When UnREAL made its return for a second season all the way back in 2016, fans were super excited to delve back into the unscripted reality series world of ‘Everlasting’, as well as the lives of all those who made the show possible. Though the series was still entertaining and compelling in parts however, it failed to light a fire in the bellies of those who had returned off of the back of the incredibly unique and exciting first season, and that’s something those working behind-the-scenes picked up on. So much so, that the third season of UnREAL has been 18 months in the making.
Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby are front-and-centre once more as Everlasting’s brutal showrunner Quinn King and forever-tormented producer Rachel Goldberg respectively; a pair of women who are incredibly good at their jobs and telling the story they want told on the reality series, despite it supposedly being based in “fact”. And this time round, they’re holding a deeper and darker secret than ever before, not just relying on one another to keep quiet, but also the show’s creator Chet Wilton (Craig Bierko), and the increasingly frustrating crew member Jeremy Caner (Josh Kelly). The secret is something that constantly threatens to boil to the surface, even in just the first hour of season 3, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on how all of that progresses.
Everlasting is facing cancellation when we pick up with UnREAL. A tragedy in its former season means that the plug is very close to being pulled on the show, and Quinn needs Rachel to return to the fold and work her magic if the reality series is to ever become a hit once more. Though she doesn’t immediately seem receptive to the idea, she realises she’ll have more power than ever before in working on the mechanics of the series, and picks feminist icon Serena (Caitlin FitzGerald) to front the show. This time round, she’ll be hoping to find love on the series, picking from a bunch of men from all different backgrounds. The cast of men is of course made up of some stunners, as well as some novelty choices, but it’s Serena who’s instantly causing the most problems.
“She can’t be handled like the others,” says Rachel, and she’s right. This is a woman who, whilst flawed and malleable at times, is more than willing to stand up for herself and push the show in the direction she’d prefer.
But when you really pull UnREAL apart, the beauty of the show comes from just how well it’s able to turn in on itself. It looks at the world of entertainment and television and raises some huge questions about morality, ethics, and just how far some people are willing to go for success. In a time when all of that stuff is very much in the public eye, it’s great to see a series such as this one unafraid to keep on shining a spotlight on the horrors and the true reality of what can go on behind-the-scenes of a hugely popular television show.
With new rivals for leading characters, the threat of everybody being replaceable, and, as ever, romance in the air, UnREAL is back to its best in its season 3 premiere. Let’s hope it’s something that can continue throughout.
UnREAL season 3 comes to Amazon Prime Video every Tuesday following its broadcast in the US.
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