Netflix released its first reality dating show, 'Dating Around,' and reviews say it's a fresh take on a tired genre

Netflix‘Dating Around’
  • Netflix released its first reality dating show, “Dating Around,” on Thursday (Valentine’s Day).
  • Critics say it’s a fresh take on a tired genre, and that it’s “deceptively appealing.”
  • “This was really just an honest snapshot of what that experience is like,” executive producer Chris Culvenor told Vanity Fair.

Netflix has finally entered the dating scene.

The streaming giant dropped its first reality dating game show, “Dating Around,” on Thursday, which also happens to be Valentine’s Day. Netflix describes the series like this: “In each episode of flirtations and fails, one real-life single navigates five blind dates. The mission: Find one match worthy of a second date.”

Critics love the show’s fresh take on the dating show formula. Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk wrote that the show takes a little while to hook you, but once it does, it’s “deceptively appealing.”

READ MORE: Netflix and HBO are fighting over the original TV crown, but the number of hours Netflix is putting out is overwhelming

“At that point, the addictive secret of Dating Around was clear: It recognises how much romance-related reality television has left on the table – how many kinds of human experience are rarely highlighted on The Bachelor or Millionaire Matchmaker or 90 Day Fiancé or Married at First Sight or Are You the One – and it seizes what those other shows typically ignore,” VanArendonk wrote.

Executive producer Chris Culvenor told Vanity Fair that he wanted to capture the many personalities, faces, and experiences that dating has become today to differentiate it from other dating programs.

“This isn’t a quest to find necessarily the love of your life, who you’re going to marry,” he said. “This was really just an honest snapshot of what that experience is like. It can be fun. It can be awkward. It can be interesting. It can sort of change who you are.”

Bustle called it a “totally different format” than a traditional dating show. Bustle’s Taylor Maple wrote that the show “doesn’t foster a competitive environment, even though the premise encourages the cast to choose only one person to reconnect with later on.”

“It’s an interesting, fresh take on the genre – one that allows viewers to be a fly on the wall for what, for all intents and purposes, seems like real, genuine dates,” Maple added.

The show has elicited other critic reactions ranging from “the trash you need this Valentine’s Day” at Mashable, to “the new Netflix reality show you’ll love to hate” at The Guardian. But the consensus seems to be that it’s a worthwhile, addicting watch. And at six, half-hour episodes, it’s a breeze to binge.

Netflix has escalated its unscripted content recently with shows like “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” the “Queer Eye” reboot, “The Great British Baking Show,” “Amazing Interiors,” and cooking competition, “Nailed It!”

Netflix released up to 50 reality and talks programs in 2018 with plans for more this year, according to Vulture.

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