UnREALLatest News and Opinion
Posted Saturday 8/04/18 at 2:51AM EDT
Why Peak TV shows tend to follow their great first seasons with a sophomore slump
Westworld, UnReal and The Handmaid's Tale are fairly recent examples of Peak TV shows that followed great first seasons with a disappointing Season 2. But it's not just a recent trend. The Sopranos, Lost, Homeland and even Game of Thrones had second seasons that a lot of people found subpar. "A hopefully obvious answer to the disappointing second season problem is a basic tenet of human nature: It’s hard to replicate the experience of first watching something and falling in love with it," says Todd VanDerWerff. "The sheer thrill that accompanied the slow word-of-mouth excitement that boosted Stranger Things in season one was never going to happen again when the show returned for season two. But another obvious answer to this problem is that once a first season tells a mostly complete story, it can be incredibly hard to open up that story again to tell more stories." VanDerWerff adds: "But here’s the Catch-22 about second seasons: A good way to ensure you have a great second season is to air a somewhat disappointing first season. Yet in the age of Peak TV, airing a disappointing first season is a good way to ensure you don’t get a second season at all."
Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 11:21PM EDT
Hulu's dumping of UnReal's fourth and final season makes sense now because it's pretty bad
Source: The A.V. Club
"Every time you think the show—Everlasting, UnReal, or both—has gone as low as it possibly can, it somehow sinks even deeper," says Gwen Ihnat. "This is an all-star, co-ed season of Everlasting that kicks off with 'Hump Or Dump,' in which the men rate their female counterparts by their looks, and dump them into a muddy pond if they’re found lacking. Hulu’s similar dumping of these final episodes, just a few months after season three, makes a lot more sense now." ALSO: Creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro says UnReal was essentially a Hulu show because few were watching on Lifetime.
Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 1:42PM EDT
UnReal boss "felt like we were on borrowed time," discusses how Bachelor in Paradise scandal inspired the final season
Source: Entertainment Weekly
"I didn’t find out for sure until about a week ago," says showrunner Stacy Rukeyser of learning Season 4 would be the final season. "But when we were writing it, we thought it was probably going to be the end. I think I felt like we were on borrowed time anyway, so it was definitely written thinking it was probably the end, but if it’s not, we’ll figure something else out. Rachel and Quinn will go do something they think is better, as they say at the end of the show."
Posted Monday 7/16/18 at 8:37PM EDT
Surprise releases are suddenly all the rage on TV
From UnReal's fourth and final season that was released today with no advance warning to Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America?, which was officially announced less than a week before its premiere, TV networks and streaming services are finding that surprises releases generate buzz. Netflix did something similar in May when it released Arrested Development and 13 Reasons Why with just a few weeks of advance notice. But don't expect the surprise release trend to continue working. "If everyone starts to take that approach, the wow factor will fade quickly, and the fanfare about each surprise will overshadow the others," says Jen Chaney. "Pop music has already been wrestling with this problem, having been inundated with so many surprise releases over the past few years that it’s hard to process or appreciate one before another comes along. It’s easy to imagine the same issue arising in TV. The most important thing a good series can do these days is stand out and seem fresh, but an unexpected arrival can only help a show do that as long as every other show isn’t doing the same thing."
Posted Monday 7/16/18 at 3:05PM EDT
UnReal creator was glad Hulu released the entire final season at once: "Bingeing feels like the truth to me right now"
“We’re so excited that people are getting it all at once because it’s always felt like that kind of show to me,” Unreal creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro tells Variety of Hulu's surprise release this morning of the fourth and final season of The Bachelor takeoff. “And when you get to the point where you feel like you absolutely can’t stand Rachel, you know there’s another turn coming, and it’s coming right away. Bingeing feels like the truth to me right now, and I’m really happy to (tell the story) this way.” Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby were also happy that UnReal's final season was released for binge-watching. “My first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, that’s the most amazing news I’ve ever heard!'” Zimmer tells EW of learning about the plan last month. “We were so worried that everyone was going to have to wait another year to see season 4, which just feels so cruel. But then I was a little sad because, you know, this has been Lifetime’s baby, and I feel like we had such a great run. It would’ve been nice to see it end there, but I get it, and I appreciate that what they were more concerned about were the fans.”
Posted Monday 7/16/18 at 7:14AM EDT
In a surprise move, Hulu releases UnReal's fourth and final season
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The streaming service dropped all eight episodes of the final season this morning with no advance notice. The move is particularly surprising since UnReal's third season ended less than three months ago, on April 23. As reported in May, Hulu paid to premiere the fourth season of UnReal before it airs on Lifetime.
