Insiders on Netflix

By | October 21, 2021

Alright, this is pretty complex to buckle up.

This dropped into my Netflix recommendations this morning as I was about to watch an episode of Baking Impossible and thought it looked quite interesting – I can’t say I’ve seen much Spanish reality. From the first five minutes – oh, it’s basically Big Brother, but in truth it’s actually a bit more interesting and insidious than that.

Twelve contestants think they’ve made the final round of casting for the show, and the last stage is two weeks staying in the house that they don’t believe is being filmed, because they’re idiots apparently who have never come across the idea of one-way mirrors, whilst doing tests in the “workroom” (which they know IS being filmed). Each contestant is wearing a wristband that apparently is tracking everyone’s emotions, and this is all fed into their individual pie chart and discussed by a casting coach, the idea, as far as they’re concerned, is to try and “scientifically” come up with the perfect reality show contestant and to see how far they’re willing to go for $100,000. The question the show seems to be trying to ask: are people different when they don’t think they’re being filmed?

However what the contestants think the show is, and what the viewers think the show is are rather different and I suspect by the end of the run our positions will have changed again. Two episodes of seven in we’ve been introduced to a fake contestant, two fake “bad cop” producers, a confidentially break, mess, tears and tantrums and evictions and nothing is quite what it seems – only that reading the episode synopses ahead, there IS a game and there IS $100,000 at stake and at some point everyone’s going to find out they were being filmed the whole time.

The show is hosted by actress Najwa Nimri who apparently can’t sit in a chair properly and the direction goes slightly overboard with “look how mysterious this all is” in quite an annoying way, but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t interesting enough that I wasn’t going to finish the series – it’s only seven episodes long and each one is about 45 minutes.

12 thoughts on “Insiders on Netflix

  1. Dale

    likeing the show so far. Love the editing and the cuts back to the host.

  2. Brig Bother Post author

    Done episode four of seven, it’s rather outstandingly cruel and meta.

    Really interested to see if and how it carries momentum through the final three eps, which look like they’ll be more trad.

  3. Chris M. Dickson

    Unethical. It reflects badly on those who work on it and those who commissioned it. That is all.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      It’s all these things. But. I think it has something quite interesting to say about reality TV, even if it’s doing it in quite a have your cake and eat it fashion. At the very least I hope the contestants were well debriefed.

      It reminds me of Space Cadets, although a bit more… well I’m not sure ‘worthy’ is the most apposite word.

      1. Chris M. Dickson

        Yeah, totally fair – and (without trying to get you to spoil it for those who are still watching) I hope they were all well compensated as well as well debriefed. (As you say, much like Space Cadets.)

  4. Dale

    I just finished the series and loved it!

    It felt a bit like a black mirror episode in the way that it was VERY meta at times. It did feel like something was missing. In a way, it was a breath of fresh air in that there wasn’t a solid formula they had so the contestants had nothing to really latch onto getting an upper hand.

    I wish they played more with the theming of ‘insiders’ which the stinger at the end looks like they will.

    My only concern is to pull this off again they would have had to of filmed a couple of series prior to airing this one because now anyone that tries out to be a contestant for any NF Reality show is going to be a little suspicious.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        I’m extremely interested to see where they go with S2, I’ve just finished series one and the more trad eps were probably the least interesting, but if you like reality TV mess you’re well catered for, and if you like something a bit more thought provoking, it asks just as many questions as it answers.

        1. Dale

          I do like the twist with the eliminations at the end. Where the one voted out has the power. It just felt a bit out of place in this game. I wish there were a challenge or a task or something to freshen it up as a the purely social game was a but boring at the end of the season when the game officially started.

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    Series two has started, first three eps are up, new ones on Thursdays. Money Heist Woman still hasn’t figured out chairs.

    Similar set-up to the first one – twelve people believe they’re in the final round of casting but in fact are already on. The twist this time is that two of them are moles – contestants from the first series (which hadn’t gone out when this one filmed), the contestants believe that there’s a second house of rival finalists next door, and there’s a new gym where, thanks to science, you can use physical exercise to raise and lower your psychological attributes.

    It’s all bollocks of course, and it’s interesting to see how they go for it (or think they need to to get on board). Like last series – probably not the best game, probably not the best “reality” (although it certainly looks like it could get messy) but whole thing is thought-provoking and hugely stylish.


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