An Idea I have for Survivor
Survivor: Season 32 just ended, and I am a big fan of the show. Admittedly, I haven't seen all the seasons, but I do own a buff for the Pearl Islands, the earliest season I remember being really invested in. (Also, it introduced Rupert!)
Everyone knows the concept: a bunch of people are cast away to an island for up to 39 days, depending on what number you are voted out on. The people are split into tribes and do challenges and vote each other out one by one until the two tribes merge. Then, the ones voted out become a "jury" who vote for one of the two-to-three finalists to win $1 million, which given inflation should be upped to at least $10 million, but whatever.
The show's intrigue is with the contestants and the clashing personalities. The scheming and strategizing is the most interesting part, and I feel really smart when I can strategize with them. The other three great Advantages the show has for them is the awesome music, the amazing visuals captured by the cameras, and the spectacular editing (the time-lapses, the helicopter zoom-ins, the crawly bugs...etc). Finally, combine them with one of my favorite TV people of all time, Jeff Probst, and I'm hooked.
With a 33rd season post-production, I will admit that it can get stale sometimes watching the same balancing puzzles or block stacking challenges. They do keep it entertaining and switch it up a lot, but the show itself is getting really formulaic. I mean, it always was, but it's easier to catch on to every beat in every episode:
Awful night-vision footage of the contestants talking about the last vote, amazing intro music, commercial. Update on each tribe, reward challenge, commercial. Reward, losers complaining, possible antics, commercial. Immunity challenge, scheming, contestants contemplating their existence, commercial. Tribal Council, someone blows up, votes, commercial. Scenes for next week's episode, send-off, credits.
Sometimes there are hidden immunity necklaces, emergency evacs, breakdowns, family visit, village visits...etc, but you get the idea.
So, how do you keep it fresh, you know, aside from the personalities? And yeah, they play around with the formula and add in elements, but they are always looking for new and innovative ways to switch it up, and in the past it didn't always work out:
Exile island - they just kept sending the same person there.
Redemption Island - the same guy won every battle.
A super idol - never got played.
Extra vote - never got played.
the voted off form a new third tribe - didn't really work well.
tribes get scrambled - not invested with the people yet.
Again, I haven't seen all the seasons but every change-up got either figured out pretty quickly or fizzled out because of unyielding results.
I bet I could think of a bunch of cool twists, and in the future I might talk about them, but for now, I wanted to share my best idea to completely shake up the game, at least for one episode.
While there are two or three tribes (before the merge), in the first segment of the episode instead of the reward challenge, each tribe is sent to their own respective tribal councils. Bare with me... Now we have one of each tribe's "weakest link". But here's the twist: they do not get voted off! Instead, the two "representatives" of each tribe competes for a reward. The loser leaves the game, but the winner has a choice: either they can use the reward to curry favor among their original tribe mates and reattempt to build relationships, OR, take the reward to the other tribe and start fresh with a new set of people. If the winner stays, it'll be awkward back at camp and potentially throw the tribe into chaos. If the winner switches, then the smaller alliances will fight over that person, potentially reversing their entire role from on-the-outs to major influence. If they make it to the merge, then there will be some awkward confrontations for sure. Now imagine if the guy got voted out with a hidden immunity idol and comes back with with a vengeance on their tribe!? Potentially. the results of this will continue to carry on in the psyche of every tribal vote after that, because they won't know if it will happen again.
That is my (first) big idea to change-up Survivor. If anyone reading this can pass this along to Jeff Probst (or someone else with influence over the show), that'd be great! And also tell him I'm a big fan of his and I think His show shouldn't have been cancelled; I've been saying he needs a show for years, well before he got one!
So there's my idea. I think it would switch up the game in an effective way. Season 33 premieres in the Fall and will be "Gen X-ers" vs. "Millennials", and as a Millenial myself, I will be rooting for the Gen X tribe, because I can't stand Millennials either! But that's a different story for a different time...
...I don't really know how to end this post, so