WOW! My current word to explain Australian Survivor.
When I first heard about this all Australian take on the American unstoppable, cult viewing reality show, I was worried. We had tried before and failed. Now we had 32 incredible seasons to bounce off of and so much more room to fail. Did we though?
My thoughts…absolutely NOT! I think anyone could easily watch the Australian version (albeit on mute, with subtitles and believing that Jeff had taken the season off and enlisted Jonathan LaPaglia’s help) and believe it to be season 33 of the original American Survivor.
Yes there are some bumps that need ironing out BUT there are so many reasons why it has been so successful this time around. The main reason why? The show was given an ‘all or nothing’ approach. With two previous seasons of an Australian type Survivor on two different networks this was ultimately the last hoo-rah, last chance, which means they’re throwing everything into the one season. The result…..blindsides, one tribe domination and overall entertainment.
We’ve had a ‘merge’ (more like a tribe mix agitation), eliminations that didn’t result in leaving but did give people on the bottom opportunities to work their way back up, and only now are we actually about to hit the proper merge.
In saying all of this there a few disappointing factors in all of this. Mainly, I don’t believe it gets the views it deserves with ratings of 600,000-690,000 across 5 major cities*. Australia has a population of 24 million, ratings of 1 million or more tells you you’ve got a good thing going, and Australian Survivor isn’t hitting that mark.
This leads me onto the other disappointing point – lack of diversity. The majority of the tribe members are Caucasians in their mid to late 20’s, with a few older people thrown in the mix. Why was it done that way? Well in my opinion it’s because mid – late 20’s is the Survivor Australian target audience, so why then is it not translating into ratings? Well, maybe it is but this age group has just distanced themselves from the regular viewing platform of TV and adopted an ‘I’ll watch it later online’ attitude. Online watching or ‘catch up TV’ elements have been around for a couple of years now and I think it’s clear that is the direction we’re heading in with services like Netflix, Stan, Fetch and the ‘original’ Foxtel becoming more prevalent in households.
I’ve done a lot of comparing the Australian version with the one in the States but there is one notable difference between the two that I personally love. The Australian attitude of mate-ship and good sportsmanship is displayed in each episode which is something I think the American lacks. When a reward or immunity challenge ends, you often see the teams embrace and congratulate each other regardless of win or lose. When reward or immunity is handed over and the winning tribe walks out they turn to the other tribe and say “good luck” or “sorry”. When a contestant is blindsided and their Survivor dream taken from them, they respect and admire the move that was made even though they are now out. I rarely see that in the American version and it probably comes down to culture, but it is really interesting to witness.
My ending thought on this topic, Australian Survivor is, so far, a success. I will continue to watch and am excited for how the rest of the show will play out.
Have you been watching? What are your thoughts on the game play, contestants, and challenges? Let me know.
You can catch Australian Survivor on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm on Channel 10 OR catch up on TEN Play.
“I’m a survivor, I’m not gon’ give up”
– Destiny’s Child