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Recommended: The Ultimatum on Netflix

Netflix's newest reality dating show is a messy, addictive ride.
  • When one partner is ready to get married and the other is not, the best course of action is to go on a dating show. (Photo: Netflix)
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    The Ultimatum Season 1 | Netflix
    Reality Dating Series (10 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's The Ultimatum About?

    Six couples at a crossroads in their relationship — one partner is ready to get married, and the other is not — are issued an ultimatum that requires them to either commit to marriage or move on. Over the course of eight weeks, each participant will choose a new partner from one of the other couples, giving them a chance to explore two different possible futures.

    Who's involved?

    Fresh off Love Is Blind Season 2, Nick and Vanessa Lachey continue their Netflix partnership as hosts of The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On. The Lacheys appear every few episodes to shepherd the couples through new stages of the social experiment, and later, they oversee a post-finale reunion. But the Love Is Blind connection doesn’t end there: The Ultimatum is created by Chris Coelen, the mastermind behind Netflix’s blind dating show. Coelen produces via his Kinetic Content banner, which also created Married at First Sight and Little Women: Atlanta.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Over the past two years, Love Is Blind has emerged as Netflix’s flagship dating show, but The Ultimatum seems poised to take the throne. While the former's approach is fairly innocuous, the underlying premise of The Ultimatum — that a very attractive person might be better suited for you than your current partner — seems designed to destroy relationships. Of course, this concept also makes for addictive entertainment, and Coelen’s new series wastes no time leaning into its mess.

    Despite the show’s marriage-centric plot, it quickly becomes clear that all six couples have serious problems, and every possible kind of drama follows. Some participants struggle to find a new partner before the deadline; others become jealous that their old partner is eagerly embracing a fresh start; and a few even find that their feelings for their long-term partner have changed over the course of the eight-week experiment. None of these people are mature — clearly they’re ready for marriage! — and The Ultimatum’s cameras are there to capture every minute of their self-inflicted chaos.

    We should probably look away, but how can you when these 12 people are acting the fool on national television?

    Pairs well with

    • Married at First Sight (Hulu), another Chris Coelen-produced romantic experiment that seems doomed from the start.
    • Temptation Island (Peacock), if watching couples test their commitment is your thing.
    • Wife Swap (Hulu, Paramount+), the long-running series that explored whether the grass really is greener on the other side.

    Worth Noting

    Like it or not, there’s more of The Ultimatum on the way: in March, Netflix announced that Season 2 is already in the works with an all-queer, mostly female cast. This new wrinkle is bound to add more intrigue to the show’s “dating” process, and it offers a blueprint for other Netflix reality shows looking to step outside the heteronormative box.

  • The Ultimatum (Season 1)
    Episodes 1-8 drop on Netflix Wednesday April 6, 2022. The final two episodes drop Wednesday April 13.
    Created by: Chris Coelen.
    Starring: Nick Lachey and Vanessa Lachey.

    TOPICS: Netflix, The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, Chris Coelen, Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey