Renovation competition show The Block returned to Channel Nine for its 17th season on Sunday night, with competitors vying to create luxury living in a suburban cul-de-sac.
The family-friendly Bayside suburb of Melbourne has five different houses in desperate need of renovation, with the The Block’s competitors set to transform the homes into a real estate hotspot.
The couples were given an extra challenge for the 17th season, with every house also boasting a basement level.
While there were suggestions of transforming the space into a wine cellar or home theatre, Scotty Cam played with the idea of creating a COVID-19 bunker.
On Twitter, one fan joked the contestants could build a zombie apocalypse bunker.
Scotty also announced the teams wouldn’t be given any house plans this season.
“Our teams will get the opportunity of a lifetime, designing and building their whole house, creating the home of their dreams,” he said on Sunday night’s premiere episode.
Fans of the show were a little confused by the new requirement.
“How can they work with ‘no plans’ when plans must be submitted to council before the build starts? Will the long wait for council approval become part of the competition,” one fan asked.
Thoughts on the new season
Despite the initial confusion, many social media users said they had been eagerly awaiting the show’s return.
“Got to love Reno TV,” one fan wrote, joking they preferred watching The Block over the Olympics closing ceremony.
“Lockdown evenings have just got a whole lot easier with one of my fave shows The Block returning to my evening screen,” another said.
“Can’t wait to see my faves back,” another fan said, tagging Scotty and judge Shaynna Blaze in their tweet.
“So happy it’s back,” another fan wrote on Instagram, while two more commented “love The Block” and “will be watching”.
But other viewers felt the season was a missed opportunity to do something more, with some explaining they missed the show’s more ‘humble’ beginnings.
“Bring back the original intention where it was about helping people get into the housing market and where they helped each other. I’m a bit over shows which only show the worst of people,” one Instagram account wrote.
“I’ve been a fan of The Block for ages but I hope the 2021 series is better than the initial show indicates. Hate the fake drama and the use of conflict right from the beginning. What a shame,” another commented.
“So Channel Nine had an opportunity to pick couples who have been hit financially hard from COVID-19 and give them a chance to win money they dream about, but instead decide to pick reality TV stars and old contestants?”
“Why are you putting people on the show who have never renovated before? They are completely unprepared for the workload, especially under those conditions,” one fan wrote, concerned for the contestants’ mental health.
“Do you remember when regular people could get on this show?” another fan joked.
Reality TV stars to renovation experts?
Former Love Island Australia contestants Josh and Luke Packham were on the chopping block straight out of the gate, with many complaining the show hired the twins based in the hopes of creating more drama.
They certainly created drama from day one, having broken the ‘golden rule’ of The Block – doing your own painting.
“Tell me you’ve never seen an episode of The Block without telling me you’ve never seen an episode of The Block,” one fan joked about the twins.
“So the twins obviously haven’t watched the show before,” another agreed.
Contestant Kirsty Lee Akers ended up letting the twins know about the rule, but they defensively called her a “dibber-dobber”.
“I thought Kirsty was telling you boys about the painting rule so that you didn’t get in trouble, not to be mean. You need to reassess your default reaction,” one fan said.
“Telling people to their face a rule that they weren’t aware of that they’re breaking is not dobbing, its doing the decent thing. Dobbing is not telling them and telling the higher ups first. So confused at how the twins think Kristy’s a dibber-dobber when she’s the opposite,” another agreed.
Other fans were just amused by the twins’ comments so far, with some actually impressed with their chosen aesthetic.
One of the twins said in the premiere episode, “I’ve been around houses my whole life”.
“Mate, most people bloody lived in them,” one fan joked.
“The twins have “been around houses all their life… they’re a shoo-in,” another tweeted.
“The Love Island twins have a modern industrial aesthetic. I don’t mind it,” another fan wrote.
The Block’s first challenge
The competitors who had arrived so far were challenged to renovating a guest bedroom.
“All three just great, guys,” the 2018 winners Hayden and Sara wrote on Instagram.
Last year’s winners Jimmy and Tam agreed, writing: “Amazing work legends! So proud of you all.”
But some fans weren’t so sure about the judges’ final decisions.
“Omg Tanya’s and Vito’s was the best.. no idea what the judges were seeing,” one fan commented.
“Not sure how the Kmart display room came second,” another joked about the the Packham twins’ final product,.
But other fans agreed with the final decision, with one commenting: “The winner was the winner”.