With the premiere of the 29th season of Survivor just hours away, Noah brings back his Top 10 things to look forward to series and this time lets you know the top 10 things to be excited about in Survivor: San Juan Del Sur! With all the announcements in the media and from what we do already know about the new season, here are 10 specific things that are getting our favourite Ozlet from Snug hot under the collar with excitement! From controversial castaways, and two troublesome twins it’s all here! Think there are different things to get excited about this season? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts ahead of the first episode tomorrow!
10. Spoiler Free Season
One major factor in Survivor: Cagayan being such a great season was the lack of spoilers to ruin the surprise and adventure of the show. I have seen spoilers in the past without actually seeking them out, some turned out to be right and others wrong. Even the incorrect spoilers destroy the ultimate experience of watching as the spoiler is always in the back of your mind. I am unaware if there are any major spoilers for San Juan Del Sur, but luckily I have yet to see any spread out like Caramoan or Blood vs Water and hopefully it stays free of any kind of spoiler, big or small. The viewer experience is better for everyone if we leave spoilers out of the game, why ruin the show for yourself and others?
9. Extended Premiere
This is a minor point, yet still something to look forward to. Ever since the Philippines we have had extended premiers to kick off the season. These are a great opportunity to get straight back into the season and to develop an understanding of the characters and dynamics at camp. This is particularly important due to the fact that we have an all new cast with nine different pairs. The extended premiere will (hopefully) give us an insight in to every new pair and as to which ones will be early favourites. It is amazing how twenty extra minutes of episode (excluding commercials) can add to the finished product and I still maintain that every episode of Survivor should be this length. The extended premiere is also particularly good news due to the episode initially being announced as just a regular length one.
8. All New Players
This might seem like an oversight now since Cagayan was all new players and Jeff Probst essentially confirmed that season 30 will also continue this trend, but it has to be stated that this is a huge positive towards the season. Not only was it an enormous part in what made Cagayan successful, it also provides us with a much needed break and restocking of returning players. I will admit that I was sceptical of having all new players in a Blood VS Water season for the reasoning that A. it is fun to see some past favourites loved ones and seeing the players in a new light and B. would the ‘casual’ viewer and even diehard fans distinguish which loved one is which. Either way, that worry has passed and given the cast it doesn’t seem like this is an issue. My one biggest issue regarding this point is the uneven gender split due to the pre-season medivac of two women, besides this, it is great that we get eighteen brand spanking new players to get to know and root for and against!
7. Podcasts and Fan Discussions
This is one major point that I always look forward to with each new season of Survivor. Survivor has such a thriving online fan community that has people debating and discussing the latest episode for seven days right up to the airing of the new episode. There are so many varying opinions and theories to tide everyone over and continue to learn about the season. On top of this is the increasing number of Survivor based podcasts that are particularly active during the new season. This season on Survivor Oz we have possibly the best list in Oz history of planned (subject to change) guests for the main recap episodes, live Oztopsy’s straight after the Australian airing with the Ozlets, written recaps and previews, Power rankings with a Survivor guest and the newest and most exciting feature for Survivor Oz, the exit interviews from contestants voted out. With all these features and other Survivor based podcasts, the current season is going to be a whole load of fun fan interactions!
6. The Rocker Debate
The inclusion of baseball player John Rocker in this season is without a doubt the most controversial to come forth so far. Many argue that it was a mistake on Survivor’s behalf to include him in the season based on racist and bigoted comments he has made in the past. I disagree. While I am absolutely condemning the things that Rocker has said, Survivor is a social experiment that pits people with contrasting beliefs and personalities against each other, so someone like Rocker shouldn’t be an exception. I really don’t feel like he is going to make any comments in that regard but will be a huge character none the less. Maybe he will surprise us all and be a more toned down character similar to Jeff Kent from Philippines. Just the fact that there has been so much discussion and debate from fans over this one player suggests that it is something to look forward to in the season and to see just how John Rocker’s game on Survivor plays out.
