It's too bad PBS hasn't delved into the world of reality television more. Frontier House (inspired by a similarly conceived show about the 1900s over at the BBC) was a highly entertaining, insightful, and even educational. Three families were given acreage in Montana to live just as settlers did back in the 1880's. The goal was to be prepared for the coming winter by the end of the series – without cheating, Gordon Clune!
Like any good reality, there's a villain, and here Mr. Clune serves well, but in this relatively good-natured show, even the cheater finds himself better for growing closer to his family. Another family, the Glenns adapt to the harsh lifestyle easier, but their personal relationships are strained.
Available on DVD and Netflix, you'll find yourself more inthralled in the drama of making root cellars and cutting wood than you would ever expect. This is only second to Manor House in PBS's amazing series of historical reality shows.