By: Max Lissette
After 34 seasons, you would think we have seen it all on Survivor. Instead, last week’s episode renewed my interest in the series after an unexpected twist led to a classic Survivor occurrence: a “blindside” vote wherein a member of the cast is unexpectedly voted off without seeing it coming. WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD.
Coming into this season of Survivor I was really excited by the cast because it was filled with familiar faces from past seasons all of whom had made big moves or changed the game in some revolutionary way during their season. While the first episode of the season had gotten the season out to a good and exciting start, when the second and third episodes aired, I wasn’t waiting by the television for them to start, and even when they were released on Amazon video, it took me about a week after each episode to watch them. In short, while the season seems like its going to be exciting, I can’t bring myself to set the time aside to watch it live, and I’m less motivated to watch the episodes when they are posted online then I thought I would be.
I think this is likely due to the fact that I have gotten too used to binge watching shows on Netflix and Amazon. Recently, with almost every show that I have watched, I have had the luxury of clicking “watch next episode” immediately after I finish each episode, and I think that the inability to do so with a season that is currently airing on television has made me less attentive to the show and less interested in it. It definitely makes me wonder what the future of television is and whether or not more shows will be created like “stranger things” and “the night of” where an entire season is released at a time, because there is definitely an increasing desire amongst the population for their shows to be binge-able.
Last week on survivor, the show changed things up in a twist that I can’t remember ever seeing before. Typically, if there are three tribes rather than two, the top two teams in an immunity challenge are safe from elimination and only the last place team is up for elimination. This week however, the show’s host Jeff Probst, announced that the bottom two teams would both be up for elimination and that the first place team was going to be the only team to earn immunity. In addition, Jeff told the two tribes that rather than having separate eliminations for each tribe, they would be joining each other for a combined vote and they could vote for anyone on either team. This twist led to tons of strategizing and panicking as it led people to wonder whether they should vote with their own tribe or create relationships with people in the other tribe by voting with them. In the end, the elimination (or “tribal council”) ended up being extremely chaotic as people literally got out of their seats and ran to the other side of the room to talk strategy with other members, and voting strategies for both tribes changed a multitude of times within just 60 seconds. In the end, an immunity idol was played by the tribe with less players, and the strongest player on the tribe with more players went home unexpectedly because of this. Needless to say, I was sitting in shock as all of this went down, and it definitely left me excited for the next episode.
The main purpose of this article is to say that in a world where binge-able television is becoming increasingly popular, television that is aired on a weekly basis must do something to maintain interest (and especially a show that is in its 34th season of airing a challenge with the exact same premise every time). This episode with it’s unexpected twist that I had never seen in Survivor before was definitely a good example of a long-running television show doing what it has to do to maintain interest and ratings in today’s world.