In a twist worthy of reality TV, UnREAL‘s complete fourth (and final) season has landed on Hulu in a surprise release on Monday, less than three months after the season 3 finale aired — and even stars Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer weren’t expecting the move.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh my God, that’s the most amazing news I’ve ever heard!'” Zimmer, who plays uber-producer Quinn, tells EW, adding that they first heard the plan a little more than a month ago. “We were so worried that everyone was going to have to wait another year to see season 4, which just feels so cruel. But then I was a little sad because, you know, this has been Lifetime’s baby, and I feel like we had such a great run. It would’ve been nice to see it end there, but I get it, and I appreciate that what they were more concerned about were the fans.”
Appleby, who plays Rachel, had feelings about the surprise launch that were less mixed. “I feel like we got incredibly lucky,” she says. “We just feel incredibly grateful that [Hulu] came in and helped us give the fans what they’ve been asking for. It just feels like a cherry on top of the entire experience, to be working with them and have them be our home for the end.”
That end includes eight final episodes chronicling the drama behind the scenes of Everlasting, the reality dating show depicted within UnREAL. Like season 3, season 4 reimagines Everlasting with a twist: This time, every contestant is a former contestant, culled together and dubbed the “All Stars” from the show’s history. The cast includes both men and women, who must pair off in order to survive to the next episode.
When the series finale wrapped weeks before season 3 aired, Zimmer recalls confusion over what to do next. Hearing the news that Hulu would launch all of season 4 helped her move on. “Everybody was waiting for the official ‘this is it,’ and now we get to get out of the gate and see where we go from here,” she explains. “I am really proud of everything we’ve accomplished with this show and I think being able to be on Hulu and getting to watch all eight at once is kind of the best way to go out. But, I’ll miss Quinn. I’ll definitely miss her as a character.”
And, of course, Appleby feels the same. “I feel really satisfied with the whole experience,” she says. “I definitely got more out of this show than I ever could have ever imagined at that audition.”
UnREAL season 4 is now streaming on Hulu.