With the summer season in full effect, it’s time to take a look at an ambitious, albeit unoriginal reality show that has washed up on our American television screens this year.
Love Island USA came in hot a few weeks ago, and whether or not you’re familiar with the premise, it’s a show that is dividing viewers.
And this division isn’t a bad thing. Any polarizing show nowadays gets people talking, and the buzz gets people watching. So, just how well is this series faring during its inaugural season? Let’s talk it out, shall we.
The original Love Island series, which hails from Britain, is a bonafide hit. Currently in its fifth season, there’s no slowing down its popularity.
Unlike a show like The Bachelor, where there’s one person dating a slew of singles, Love Island allows viewers to see a myriad of couples.
And it’s the public that ultimately gets to decide which couple is the “winner”, with that couple walking away with a predetermined cash prize.
Considering its popularity on social media, it wasn’t shocking to hear the news that CBS was bringing the show to America.
In a day and age driven by Twitter and Instagram likes and retweets, it made sense to test the idea out here.
Part of the allure of the show is how interactive fans are with the day-to-day in the villa and the individual contestants.
Aside from just picking the winner, the fans also aid in picking dates between their favorite housemates and getting people dumped from the island.
In a world where many people see reality television as scripted and fake, the idea of having a hand in the outcome of an episode is very appealing to those who enjoy watching love-centered reality shows.
Now, while the pros are undeniable, it goes without saying that there would be some cons as well.
For starters, the show comes on five days a week, which is a tall task for some to entertain.
Plus, there’s the whole issue of whether or not you can relate to ten beautiful, twenty-something people, parading around the beach in their bathing suits 24/7 looking for love.
That may or not be your thing after all.
But I say all this to get to the heart of the matter, which is to figure out whether or not this iteration of the famed series is a hit or a miss.
As it stands at this moment, it appears to be more miss than hit. And it’s unfortunate because all the pieces are there.
Much like the original, there’s the voiceover every episode guiding us through the shenanigans and shading each contestant along the way.
There are also challenges which are supposed to bring some fun (and jealousy) into the mix. But both things fall a bit flat.
And then there’s the cast in general.
Every successful reality show needs a fan favorite, a villain, and some comic relief.
Love Island USA fails to establish any of those roles.
Mostly everyone is likable, but no one stands out in the way that the fan favorites on other shows have.
Think of those men and women of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette who you recognize on the cover of the magazines while you’re checking out at the grocery store, even though you’ve never seen an episode of the series.
There isn't a single one of those on this island.
Love Island USA lacks that captivating personality in a big way.
Zac and Elizabeth are probably the most beloved couple to this point, but that’s due to their sincerity with one another more so than the personalities they’re showing us.
And where is the drama?
Outside of a few re-couplings that have been marginally surprising, there has been very little drama thus far. Perhaps things will pick up leading into the finale, but to this point, there have been very few sparks.
There have been zero watercooler moments, and hardly any serious shockers.
Considering how often the show airs, they should be throwing curveballs at the villa every single day.
One has to imagine that CBS was looking to set up the series as a summer staple to pair with Big Brother every year, but its first season has been shaky at best.
If there is going to be a Season 2 next summer, the producers are going to have to do some soul-searching and really tap into what they want their version of the show to be.
Dating shows get a bad rep nowadays, and Love Island already comes in at a disadvantage, as it's not purely about finding love.
These people are looking to make a connection with one another sure, but they're also playing a game.
The ultimate aim for the contestants is to walk out with a person you like and your bank account significantly fatter.
But to get US viewers to tune in, CBS needs to do a better job of making us care about these folks and their overnight romances.
What do you think?
Share all of your Love Island thoughts with us in the comments!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.