Spoiler Alert: To watch The Circle, in-and-of-itself, is a spoiler. The only way to prevent spoilage is to NOT watch the circle at all. The Circle represents everything you hate about humanity, social media, and relationships in general. And big Spoiler Alert: The White Broey dude wins in the end, just like in real life.
Honestly, I’d rather watch a telethon, an infomercial, a televised bible study lecture, or the local community access bulletin board station. All of these programs would be far more interesting than The Circle is in its entirety.
The general premise of “The Circle” could be interesting in a different format as a social experiment: In it, they take a bunch of random strangers and lock them in isolation with just a few photos from their collections and a closed-circuit social media platform, and see what happens. Will they pretend to be people they aren’t? What kinds of bonds will they form with each other? What kinds of enemies will they make? How will they judge each other?
The the format and execution, however, are miserable beyond anything ever put on television. Principally, the core problem is that watching people send text messages to each other for 45 minutes straight does not make for good television.
Maybe it would be better if it weren’t for the slow pacing, the logistics of having everyone speak their messages out-loud for the cameras while a supposed AI captures their voice and sends it via text to everyone else (which is really just a human/intern typing their social media messages on their behalf). Maybe it would be better if the rules of the “game” didn’t seem to be completely arbitrary and changing… as when players are eliminated, new players get invited, presumably because they didn’t have the budget to invite them all in at once into these luxury apartments. But it begs the question “when is this going to end?” Maybe if it weren’t for the obscenely long 45-50 minute average episode length (really it warrants a 5-10 minute experience tops). Maybe if it weren’t for it representing everything that “real” people hate about social media in-general, the fakeness, the superficial, the judgement, the complete brainlessness. Maybe if it weren’t for the eventual winner being chosen by some unmentioned, arbitrary, opaque system with 5th through 1st place announced immediately in succession in the most anti-climactic manner possible. Maybe if it weren’t for all those things… “The Circle” would be almost worthy of being buried on some random community college’s YouTube channel where it could rack up the 450 total views it deserves in-between forced advertisements for men’s facial care products.
But alas, “The Circle” lacks such filmmaking finesse, making it unworthy of any viewing platform. The fact that I’m wasting my energy even writing about it is more attention than it, frankly, deserves.
If there are any moments worth watching in The Circle, it would be when the catfish finally reveal themselves to their fellow players. This encompasses a total of maybe 8 minutes of the 12 or so hours of material in season 1.
Don’t waste your time with this stuff. I haven’t watched season 2, because I don’t hate myself that much.