Let’s be honest with ourselves - even though we all might be in loving, committed relationships, sometimes we just can’t deny that romantic reality shows are our guilty pleasure. Even if you don’t have a significant other, sometimes all you want to do is sit back on your couch, and watch others find love - or completely fail at finding it. It’s good TV - and luckily, Netflix has a plethora of them.
Whether you’re looking for a Netflix original like Too Hot To Handle or shows from other popular TV channels, Netflix has you covered with some awesome dating shows. Here are some great picks if you’re craving some good, old-fashioned guilty pleasure television.
Too Hot To Handle (2020 - Present)
In this popular Netflix original dating series, Too Hot To Handle features a variety of adults who are either engaged in meaningless flings or can’t form long-lasting relationships, who are all placed together in a house for four weeks and must go through several workshops, all while forbidden from kissing, any sort of sexual contact, or any sort of self-gratification - with the threat of a $100,000 cash prize decreasing in value.
Too Hot To Handle blew up on Netflix when it first came out in 2020, so much so that it received a second season not that long after. The show became so popular that now it has a Brazilian version on the streaming platform, too. To me, it’s certainly the guiltiest pleasure out of all the dating shows on here to watch - some of these participants are just ridiculous - it’s still a lot of fun.
Love Is Blind (2020 - Present)
Another original on Netflix, Love is Blind follows 30 attractive singles from Atlanta, who are dropped into a blind-dating facility, with the men living on one side and the women on the other. The only contact they have with each other is through pods, two rooms filled with plush sofas, and separated by an opaque glass wall.
Love is Blind is definitely one of the most interesting takes on romance. Out of most of these shows, I really like how they talk about the idea of blind dating, and in a way where these contestants can really get to know each other without judging based on their looks, while it still feels at least a little authentic to who they are. There's one season, a reunion special, and a follow up on the Season 1 couples so far, so be sure to enjoy until Season 2 comes out.
Dating Around (2019 - Present)
I’m starting to think Netflix really likes making these dating shows. In this original, Dating Around follows different singles as they're set up on five blind dates each.
Dating Around is definitely the most inclusive of a lot of the shows here for fans who don’t just want to see hot, straight, white people for hours on end, and I think that’s why I like it a lot more. There are so many different sexual orientations and races shown, and all show different personalities that make the show easy to follow and like. There’s even a Brazilian version of this series out now, too, so that proves how popular it was.
Sexy Beasts (2021 - Present)
In this Netflix revival of the U.K.-based reality show, Sexy Beasts follow strangers who are set up on blind dates, except there’s a catch - they are decked out in prosthetic makeup, totally hiding their true faces, so that they must fall for their date's personality only.
Sexy Beasts is like Love is Blind, except a lot cheesier. It really doesn’t take itself too seriously, due to the fact that most viewers won’t even take it seriously with all this extreme makeup. This isn’t a fantasy show - they don’t need to look like the literal demons of the underworld, but the producers go hard with the prosthetics, and it makes the show laughable. It’s still enjoyable, regardless, and the dates are actually pretty cute to watch.
Love On The Spectrum (2019 - Present)
In another Netflix original, Love on the Spectrum follows a group of young adults, who are all on the autism spectrum, as they look to find love within the dating world.
Okay, jokes aside about all these dating shows - this is genuinely one of the most light-hearted, wholesome, cute reality series I have ever watched. Unlike a lot of dating shows that primarily focus on just the sexual part of dating, or how many followers someone might want to get from being on the show, Love On The Spectrum is truly about love. What makes it better is that it doesn’t stray from its initial focus, and follows several lovely folks, all on the spectrum, who truly do want to find someone to love. They are the absolute sweetest, and I can’t wait until Season 2.
Back With The Ex (2018)
This Australian reality show is all about couples - and the chance to begin again. In Back with the Ex, couples who had previously broken up want to give their relationships another try, and we see if that works out, or if it’s a waste of time.
A lot of dating shows start out with singles trying to look for love, but what makes Back with the Ex a lot more enjoyable is that all these couples have already been together before, so they've already established that they had chemistry in the past. While these twosomes are a bit of a mess - believe me, some of the breakups were just bad - but it’s still interesting to see the couples try to find a way to make their past relationship work again.
Indian Matchmaking (2020 - Present)
Another Netflix original series, Indian Matchmaking is a documentary television series about Sima Taparia, Mumbai’s top matchmaker, who travels across India, and even to the United States, to find men and women who are looking for a matchmaker to help them out and find a life partner.
Indian Matchmaking isn’t really a reality television show compared to many of the others on this list, but it’s still a show about dating that follows a specific set of people and what happens when they meet Sima. And, what really makes Indian Matchmaking a cool show to watch is the Indian culture that you get to see, one that I, as an American viewer, isn’t really exposed to that often. With a second season confirmed, it's good to catch up on all the love drama now.
Say I Do (2020 - Present)
In Say I Do, this show follows several couples who are overcoming obstacles to celebrate their love, and get their ultimate dream wedding, designed by three experts in less than a week.
This show isn’t really about dating - it’s honestly about what happens after you find that person you want to be with for the rest of your life, as you can tell from the title. But, if you’re looking for something a little more pleasant to watch than the typical dating show that just focuses in on dating struggles, then this is the one. Plus, some of these weddings are actually gorgeous and will make you start planning out your own, years in advance.
Are You The One? (2014 - 2019)
Are You The One? is a series that originally aired on MTV, and follows a group of men and woman who are secretly paired into couples by producers, via a matchmaking algorithm. Now, while everyone lives together, it’s up to the contestants to figure out these “perfect matches,” and if they do, the group shares a $1 million prize.
Now we return to basic dating shows, but Are You The One? is certainly one of the most fun ones. I think what really makes it stand out is that it feels like a bit of a mystery to you, as well. While the contestants have the money on the line, you can just sit at home and watch as they try to figure their matches out. Only the first two seasons are available to stream on Netflix right now, but it’s worth the watch.
The Single Wives (2018)
Last but not least, this Australian dating show, The Single Wives, focuses on four women who were all formally married. Now, alone, they are searching for love and hoping they can have a second chance at their happily ever afters.
While many dating shows focus on both men and women, I think I like this one a lot because it only really focuses on the women trying to find men. While there’s only one season of it, it’s a lot of fun to see which participants end up getting partners, and which are left still looking.
You could spend your time watching the best shows on Netflix, but sometimes, we really all just need that (potentially cringy) dating programming, and a lot of ridiculousness to make us smile. Trust me, if you watch any of these shows, you will have a grand experience.
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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