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Thread: Survivor: Jumping the Shark?

  1. #1
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    Survivor: Jumping the Shark?

    After 10 seasons, has "Survivor" finally gone past the point of no return, or "jumped the shark", in TV lingo? [BTW: this phrase means that a TV series has reached a point where it loses credibility and starts a decline that leads to eventual cancellation.]

    After tonight's episode (3/16), I am ready to put the Palau season alongside Thailand and Africa as the worst to date.

    So far, (as in most seasons) the "twists and turns" have been relatively lame. The ideas of school yard picking of teams and living on the same beach as two tribes had been done before (see Thailand season), however this particular episode just went overboard with the twists.

    Having the victorious Koror tribe eat their reward challenge prize in front of the (once again) defeated Ulong tribe was just mean spirited. Meanwhile, host Jeff Probst seems to get more annoying every go around. (Although I did share his disgust at the ineffective Ibrehem.) Allowing the Koror team to insert themselves into the Ulong tribe dynamics by bestowing immunity on a member of the tribe was the final nail in this coffin.

    After less than half the episodes even airing, I stand ready to wash my hands of this whole mess and catch "The O.C." or ABC's new "Jake in Progress".

    Instead of being provocative and water-cooler chatter inspiring, the latest twists seem just desperate. If the casting department or absentee producer Mark Burnett (who apparantly is too busy turning out flops like "Contender" to pay much attention to the show that started it all) had done their jobs, these cheap and seemingly rushed twists wouldn't be necessary.

    After all, what if Phil Keoghan of "Amazing Race" told the next-to-last team to arrive that they would be eliminated and not the last team because it was a new "twist" on the game? Or Donald Trump firing a contestant and replacing them with his receptionist just because he wants to?

    While I have come to expect these kind of twists from reality shows like "Big Brother", but those are guilty pleasures. "BB" and others revel in their guilt and have no presumptions about being a shining example of what a reality series should be, which is what "Survivor" has done since day one.

    Perhaps the producers and powers that be at CBS should make a trip down to Blockbuster and check out "Survivor: Season 1" and the upcoming "Survivor: Australian Outback" on DVD to see what made this series so great. Both of those seasons are basically free of meddlesome twists and turns. Watching the currently sad Palau season compared to the first two seasons in almost akin to watching two entirely different series built around the same premise: one person voted off each week until only one remains. Unfortunately, even that one person voted off each week rule has now been forever reduced to an afterthought.

    While I will probably continue to watch the remaining episodes, in some form or fashion, the season is showing virtually no redeeming qualities. The only hint of interest came when Gregg informed Coby of his plan to copy from "Boston Rob" Mariano's playbook and manipulate his tribemates as he sees fit. Even if this does occur - likely weeks down the line - it may be too little too late to save this fan's interest in this obviously declining franchise.

  2. #2
    *Until Next Season...* karalott's Avatar
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    After 10 seasons, has "Survivor" finally gone past the point of no return, or "jumped the shark", in TV lingo? [BTW: this phrase means that a TV series has reached a point where it loses credibility and starts a decline that leads to eventual cancellation.]

    After tonight's episode (3/16), I am ready to put the Palau season alongside Thailand and Africa as the worst to date.
    You read my mind. It hasn't gotten quite as bad as Africa and Thailand (and to be honest, I didn't find Africa that bad), but it's pretty far down on my list. The even numbered seasons are usually the best, yet this one comes pretty close to being as bad as AS on my list. I thought anything would be an improvement over ASS, and then I was really excited because after the bomb that was Vanuatu, this season looked like it was going to be one of the best. I even bought into Jeff's hype as being hype that he really meant, instead of just saying 'it's the best season even' because he had to.

    So far, (as in most seasons) the "twists and turns" have been relatively lame. The ideas of school yard picking of teams and living on the same beach as two tribes had been done before (see Thailand season), however this particular episode just went overboard with the twists.

