The launch of Channel 4’s new social media reality show The Circle certainly got everybody talking on Tuesday night – well, you know, on social media at least.
From its Black Mirror-style concept and catfishing contestants to incredibly speedy voice recognition, viewers were intrigued by the new format.
Presented by Maya Jama and Alice Levine, The Circle follows a group of contestants as they spend three weeks in separate apartments in a block of flats, communicating with each other solely through the specially built social media platform.
The players can add whatever they want to their online profiles, and the aim of the game is to avoid being ‘blocked’ – at which point the other contestants will discover whether that person really is who they say they are. They are competing to win a £50,000 cash prize.
Lots of viewers took to Twitter to point out how the concept could have been inspired by Channel 4’s former show Black Mirror, with the reality TV concept bearing many similarities to Nosedive – a Black Mirror episode in which people constantly rate each other.
Tonight on @Channel4 – the launch of brand new show @C4TheCircle at 9:15pm with me & @MayaJama ! Think…that episode of Black Mirror with the ratings x when your instagram algorithm knows you too well! #TheCircle pic.twitter.com/0vRBgYl6sQ
— Alice Levine (@Alicelevine) September 18, 2018
#TheCircle *IS* everything Black Mirror warned us about – and I love it.
— Rick Politz (@rickpolitz) September 18, 2018
#TheCircle already feels like Season 1 Big Brother meets Black Mirror ????????
— Lizzi Michael (@LizziMichael) September 18, 2018
— Matt (@matthewllthomas) September 18, 2018
There was both controversy and confusion, too, over contestants assuming a completely different identity online. Case in point: gay contestant Freddie pretending to be a straight guy, flirting with ‘Kate’ (who is actually a man called Alex).
So there's a guy talking to a gay guy who's pretending to be straight wondering about the sexuality of the straight guy who is on a date with a straight guy pretending to be a girl. #thecircle pic.twitter.com/2ObHUN1CzU
— Jono (@jonoread) September 18, 2018
— Jools Evelyn (@joolsevelyn) September 18, 2018
And others were unhappy with one of the contestants, Jennifer, pretending to be an oncologist.
— Sarah Doran (@sarahisnothere) September 18, 2018
It’s interesting BUT pretending to be a cancer doctor is a bit too far… #TheCircle
— _ashleyhoyland (@_ashleyhoyland) September 18, 2018
Meanwhile, some people thought watching contestants shouting at a screen for the next three weeks could get pretty old pretty quickly.
I think I overestimated how interesting it would be to watch dumb, terrible people shout at their televisions for an hour #TheCircle
— Charlie Lindlar (@charlielindlar) September 18, 2018
But whether people liked the show or not, no one could deny the spectacularly speedy voice recognition going on behind the scenes…
— David Glenwright (@OldManGlenners) September 18, 2018
— harrison sharpe (@harrisonsharpe1) September 18, 2018
The Circle continues at 10pm on Channel 4 this Wednesday 19th September