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We've dived deep into figuring out just what Netflix’s 'The Circle' is about. How does the streaming giant's newest reality TV show work?

WTF is the newest reality show ‘The Circle’ all about?

Reality TV, we can all agree, can get a little weird. Reality competition shows, especially, can reach new levels of oddness. From a reality competition show about glass-blowing (yes, really) to a hip-hop competition show, Netflix has been boosting their reality profile a lot lately. The latest offering is The Circle. What is The Circle? That’s a very good question.

Luckily for you, dear reader, we have dived deep into figuring out just what Netflix’s The Circle is. Here is what we’ve been able to find.

The basics of The Circle 

The Circle is a reality competition series with a prize of $100,000 USD. The Circle is produced in partnership with Netflix and UK-based production company All3Media. In addition to the U.S. version currently airing, there are plans for The Circle France and The Circle Brazil. Technically, the Netflix version of the series is an adaptation of The Circle UK, which aired on Channel 4.

Four episodes will be released in three installments on Netflix. The first four episodes of The Circle were released on Jan. 1, while the second installment releases on Jan. 8 and the final on Jan. 15. Michelle Buteau hosts the U.S. version. 

What is The Circle about?

The Circle has been described as “Big Brother meets Catfish” with a dash of Black Mirror thrown in for fun. A group of people, or “players”, move into an apartment building, but they never meet face to face. Instead, they’re given their own individual apartments. The players’ only means of communication is a specially designed app, The Circle, via which they portray themselves however they want.

Then comes the rating system. The players “rate” each other from first to last place. The top two players become “influencers”, while the remaining players are at risk of being “blocked” by the influencers – getting kicked out of the game. Blocked players are, however, allowed to meet one player in person. A day after elimination, the blocked player sends a video message to the remaining players about this IRL meeting.

There are eight active players in The Circle at all times. Fifteen people are in the building, but when a player is blocked, a new one can move in.

What do people think of The Circle

Reactions for The Circle amongst the critics who reviewed it seem to be mixed. Mashable calls The Circle proof that we are “living in the dumbest timeline”, while Esquire saw some aspects of the series as a critique on how reality TV shows often play out. 

On Twitter, however, the reactions from viewers are pretty positive.

Gwen_Dances praises The Circle for its diverse cast.

“#TheCircleNetflix is proof that it IS POSSIBLE to have a diverse cast. #THECIRCLE #TheCircleUS” 

zombiegirl72 has canceled Big Brother and is all about The Circle.

“So the first 4 episodes of @CircleNetflix are better than any recent seasons of Big Brother. #TheCircle”

Like everything, it may come down to if you think a concept about a reality TV show playing out on social is bad, good, or so bad it’s good. 

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