    Instead of being provocative and water-cooler chatter inspiring, the latest twists seem just desperate. If the casting department or absentee producer Mark Burnett (who apparantly is too busy turning out flops like "Contender" to pay much attention to the show that started it all) had done their jobs, these cheap and seemingly rushed twists wouldn't be necessary.
    I didn't have a problem with the school yard picking, because it's part of the game and I actually thought it was a pretty cool twist. I would have been devastated had I been one of the ones not picked, but sucked it up and complained to anyone who would listen after the fact. I thought it would have been a lot better had Koror and Ulong been forced to live on the same beach as 2 tribes instead of living on two different beaches. And what happened to 'absolutely no help' that they hyped to no end? Also, the throwing them overboard with just the clothes on their backs has gotten old. Let them take their belongings and luxury items. I agree though, that Mark seems more preoccupied with all his other projects. There's really a lot that can be done to Survivor to make it interesting, and I've seen people right here at the FORT make suggestions that would work, but that's never been done (one example is having them start off in one big tribe, then break them up after a few days). I also didn't agree with the eating in front of the other tribe. Ulong is outnumbered, and once the merge hits, unless there's an absolute miracle, they will join those in Survivor history that were part of a Pagonged team. I don't really understand why Ulong sucks so bad. They had a few members that were holding the tribe back, but really, nothing as bad as in previous seasons. I've heard different things about twists in past seasons, and I would hope that MB means it when he says he plans these things ahead of time and nothing is changed just to change the outcome of the game. But I'm a tad skeptical. However, I don't want a new twist every single week, but just enough to keep my interest and also to see how the contestants will handle it.

    Perhaps the producers and powers that be at CBS should make a trip down to Blockbuster and check out "Survivor: Season 1" and the upcoming "Survivor: Australian Outback" on DVD to see what made this series so great. Both of those seasons are basically free of meddlesome twists and turns. Watching the currently sad Palau season compared to the first two seasons in almost akin to watching two entirely different series built around the same premise: one person voted off each week until only one remains. Unfortunately, even that one person voted off each week rule has now been forever reduced to an afterthought.
    But the show does needs twists and turns, not only to keep the audience interested, but also to throw off these people who've come into the game thinking they have it figured out.

    While I will probably continue to watch the remaining episodes, in some form or fashion, the season is showing virtually no redeeming qualities. The only hint of interest came when Gregg informed Coby of his plan to copy from "Boston Rob" Mariano's playbook and manipulate his tribemates as he sees fit. Even if this does occur - likely weeks down the line - it may be too little too late to save this fan's interest in this obviously declining franchise.
    I think Coby is just a bad wannabe character. I think that could be a lot of the problem in casting. I think this season has a great cast, but in my own opinion, all of the interesting people were on Ulong. I think Koror has some interesting personalities as well, but if Tom's alliance holds strong, after their done picking off what's left of Ulong, they'll also pick off anyone who isn't in their alliance. Seeing the same old manipulating, backstabbing, and scheming techniques are old. I'd love to see someone like Rob C., who did all of that but had a different approach to it. And maybe that's the biggest problem, is that the contestants are just too good at thinking they can play the game, or they just don't care. Something should have been done to shake things up. I also agree that it's almost like they aren't trying anymore. Jeff is getting more arrogant and cocky, IMO, and I just think the stakes need to be raised. I'd like to see them not know what they're playing for in a RC, I'd like to see people switching alliances every episode, and I'd just like to see something new added to the game. Aside from the twist tonight, it's pretty much been the same old Survivor.
    Last edited by karalott; 03-17-2005 at 02:52 AM.

