Right at the start of 2020, people everywhere got hooked on Netflix’s foray into reality television with The Circle. The addictive show, based on one from the UK, combined elements of social media, friendships, and competition shows to make something special. It has been compared to things like Catfish and even Black Mirror.
The series was a massive hit, with versions in the US, Brazil, and France being out now. It reached a point where two months after the premiere, it was renewed for two more seasons. No official release date has been set but season two is expected in 2021. There are things from the first season that should appear even more but a few other aspects need to remain in the past.
10 Avoid: A Drawn Out Finale
The format of the show was pretty strong throughout. They did a great job of giving everyone camera time and keeping up with the surprises. However, things kind of got tripped up for the finale. While fans were excited to see things come to an end, the episode lacked.
It was longer than the rest and combined the elements of a finale with what you’d typically get in a reunion episode. That made things feel dragged out. Season two would be better served to do a reunion episode separately and let the finale breathe on its own.
9 Need More Of: Rivalries
To be honest, most of the people on the show seemed to get along very well. There were strong bonds formed almost immediately. While that was nice to see, reality television is usually at its best when there’s a lot of drama and that comes from feuds.
Season one had a few of these. Things like Ed having issues with Seaburn or the way Joey called out Antonio is exactly what the show needed. There needs to be more of that next season. Not only would it up the drama factor but it would help the season feel different from the first.
8 Avoid: Fake Niceness
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous entry. As noted, most of the cast members were friendly with each other. That was especially true for the five who made it from day one until the end, which were Joey, Sammie, Shubham, Chris, and Seaburn.
When Bill was eliminated, he called out the house for faking being nice with each other. While things were genuine between most, you were able to see that some folks were being nice to people they didn’t like just to play the game. It’s a smart strategy but maybe a bit less of it would be welcome.
7 Needs More Of: Unique Personalities
One of the nicest things about the show was that no two characters felt alike. You have some who fit stereotypes (Alana as the token hot girl, Ed as the mama’s boy, etc.) but the showrunners made sure that nothing felt repetitive.
That’s important because shows can fall into tropes. The Circle can avoid that by keeping the personalities unique and making sure that the cast next season also doesn’t have all that much in common with those from the inaugural season.
6 Avoid: Bringing Back A Previous Player
A lot of reality shows like to bring back past contestants as a surprise in later seasons. Remember when New York returned on Flavor of Love? Shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette do it all the time. It makes sense since these people are popular and fans have a built-in connection with them.
However, The Circle would be well served to stray from these kinds of reality TV tropes. Those contestants have had their opportunity and have experience playing the game, so it might be a bit unfair to others.
5 Needs More Of: Games
It was incredibly fun to hear the alert go off and see the reactions of the players. While it was enjoyable for things like twists and updates, the best part was often when it was time to play a game. These allowed viewers to get to know more about the cast members.
They were also a blast to sit through. Whether it was for a trivia night, anonymous thoughts about other members, an art contest, or anything else, these were a highlight of the show. Sadly, there was only one per episode and that should be raised in season two.
4 Avoid: Too Many Guys
There was an overabundance of males on the show. To start, you had Sammie, Alana, and Karyn. Even with the additions of Miranda and Sean, that meant there were only five females of the 13 total competitors. To be fair, that’s not including Tammy, Ed’s mom.
When the show ended, Sammie was the only girl left since “Rebecca” was actually just Seaburn. They would do well do mix things up a bit more next time. Either flip it so there are more women than men or even it out a bit more for a different setup.
3 Needs More Of: LGBTQ Representation
This was absolutely something that The Circle gave viewers in season one and they are hoping for more of it. Karyn was a lesbian, Chris was gay, and Sammie and Miranda were bisexual. That’s a fair amount of representation from some of the most popular players.
Season two might as well take things up a notch. They should include representation that hasn’t been seen yet. Maybe add a transgender cast member or someone who is asexual or pansexual. It could lead to some interesting discussions as people get to know more about each other.
2 Avoid: People Coming In Late
Admittedly, contestants showing up after the original group made for some interesting moments. You were always excited at the prospect of a new person joining the game, which kept things fresh. That being said, it also ended up not really working all that well.
At first, it felt unfair to those who were there when the game started. However, it turned out that the opposite was true. The original group had formed bonds that made it so they would protect each other over the rest. Having everyone start at a similar time will make for a more even game.
1 Needs More Of: Genuine Friendships
While it’s true that more drama and rivalries were mentioned earlier, you couldn’t help but admire the true friendships that were forged on the series. It was endearing to see the Joey/Shubham bromance develop or to watch the friendship of Chris/Karyn blossom.
The anticipation building in the final episode at getting to see the five finalists meet in person for the first time meant so much because of how they had connected. The second season should indeed include some feuds but these genuine relationships must stick around.
NEXT: Netflix’s The Circle: 5 Best First Impressions and 5 Worst