Alex Michel, the first Bachelor, starred in a very understated and grounded season, says Laura Bradley. In the years since, The Bachelor has evolved to reward over-the-top behavior, resulting in a show that has felt more produced and less realistic. This season, Colton seems to have changed The Bachelor. "Colton appears to have taken a more proactive role in shaping his own story—perhaps because of his initial unpopularity among Bachelor viewers," says Bradley. "Cassie and Colton’s breakup on Monday was heavily foreshadowed—but the events that followed made for genuinely good reality television. In other words, his reaction was a human response that gave the show some of its most compelling drama in years. And going into this season’s finale, the show has generated a sense of suspense that it doesn’t even need to over-sell with exaggerated sizzle reels. Colton’s is not the same sort of authenticity The Bachelor projected when the women dressed down, but it is a kind of authenticity all the same. And whatever happens when his season comes to a close, fans are about to witness a surprising, hopefully minimally produced TV moment—something that embodies the free-wheeling spirit the show had when it began, and has been missing for too long."