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Over the spring of 2000, sixteen average Americans (divided into two tribes which eventually merge into one) were sequestered on the deserted island of Pulau Tiga for 39 days. For their stay, they must learn to live as a tribe, although eventually, it is everyone for themselves. They compete in challenges for "luxuries" (a barbecue, a phone call home, etc.) and immunity. Every three days, the losers of the latter challenges must face tribal council, where they will account for their actions by voting one person off of the island. At the end of day 39, there will be only one survivor left who will leave the island with one million dollars. Based on the Swedish game show, "Operation Robinson." Written by
The fifth entry into the popular reality series is, let's say, 'different'!
After watching the first episode, I must say that my initial reaction was that of confusion and puzzlement. As usual, the viewer is introduced to a whole new group of 16 cast-aways, yet this time, the tribes are selected differently. The two eldest cast-aways, Jan and Jack, pick the tribes like choosing sides for basketball. Jack was smart and picked the most fit, young and physically strong players, while Jan (for who knows what reason) picked all the older and less physically-active people, thus creating extraordinary differences in the tribes. While this move could prove deadly for Jan and all the members in her tribe, time will tell if she made the right or wrong decision to choose who she did.
The location is Koh Tarutao, a small island off the coast of Thailand, much like the one that served as the setting for the first and original SURVIVOR which took place on an island off Borneo. The tribes are split into two teams of eight named Sook Jai ("Happy heart") and Chauy Gahn ("To help one another") and placed on opposite sides of the island where they will of course battle it out for the ultimate prize of $1 million dollars.
I was less than impressed by the first Tribal Challenge where the player Ghandia blew the competition by crumbling under pressure when her tribe had at least a three-minute lead. I am more than certain that her action will come back to haunt her in future Tribal Councils. Players that intrigued me were Ted, Shii-Ann and Jan, while others that annoyed me were Robb, Ghandia and Helen. One player in particular, Brian, has a controversial background as an ex-porn star of soft-core adult movies. It would be very interesting to see the media backlash should he win this game!
The challenges so far have not seemed very original. It still amazes me as to how people can be so stupid as to not figure out how to row a boat properly! (One team was rowing their boat backwards!) Nonetheless, the first person voted off deserved to go - I believe he was very pushy and would cause a great deal of tension among his tribe mates. But again, time will tell to see if their decision to vote him off was good or bad. I am unsure as to whether these cast-aways will also be provided additional food.
I am still amazed by the fact that five series into SURVIVOR, the franchise still has me hooked. You can thank SURVIVOR: MARQUESAS for that - I still think that was one of the best editions to date. Let's just hope that SURVIVOR: THAILAND does NOT turn out to be another SURVIVOR: AFRICA! I refuse to go through that again!
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