5. Val and Jeremy
If there is one pairing that I have the most faith in or am most excited to see play, it is married couple Val and Jeremy. Of all the pairings in the pre-game interviews, these two by far talked the most game and discussed their strategies going in. Both of these players seem to have the mix of intelligence, strength and the most important factor of all, entertainment. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this all is the fact that Val is a police officer. Coming off last season where we had two police officers, an alliance titled ‘Cops-R-Us’ and the eventual winner Tony being a cop, it will be intriguing to see how Val adapts to it. Will she hide her profession for the entirety of the game or use it to leverage herself further? Will Tony’s recent win hinder her in the game and will Jeremy keep his wife’s secret? There are so many fascinating aspects to this likeable duo that hopefully they don’t let us down in the game.
4. New Relationship Pairings
The initial season of Blood VS Water gave us six different types of pairings in the relationships of mother/daughter, brothers, uncle/niece, straight dating couples, gay dating couples and married couples. Here Blood VS Water gives us three more in sisters, father/daughter and father/son. These are welcome additions and notably two feature fathers. Arguably the biggest focus on season 27 was the pairing of mother and daughter with stars of the season Laura and Ciera and to a lesser extent Tina and Katie. Not only will it be interesting to see how a father plays the game, it will also become increasingly interesting to see how the two pairs are contrasted between a son and a daughter paired with the fathers. The sisters on top of this should also provide interesting contrasts towards the brothers we have seen play. While it would have been nice to see some more pairings, hopefully Blood VS Water 3 (c’mon, it is going to happen!) gives us the likes of a lesbian couple and a mother and son pairing.
3. Exile Island/No Redemption Island
Exile Island is a twist that I don’t think anyone saw returning after its last appearance in season 19, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be a welcome return! Exile Island (believe me or not) was actually a twist I suggested would be something that would work in a Blood vs Water season before the eventual announcement. The idea of duelling loved ones to determine who goes to exile will create a new form of drama and the decision on which other contestant the loser will bring with them will also create a new sense of strategy. There are certainly flaws in the twist, the most major one being the fact that if one loved ones partner is voted out then they don’t ever compete in the dual. It would have been much more dramatic if an entire loved ones pair actually went to exile and together (if they find it) must decide who would be better off taking the idol back to camp. The inclusion of Exile Island also ensures the exclusion of several other unwanted things. Firstly it means there is no Redemption Island! I will be the first to admit that Redemption Island DID work in season 27 as opposed to its first go around, but do we really ever need it in a season? The second exclusion will mean that we no longer have the painful burning of idols that became so repetitive in the initial Blood vs Water season. Overall I am fascinated to see how Exile Island will play out in San Juan Del Sur.
When I first learnt that two Amazing Race contestants would be appearing on San Juan Del Sur, I made a point to watch their season. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed and out of all The Amazing Race seasons I have seen, twelve or thirteen or so, the Twinnies are my all-time favourite team. Natalie and Nadiya are extremely divisive and extremely entertaining. They were brilliant confessionalists and were actually quite impressive in the challenges as well as employing strategy along the way. The Twinnies will provide the perfect mix between entertaining and comedic characters and strong strategic players. It seemed only appropriate that a Blood vs Water season would eventually cast an Amazing Race team and the Twinnies are by far the best choice. On top of this we will see more diversity in the Survivor realm by bringing in two Sri Lankan players in the game. I am praying and hoping that the Twinnies both make it far in to the game and perhaps even win the season!
1. Blood vs Water Twist
The family dividing twist of Blood vs Water was so successful and renowned that it was almost a given that we would see it again. While two seasons later is a bit of a shock and at first a disappointment, it is the nature of a television show surviving….do what works! Once you come to acceptance of what the season will be, it is hard to be disappointed that the twist is returning. You will probably struggle to find someone who doesn’t like the twist or didn’t enjoy the season, which is amusing if you look back to fans comments before the initial season started. The Blood vs Water twist provides a heck load of drama and a new way of playing the game. There are so many strategic ways of playing and types of loved ones players that even after a second season we still wouldn’t have scraped the barrel of possibilities. I have to say I am slightly sceptical on the twist returning based on the failure to produce a successful second Fans vs Favourites but comparing Caramoan’s cast to this new cast, I don’t think that will be a problem. Ultimately Blood vs Water is a positive attribute and something to look forward to in the season.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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