Dating reality shows have entered their second heyday. These sorts of programs disappeared completely when SBS’s Partner (2011-2014) was canceled due to a cast member’s death. However, they returned to TV with Channel A’s Heart Signal Season 1 to 3 (2018-2020). And now, Netflix’s Single’s Inferno, SBS Plus’s I’m SOLO, and TVING’s Transit Love are gaining popularity.
According to FlixPatrol, a global OTT ranking site, Single’s Inferno ranked 10th in the worldwide Netflix TV show category on the 2nd. The show also ranked first in Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam. In particular, the show beat out The Silent Sea for the first time and took the top spot. It’s also ranked 2nd in Hong Kong and Thailand, 3rd in Malaysia and Taiwan, and 4th in Indonesia and Morocco.
Single’s Inferno, released on December 18th, is called the Korean version of Too Hot to Handle. It’s a dating reality show that takes place on “Hell Island.” The participants can only escape the remote island as couples for romantic date nights in paradise. It’s produced as an 8-part show, and six episodes have been released so far. Every episode is garnering explosive reactions. The show successfully drew attention with cast participants with fandom as big as some celebrities, including beauty creator Song JiA and Sunmi’s dancer Cha Hyun Seung.
I’m SOLO is a hyper-realistic dating show for single men and women who desperately want to get married. The show drew sympathy by showing the romance of those easily seen in our lives instead of glamorous celebrities. If Single’s Inferno draws out people’s “dream” romance, romance in I’m SOLO is too realistic that it sucks you in. Some even commented, “I’m fine with watching Single’s Inferno after watching I’m SOLO. But my dreams are shattered when I watch I’m SOLO after watching Single’s Inferno.” However, the controversies surrounding the show are as big as its popularity. Recently, season four cast Young Chul became a hot potato. His rude and forceful words and actions towards a woman made the viewers frown, and the controversies are still ongoing.
Transit Love is unique in the sense that it stars couples that broke up. It’s a dating reality show in which couples who broke up for various reasons gather to look back on their past love and find a new one. The show differentiated itself from other shows by focusing on men and women who are either tired of dating or have problems. When Transit Love was released in August, TVING’s MAU (Monthly Active Users) recorded an all-time high of 3.87 million. The platform plans to unveil season two later this year. One thing to note is that Transit Love faced zero controversies about the cast, unlike other shows. Nine writers have contacted about 20,000 people and thoroughly checked all the cast.
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