It’s been well over a decade since the dawn of the age of Reality TV and with the format becoming rather tired, TV bosses have had to look elsewhere for inspiration.
The folks at RTÉ 2 hit the jackpot this season by commissioning a show featuring six women who captured their daily lives on personal cameras over the course of 10 months.
“Surely that’s just another moronic reality concept?”, you may have thought when it was announced. I know it’s how I felt until I tuned in, took a look at my Twitter feed and (along with many others) swallowed down every single word.
Connected, well, connected with its audience and it did so in style too.
With young audiences flocking to YouTube to watch their favourite vloggers do their thing, it seemed as though TV’s days were numbered. That is until one clever producer finally put two and two together, bringing the vlogging concept back to terrestrial screens.
For some this kind of thing is alien: The idea of people finding other peoples’ daily lives in any way entertaining is something they’ll never understand. There’s nothing wrong with that either, I know it’s how I felt about many of the vlogging channels i’ve come across on YouTube.
And yet we’ve fallen head over heels (en masse) for the narratives created by six women living in modern-day Ireland. We’ve embraced the show with open arms and can’t get enough of the stories it tells.
A professor once told me that great characters and stories make great radio: From Alanna’s struggle to deal with her father’s suicide to Kate’s torment about telling her parents she worked in a strip club, Nicole’s boyfriend troubles to Elayne’s transition from the streets to a new home, Connected proved the same can be said for television.
Is it any wonder that viewers were glued to their screens and wholeheartedly rooting for the girls from the word go? It’s a long way from Fade Street (who could forget Paul Furlong?) we’ve come, swapping those fictional furtive glances and conveniently available jobs for something that feels real.
YouTube megastars may reign supreme online but, with their popularity skyrocketing, it may not be long before these six ladies start giving them a bit of a run for their money.