spare batteries, plywood and duct tape. But, no. Here -- with camo-clothed former infantry trainer Brent Bruns and his five adult offspring awaiting the "end of days" from an electromagnetic pulse -- it's a "hoarder's paradise" of a bunker, plus surprise attack drills and MREs for dinner. Did I mention the moat and drawbridge? ("Doomsday Preppers" runs on NatGeo today 9 a.m.-noon and 6-10 p.m.)

Heroes of Cosplay (10:30 p.m. premiere, 10 p.m. thereafter, Syfy). They're not all Klingons anymore. When fanboys/girls gather at convention centers these days, many jump into role-playing "cosplay" (short for costume play). They're costumed as wizards, warriors, empire queens, space creatures, animé/game characters, you name it. As they compete for prizes in this exploding world -- superstar-judge Yaya Han is a cosplay industry of her own (143,000 Facebook "likes") -- Syfy's show follows six serious players through their elaborate prep, tonight for Wizard World Portland. It's like they're dressed to impress for Fashion Week at the "Star Wars" bar -- green hair, thigh-high yellow boots, giant clay heads, wild weapons, "power armor." But they aren't after just the look. They're "personifying a character." Fantasy? Reality? What's the dif? ("Cosplay" premieres after Syfy's 9-10:30 p.m. season 5 start of makeup effects competition "Face Off," with "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke as guest judge.)

More Entertainment