Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4
UnReal Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 103 Ratings

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  • Summary: Rachel (Shiri Appleby) will do anything, including manipulating the contestants for Quinn (Constance Zimmer), the executive producer of the hit dating show they work on.
  • Genre(s): Drama

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Unreal
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Liz Shannon Miller
    Jul 7, 2015
    91
    One of the fascinating tricks that UnReal has managed to pull off is utilizing the tropes of the reality TV format to drag viewers even deeper into their personal investment in these characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jun 1, 2015
    83
    UnReal is simultaneously a very dark satire of reality TV and a soap opera that breathes new life into old tropes by placing them in this very familiar, modern setting. The story of the making of a show like this is ultimately far more exciting than the shows themselves seem to be.
  3. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 28, 2015
    80
    A savvy, acerbic look at how the reality-TV sausage gets made, with all its inherent manipulation, and collateral damage be damned.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jun 1, 2015
    80
    The sad thing--but also the thing that makes this show so compelling--is that the contestants care so much about winning this hideous, spirit-killing show. It’s that paradox that gives UnREAL its true soul.
  5. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jun 30, 2015
    80
    UnReal is darker than a locked box inside a lightproof cube sitting on the bottom of the ocean at midnight. It is an ice cream sundae laced with ipecac, delectable and poisonous all at once.
  6. 75
    UnREAL is clearly exaggerated for shock value, but it somehow feels more true to life than those "happily ever after" love stories the originals serve up.
  7. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jun 1, 2015
    70
    UnREAL is melodramatic and moralizing. But it’s also, in its first three episodes, pretty good: dark, deft and empathetic.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Aug 4, 2015
    10
    Absolutely amazing. The show gets so dark, which feels weird since it's on Lifetime... UnReal manages to be at once more ridiculous and moreAbsolutely amazing. The show gets so dark, which feels weird since it's on Lifetime... UnReal manages to be at once more ridiculous and more gritty and realistic than anything else on television at this time. Maybe it succeeds in part because of the season it's on in (summer is easier to win), but I've rarely had a show that made me think so much after episode. It's actually at its best when the characters are doing terrible things to each other... Expand
  2. Jul 1, 2015
    10
    It took me half an episode(ep 5, "Truth") to fall n love with this show. That particular episode moved me to tears & has every time I'veIt took me half an episode(ep 5, "Truth") to fall n love with this show. That particular episode moved me to tears & has every time I've watched it since. I binge watched all the preceding episodes & am now obsessed with it. I don't think it makes any difference if you are a fan of reality TV or not, although that's the premise of the show(& it's freaking fascinating)because there is also so much else going on with the characters. Sheri Appleby is so fantastic as the core character of the show & really a big part of the show is about her as a person, her past even which is weeved in in clever ways. She is so multi-layered & able to convey so many emotions at once even without opening her mouth. When she does speak it's even better. She manages to be an extremely sympathetic & empathetic character even when she's manipulating the hell out of everyone around her (which is her job). She's troubled, depressed, strong, highly intelligent, and it's absolutely fascinating to watch her "do anything for her job" attitude conflict constantly with her truly empathetic nature. You can tell she really does care about the girls(the contestants) even when she's manipulating them yet her acting is amazingly subtle. There are other interesting characters but she carries the show & you're rooting for her, or at least I am, all the way. I agree with what one reviewer said about the male characters being underdeveloped but first of all, I don't think it's the worst thing to have a female driven show. And secondly I do feel that one of the male characters is becoming more developed as the show goes on & that's Adam, "the suitor". He could easily be a one note character(as could the contestants as noted) but he's not. Without giving anything away, it's actually pretty fascinating what the show is doing with his character. Instead of the usual female character who uses her looks & sexuality to get ahead & get what she wants, he's the male version except in "reality" he's often the one being used(just as women often are). There's one heartbreaking scene in ep 4 I think where he's blatantly being used. But it wouldn't be heartbreaking if you didn't already feel like he's a real person too & a good one at that.

