Over the years, there’s a lot of hype over summer premieres. Sometimes we get lucky (You’re The Worst) and sometimes we just choose to forget (Extant). You can definitely add Lifetime’s UnREAL to the lucky.
The show is created by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men and most recently Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and is inspired by her indie short, Sequin Raze. UnREAL takes viewers behind-the-scenes of a dating competition show like The Bachelor and stars Shiri Appleby (Roswell, Life Unexpected), Constance Zimmer (Entourage, House of Cards) and Josh Kelly (One Life to Live).
This is not your mother’s Lifetime. In fact, Lifetime has been trying out edgier fair since last year’s The Lottery (which didn’t make it to a second season) but I feel that UnREAL will give the network it’s scripted breakout hit it deserves. Appleby and Zimmer playoff each other so well as there’s something so compelling about them as both women and producers. You’d want to hate them but you love them as they manipulate their contestants in order to create great television. While it’s dark and edgy, it’s not bleak at all. There’s humour in this show’s darkness.
“Bad people make good TV,” indeed.
The 10-episode first season of UnREAL was produced in Vancouver and premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Lifetime in Canada and the U.S. following the third season premiere of Devious Maids. Also in Canada, look for UnREAL to have a cross-network premiere on the Shaw-owned Slice and Showcase in addition to Lifetime.