Terrace House is more than just a reality television series – it is Japan’s reality television phenomenon of a franchise. The first series of Terrace House titled Terrace House: Boys × Girls Next Door released on Japanese television station Fuji Television back in 2012 and ran for 8 seasons and ended in 2014. Yes, you read that right – in the span of three years, this popular reality series dropped 8 seasons with 98 episodes in total. Netflix saw the potential in this, then defunct series and rebooted Terrace House as a franchise in 2015.
So… what is Terrace House? The concept of the series is pretty similar to reality television series such as Big Brother and Love Island UK. The Japanese series follow three men and three women as they temporarily live in a modernistic house with a terrace within Japan. But unlike other reality television, the people who are part of the show are regular, everyday people (unlike the other series which usually contain celebrities and online personalities) whose age range between 18 to 30. They also carry on living out their normal life like going to work and spending time with their family, with them having the option to go back to their home if they don’t like living in the Terrace house. The objective of the series is to put 6 people in a house together and see them build relationships – be it for friendship or love.
So for this series to work, the entire show has to be unscripted – And. It. Is. Except for group activities, when the housemates are asked to spend some time together and do certain activities, there are no other external additions. The house and the two cars provided are fitted with cameras and we are given a fly-in-the-wall style of reality production. If anytime a member opts to leave the show, then a new member of the same gender is invited to join the Terrace House.
A panel of studio commentators watch the series with us side-by-side, and this panel includes famous Japanese comedians, commentators and personalities. They introduce each episode to us while providing their own insights about conversations between members and certain body language shown by the housemates. They also joke about the members – giving us a reactor look at the show while watching the show (Which is extremely meta for a reality television franchise/ series).
Netflix collaborated with Fuji Television and they have together released four more new series around the Terrace House concept – all in different locations with varying degrees of success. The show has been well received in Japan but with its release in the International stage half a decade ago, the web franchise has gained a loyal cult following among their International viewers.
The producers of the series has recently come under fire for its poor handling of multiple cases of cyber bullying among the Terrace House members, with an extreme case in the latest 2019-2020 edition of series causing a young woman, Hana Kimura to commit suicide. The series has been removed from Netflix in Japan while certain episodes featuring Hana have been removed internationally.
All 8 seasons of Terrace House: Boys × Girls Next Door (2012–2014), two seasons of Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City (2015–2016), four seasons of Terrace House: Aloha State (2016–2017), six seasons of Terrace House: Opening New Doors (2017–2019) and two seasons (out of four) of Terrace House: Tokyo 2019–2020 (2019–2020) are currently streaming on Netflix.