It’s shorter, it’s pacier, it’s on more often, it’s got an updated soundtrack, and it’s BACK. The Block 2011 returns, this time based in Melbourne and ready to actually entertain.

Scott Cam returns as host, reunited this time with Shelley Craft (as the “Challenge Master” although there’s no sight of her in the first week), and looks decidedly more comfortable running the ship this time around – possibly because he’s a little more hands on (not assisting the couples though) and he’s got a workshop the successful couples will share as far as tools and facilities go. More on that in episodes to come.

It’s no secret that in this first week we go from 8 couples to 4 – and the match ups are (links are to their Facebook pages):

  1. Mon: Aaron & Shannon (WA) vs Jenna & Josh (Vic)
  2. Tue: Waz & Polly (NSW) vs Chrissy & Toby (Qld)
  3. Wed: Carrie & Chris (NSW) vs Tania & Rod (Vic)
  4. Thu: Katrina & Amie (NSW) vs Laura & Emily (Vic)

Friday has one final challenge to sort who gets first pick, and then we get to see the 4 houses in question… and the reaction of the couples as they see the state of their homes. It’s raw, it’s exciting and it’s depressing all at the same time.

Channel 9 have come out firing with this new series of an old favourite. While The Block 2010 did OK, it didn’t light up the ratings as it had done previously. The twist, turns and tightening of the screws in this 2011 iteration will throw a significant challenge in at 7pm where Ch9 haven’t been overly competitive with Channel 7. While 150 minutes a week is a lot to ask people to commit to, it’s not outrageous when you’re going to deliver a people-driven storyline. I can offer the 4 couples that make it through may not be deemed to be the best renovators – but they sure make the show very interesting.

These are some random thoughts I recorded while watching the first week’s episodes…

  • The first week of eliminations is very hard – you warm to the couples, then one couple is gone inside 30 minutes (though two of the couples are no loss)
  • Editing is sharp
  • The narration from couples is good – not too repetitive, good insight into their characters
  • “In this game, $100 is $100.” Really Brainiac?
  • There’s a critical moment in Ep3 that’s sure to cause controversy
  • Matching the two couples made up of sisters against each other was a stellar idea – and that ep is an hour!
  • “Oh, it’s an Amish house!” Thank you Scott Cam
  • This is going to be a great series

Fans of the franchise will be happy – it’s a pleasant return to form. Ch9 will be banking on a whole bunch of NEW people becoming fans and if people are willing to give it a go… then 7pm just became a whole new battleground.


The Block 2011 – starts tonight & then weeknights 7pm, Ch9.