Last updated on May 16th, 2016 at 11:28 am

Channel 4's Mating Season

Channel 4 has revealed what is going to be a part of its Mating Season – a series of dramas, documentaries and reality TV that closely examine the ins and outs of modern dating. This includes Skins creator Bryan Elsley’s new drama Dates; interactive show Date Night; investigative advice on How to Find Love Online; and life analysis Why am I Still Single?

The Mating Season is fronted by a Galapagos Turtle named Arthur. These creatures spend up to 100 years with the same mate, so when Arthur loses his long term life partner, we join him on his quest for love. Its not an easy journey for the poor old chap, least of all because the world has changed so much. If you’ve ever asked your grandparents how they met, it sounds like it was a completely different experience – mine met at a tea dance. Since everything has changed so much, its about time TV took a look at what dating is today rather than giving us the entertaining, yet not particularly illuminating shows like Take Me Out.

Bryan Elsley’s new show Dates tells us the story of a series dates in a nine-part original drama. Dates tells the story of the evening from both sides, or from third parties, taking us on a ride that has the ups and downs of lies, confessions, infidelity, role-playing, crises of confidence, sexual misadventure, hilarity and sorrow. The show pulls together an ensemble cast including Will Mellor, Sheridan Smith, Oona Chaplin, Gerg McHugh, Katie McGrath, Gemma Chan, etc. It’s a concept of simplicity, bringing something raw back to the screen – two people, 30 minutes of drama all centred around the very common concept of a date.

Written by a team in quite a short period of time, Dates does well to bring drama and humour to your TV. The two episodes we watched had some really interesting characters that we’d like to see more of. Therein lies a problem however, as there are a lot of characters and a lot of dates to get through, so will we get enough of the ones we like? That, and there are numerous directors on the project, meaning a lot of different styles. The first episode, featuring Will Mellor and Oona Chaplin had lingering shots and long pauses, it felt awkward and the sexual tension palpable. Yet the later episode we saw felt entirely different. You’ll need to buy in to the concept of the show in order to stick with it. We think there is enough here for you to keep coming back regardless of which characters you like or simply cannot stand! That, and the female cast are pretty darned pleasing on the eye as well…

From dating drama to dating documentary with Channel 4’s Date Night. This is a ridiculously complicated sounding concept that has the potential to be a real hit with the right audience. Ever been out for dinner and sat looking at the two on a table nearby who are obviously on a first date and wondered what was going on? Well, Date Night takes that curiosity and blows it beyond all proportions by setting up an entire restaurant full of first daters. They record each and every one date, before, during and after – with some pretty frank opinions being shared. If dates fail, or the person you’ve seen on the show would be the perfect date for you, head online to Channel 4’s site and you can apply to be sitting there next week with that lady (or chap). Whilst we all like seeing things go well, its always the car crash dates that make the most humour and I know we are looking forward to some going down in flames!

Dawn Porter has a two-parter that looks at Online Dating. How it goes wrong, how it goes right, and what the tips and tricks are for getting what you want out of it. Statistically, you need to make 100 connections, go on 10 dates and eventually 1 of those people might not be a total nut-case that you could see yourself in a relationship with. Why Am I Still Single is all about two people delving knee deep into each others’ personal lives to find out why they are still alone – family and friends are interrogated, emails sifted through and ex’s quizzed. No stone is left unturned before some cold hard truths are delivered to each other by total strangers.

As men, dating shows haven’t always been particularly interesting. They’ve felt out of date, a little too exhibitionist and selective and often featuring women we aren’t bothered with. Channel 4’s attempt to make this relevant is a welcome step. Thinking back at older shows, the men involved were typically testosterone filled muscle men with little else or weird little men with ridiculous quirks – where are all the Average Joes? These days men aren’t typically the love rats, and hopefully these shows can being some equality! Make it modern, make it real and maybe we can get behind it… That’s our opinion anyway. Here is what the ladies over at Jane’s had to say.



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