Netflix’s Love On The Spectrum Skips The Typical Dating Show Drama For Two Specific Reasons

From The Bachelor franchise to Netflix’s recent success with dating shows like Love Is Blind, the romantic subgenre of reality TV has sometimes been deemed a guilty pleasure and the center of wine nights by its viewers. Those shows are fun, and a lot of times not because of the actual love connections, but because it’s so dang entertaining to see contestants go through the process of dating multiple people on television with cameras on them. But Love On The Spectrum U.S. is enjoyable for a very different reason. 

Love On The Spectrum is a dating show, but not really in the traditional sense of the phrase. Dating occurs, but there’s no impossible deadline to get married, a random paradise for its single men and women to converse in, or explosive fights. As showrunner Cian O’Clery calls it, Love On the Spectrum is a docu-dating series. He and the other filmmakers behind the scenes match up its subjects, but it’s so not the drama. 

When CinemaBlend spoke to O’Clery about the latest series, the showrunner shared why Love On the Spectrum is different (and a lot more sweet and wholesome) than your average dating show. In his words: 

There's a few reasons why I wanted to make the series in the first place, one of the most important ones being that it's important for people to understand a bit more about autism and what it means and how diverse it is. One of the reasons was, I agree with you, there's a lot of dating shows out there that kind of preys on conflict and drama and people fighting and there's a place for that obviously, and there's a place for those shows, but I just wanted to make something that was really just about people trying to connect and I felt that if it's done the right way that it can still engage an audience. Those shows amp everything up to try and keep the audience watching and sometimes it can be harder to make a series continue to be engaging and for people to wanna keep watching without those elements, but hopefully we've managed to do that. I don't know, you tell me, but it's nice to be able to do something that just feels a bit where there isn't that element of nastiness to it.

Love on the Spectrum follows a handful of autistic people looking to make a genuine connection with another person. Some of them find that, while others come away from the experience with a new experience that contributes to their path to partnership. You know, more like life works? 

Cian O’Clery shared that he wanted to make the Netflix series to bring more awareness to the Autism community and challenge stereotypes after Hollywood has depicted autistic people in some tropey ways. While he certainly understands the popularity of a show like Love Is Blind (which was actually the step in the right direction for dating shows), he loved the idea of doing a series without that element of melodrama. O’Clery shared how it works:   

I did a little whirlwind trip around the country to make sure that everyone was on board and everyone understood what they were getting involved with. We were all kind of aware that this was a team effort. When we talk to people about being involved in this series, we make it really clear that we're filming on their terms. We're not filming on our terms. It's not like we're not sort of saying 'You signed up for this and now we're gonna make you do this and this and this at this time', it's always about working around people's schedules andworking in a way that works for them and us working around them. It's not one of those series where you have a huge group of people and you're just filming solid for a month. We have a sporadic schedule where we jump in and out of people's stories.

Love On The Spectrum got its start as an Australian reality series, with seasons that came out in 2019 and 2021 with a Netflix subscription. The newest season is the first to be set in the United States and features people from many walks of life and carrying different ideas and experiences around dating. You can check out all six episodes of the trending Netflix series on streaming now and stay tuned on CinemaBlend for more exclusive interviews. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.