  3. #3
    I Bleed Scarlet And Gray FireWoman's Avatar
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    Maybe if they got back to letting people try out rather then go casting it would be a step in the right direction. I am sick of the actor/model wannabes. I'd rather see real poeple on any 'human drama/reality show' Maybe people I can relate to. But yes I will agree I don't look forward as much to this show as I once did. The OC has taken much more of my attention.. and by that I admit I mean I TAPE OC and sit down to watch it and leave Survivor on in the back of my office and listen only looking over if it sounds like some thing MIGHT happen. :/

  4. #4
    the sweetest thing snickers's Avatar
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    hmm i must be in the minority, but i really like this season

    however, i did not see tonight's episode due to the schedule change, had to sit in class

    even though the school yard picking was lame, i think the people of this season are really interesting, and the people i like are all on koror (minus coby/caryn)

    so no, i dont think it has jumped the shark at all, all stars is still by far the worst, and vanuatu wasnt that good either, but it was better than thailand that's for sure

  5. #5
    Do the Kirby! Healblade's Avatar
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    Based on ratings, Survivor isn't anywhere near a decline.

    As far as jumping the shark, not even close. Tonight had a lame "twist", if you could even call it that, but the game can't always be the same. If we had another game exactly like Season Two, it'd get too repetitive. Besides, this twist wasn't exactly game-breaking, and the other twists this season hasn't ruined the gameplay.

    By the way, why didn't you like Thailand? It's my second favorite season, and it's getting close to getting bumped down to third if this season stays this good. Season Two (Australian Outback) is one of my least favorite, as the gameplay just wasn't good. Besides, the "previous votes" tiebreaker led to "jumping the shark" discussions after the Jeff Varner vote and especially after the trivia challenge tiebreaker in Season Three (Africa).

    On a side note, Gregg and Jenn's plan seems much more akin to the gameplay of Alison and Jun in Big Brother 4, and it got them to the Final Two. Even then, they copied Rob Cesternino's strategy, constant alliance jumping, but did so more easily as a power of two. We still have a LOT of gameplay left, as evidenced by Season Four (Marquesas).

    If we have another very lopsided merge (which it looks like we will at this point), the members of Ulong that do make the merge could be very effective in providing the votes needed to create power shifts and almost endless permutations of alliances. Koror is primed and ready for an upset. Why? Their alliances are too clearly drawn. The pecking order is set, and numbers 4 and 5 know it. As long as the pecking order is known, the people not on top can change it. Vecepia Towery did it, and it can be done again.

    As far as the casting models goes... maybe they've learned their lesson from Ulong: the models who have never seen Survivor don't know how or really care to play the game. Gameplay > models two seasons in a row!

  6. #6
    the sweetest thing snickers's Avatar
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    i just think thailand didnt have very interesting people in it at all

    shii ann was like the only interesting one to me

    robb z was a character though

    but clay/jan/brian/ted/helen they all had blah personalties, and they went the furthest

    and the twists were not good that season either

    season 7 had a good twist i thought

  7. #7
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    I agree with Snickers. Maybe it's just the fact that I detested nearly all of the contestants last season, but I'm just happy to have several contestants that I actually *like* this time around. Especially since there seem to be so many that are willing to actually work instead of just lazing around the beach all day!

  8. #8
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Here we go AGAIN, just like the last three seasons!
    I have found the Truth and it doesn't make sense.

  9. #9
    I want my reality TV! rozzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snickers
    hmm i must be in the minority, but i really like this season
    I agree. Despite not having a clearcut "favorite" or "villian", I am finding this season as entertaining as ever. I do like to have someone to root for/against. I was starting to like Angie because she played hard but now that she's gone.....

    I do agree that Thailand was among the worst but for me it because the winner Brian was so despicable and sleazy. I was rooting for Shi Ann but she shot herself in the foot.

    I did enjoy AS because I enjoyed the interaction between the tribe members. It was infuriating that so many followed Rob like sheep, though.

    I think the producers feel like they need to introduce new twists evey season because it will be too predictable. I enjoy the changes even though I don't think that it was fair to send Koror to TC last night.
    Rozzie

  10. #10
    Staying Afloat speedbump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queenb
    Here we go AGAIN, just like the last three seasons!
    Ha ha! I was thinking the same thing. Hasn't this been said of the last 9 seasons?

    From a personal standpoint, I know of quite a few people who actually just started watching Survivor this season, so I think there's still some juice left in the Survivor machine.
    You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice.- U2

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