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Feb 6, 2008

Ways to make Survivor even better

With the premiere of the 16th season of Survivor set to hit the airwaves tomorrow, I thought it was high time that I unveiled some suggestions to make the show better that I've had rattling around in my head for some time now. These are mostly big picture concepts for the game; if you have in-episode tweaks or ideas, I'd love to hear them.

(By the way, I have yet to decide whether or not to do the Survivor recaps again this season. We'll see...)

Ways to make Survivor even better

* Survivor: Winners - prior to this season's "Fans vs. Faves" concept, they had one all-star season already, and it was a mixed bag. Sure, there were some great faces back, but as they soon learned, the big flaw was that they brought back a number of past winners. Not surprisingly, those that had finished 2nd, 3rd, or worse were in no mood to watch any of the past winners come close to sniffing at another million bucks. They were promptly voted off.

For this season, they were wise to exclude any prior winners, limiting the "faves" to runners-up and/or also-rans from the past 6 seasons or so. But, now that they've hit 16 seasons, why not an all-winners game? With a former "loser" (Amber) winning the prior all-star incarnation, there's no two-time winners, so there would be no one with any bigger or smaller a target on their backs.

* Survivor: Losers - pretty much the antithesis of the above idea, but hear me out. Name three people who were the first ones voted off their respective seasons. Without the aid of the internet, I'm guessing even the most die-hard fans would have trouble doing that. I surely can't, and I've seen every season, every episode (that I know of). Remember when that crazy singing lady and some random hunky dude were voted off within the first 2 minutes of one season?

Well, how about a show consisting of nothing but the first (and/or second) people voted off? The people that were either wildly unlikable, wildly out of place (Chicken says "Damn!!") or just plain unlucky. Either way, it would be really cool for CBS to invite those people back rather than the "faves." And besides, if there are a number of prickly pears, we're bound to get some good drama...

* Turn down the thermostat - another one that will never happen, but it's probably for the best. Just once I'd like to see a season set in a cold climate (Survivor: Nepal, anyone?), but the threats of minor discomforts such as frostbite, death, and (above all) a lack of skin probably turn the producers off. Still, it would be a welcome change from beach after beach after beach (by the way, is every season in Palau now with them just calling it something different each time?). I would also be up for Survivor: Alcatraz or Survivor: Kansas - both have potential.

* All men or All women - Why they haven't done this yet, I'll never know (ok, part of me knows - they don't want to turn off viewers). Nonetheless, an all male or all female season would be fascinating to watch, and (thankfully) might be without some of the lame/obvious alliances that form alongside gender lines. We wouldn't have to hear about "what a physcial threat" the men were or how "such and such woman is skating by" when attached to a player like James from last season. Plus, the men would probably end up fighting, which means automatic disqualification (and would be a first for the show) and/or the women would be catty as hell and poke each others' eyes out. I'm game.

* No tribes - This one is probably the most realistic of my ideas, and would again relieve the audience of some of the dumb/necessary things that the show does when there are tribes (think of a tribe name!). The worst thing that can happen in a given season is when one tribe wins all the early immunity challenges, giving themselves a 7-4 lead (for example) going into the merge, only to see them pick off the remainders with little real drama (but LOTS of forced fake drama). Well, get rid of it - no tribes from the start! Individual immunity challenges the whole time!

7 people have chosen wisely: on "Ways to make Survivor even better"

Nick said...

I've had a few of these pass through my head once or twice, too.

Winners or Losers: I think those would be great, especially the losers. I can name two first-offs... Chicken and that one fat rocker dude from a few seasons back (he was in there with Ozzy, because I remember him saying how awesome it was to be voted out by a guy named Ozzy).

Cold: Again, I've thought this was a cool idea, too. Maybe they could do Alaska. It's not always freezing there. In fact, I've actually been to Alaska, and I was sweating a good chunk of the time. And like Africa with lions, they'd have some REAL animals to worry about, like bears.

Men/Women: They kinda did this already, sorta... there was at least one season that started off with all women tribes and all men tribes. All the skanky girls who wanted to skate by with their bodies were pissed off.

No tribes: I've often wondered how this one might work. It would be interesting, especially if they were capable of traveling around and stealing from other people like Ninjas.

Fletch said...

That rocker dude was weeeeeirrrd. I don't want to see him again. ;)

True, they started all-male and all-female, but they ditched it. I want the entire cast to be all of one or the other. It would make the challenges much more interesting, too, if for no other reason than that it wouldn't be the same lame people (Courtney) sitting out each time.

Ninjas...you crazy. Rupert was a pirate, though, right?

Robb said...

Clearly the Survivor powers at be read your blog, since after all the complaining they stopped doing that lame slow-mo action crap last season. Let's hope they take some of this advice to heart. I've often thought a season without tribes could be really interesting. There are so many ways they could play it too, like randomly picking teams every week for competitions, so that the losing "team" at tribal always had a different make-up. Or just populate the entire show with type-A competitors like James and Ozzy and let them battle it out individually the entire time.

I also like the idea of all men or all women a lot.

However, I'm sort of attached to the beach locale. Part of the reason I like the show, (similar to why I loved the first season of Lost) is that I have fun imagining what it would be like if I were there. If they went to a cold place, it wouldn't have that appeal. And watching someone be miserable in tropical rain is way different than watching them be miserable in the cold.

I've always wondered what it would be like to have the regular two-team format, but have them all live together. They sort of did that for like three episodes in Thailand, but imagine the possibilities for intrigue if they all lived together from day one. Alliances could build across team lines, causing my favorite of activities, the throwing of a challenge. I just think it could be really interesting.

Foy said...

Maybe they could get better script writers?

Come ooooon...like all that is actually real? Forget about it. Its as scripted as Lord of the Rings.

To the Producers:
I mean, if its gonna be fake - just say that its fake! Don't do any of this "we're pretending its real even though its obviously fake!" crap.

It's like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - the basic premise is real, but if you look at the "application videos", you'll see that many of them have mikes on. And when the people run out of the house at the beginning, notice how they all are pristinely dressed early in the morning - no one in bed, no one on the hopper, but several of them with strange black rectangles on their hips.

I guess the money makers found that reality is, well, boring.

Fletch said...

@ Robb - if only they read this.

They cut out some of the lame effects, but if I recall correctly, they still had some in the finale.

As for the beach...I just get tired of what appears to be the same location. They branched out for Mexico, but haven't outside of that in awhile, if memory serves. They got two out of the way too quickly with Africa and Australia.

I'm for having them live together, too, though you know how I feel about throwing challenges... :)

@ Foy - I agree, most of reality is so fake it's not even funny. Survivor may be that way as well, but they've always seemed pretty true to me. Now, off camera, who knows...

Jason Soto said...

I don't really watch Survivor. With that said, I think Survivor: Kansas is pretty funny. The challenge: find something to do.

And to combine both ideas of doing it in a US state AND the cold, they could do it in Indiana. It's gonna snow for 6 days straight. So if you don't hear from me in awhile, I'm probably buried under snow or I killed myself.

Nick said...

I would like to update that I will easily be able to remember Jonny Fairplay being the first off for this season.

That makes three! :P