An illustration of the TV show The Circle for a comparison of the show's two seasons. (Illustration by Sonja Vasiljeva, San Jose State University)

Season 2 of ‘The Circle’ Is Out, but Does It Stack Up to Season 1?

Does the initial success of this Netflix reality show promise that fans will enjoy the newest installment?
May 24, 2021
6 mins read

Reality TV shows are the perfect escape from, well, reality. They tend to be filled with intense fights between contestants, and it’s a guarantee that every scene of a reality TV series will include some type of dramatic moment. Shows like “The Bachelor,” “Survivor,” “Love Is Blind,” “Teen Mom” and “Dance Moms” are just a handful of the most entertaining reality TV series available for consumer consumption. If you enjoy shows like the ones listed, “The Circle” is worth a watch.

With only two seasons, “The Circle” is a relatively new reality TV show. For comparison, “Dance Moms” has eight seasons, there are 25 seasons of “The Bachelor” and “Survivor” boasts an impressive 40 seasons and counting. However, even with the short amount of time that the show has been on the air, “The Circle” has amassed quite a large number of fans. The YouTube channel “I Like to Watch,” which stars Trixie Mattel and Katya, produced an entire episode about the first season of the reality TV show that amassed over 3.3 million views.

Mattel and Katya’s video could have put the show on many viewers’ radars for sure. “The Circle” also came out in January of 2020 on Netflix, which aligns with when everyone suddenly received a lot of free time that following March and April. It was the perfect moment for a new reality TV series to be released because people desperately needed something to fill up their time. Luckily, the first season was entertaining and the contestants were incredibly personable. The show was also an ideal remedy for the long, empty days filled with anxiety and boredom brought on by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is one question that should be answered for anyone who hasn’t seen “The Circle” yet: What is it about? What makes the series stand out from the other reality TV shows that have been produced? Well, the interesting thing about “The Circle” is that the contestants don’t compete together in person. They are isolated in different apartments in the same building, and their only form of communication with each other is through a social media platform that was designed specifically for the TV show.

The ultimate goal of the contestants and the way to win the $100,000 prize is for a participant to become the most popular person on the social media platform. At the end of each episode, the contestants vote on who they liked the least. That person is then blocked from the platform and forced to leave the game. This premise, of course, allows for a lot of scheming and shenanigans to occur, which makes the show all the more entertaining to watch.

Another thing that is interesting about the show is that it came out right before the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people unexpectedly had more time on their hands, which therefore enabled more people to binge-watch the show than normal. Because “The Circle” follows individuals who are isolated and only have social media as a way to communicate with each other, it felt oddly similar to the situation every viewer was also living in.

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However, even though it has been a year since the first season was released and most people can no longer relate to the contestants, the premise of the show is still just as entertaining. The only people I wouldn’t recommend Season 2 of “The Circle” to is anyone who didn’t really enjoy Season 1 and only watched it to fill up the endless amount of time they seemed to have had in 2020. But if you did have fun bingeing “The Circle,” Season 2 is worth giving a try!

There is one major difference between the first season and the second season of the show, but it does involve a minor spoiler, so read on at your own risk. In the first season of the series, contestant Joey Sasso won. He was playing the game as himself, so he was not catfishing the other members of the show in order to win. However, in Season 2, a contestant who came in as a catfish won the series — I won’t spill who, just in case you still want to be surprised by who wins.

Season 2 is especially intriguing to watch because you get to see how the catfish manages to deceive the other contestants in order to win the game. The contestants are also extremely different from the individuals in the first season, so they interact with each other in new and exciting ways as well. Of course, that’s to be expected, because every person reacts to situations and communication differently. But if you don’t like the contestants in the second season as much as you liked the competitors in the first, you might end up liking “The Circle” a little less because of it. Or, you might like it even more, because maybe you enjoy hate-watching.

A reality TV show’s success depends largely on how the audience perceives the contestants. If you enjoyed the premise of the first season of “The Circle,” you’ll most likely still be entertained by the premise of the second. It all really depends on whether or not you would have fun watching competitive, dramatic and enthusiastic schemes unfold throughout 13 hour-long episodes. However, the only real way to find out if you’ll love Season 2 of “The Circle” as much as you appreciated the antics in Season 1 is to try it for yourself.

Emma Watts, University of Arizona

Writer Profile

Emma Watts

University of Arizona
English and Political Science

My name is Emma Watts and I go to school at the University of Arizona. My majors are political science and English, so I spend about 80% of my time writing and reading.

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