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FTRS Watches: The Circle

Let’s talk about one of Netflix’s most recent reality shows!

In this photo illustration a Netflix logo seen displayed on... Photo Illustration by Filip Radwanski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Before I get too into this, let me say this. I don’t really watch reality shows. More often than not, they are just over the top brainless fodder. But you know, sometimes, that’s just what the doctor ordered, and that’s exactly what I got with Netflix’s The Circle, whose first season premiered January 1.

***Obvious spoiler warning for the first season of The Circle***

The Premise

What first turned me onto this series was the premise of it. It takes eight people who have never met each other and puts them in the same apartment complex and forces them to communicate only through a social media platform designed specifically for the show, appropriately named “The Circle.”

You can use The Circle to update your status, direct message other contestants or start a group chat, as it is with any social media platform. The contestants also played various games where you could get to learn more about the other contestants. The twist? Since it is completely online, you don’t have to play as yourself. You can create a completely different online persona.

At the end of a given period of time, the contestants would be asked to rank the members of The Circle in order of popularity. After all the votes are tabulated, the top one or two vote-getters are named “Influencers.” The Influencers come together in a group message to determine which contestant gets blocked and removed permanently from the game. As contestants are blocked, they get to choose to visit one person and leave a video message for the whole group. With almost each contestant that gets blocked, another one takes their place.

At the end of the game, the contestants are asked to rank everybody one final time, and the winner takes home $100,000.

The Contestants

Because this wouldn’t really be an FTRS Alternative Content Article (TM) without it, I’m going to power rank the contestants of The Circle by how I felt about them by the end of the season.

13. Ed (playing as himself but with the help of his mom Tammy)

Oh my goodness, Ed was annoying! He was one of the last contestants to join the Circle. Playing as himself, with the help of his mother, Ed immediately didn’t trust anyone and pretty much jumped the gun accusing people of being catfishes. Despite being right on a few occasions, he was just annoying to watch, and I was thrilled when he got blocked.

12. Antonio

Antonio was one of the first surprises of the season. After being named an Influencer in the first rankings, he ended up be blocked by the second group of Influencers. Antonio never did a whole lot for me. He was paranoid, yet somehow over-confident, and I wasn’t upset to see him go.

11. Bill

Honestly, these next two, I don’t really have much to say. Bill was on for three episodes, and didn’t do anything memorable whatsoever.

10. Alana

Alana was the first person to be blocked, so we never really got to know her.

9. Miranda

The reason Miranda memorable is because of her relationship with the eventual winner of the show, Joey. I thought they were cute, and when she got blocked, I’m happy she got to have her moment with Joey before leaving.

8. Alex (playing as “Adam”)

This ranking was really difficult for me. I really love Alex. He and I have a great deal in common, and I feel like we would hit it off right away. Adam, on the other hand, was straight-up creepy. He said some very concerning things to the women of the show, and it just made me (and them) very uncomfortable.

7. Sean (playing as “Colleen” at first before playing as herself)

I really liked Sean. She came in and decided to play someone who she thought would have a better chance of winning before ultimately deciding to play as herself, and her decision really hit hard with me. I was super proud of her, and despite not winning, I thought she handled everything really well.

6. Karyn (playing as “Mercedeze”)

Of the non-finalists, Karyn was by far my favorite. Her character Mercedeze was smooth with the other contestants, and watching Karyn’s commentary of all of the events was one of the continual highlights of the show. She was the only one I was a little disappointed about that didn’t make the finals.

5. Sammie

I don’t have a lot to say about Sammie. I really like that she played herself, though she did get a little annoying at times. I liked how she and the other finalists really came together to form a really close-knit group. It was really cool to see!

4. Joey

When the show first started, I decided that I didn’t like Joey. He came across to me as the over-confident guy who got whatever he wanted, and that really rubbed me the wrong way. But as the season went on, he really began to grow on me. I really appreciated his honesty and empathy throughout the whole show. Also, his bromance with Shubham was amazing!

3. Shubham

At the beginning of the show, Shubham was my favorite contestant. He absolutely did not like social media but decided to come on this show anyway and ends up doing really well. He ends up being like a little brother to everybody.

2. Chris

Mostly because of his reactions to everything, Chris is one of my favorite contestants. He is sassy but is also there to constantly build up the other contestants when they feel down about something.

1. Seaburn (playing as “Rebecca”)

Despite playing as his girlfriend, Seaburn played the game perfectly. He had a great relationship with the main group of players and also produced some of the funniest moments of the show, like when he was in the all-girls chat and had no clue what was going on. I really wanted him to win, but I’m happy that he at least made the finals.

The Review

This show was just a lot of fun to watch. I decided to watch this on a bit of a hunch. I had seen some memes about how addicting the show was, but it wasn’t until I started watching it that I realized how accurate those were. It’s a really easy show to fall into.

I think the show producers did a good job of selecting very different people as the contestants, which is very different from some other reality shows. It showcased a multitude of different personalities, and I was really surprised to see how well each of their relationships grew over the course of the whole season.

The Circle is not without its problems, though. I think my biggest issue with the whole show was the host (Michelle Buteau) providing commentary throughout as a voiceover. I think it could have benefited from Buteau actually being around and talking to the contestants in person. It could really add another layer to the show.

Overall, I’d probably give this show a solid 6.5 out of 10. I think reality television can only be so good, and The Circle is definitely one of the better ones. If you have some time and just want a show you can watch where you can just shut your brain off and dive in, then this is the one to do that.