TV First Impressions: UnReal (USA, 2015)

A clever takedown of reality TV and how superficial both on-screen and off-screen they can, UnReal is the latest catch from subscription service Stan and it has been receiving rave reviews from left, right, and centre. The excellent Constance Zimmer plays Quinn King, the boss of a The Bachelor-esque show behind-the-scenes, relying heavily on her masterful producer Rachel (Shiri Appleby) to essentially manipulate contestants to make for good TV.

“It takes bad people to make TV this good” is the tagline Stan used in a tweet about the show, capturing the slick meta-commentary that drives the fascinating, ruthless politics behind the cameras on UnReal. Effective as both a comedy and a drama, it’s a deep look into ambitious reality TV making and may just very well offend quite a few people in it’s attempt to expose the ratings-grab that diminishes the ‘reality’ part of reality TV.

After a first episode that’s under an hour, characters are fleshed out to a degree not often seen with pilots, indicating that UnReal will be successful in it’s attempt to present us with a character-focused drama that sharply satirises reality TV and goes much, much further than we’d expect.

Going behind the scenes of a reality dating show gives UnReal some really solid ground to work on, and it looks like we’ll be focusing a lot on Rachel’s inner-conflict as she unwillingly breaks down the contestants who I assume we’ll get to know a lot better as UnReal progresses.

UnReal is currently available to stream on Stan. The first six episodes are out, every new episode after that will be up on Stan every Tuesday.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.