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REVIEW: First Dates | @Channel7 #FirstDatesAU

ReviewSteve Molk

Mr Sam Mac
Image - Seven

First dates can be excruciating - and that's even before the potential boyfriend/girlfriend appears. There's your anxieties, which causes worries about your self-worth and how you got talked into this date in the first place, which makes you sweat, which heightens your anxieties.

Then there's the chance to have it in a restaurant full of other people on first dates in front of potentially millions as the TV cameras buzz, pan and zoom in on you. Welcome to FIRST DATES.

The promo for the show is diabolical, making you think the only reason you'd watch is for the car accident value (and there's certainly some shocker dates). That's what I was expecting - reality trash.

Breaking news - I was very wrong.

There is elements of the dramatic and no question there are people who've made it onto First Dates just to get their noggin on TV ($10 says you spot 'em in the first ep).

Beyond that, First Dates is a show full of warmth, gentle nervousness, chivalry, cheeky glances and the occasional hint of desperate urgency. Possibly even love. It's actually really sweet what some people offer up when they're that vulnerable/nervous/drunk and seek to "put themselves out there" in the hope they'll find Mr or Miss Right.

There's also the mandatory interviews with a producer on set before and after the date so every facet of the anticipation is committed to digital finery.

Picked up from the British format airing there on Channel 4 First Dates will surprise many with how enjoyable it is to be the fly on the wall as individuals look hard to find the spark of interest in the other. The show has popped up around the world in various incarnations - Canada got it right keeping it to 22 minutes. The Aussie version (like the English) runs fro 45-ish minutes and it, at times, feels a little too probing and invasive into the conversation.

A special mention should be made of Lauren (keep an eye out for her in the promo and in the first ep). She's a very driven lady who knows what she wants and isn't gonna let a well-edited moment of looking like a crazy woman stand in her way.

Mr Sam Mac picks up the gig as the disembodied voice of the narrator, putting to good use his years on FM radio. He's personable and (curiously) very straight with his delivery but it's the unintentional "Coming up next... on First Dates..." that won me all over again.

The date outcomes at the end are also a personal favourite - who doesn't want to know if he really called or if she really followed through on that promise of a text?

First Dates - Wed 3 Feb 9pm on Seven.