...here is another favorable review, this one from the Toronto Star....
Cruising for love on the high seas
Dating/reality show actually floats my boat
PASADENA, Calif. - "Reality" bites. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "Reality" TV is not real.
You want reality? Turn off the TV. Go outside. That's where the real people are, as opposed to the posing, preening, scheming spokesmodel wannabes whose every calculated, contentious little thought is documented by omnipresent camera crews, then further manipulated and massaged through the use of clever editing.
The dating shows are marginally worse, exploiting the essential - or rather, essentially American - thirst for televised fame, even at the risk of devastating heartbreak and public humiliation on a national scale.
Needless to say, my hopes were not high for Love Cruise, a dating/reality show ˆ la Temptation Island, debuting tomorrow night at 9 on Fox and Citytv.
But I was wrong. Indeed, the Love Cruise could well be considered the effective antithesis of Temptation Island, last season's ratings-friendly, couple-busting tack-fest, which is itself back as a sequel series starting Oct. 31 - not coincidentally, on these very same channels.
Instead of trying to break people up, Love Cruise aspires to hook them up, sending 16 desperately seeking singles off in a 70-metre luxury sailboat to cruise the Caribbean, from Grenada to Aruba, to see what develops along the way.
Each of the series' seven hour-long episodes edits down two days' worth of romance and rejection, structured dating games, Survivor-style vote-offs, below-decks nookie, male aggression and really bitchy cat-fights.
About 10 minutes in, I was totally hooked. And not in the same way I succumbed to Temptation, with a kind of incredulous, morbid, traffic-accident, "I can't tear myself away" fascination.
There is a right way to go about this sort of thing. It's called "casting." At least, that's what they call it, in the same sense that they refer to the over-all genre as "unscripted drama," rather than "reality."
And "they" would know, since "they" pretty much invented it in its current form. "They" being Jonathan Murray and Mary-Ellis Bunim, the producing partners who created the ongoing hits Real World and Road Rules for MTV.
Even they seem a little overwhelmed by the over-all impact of this programming monster they helped create.
"I don't know," says Murray. "I mean, I think that one of the things that was attractive about Love Cruise for us is that a lot of - at least, at the time we began developing this last summer - you know, Survivor, The Mole, they weren't really focused on..."
"Relationships," chimes in Bunim, finishing his sentence (while at the same perhaps shedding some light on their own successful professional partnership).
"...on relationships," Murray confirms. "All that stuff we felt as we've gone through relationships, in high school and later on in life. We felt there was an opening there for a show that focused on relationships, that didn't focus on having to cook rats or eat bugs.
"Personally, I'm a lot more comfortable with my 2-year-old walking in the room and seeing this on the air than seeing something like Fear Factor on the air, because that's a little scarier.
"This is television entertainment, you know, and I want to be able to sleep at night based on what we do."
Who needs shock and sensationalism, they say, when you've got legitimately interesting real-life characters.
"I'm more confident in this show than I think I've been in anything we've done since we first did Real World," Murray enthuses. "There is such wonderful drama in here, there are such compelling characters, it's hard not to watch.
"There are a lot of people here to root for and care about. And what's really fun is that you shift your opinions on them as they go through this journey."
"Some of them," adds Bunim, "become a little diabolical as it goes on. But they're still fascinating."