Happy Wednesday S'ozers. This week in our first top 10 of the summer, in light of the announcement of a local version of Survivor in 2016, Noah gets excited putting down his wishlist for the top 10 things that the forthcoming Australian Survivor season needs. Do you agree with his must-haves for the Australian version of the greatest reality show on the planet? What else would make Survivor sweet in 2016? Share your thoughts below!
10. A Million Dollar Prize
This is a small point but it is vital that the seasons has decent prizes throughout. In the original Australian version the producers didn’t tell the cast that the prize would not be one million dollars until they were in the season. That caused some controversy and gave the season a sour taste. The bigger the prize the more motivation there is for the castaways to compete hard. If there is no incentive to make it far that could lead to quits or people simply not trying as hard as they could.
9. A Title Sequence and Familiar Soundtrack
The fact of the matter is that we probably won’t get Ancient Voices as the theme song as most international versions don’t. If it is possible then it would validate the season all the more like the use of the main theme in The Amazing Race Australia. If we don’t get Ancient Voices then we need a catchy song and a title sequence that is that standard Survivor intro. The day to day soundtrack needs to either fit the style of Survivor or be taken from the US version. Australian reality TV has a knack for playing pop songs in their shows which would be an embarrassment in Survivor. The network Ten up fronts video included the US version of the theme which can give us hope it will be used in the finished product.
8. An Exotic Location
Another big issue with the original Australian version was that they filmed the season locally rather than a far off international location. This was corrected in Celebrity Australian Survivor when they filmed in Vanuatu. The original season didn’t even film in the Survivor: The Australian Outback location but was a camping trip in South Australia instead. Luckily for us Channel Ten chief programming officer Beverly McGarvey stated that it will be filmed overseas somewhere with white luxurious beaches. She neglected to say where just yet but it is a definite step forward in the success of the season!
7. Familiar and New Challenges
The original Australian version had almost exclusively new challenges that hadn’t been seen before. Some of them worked, many didn’t. Challenges are such a big part of the show that in some ways they could make or break the season. This is a chance to have some familiar challenges from the US version like gross food eating, auction, Sumo at sea, answering questions about fellow tribe mates, just to name a few fan favourites. Let’s not have the same old pre merge ‘go out and get the puzzle pieces, come back and make the puzzle’ challenge or post merge ‘balance a ball on a plate or stand here for as long as possible’ for every challenge. This is also the perfect opportunity to introduce new challenges that haven’t been seen in Survivor before. Utilise the challenge legacy of the US version while not solely relying on it.
6. A Mix of Survival and Strategy
It is hard to predict what will happen in terms of this balance. On one hand I could see the strategy game being largely ignored in favour of people surviving on a beach and voting out weaker members of the tribe much like the original Australian version. On the other hand the US Survivor is so strategic focused that the new Aussie version could put a bigger emphasis on strategy and use the survival as a backdrop. A lot of this depends on how savvy the cast actually is but this could be the perfect opportunity to produce a season that finds a strong balance between Survival and living aspects along with the strategy similar to later early to middle seasons of the US version.
5. Familiar Rules and Production
This is a big one and it is simple…keep the same rules and format! The original Australian version introduced the immunity bell instead of idol, players could vote for themselves and tonnes of changes were made. Keep everything the same. It should be like an American season but with an Australian cast and a few things to give it its own flavour. One big fear is that they will do things like having confessionals in the middle of challenges. Even though people complain about them, hidden immunity idols would probably be a valuable introduction to the season but please no major rule changes! It has already been revealed in the network Ten up fronts video that the cast will be 24 people which sounds slightly troublesome but it can work if some players aren’t completely neglected.
4. A Good Host
This could be a huge factor in the success of the season. Jeff Probst is such an authority figure and recognised factor in the Survivor phenomenon that it makes it difficult for international seasons to thrive in this department. As nice as he is, Lincoln Howes from Australia 2002 even admits he wasn’t the best choice as host and Dicko from the Celebrity version was decent but fell flat. No doubt the host will be a recognised personality in Australia but perhaps it would be better to go with an unknown. Some suggestions have been Rove McManus who in my eyes would not work for the show. He hosts late night TV well but is not an authority figure the show needs. Hamish Blake has been suggested which let’s face it, would be horrible for Survivor and Grant Denyer would make the show plain unwatchable. PLEASE do not screw up on the host channel ten!
3. Strong Episode Structure
It has already been revealed that the intention is to air multiple episodes a week instead of the sole one that the US version airs. This could be extremely troublesome but could also be an experiment that works. McGarvey stated that it wouldn’t air every night though so we can assume it would be between two to four episodes per week. Australian reality TV has a trend of airing extended episodes of 90 minutes to two hours multiple nights a week. It is complete overboard. If they stick with hour long episodes and limit it to two episodes a week, three at the most then it should be a good thing. It would allow more time to get to know the characters and it would hopefully mean the editing isn’t skewed completely to four or so players. It can be time for more challenges, more strategies and more of the survival aspects of the show. Here’s to hoping that the episode structure doesn’t completely screw the season!
2. No Crazy Twists
Australian reality shows love to have twists galore and plague their shows with crazy and over the top twists. New twists are fine every now and then but please can we not have them just to add cliff hangers in the episode or fill the quota of two or three episodes a week. In my eyes that is the worst possible thing that can happen with this season. Keep the twists to a minimum or do not create twists that are completely unfair or out of place. Ideally it will be just a regular season but if not then we can only hope the tribe divisions isn’t something completely ridiculous. No redemption island either!
1. A Diverse Cast
Perhaps the biggest flaw in the original Australian version was the fact that the cast comprised of 16 white, middle class Australians, the majority aged between 20 and 40. These players treated the game like a camping trip and were all very similar. The success of this upcoming season relies more on the cast than anything else. It needs to be diverse, in every way possible. From even genders, a spread of states represented, diverse races, sexual orientation, age, way of living (Urban, suburban and rural), jobs, different physical types and most of all people who are willing it play the game and are entertaining. If the casting directors are able to put together 16 to 20 people who cover all of these bases then we are a huge step forward to having a successful season and potential future seasons. Casting is everything!
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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