The reviews are in for season two of Lifetime’s behind-the-scenes reality TV satire “UnReal,” and they’re even better than those for the first. As of this writing it has racked up an impressive score of 87 on MetaCritic (up from 78 for season one). Last year it won a Peabody Award, an AFI Award and a Critics’ Choice prize for Best Drama Supporting Actress (Constance Zimmer). And by premiering on June 6, it reenters the TV conversation just a week before the start of Emmy voting on June 13. Read some of the reviews below, then make sure to join the TV discussion in our forums.
Jen Chaney (Vulture): “The second season of ‘UnREAL,’ which begins Monday night at 10 p.m. on Lifetime, continues to work from that same multilayered template, but with even more confidence and a greater sense of ambition. While the series still addresses the thorny issues involved in creating realitainment mired in gender stereotypes, and has a hell of a good time while doing it, it expands its focus to tackle something new: racism.”
Willa Paskin (Slate): “Set behind the scenes of a reality show, ‘UnReal’ uses its seemingly frivolous setting to stage one of the darkest, most incisive shows on television. Its supercharged second season, which premieres Monday night, slams our moment’s hottest topics into a blender and hits frappe. The resulting concoction, made of election dynamics, confederate flags, Black Lives Matter, football, diversity, gender norms, voyeurism, narcissism, hedonism, nihilism, cruelty, manipulation, and mental illness is like a juice fast created by a demon: It looks great, tastes better, and tears you apart from the inside, leaving you gutted—which is a brutal kind of cleansed.”
Melissa Maerz (Entertainment Weekly): “When a Black Lives Matter activist (Denée Benton) joins Everlasting, ‘UnREAL’ offers a surprisingly nuanced exploration of whether it’s more effective to create change from within the system or by blowing it up. Of course, there’s also a contestant who wears a Confederate-flag bikini. Somehow, just like its unfortunately tattooed protagonists, ‘UnREAL’ just gets smarter the more shameless it gets.”
Diane Werts (Newsday): “Twists, turns and new depths of depravity abound. Races collide. Sexes battle. Crew members pick sides, fired by ambition and/or ‘self-loathing about working here.’ Whip-smart and skintight, Season 2 clicks like clockwork. You’re appalled, you’re LOL, you can’t wait to see next week.”
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