'Bonkers' New Dating Show Could Be Crucial for Netflix

'Sexy Beasts' may prove integral to streaming platform's strategy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2021 8:40 AM CDT

First we had Fox's The Masked Singer, then Netflix's Love Is Blind. Now, a combination of the two. Sexy Beasts is a new reality dating show from Netflix that has contestants vying for a love match based on personality only; their looks are concealed by costumes—involving "elaborate makeup and prosthetics"—that resemble animals and mythical creatures. The show's first six-episode season (watch the can't-look-away trailer here), hosted by Rob Delaney of Catastrophe, will debut on Netflix on July 21. A second season is due out later this year, Variety reports. Produced by Lion TV, the program is based on a 2014 British TV series. "The viewers are in for a real treat," show creator Simon Welton says. "I hope the show puts a smile on peoples' faces as they play along to discover who'll fall in love with who, and what our cast all really look like." Here, reaction from around the internet:

  • 'Animal magnetism' you can't deny: Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Kristen Baldwin assures viewers, "Someone did not just slip LSD into your morning coffee," adding that the show "is just as disturbing as you'd expect."
  • Can't look away: From Vice's perspective, the oddness of it all is what makes it most compelling, with a "bonkers" premise that combines comedy and cringe. "I will never forget the clip of the woman made up to look like the devil making out with [a] mandrill, and I hope to see more of this content in the actual show," writes Gita Jackson after seeing the trailer.
  • One problem: Despite the show's allure, Jackson points out what appears to be a major issue: Based on their body shapes underneath the costumes, as well as snippets from the trailer showing them de-costumed, the contestants all appear to be rather attractive. Linda Holmes backs this up, writing for NPR, "Has Netflix simply reinvented the elite masquerade ball? These are all conventionally attractive people ... who would do very well on a dating app called Eh, Personalities Are Overrated."
  • Bank for Netflix? Writing for CNN Business, Frank Pallotta calls the show "more fever dream than dating competition." But he notes that Sexy Beasts is "integral to Netflix's business strategy and growth plans in the streaming marketplace," as the platform continues to try to "provide everything for everyone. ... [A]s ridiculous as it might seem, reality TV shows like Sexy Beasts are a big component of that."
  • A prediction: Christopher Davis has one, via Screen Rant: "The new reality series is already one of Netflix's most memorable original properties. For better or for worse, Sexy Beasts is poised to be the next great reality television sensation."
(More Netflix stories.)

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