Sur­vivor fixes its mis­takes

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

En­joy­ing Sur­vivor? You’re not the only one. While the first sea­son, set in Nicaragua, had its mo­ments, con­sen­sus among Sur­vivor fans is that TVNZ’S Thai­land-set sec­ond at­tempt at the fran­chise is a big im­prove­ment.

Warner Bros, which makes the show for TVNZ, seems to have lis­tened to feed­back on sea­son one’s flaws and taken ap­pro­pri­ate steps to rec­tify them.

Here are some changes it has made to the for­mula that have made the show more en­ter­tain­ing.

Redemp­tion Is­land – a twist on the game where elim­i­nated con­tes­tants are sent to live alone in an area cor­doned off from the rest of the cast­aways, and can win chal­lenges to make their way back into the com­pe­ti­tion – has often been re­garded as one of the fran­chise’s worst ideas.

So quite why the pro­duc­ers de­cided to in­clude it in Sur­vivor NZ: Nicaragua is­abitofa mys­tery. From a viewer per­spec­tive, it’s sat­is­fy­ing to know that when some­one’s voted out you’re one step closer to the game’s con­clu­sion. But Redemp­tion Is­land un­der­mines this, and drags out the show.

In Thai­land, Redemp­tion Is­land’s been re­placed by The Out­post, an orig­i­nal twist on the game that brings to­gether a sin­gle mem­ber from each tribe ev­ery week to com­pete in chal­lenges and forge al­liances for later in the game when the tribes are com­bined. to do dur­ing their down­time ex­cept sit around sweat­ing, plot­ting and bick­er­ing, which has cre­ated some in­ter­est­ing ten­sions.

This sea­son’s chal­lenges have amped up in phys­i­cal­ity and com­plex­ity. The mud chal­lenges have been a high­light, but the spin­ning chal­lenge where Tess was in­jured might have taken things a lit­tle too far.

If Sur­vivor was a movie, the chal­lenges would be the ac­tion scenes, the bits that get the heart pump­ing – and Thai­land’s am­bi­tious chal­lenges do that a lot bet­ter than Nicaragua’s. each week. We’ve gone from 150 min­utes of Sur­vivor NZ each week, spread over two episodes, to a sin­gle 90-minute event.

That’s left us with a much more tightly-edited watch. More ac­tion, less sit­ting around on beaches talk­ing about stuff that doesn’t have any im­pact on the fi­nal out­come. It also leaves more sur­prises in the mix, and the fact each episode has its own tribal coun­cil gives the show a cleaner struc­ture.

Sur­vivor seems to be go­ing for qual­ity over quan­tity this time around, and it’s work­ing well for view­ers.

Fans were di­vided on Matt Chisholm’s host­ing in sea­son one, but he seems to be win­ning more over this time around. Chisholm’s more flu­ent, and his Kiwi-isms like ‘‘hits the drink’’ and call­ing the tribal im­mu­nity idol ‘‘old mate’’ are pretty en­dear­ing.

Chisholm – or ‘‘Kiwi Jeff’’ as he’s known in some cor­ners of the in­ter­net, a ref­er­ence to Amer­i­can Sur­vivor host Jeff Probst – even has his own fan page.

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