This was my first episode of Survivor; I finally decided to watch an entire season thanks to the encouragement of my friend @Pardolis and his very descriptive Survivor reviews. I am not new to this genre of reality television shows. Some of my favorites include American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Hell's Kitchen, and Kitchen Nightmares, to name a few. I quickly learned, though, that this show is completely different from any other reality show I've ever seen. After watching the season premiere, I discovered a chilling relationship to a visual version of Golding's Lord of the Flies (but focusing on adults rather than children). Honestly, the show was a little difficult to finish and afterward, I felt guilty for having wasted two hours of my life watching people behave like ruthless animals.
Not to be totally unfair, the entire episode was not about beating your opponents in the sand until their shoulders popped out or they broke a toe. No, there were many strategic and slow scenes where all the audience sees are the people talking and forming alliances. These parts felt like a live version of Risk or Stratego where your goal is to dominate the playing board as early and quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it was not as exciting as those games. Since I didn't know much about the players' backgrounds, it was hard to become engaged or even understand their previous alliances in other shows and how it affected and changed their strategies for this season. I was also left wondering why previous winners of the million dollars were asked back to try and win another million dollars. I imagine they must have been very popular players in their respective seasons, but it seemed unfair to the rest of the returners who had not won the big money yet. This was a hard point to accept: If you are going to watch Survivor, you must quickly let go of any concept of rules. There are no rules (or fairness) to this show. It's a dog eat dog island.
Some of the most enjoyable scenes were when the players stopped acting like ruthless assholes and actually showed they had personalities outside their "game face." For instance, there was a scene where two players were getting teased about "liking" each other. Even though it felt like a scene from my high school days, I found myself smiling and giggling along with those on the show. Strangely enough, the talk of love occurred on the villain's team. Still, the innocent banter had me contemplating the reality shows that involve love, like a Survivor version of the Bachelor. These few moments of honest humanity where the players temporarily forgot the goal of winning were the most enjoyable "slow" scenes to watch.
The theme of the show, "Heroes versus Villains," was actually a fun concept, and the first episode did a fantastic job of setting up the two sides. First, they were all wearing color appropriate outfits when they arrived. Villains were in red and black while heroes were in blues and tans. Second, the music that the television producers chose for the teams were amazingly on point. They played some fantastic villain music when they zoomed in on key players from that team, such as Coach, also know by the title "Dragon Slayer." This brings me to the next point in keeping with the theme: nick names for some of the characters! As far as I could gather, these names were actually given to the players from their previous seasons on Survivor, but I still found the titles worked for the villain's team (one woman was deemed the "Black Widow"). The final and main reason the theme worked was that the show has already setup a gray area between the heroes and villains. Are all the villains really evil? Do all the heroes deserve that figurative "S" on their chest? There are some foreshadowing hints that the teams won't stay so black and white as the series progresses. I found myself making guesses as to who I think will show their "true colors" and perhaps swap sides. In the end, it doesn't matter. Part of the fun to this type of a show is understanding that there are no heroes or villains--just people desperate to win that big jackpot.
Another compelling reason to watch the show, other than the interest of the theme, is beautiful nature. The series premiere had some amazing scenic shots of the island where the teams are living for the next thirty-nine days. I actually wished they had shown even more than what they did. One of my favorite nature clips was the whales in the deep blue ocean. There were all types of close-ups and panoramic scenes which ranged from the foliage of the island to the starry night sky with a galaxy (perhaps the Andromeda?). There were also some scenes I didn't relish, such as the capture and killing of the rooster. Understandably though, these measures must be taken to survive and be the last one standing.
Two parts of the show which were new to me but that I had heard about were the challenges and tribal council. There were two contests in this episode, one to win fire and the other to be safe from tribal council. I enjoyed the immunity one more because it had a puzzle in it. As a lover of knowledge, I enjoy logical contests more. The tribal council was what I expected and provided a nice denouement to the first episode (and all later episodes I'm sure).
Overall, it was an interesting experience. It allowed me glimpses into the darker side of humanity while showing me the beauty of mother nature. Personally, I think a two hour premiere was too long with parts that were boring or confusing for a new viewer. The result of the tribal council was an easy guess, so there was no shock or surprise. However, there was a gratifying feeling when what I felt was the "right" decision was made. As far as next week goes, the final preview for that episode accomplished its goal: it hooked me into watching episode two. Since I told my friend I was going to watch the season anyway, they didn't need to try that hard. However, if I was on the fence after this one episode, the preview would have convinced me to give the show another try with episode 2. I look forward to more impressive and fun episodes once I begin to understand the twists and turns of this type of a reality show.
The first episode of the 20th season of Survivor kicks off with a bang. It was definitely one of the best premieres of the show that I've seen. The challenges were great and it was awesome seeing these contestants return for a second or even third chance to try and win it all. This season should be a very interesting one indeed. Let's recap the premiere. The 20 returning Survivor … more
Survivor Heroes vs Villains started off in a big way, a two hour season premiere, three injuries and and huge scramble before the first Tribal Council. The two tribes arrived in Samoa in style with four helicopters. The Heroes stepped out first and consist of: Colby, Candice, Cirie, Tom, Stephanie, Sugar, JT, Rupert, Amanda and James. Next up were the Villains who wear red and consist of: Russell, Rob, Jerri, Randy, Courtney, Parvati, Sandra, Tyson, Coach and Danielle. Jeff was there to great … more
Twenty contestants from previous seasons of Survivor return for another shot at the million dollars. The contestants arrive on a beach via a helicopter and are divided into two tribes, heroes and villains. After the tribes meet, they participate in their first reward challenge.
Episode 1: "Slay Everyone, Trust No One"
Reward Challenge: The tribes would face off in pairs. Four castaways would race along the beach to dig up a single bag in a designated lane. The castaways would then have to race back to their respective finish mat. The first pair to be touching the bag and their finish mat would score a point for their tribe. The first tribe to score three points would win. Challenge from Survivor: Panama.
Immunity Challenge: Six members from each tribe would race to assemble a boat from seven pieces and seven planks and then paddle the boat out into the ocean to light their torch from the raft. Once the six members return with the fire and the seven planks, the remaining four tribe members would assemble a puzzle. The seven planks from the boat would then be used to assemble a ladder to the top of a platform. The first tribe to have their whole tribe at the top of the platform and light their fire barrel would win. Should the Villains tribe win the challenge, they would receive flint. Challenge from Survivor: Cook Islands.
The returning castaways arrived on board four Royal New Zealand Air ForceUH-1 Iroquois helicopters. Immediately, the teams ...