SURVIVOR Is Coming Back — and Mixing It Up Again

SURVIVOR: BLOOD VS. WATERSURVIVOR is one of those shows with which I have a deep love/hate relationship. I always love the first episode of each series, because it’s exciting and intriguing to see the new cast. The second episode can also be fun, but in more recent seasons — with players more familiar with the show — the gamesmanship has begun to rear its ugly head, and I start to really hate cast members.

From there, my interest can waver severely based on the personalities that take center stage. I quickly become bored with the moustache-twirling villains, and if they get away with their B.S. for than a couple of weeks I find it too frustrating to watch. If the cast is just too dull — like… er, you remember that season recently… the one with… they were on a tropical beach… oh, hell — I won’t even bother watching after the first handful of episodes.

The 27th cycle (yes, 27!), dubbed SURVIVOR: BLOOD VS. WATER, has found yet another way to mix things up while keeping it all familiar: returning players (including Rupert, now on his forth excursion, but no Ozzy) are paired with loved ones and Redemption Island is back — but the rules and game conditions have been altered quite a bit.
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Survivor: Philippines

survivorphilippinesIt all came down to the final four tonight on the climax of SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES, a season that I found interesting enough to follow, but not compelling enough to make it appointment TV.

Still, I did want to know who would win and, alas, it was not my choice — Michael Skupin — but rather Denise Stapley, the one-woman army, who also outlasted Lisa Whelchel, the former star of FACTS OF LIFE, and also-ran Malcolm Freberg.

The final trio was Denise, Skupin and Lisa, and while I was on the fence whether Lisa belonged there, Skupin and Denise earned their way into the final confrontation with the jury. Denise had endured every single tribal council, and kept her record straight. She won handily, earning all but two votes from the jury.

Lisa did, however, manage to pull out the fan vote for the $100,000 Player of the Season award.
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The Hunt Is About to Begin

hungergames

Katniss Everdeen, heroine of The Hunger Games

It was bound to happen: Someone would find a way to ride the coattails of box-office bonanza The Hunger Games by turning the premise into some kind of TV drama or a reality show. And now it has happened: The CW has confirmed that it is going ahead with a reality show called THE HUNT, “an intense wilderness competition” that will pit 12 teams of two against each other by challenging them to survive in the wilderness and “capture” other teams.

According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, each team will be dropped in a wilderness area with no food, water or shelter for one month and tasked with capturing the other players until only one team remains.

No filming or premiere date has been announced, but The CW would be crazy not to debut it in the fall, during the publicity build-up for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in theaters Nov. 22.

You may remember that back in the summer, The CW was reportedly considering a series dubbed THE SELECTION that would hew closer to The Hunger Games’ (purported) inspiration, the Japanese cult classic Battle Royale. Apparently the American network was unable to reach a deal with the Japanese rights-holders to the original movie and novel, so the idea was shelved. But now it looks like the reality show may make it to series…

SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD 24.11: “Never Say Die”

As I labored to survive watching this week’s installment of SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD, one thought kept swirling through my head: How embarrassed is Christina Cha right now, watching her adventures on the island unfold? She must be mortified.*

I mean, how stubborn is she? Forget about refusing to see the handwriting on the wall — she denies the handwriting on the inside of her eyelids! I am at a complete loss to rationalize why she cannot see that she will be the first woman to go after the power trio disposes of the now cravenly pandering Tarzan.
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SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD 24.10: “I’m No Dummy”

If a show has a title like that, you gotta know that someone is going to prove himself or herself to be a dummy. And, since this season is populated almost exclusively by dummies, the odds were pretty good going in that somebody would do something stupid. Actually, a few somebodies.

With Jay gone, Troyzan realizes he’s on his own — and the women do their best to make him feel like a marked man (possibly a little something they learned from the cruel Colton). Troy decides that winning successive immunities or finding the new hidden immunity idol is his only path to success, so he starts hunting for the secret trinket and psyching himself to win challenges.
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Survivor: One World 24.8: “Just Annihilate Them”

After being drowned in a tide of 7up product placements on SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD last night — from bottles of the soda to the 7up-themed reward challenge, a visit to the “7up Oasis,” where the winners got food and “all the crisp, clean, refreshing 7up” they could drink, I cannot wait to see who the corporate sponsor will be next week!

The only thing worth watching this week was the emergence of Kim as the new sheriff in town. She swooped into the power vacuum left by the evacuated Colton and had no trouble manipulating her tribe into doing her bidding.

Faced with choosing the alliance she has with all the other women or the alliance she formed with Salani 2.0, Kim decided to stick with grrl power, because they already had a 6-5 advantage. If she could get one more guy booted, the women would have a virtually insurmountable advantage.
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SURVIVIOR: ONE WORLD 24.7: “The Beauty in a Merge”

I’ll tell you what the beauty in a merge is not. It’s not the hive mind that results. The members of Salani and Monono may have merged into Tikianno, but they certainly did not pool their brain power.

After this week, I am seriously questioning my commitment to watching SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD, because it’s becoming more and more dull as the players prove to be more and more… perplexing? Stupid? I cannot figure out what’s happening, and that makes this show a frustrating viewing experience. How can the players be making the decisions they are making?
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