Sam Bernstein staff writer
If you like quaint, wholesome television, “Escape to the Country” is absolutely fit to be the next show on your binge-watch list. “Escape to the Country”, or “ETTC”, is a British real-estate television series. From the houses presented to the show’s segments, the program has everything that makes “House Hunters” great but with a certain British charm.
The format of the show is slightly different from everything on HGTV. On most HGTV shows, like “House Hunters”, “Property Brothers” and “Love it or List it”, the only properties shown on the program are houses the buyers are looking into purchasing. “ETTC” goes deeper into the property searching experience, showing buyers one thing each neighborhood has to offer. These excursions range from touring and photographing local gardens to making local delicacies with natives of the area. Segments like these give viewers a look at the British countryside and what it offers. On top of that, for international viewers, it shows a different way of life.
Similarities that “ETTC” has to other real-estate shows are there; realtors show prospective buyers three properties that fit most if not all of their needs within their budget. These properties are all in a British county of the buyer’s choosing. What makes “ETTC” so great is how the program goes about making these casualties interesting, one example of this is the mystery house. The third property shown in every episode is called the mystery house, and it is intended to be the boldest property presented by the realtors. Mystery houses are often times converts of former chapels, barns and shops, and most mystery houses are entirely unique to the British county they are in. These houses are described by the show as ‘love it or hate it’, and that is exactly what they are.
There is one minor flaw with “ETTC”: buyers do not pick a house to live in at the end. While that may alleviate pressure from buyers to select a house, it takes away from the suspense of the show for viewers. This is especially true in cases when the prospective buyers are not charming and interesting. When the buyers take away from viewers enjoyment of the show and no closure is provided at the end of the program anyway, there is no point in watching that episode. However, thankfully, only a minority of episodes are like this. This show is so close to being excellent but the housing hunt is almost ruined by the fact that viewers do not see if the couple purchases the home.
Overall, “ETTC” is frustrating yet wholesome. The show has charming realtors and beautiful properties, however the failure to select a property is frustrating. This show gets a 3 out of 5 from Highlights. “ETTC” is aired on BBC One in the U.K. and can be found on Netflix in the States.