At first glance this may not seem like one for the boys but stick with me and trust me on this, its good story telling and good story telling does not specify gender.This comedy drama series produced by Lifetime shows the ins and outs of all the work that goes into making a reality television show. The series primary protagonist is the long suffering Rachel (Shiri Appleby), a young staff member on a dating show. Part of her job is to manipulate the relationships with the contestants in order to get the vital outrageous footage for the shows demanding executive producer, Julia (Constance Zimmer). Rachel is a natural at this, but the contestants have drained her and pushed her beyond her braking point, after burning out in the previous season she has returned to her old job a shadow of her former self, now seeking a chance at redemption from herself, not her colleagues, she is playing her own game and to hell with the consequences.
Reality TV has gone too far, we all know it, but still a lot of us watch it. It’s great to see scripted TV fighting back in this manner. The show is a great behind the scenes look at how fake reality can be, from the first beat you are kind of shocked at how unreal, this real looking show is, from shots being cut and redone, to casting changes made mid scene, it makes you wonder how much work goes into making these shows appear like reality.While at SXSW I had a chance to meet with the shows creators and some of the cast and I was delighted to hear that Lifetime in their infinite wisdom have filmed the whole series, to me this is great, it means that no one has interfered with the original ideas and the whole show will keep the wonderful tone of the pilot.
Casting has been fantastic; Shiri Appleby has this wonderful mix of defeated and feisty all at once, plus we get to see Constance Zimmer back in a ball busting role, something all the Entourage fans out there will have missed. Freddie Stroma plays the prince charming, a British heir with looks and charm that will make any girl swoon. Beyond these three you have of course all the contestants, the bitchy ones, the slutty ones, the desperate ones and the dark horses, all the archetypes are covered. What makes this so good as not everyones awful, everyone has their good and bad points, ok some are worse than others but this show though it may be called UnREAl it feels very real and the character development is the main reason for that. the show is intelligently written, the women are realistic (it easily passes the Bechdel Test ), the show deals with feminist issues without pushing men away, because lets face it those issues of equality affect us all and should be spoken about by both men and women and most importantly this show is just entertaining without making you feel dumb.
2015 SXSW Film Festival screening time and location
The World Premiere was on Monday, March 16, at 3:30pm CT
Vimeo Theater in the Austin Convention Center
**UnREAL was part of the Episodic portion of the Film Festival
Release date: 1st June 2015 on Lifetime