    As for the "reality" aspect, I do watch some reality shows but "The Bachelor" doesn't happen to be one of them (the show within the show, "Everlasting" is clearly based on The Bachelor). However I read about it enough in my silly gossip magazines that I feel like I might as well be watching it lol. Anyway, that being said you don't need to watch it to be absolutely both riveted & horrified at what goes on "behind the scenes" & I have no doubt in my mind that at least some of if not most of the terrible things that happen on this show also happen in "real life" on shows like The Bachelor. Yes it's dark but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that the "reality behind the reality" of shows like The Bachelor is just as dark & UnReal is actually bringing them into the light. If you're not watching this show, you need to be. Btw I actually came across this page b/c I was searching for who does the score of the show. The music is phenomenal & completely sets the mood of the show. It reminds me of the score of "The Social Network" in that it almost sounds like horror movie music yet this is obviously not meant to be a "scary" show, at least not in a horror based way. But it completely adds to the disturbing feel of the show. Disturbing in a good way I mean. But you'll have to watch it to understand what I mean ;)
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  3. Jul 23, 2015
    10
    I love Shiri Appleby playing the anti-heroine part. I'm tired of how women are constantly portrayed without any shades of grey. Women are asI love Shiri Appleby playing the anti-heroine part. I'm tired of how women are constantly portrayed without any shades of grey. Women are as flawd and imperfect as men.
    Love how this main character doesn't rely on beauty to be interesting.
    The rest of the show is a lot of fun to watch. You are used to seeing the product of so much manipulation... Well, now you get to see behind scenes.
    Expand
  4. Apr 18, 2016
    9
    I don't really watch reality TV, but I've encountered enough along the way to understand the basic premise of it. And this show performs aI don't really watch reality TV, but I've encountered enough along the way to understand the basic premise of it. And this show performs a minor miracle -- it's simultaneously a smart character drama about an antiheroine at the exact same time that it brings the kind of soapy melodrama that makes reality shows fun. Effectively, it manages to have its cake and eat it too. And perhaps best of all, no actual contestants were harmed in the making of this show.

    The show provides a smart, insidery look at how reality shows are shaped, the participants manipulated into doing all sorts of things they wouldn't normally do with all sorts of producers' tricks. And one of the things that makes this such a good show is that people I would never have expected to like end up pretty likable. We understand the contestants and their points of view and why they're doing this, and we have sympathy for most all of them along the way, with maybe only a couple of exceptions. We know Adam -- the "Suitor" on the show -- is shallow and ludicrously privileged, but he still manages to be charming enough that it's easy to forget his copious flaws. We see everything from the point of view of the producers and understand how they end up manipulating people horribly and what they need to accomplish to do their kind of horrible jobs. Even Quinn, the boss and seeming villain of the piece, becomes a genuinely sympathetic character along the way, without ever being whitewashed into becoming someone she isn't.

    I've paid attention to Marti Noxon dating back to when she became the showrunner for Buffy, when she took a lot of criticism for taking the show in directions that seemed to yield darker looks at the characters with less breezy fun. This feels like it might be the perfect use of her talents -- it's dark as it can be, but set against a sunny enough backdrop to counterbalance it perfectly.

    I'm really happy that there's going to be at least one more season, and I hope it will be on the air for a long time to come.
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  5. Jun 9, 2015
    9
    Unreal is a surprisingly well-written TV show that blazes new territory. Shiri Appleby, who plays the character Rachel Goldberg, is aUnreal is a surprisingly well-written TV show that blazes new territory. Shiri Appleby, who plays the character Rachel Goldberg, is a fantastic actress and anchors the show. She plays a character who is gripped by strong emotions, but who is largely, though not completely in fragile control. She provides a welcome counterpoint to bi-ploar tropes like Carrie Mathison, in Homeland.

    The fake Reality-TV show world the show is set in is a fun one, especially if you don't mind Curb Your Enthusiasm style cringing at somewhat awkward moments. I like it, it feels original, and is comfortably far from the schlocky cop and doctor shows that dominate network TV. I'm writing this review because I want people to watch Unreal, as it deserves an audience, and deserves to be renewed.

    I'm not giving this a 10 because some of the male actors and characters aren't as strong, and it remains to be seen how well the writers can handle character development and/or devolution.
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  6. Jun 10, 2015
    9
    I read the reviews and one thing they mention is that this show is dark. It surprised me just how dark it got. It's not just the constantI read the reviews and one thing they mention is that this show is dark. It surprised me just how dark it got. It's not just the constant manipulation, blackmail and cutthroat office politics. These are bottom of the barrel soulless jackasses and it's really bleak. I've watched two episodes so far and I am really liking it. Hopefully it doesn't mean I am getting very bitter about life.

    Most of Shiri Appleby's shows are twee and on the wholesome side. This is really different from her other shows that I've watched. I think she was born for this role, ironically. Just the right mix of flaky, nervy, and desperate mess.

    Freddie Stroma's character doesn't really do much, which is a shame.

    There's a lot of forward momentum and the plotlines are tight. There aren't really a lot of plotlines and hopefully it stays that way.
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  7. Jun 5, 2015
    7
    I am sure that after seeing "unreal", you will never watch any reality shows, cause they are unreal. The only drawback with this show is theI am sure that after seeing "unreal", you will never watch any reality shows, cause they are unreal. The only drawback with this show is the craziness of its main girl character. Expand

See all 13 User Reviews

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