The commercials aren’t exactly subtle.
“Get ready, America, for your new summer obsession!”
That’s the sort of hyperbole usually reserved for TV shows about hunky serial killers or trendy new places to spread avocados.
Alas, it’s neither of those.
It’s the dating series “Love Island,” and you probably have questions.
What’s “Love Island”?
Eleven singles are sent to a villa in Fiji to find love — or at least the TV equivalent of it. Every few days, newbies arrive looking to “couple up” and find a partner with whom to share a bed, the show’s mandatory sleeping arrangement. From there, it’s a game of musical mattresses. Whoever doesn’t have one leaves.
This sounds familiar.
It’s the U.S. version of the wildly popular British series that’s already spawned remakes in Australia, Belgium/the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and Sweden.
Wasn’t this just on?
That was the similar “Paradise Hotel,” which crashed and burned in the ratings in May after Fox rebooted it for the second time.
No, really. I swear I’ve seen this.
Perhaps you’re thinking of “Temptation Island,” which also was rebooted this year. Or possibly “Bachelor in Paradise.”
When can I watch “Love Island”?
It debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday on CBS and will air at 8 p.m. every weekday through Aug. 7.
That seems like a lot.
It is. But the British version runs six nights a week for a couple of months.
Do Americans have the patience to watch something five nights a week?
Probably not. NBC tried that strategy with “The Jay Leno Show” in 2009, but it only lasted five months. ABC ran “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” into an early grave by airing it five nights a week at its peak. MyNetworkTV, which rose from the ashes of the WB-UPN merger, debuted in 2006 with two English-language adaptations of telenovelas, each airing five nights a week. It went so poorly that within three years, MyNetworkTV was no longer a network, having shifted to a programming service that packages reruns of shows such as “Law &Order” and “Dateline” for other stations.
It’s summer. Will anyone care about a remake of a foreign reality show?
Probably. “American Idol,” “Survivor,” “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Big Brother,” “American Ninja Warrior” and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” all started as summertime air fillers based on international formats.
How big of a deal is the original?
It’s a national preoccupation capable of turning contestants into minor celebrities. Last month’s fifth season premiere was seen on 18.5 percent of all televisions in use in the U.K. The only shows to average more than that in America over the past year were “Game of Thrones,” “Sunday Night Football” and “Thursday Night Football.”
So this will be a massive hit, right?
Not necessarily. In 2014, Fox spent $50 million on a remake of “Utopia,” the latest hot new reality show from John de Mol, who created the original Dutch versions of “Big Brother” and “The Voice.” No one cared.
How’s this different from any other dating show?
The American version probably isn’t. The original, though, is kind of adorable. The accents and colloquialisms are all over the place. Scottish comedian Iain Stirling provides some cheeky narration. And there’s still something charmingly naive about many of the contestants — maybe because, unlike the U.S., Great Britain doesn’t have one reality show for approximately every 13 residents.
What kind of people are on “Love Island”?
Well, this season, the British version has a biologist, a pharmacist, a biomedical scientist turned firefighter and boxer Tommy Fury, the brother of heavyweight fighter Tyson Fury.
Do they all have fancy jobs?
There’s also sandwich maker Joe, who declared, “If I was to describe my ideal girl as a sandwich, it’d be pulled pork (and) chunky coleslaw in a nice baguette.”
Which means what exactly?
There’s honestly no telling.
So he’s the weird one?
Actually, no. That would be Anton from Scotland who, shortly after meeting the other contestants, admitted he shaves his legs, then dropped this bombshell: “Me mum usually shaves me bum for me.”
What kind of people does the CBS version have?
There are two male models, a photographer/cowboy, a self-proclaimed diva and a publicist whose celebrity crush is Liam Hemsworth.
Can I watch the British version instead?
Absolutely. The first four seasons are available on Hulu, with new episodes from the current fifth season uploaded on a roughly three-week delay.