Posted Tuesday 5/22/18 at 5:47PM EDT
UnReal's disappointing third season led to its impending move to Hulu after a "lowball and modest offer"
UnReal has performed better on Hulu than it has on Lifetime, which has an older-skewing audience. So according to The Wrap, A&E Networks didn't hesitate to give UnReal's fourth season, which has already been filmed, to Hulu at a cost of "slightly more" money.
Posted Tuesday 5/22/18 at 1:13PM EDT
UnReal is expected to end with Season 4 as it moves to Hulu
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Lifetime will continue to air The Bachelor-spoofing drama series, but only after new episodes air on Hulu. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hulu offered A&E a larger sum of money to get air new episodes of UnReal first. The deal is reminiscent of NBC sharing Friday Night Lights with DirecTV, which got to air new episodes of the beloved high school football series first.
Posted Wednesday 4/25/18 at 10:49PM EDT
Finally, there are TV shows saying it's okay for women to be single
Jessica Jones, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, UnReal, Being Mary Jane and the upcoming Dietland are "pushing the boundaries of what single womanhood looks like, spotlighting complex, wildly different stories about women who just happen to be unattached ― and might not be immediately compelled to become otherwise," says Emma Gray.
Posted Tuesday 4/24/18 at 10:40PM EDT
UnReal boss talks Season 3 finale, previews "Everlasting All Stars"
Season 4 won't be like Bachelor in Paradise, says showrunner Stacy Rukeyser. "It’s actually Everlasting All Stars," she says. "I wish it was in paradise because that would have meant we could film someplace like Fiji, but it’s not. It’s in the same mansion, but it’s Everlasting All Stars. We have some of the characters coming back. I don’t think this is a secret because it’s been on social media — August is coming back, Alexi is coming back. And some people that I don’t want to say, but people from previous seasons."
Posted Tuesday 3/20/18 at 9:40PM EDT
UnReal boss: Our show has a "complicated" relationship with feminism
Source: TV Guide
Feminism has gone from being an undercurrent of the Lifetime series to front and center in Season 3 with its first female suitor, or "Suitress." "Part of what we were trying to say with this season is that feminism is really complicated," says showrunner Stacy Rukeyser "Who is the right guy for Serena? ... Or, does she need to be with anyone at all? Should she be feeling this incredible pull to find a partner? Is that just a natural part of life, or is that an expectation imposed by society? I think that we're just asking a lot of questions, and I think the only answer that we're giving is that feminism is really complicated. But I just think these are the kinds of things we should all be talking about." ALSO: The Bachelor's Arie Luyendyk Jr. season was vindication for UnReal.
Posted Tuesday 3/13/18 at 10:17PM EDT
UnReal is starting to run in the same problems that plagued last season
Source: The A.V. Club
"This season of UnReal is certainly better than last season of UnReal, but it falters where last season faltered," says Gwen Ihnat, adding that the Lifetime series "is frustrating because we like these characters and want them to succeed, but they have to do such terrible things to get there."
Posted Wednesday 2/28/18 at 12:25AM EST
UnReal edited out a scene that would've depicted date-rape
“It’s a very fine line in how you depict that,” showrunner Stacy Rukeyser says of a scene in the Season 3 premiere. “We were completely edited and in the can back in August of last year before there was a #MeToo movement, but that scene was very, very tricky in the editing room. There was a version that is not the version that you see here that, we felt, went too far.”
Posted Tuesday 2/27/18 at 12:27AM EST
UnReal redeems itself in Season 3 after its disastrous Season 2
Source: TV Guide
Based on the first five episodes of Season 3, the Lifetime reality TV-inspired drama is back and better than ever, says Liz Rafferty. "In Season 3, UnReal has returned to feeling like a drama infused with purpose and importance, but that's also ridiculously fun and entertaining to watch," she says. "The show's writers couldn't have known it would be airing at the height of the #MeToo and #TimesUp moment, but real-world headlines make the events on the show seem all the more, well, real."
- Season 3 is an impressive, sometimes stirring return to form
- UnReal still suffers from many of its previous problems in Season 3
- Season 3 was an opportunity for course correction, but it's gone down predictable paths
- The timely premise of having the first female suitor breathes new life into UnReal
- New showrunner Stacy Rukeyser: "It seems incredibly fortuitous that this is the moment when it’s coming out"
Posted Friday 2/09/18 at 5:53AM EST
UnReal's new boss examined what went wrong in Season 2
Source: TV Guide
Stacy Rukeyser, who has been promoted to showrunner from executive producer on the Lifetime series, says she was well aware of the Season 2 criticism. "When I got the bump to be the showrunner for Season 3, that was the first thing that I started with," she said "I wasn't going to pretend that the things that had happened in the second season hadn't happened or try to ignore them in any way.”