The recipe for a perfect reality TV show has often been attempted, but never truly achieved. Although on the surface it may seem like an easy task, crafting an engaging yet mind-numbingly brilliant piece of television is not so simple — an unfortunate reality that the consistently declining quality of shows in the genre have only affirmed. Luckily, despite the dull drone of so many generic dating dramas and mediocre reality series, Netflix has somehow perfected the reality TV formula to create an unexpected gem of streaming entertainment and reality TV drama: “Buying Beverly Hills.” An unexpectedly genius combination of a Bachelor franchise production, “Real Housewives” and an HGTV program, “Buying Beverly Hills” brings enticing, luxurious office drama against the backdrop of million-dollar mansions, creating a beautifully bingeable reality TV series that is near perfection.
Beverly Hills is home to the stars — actors, composers, producers — and home to The Agency, an elite real estate agency run by the tight-knit Umansky family — real estate gurus and the central subjects of “Buying Beverly Hills.” While the show primarily follows the Umansky family team (CEO Mauricio and daughters Farrah and Alexia), plenty of delightful drama is stirred up by the entire agency, with plot lines following business disputes, romantic workplace entanglements and good old-fashioned gossip that makes for a well-rounded program with endless enjoyment.
Agency heiresses Farrah and Alexia take center stage not only at their father’s business, but throughout the progression of “Buying Beverly Hills.” Alexia, the younger of the two daughters, carries much of the tension during the season as she fights an ongoing battle with her confidence as a real estate agent, fumbling showings and walk-throughs of multi-million dollar projects in the first half of the season. As the daughter of the founder and CEO of The Agency, Alexia feels the pressure as she attempts to navigate the world of luxury homes and high-value listings, anxious to prove she’s more than a product of nepotism. Her naïveté and unexpected likability combine to make her a surprisingly fun figure throughout the show, who never fails to make you laugh — whether she means to or not. Farrah, her older sister and the more experienced employee, is the image of grace and composure (and Botox) next to Alexia, though she still brings her own share of issues. Between a long-term relationship strained by the question of marriage and potential problems with her CEO dad, Farrah’s screen time is just as sensational as her sister’s. With occasional appearances from other struggling rookies and veteran agents who just can’t help but stir the pot, “Buying Beverly Hills” has a plethora of content that never allows for a dull moment throughout its freshman season.
The magic of “Buying Beverly Hills” comes not from its cast of characters nor its backdrop of opulence and glamour, but rather from the surprising complexity of the show’s dynamics. Oftentimes in programs such as “The Bachelor” or other love-focused dating series that make up the bulk of reality television, the show feels drawn out or repetitive, with producers grasping to spice things up in ways that usually feel forced and fake — at least more fake than reality TV tends to be. The flexible setting of “Buying Beverly Hills” allows for seamless transitions from offices to houses to agents’ own homes, giving the show a natural variety that many others don’t possess. The show deftly switches subjects along with the diverse settings, creating the perfect balance between real estate and office drama, which is the show’s main focus, and the personal problems that help to support the show’s principal plot, guiding it along and keeping it all on track. The underlying connection between cast and setting, although a subtle one, makes for a constantly shocking and attention-grabbing series — all descriptors that help make “Buying Beverly Hills” a great reality TV viewing experience.
“Buying Beverly Hills” is everything you could dream of — it’s bingeable, aesthetically pleasing, drama-filled and thoroughly captivating. Whether you’re looking for a sensationalized version of HGTV with just a little bit more profanity and plastic surgery or a classic romance-driven drama, “Buying Beverly Hills” will not disappoint. While the grandeur of the business and the gossipy nature of its employees might at times make you scoff, you’ll enjoy being immersed in the extravagance that is essential to Beverly Hills. The cast of “Buying Beverly Hills” is the absolute personification of “more money, more problems,” and there’s nothing better than watching those problems unfold.
Daily Arts Writer Annabel Curran can be reached at email@example.com.