The Block is the reality format that just won't die. The cruel farce of last year's live auction finale should have really killed it off for good, but here we are. Another marathon of capital gains-obsessed light entertainment, stretching out before us.
The main reason The Block has endured this long is that nothing has come along yet to replace it. That's the way of the TV jungle - look at The Bachelor, rendered obsolete by Married at First Sight, or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, superseded by The Chase. Why would you ever watch another season of Big Brother when there's Love Island now?
What we need is a new property show that makes The Block an untenably boring viewing proposition. Could it be that we have found it in new Australian format Buying Blind?
Each episode sees a house-hunting family sign over their life savings to a team of experts - a real estate savant, an interior design guru and handsome tradie - who have to deliver them a dream home within a frankly unrealistic time frame. The house hunters have to sit on their hands, unable to see or change a thing until it's too late. It's a real magpie's nest of a show - there's a touch of Married at First Sight, a hint of Grand Designs, a slightly old-school throwback to Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
Unlike the interminable The Block, Buying Blind doesn't muck around. In an hour and change it gives a better character study of its subjects than eight weeks of meaningless challenges in brightly-coloured T-shirts ever has. This week the focus was on Kath and Kim-adjacent suburban Melburnians Jenny and Dallas.
They led, for the most part, an uncomplicated life. They needed to upsize to accommodate Dallas' dad, Poppy John, who was moving down from the farm. Where the previous week's pair of insufferable young professionals had assembled a 20-page spreadsheet of demands for their dream home, Dallas and Jenny just scribbled a couple of things on a notepad.
Jenny's interior design brief was where things got complicated. "Scandi boho coastal". She kept repeating these three words to design guru Shaynna Blaze, as if they were meant to mean something. "Scandi is on the way out," Shaynna argued. "But I've always loved Scandi," Jenny replied unmoved. If hell is other people, what are clients?
The stress and tension here is perfectly apportioned. Buyer's agent Rich Harvey had it out over the phone with a time-wasting vendor. Builder Marshal Keen had a long back and forth with Shaynna, something to do with framing out a door. That was nothing compared to the previous week, when he threw down his tool belt and screamed something about a bath.
But in the end, there's a release. The family were led blindfolded to their letterbox and shown their new home. Joy, relief, tears - look, the floors were the wrong colour and Jenny looked for sure like she was going to be sick, but we got our happy ending. Could this be the future of reality renos, the show to save us from The Block? Please, let it be so.