TV

Netflix’s New Reality Show ‘The Circle’ Shouldn’t Work, But Somehow It Really Does

"The Circle is the worst thing I’ve ever watched. I’m hooked!"

The Circle Netflix Good Show

The idea of a reality show with absolutely zero face-to-face interaction sounds like it would be a flop.

Yet somehow, The Circle, the newest reality tv show to come from Netflix, has managed to make it work. The premise for the show itself is simple: do what you can to be the most popular of the group and win yourself $100,000.

But because The Circle works a little differently to the average reality show, the twists and turns keep you glued to your seat. You see, while the eight constants live in the same apartment complex for the duration of the competition, they never actually see each other. Each player stays in their own self-contained apartment and can only communicate to fellow contestants through a text-based social media platform called ‘The Circle’.

At the start of the show, the eight contestants set up their profiles using only one image, a short bio and their relationship status.

But the anonymity in their interactions means that deception is easy, and basically encouraged. So the real people and those catfishing spend all their time trying to convince each other that they are genuine through group chats, private DMs and whatever games The Circle throws their way.

As time passes, the contestants anonymously rank each other with the two contestants who come out on top becoming “influencers”. These influencers then have the power to “block” another player which essentially kicks them out of the game.

As the number of players dwindle down, each contestants likability and popularity comes into question as the final ranking determines who wins the cash prize.

Why Exactly Is This Show So Damn Good?

Now while the idea of people just talking to other people on a bootleg Facebook platform sounds boring, The Circle is far from that.

First up, the communication system is voice-activated meaning each contestant has to awkwardly spell out all their emojis and LOLs while they’re deadpan, which never gets old. I’m also pretty sure that you can slowly see each contestant losing it more and more as each day passes from the lack of real, human interaction.

Plus, all the contestants come from very different walks of life meaning their knowledge of certain references are all over the place, which is very evident during games. But this diverse cast also means we get a bunch of very different approaches to the game, from calculated communication to authentic characters, keeping each episode fresh and interesting.

While each of the starting contestants are pretty common stereotypes, you still somehow end up being wildly entertained and surprised. In the first episode, we meet typical Italian mama’s boy and someone who looks like a Jersey Shore extra, Joey. By description and when you first meet Joey, you want to hate the kid.

But Joey ends up being one of the nicest and most genuine contestants in the house. Similarly, Chris is a happy-go-lucky gay man in his 30’s, filled with catchphrases that keep the circle laughing daily. But Chris is also super religious and leads his communication with not only humour, but his Christian values.

Above all, thanks to some great casting, you instantly get hooked on not only the genuine friendships that form, but on the drama from all the deception.

Despite how obvious the catfishes are, you’ll end up screaming at your screen over how anyone could be convinced by their lies. Then five minutes later you’ll find yourself smiling over just how sweet the Circle-built bromances are, like the one between Joey and Shooby.

Basically, The Circle is what you’d get if you took the ‘Nosedive’ episode of Black Mirror, and applied it to real life. The Circle sucks you in after the first 20 minutes, and leaves you asking just how much you’d change about yourself to become top dog too.

You can stream eight episodes of The Circle on Netflix now, with the final four episodes airing this week.