How to Watch 'Love Island' and More Reality Dating Shows
By Danica Creahan
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The first season of CBS’ Love Island premiered in July on CBS and Paramount+ and has been monopolizing every hot girl summer since. The show, based off of the wildly popular U.K. version and its other international spin-offs, brings a group of contestants together to live in a luxurious villa, isolated from the rest of the world, to be filmed 24 hours a day on their quest for love, friendship, or perhaps purely the prize money. But chances are, you already knew that, have caught up on all available episodes and are totally thirsting for more reality TV romance. Love Island’s third season is nearing its scheduled Aug. 15 end date, so you may want to start emotionally preparing now.
But what happens after the Aug. 15 finale, when the Love (Island) is gone? Luckily, there are plenty of romantic reality television shows to help fill the void of Love Island while you wait for next summer’s cycle.
If the most compelling part of Love Island to you is the contestants attempting to form genuine connections, you might want to tune in to the latest season of The Bachelorette. But if the tropical getaway element is totally essential for your entertainment, then give Bachelor in Paradise a try. If you’re looking for something more dramatic, try the HBO Max original FBoy Island, where the lead contestants along with viewers must figure out who is truly on the show for the right reasons.
From long running reality shows like Married at First Sight to new and exciting ventures such as Love Is Blind, here are 11 romantic reality TV shows to try if you like Love Island!
Although Katie Thurston’s rollercoaster of a season is coming to a close on Aug. 9, a new bachelorette is just around the corner. This series revolves around a single woman who welcomes a large group of men into her heart (and a mansion), allowing them to compete for her affections over the span of many weeks. At the end, after many rose ceremonies and guaranteed drama, two men will remain, and the bachelorette will choose whose proposal to accept. This year in an unprecedented turn of events there will be two seasons of The Bachelorette, Michelle Young’s season won’t premiere on ABC and Hulu until Oct. 19, but you can catch up on Katie Thurston’s season streaming on Hulu now.
This beach-centered spin-off of The Bachelor puts an equal number of men and women together at a paradise-like resort in Mexico. This show brings all the romance, drama, and cinematic montages usually associated with The Bachelor’s brand, with the added equalizing twist that every contestant has the power to decide who stays and who goes. You can stream past seasons of The Bachelor in Paradise on Hulu, and catch the latest season, back after a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, airing on ABC and streaming on Hulu Aug. 16.
Three women are placed on an island with 24 men in a search for true love and commitment. The catch? Half of these men are “nice guys” who share the women’s goal, and half are self-proclaimed “Fboys” who are there to play the women and the game with the goal of winning the cold hard cash prize of $100,000. Weekly episodes of FBoy Island are streaming now on HBO Max.
MTV’s Are You The One? groups together over a dozen single people, all of whom have a guaranteed, predetermined perfect match, to live in a house together. Over the course of the show, the group is tasked with figuring out who their perfect match is, and if the entire group succeeds, the contestants walk away not only with their matchmaking algorithm-approved partners, but with $1 million. The show was met with critical acclaim in its most recent season for exclusively featuring openly LGBT and sexually fluid contestants. You can stream seasons one through six of Are You The One? on Paramount+ now.
A group of conventionally attractive, sexually active individuals who struggle with romantic commitment believe they are about to partake in a tropical reality show similar to Love Island, and instead find a virtual assistant named Lana who informs them that the premise of this show is to forgo physical affection of any kind. Over the four-week span of the show, contestants go through workshops and challenges meant to enhance their bonds and help them form genuine connections with one another free from sex. Oh, and there’s a $100,000 prize at the end of it all- pending nobody breaks the rules… You can stream the first two seasons of Too Hot to Handle on Netflix now.
This show asks the question everyone asks themselves at some point: should I get back with my ex? Back With The Ex features former couples who’ve called it quits for a variety of reasons but are now wondering if they gave up on love too soon. There’s no prize money for these hopelessly hopeful couples, they are simply playing in the name of rekindled love. Back With The Ex was originally released on Australia’s Seven Network, but Netflix picked it up for distribution, so you can stream it now!
This show skips the typical dating phase of romantic reality television and jumps right to what is frequently considered the end goal for shows of this nature- holy matrimony. Love experts match up couples based on their desires and goals, and the contestants meet for their very first time at the end of the aisle. At the end of the season there is a “decision day” where the couples choose whether or not to stay married. You can stream seasons five through 11 of this high-stakes romance now on Hulu.
Matchmaker Patti Stanger struggles to balance her own personal life and her successful matchmaking service, Millionaire’s Club. Each episode features two dates arranged by Patti and her team with high roller, high status clients who are searching for their perfect mate. Notable clients of Patti’s include Perez Hilton, Dina Lohan, and Kenya Moore. Stream three seasons of Millionaire Matchmaker on Hulu.
Thirty men and women searching for love are put into speed-dating pods, where they can talk with one another but cannot see each other. When the couples decide who they’d like to marry, they get to meet face to face for the first time and attend a couples retreat in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. When they return from the retreat, they move in together and meet their partner's families. The season culminates in a “wedding day” where the still-engaged couples make their final decision as to whether or not to stay together. You can watch the first season of Love is Blind in its entirety on Netflix.
From the executive producers of Love Is Blind comes 12 Dates of Christmas- a dating show that draws its inspiration directly from the Holiday romantic comedies you know and love. Three eligible singles are searching for that perfect person to bring home for the holidays, and along the way encounter drama, romance, and presumably the magic of Christmas? This festive series is streaming now on HBO Max.
This OWN original series brings together a group of successful Black men and women in their 30’s and 40’s all looking to find love and form genuine, lasting connections. Under the guidance of comedian Thomas "Nephew Tommy" Miles, the group dates amongst themselves, going on weekly outings and weekend getaways, in constant communication with one another while still living in the real world. Each week a contestant is eliminated based on either the men or the women’s collective decision instead of one individually determining another’s fate. Ready To Love is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video with the discovery+ add on.