Survivor: Where Are You?!

With the greatest reality television show ever created starting in the US on 21 September, Australian audiences are left screaming “what the fuck?!” at Channel 9 and Go! who for some unknown reason are refusing to fast track Survivor to our screens. With the modern age of social media upon us where everything is seconds away at our fingertips this, quite frankly, sucks dog’s balls. Especially given Channel 10’s neverbloodyending Australian Survivor series begins to take a turn for the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

As a bit of a die hard fan I am pissed off. I’m pissed off with Australian Survivor and Channel 10 for refusing to stick to the short, sharp and to the point traditional format-90 minute episodes are too long and 55 days for the season is way too long. I’m pissed off with Channel 9 for not fast tracking season 33 of the US series when we fans clearly want it!

So, to alleviate my pissed offedness and as a reminder to me and others in the world of how insanely awesome Survivor is, here is my review of season 28, Cagayan, also known as Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty, as published on AMH Network via AMH Entertainment in 2014.




Survivor: Cagayan – season 28

Reality television’s bad boy Survivor returned in 2014 for a mammoth 28th season with the never before used concept of Brains versus Brawn versus Beauty.

Again hosted by Jeff Probst, the show initially sees 3 teams of 6 contestants compete to see who will outwit, outplay and outlast the others to be the sole survivor and winner of $1 million.

For the first time since season 24 there were no returning players. After the average Blood vs Water season 27 this was a good thing as it looked like Survivor was returning back to its roots and not attempting to monopolise on past successes. The question was would this strategy work in producing a great series? Yes. Yes it did.

The thing that was wonderful about the Brains versus Brawns versus Beauty concept is that producers finally acknowledged and faced head on a series of questions that have plagued many. What does it take to win Survivor? Is it brains or is it brawn or for some bizarre reason the way one looks? Do the highly physical contestants have a better shot of winning compared to the strategy driven intelligent? Or is a combination of both traits required? All these questions are answered in the most entertaining of fashions in this season.

First and foremost let’s address the issue of why the beauty tribe was included. Boobs and cut bods. That’s it. Given there were no returning players producers needed a selling point and what sells better than sex? Not much. Did they ever have a chance against the Brawn and Brains tribes? No. In fact all the members of the Beauty tribe were totally eliminated by day 30.

Surprisingly the Brains tribe got off to a terrible start to the competition having lost 3 out of the first 4 immunity challenges. Unsurprisingly the final four consisted of 2 Brains and 2 Brawns highlighting that a combination of both traits is evidently required in order to make it far in this game.

The wonderful thing that season 28 generated, other than A class entertainment, was the emergence of a new hero Spencer, from the Brain’s tribe, and a new villain Tony, from the Brawn tribe, and their open rivalry. Both characters, despite having vastly different personalities, were also very similar in a number of ways which made their rivalry fantastic to watch in particular at tribal council. Even when Spencer and Tony joined forces to get further in the game they were still wary of each other as being the other’s biggest threat to win. Nevertheless it was expected that the two would make it to the final tribal council. But this is Survivor, and Survivor is anything but predictable. Spencer was voted out in 4th position while Tony lasted until the final 2 with beta hero and fellow Brawn tribe mate, Woo. Not since season 18 has Survivor seen only 2 people face the jury at the final tribal council instead of 3 highlighting the show’s unpredictability and ability to keep things interesting even if reverting back to old concepts to do so.

Survivor: Cagayan encompassed everything that is right and good about this reality television show. Whilst remaining true to the core concept of finding the sole survivor via physical, social and mental challenges it brought together a group of 18 strangers who were not afraid to play the game with passion, they were all playing to win. This created some of the greatest, most candid tribal councils and challenges in the history of the show. The final tribal council was no exception. The hostile jury took a no holds barred approach with their line of questioning and statement making. As with the rest of the game, predicting a winner was difficult. In the end it was llama talking, New Jersey police office and Survivor villain Tony who won. Despite his questionable tactics to achieve the ultimate goal, he was a brilliant player and a deserved winner.

The next instalment of this show, Survivor: San Juan Del Sur, reverts back to the tried and tested concept of Blood versus Water. It will air in September 2014.

5 stars



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