TV Review: ‘UnREAL’ Closes The Book On A Devilishly Good First Chapter


unreal-season-1-photos-98Preston Barta // Features Editor

Every so often you’ll run across a TV show during the summer that both captures your interest and reminds you why you love getting lost in the sea of television. No other summer show even comes close to claiming this title than Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s UnREAL, a show that has reached the end of its first chapter. However, fans needn’t fret, as it closes the book on a devilishly good one at that.

Madness, scandal, and Quinn’s stinging remarks (#Quinning)– television won’t be the same this year without UnREAL continuing to create a firestorm of mind games. Luckily, season two is guarantee. But for the time being, let us look back on what all this season had to offer and what’s to come on tonight’s unhinged season-capper.

Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Adam (Freddie Stroma) prepare for the finale of Everlasting. Photo courtesy of Lifetime.

Rachel (Appleby) and Adam (Stroma) prepare for the finale of Everlasting. Photo courtesy of Lifetime.

UnREAL entered the world just over two months ago and surprised us all. It gave us a humorous yet riveting look at what happens in unscripted television, where being a contestant can be brutal and producing it is a whole other reality. Since our introduction, we have seen many things go down. We witnessed the lengths producers will go to get what they want from contestants, many a cat fight, immoral behavior, and constant play. We also saw the unlikely yet alluring pairing of Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Adam (Freddie Stroma), along with a proposal between Quinn (Constance Zimmer) and Chet (Craig Bierko) that fell apart quickly. If we have learned anything from all this, it’s that we never know what’s going to happen next.

Many of the episodes lately have left us on cliffhangers (especially last week), and we spend the next seven days wondering what will become of it. We may think we have it figured out, but as this show has proved time and time again, we never know what’s coming.

Quinn (Zimmer) and Chet (Bierko) duke it out. Photo courtesy of Lifetime.

Quinn (Zimmer) and Chet (Bierko) duke it out in tonight’s finale. Photo courtesy of Lifetime.

Tonight will leave audiences with a finale that will make for an amusing discussion. It answers questions that viewers were left with from earlier episodes, but also opens a whole new can of worms to play with the theories we have all thought of at one time or another over the course of the show. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a show that never lets up.

While summer is generally the time of superhero adventures, fast cars, and explosions, it is refreshing to feast your eyes on something that doesn’t offer big action scenes or special effects— just superior writing with skilled actors and crew who are capable of injecting television with a dose of twisted absurdity.

Leading up to tonight’s season finale at 10 p.m., Lifetime is running a marathon of the entire season, starting with the pilot at noon. So, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, now is the time.

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About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.