Reality TV is usually a genre I avoid like the plague, especially on Netflix, where the category is dominated by garbage like Too Hot to Handle, The Circle, Love is Blind, and The Ultimatum. Nevertheless, my newest addiction is the just-released Netflix series Is She the Wolf, a Japanese reality show that’s been a longtime hit in its home country and which the streamer has now slightly repurposed for its own global audience. What’s more, not only is this Netflix series an addictive watch that it’s hard to pull yourself away from, but I suspect the music alone will also draw plenty of viewers to it.
If I’m not mistaken, Is She the Wolf is the first Netflix series to use the music of BTS as its theme song — in this case, it’s the song Lights that the group recorded specifically for the Japanese market. At least one other BTS song can also be heard at key moments during the show — the song Fake Love, appropriately enough.
To that last point, the show’s formula that made it a smash hit for 13 seasons in Japan is as follows:
Five men and five women embark on a search for true love, spending time in a group house while also going on dates and working on a group project. The twist is that at least one of the women has been designated as a “wolf.” She’s not allowed to fall in love and must make it to the end of the game without being found out by anyone. Per Netflix, “That means all the contestants who are not ‘wolves’, as well as the audience, are constantly trying to figure out if the connections that are blossoming on the show are really the beginnings of true romance, or simply the deceptive maneuvers of the ‘wolves’.”
I don’t really know what would prevent the wolf from pursuing a romance with one of the contestants after the show is over, but that’s kind of beside the point. It’s super easy to get caught up in Is She the Wolf, which has 12 episodes available on Netflix. I certainly haven’t been able to stop myself from watching one episode after another, even though I can’t really put my finger on any one specific part of this Netflix series that’s drawn me to it.
The twist, certainly, is interesting — without giving too much away, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the wolves finds herself struggling with the fact that she’s caught feelings for someone. The show also has none of the ridiculous drama, cattiness, and outlandishness of American reality TV, which is another plus.
Additionally, the Japanese setting is incredibly tranquil and makes for an altogether relaxing, escapist bit of TV, in spite of the show’s premise. It really feels like this one has all the makings of a sleeper hit.