Lifetime renews the shockingly great ‘UnREAL’

When it debuted earlier this summer, “UnREAL” was already a pleasant surprise, by virtue of being a compelling and nuanced drama airing on Lifetime, a channel that's had quality scripted shows before (“Any Day Now”), but not in a long time. In the weeks since, whatever surprise came from finding a show this good on this network has been replaced by the sheer pleasure the series – half-satire of “The Bachelor,” half dark drama about the morally-compromised individuals who work at such a place – has offered. It's knotty and absorbing in the way we've come to expect from the better cable dramas of this era, and has two knockout performances at the center from Shiri Appleby (as a producer who hates how good she is at manipulating the contestants, even as she keeps on doing it) and Constance Zimmer (as Appleby's frightening but human boss).

So it's great to hear that Lifetime has ordered another season, which will debut sometime next year. Not only has “UnREAL” gotten great critical notices, but it's also the channel's youngest-skewing scripted series ever.

Now, the structure of following Appleby and Zimmer's characters through a single season of faux-“Bachelor” shenanigans seems perfect, but can creators Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro wring multiple seasons out of the premise? Given that Shapiro used to work on the actual “Bachelor,” and given the number of weird angles of humanity that show and many other reality series have offered us over the last 15-odd years, it feels like there are at least a few seasons in this concept, no?

Who's kept watching? And are you enjoying it?