What is the greatest reality television show of all time?
What’s that, you say? Dance Your Ass Off? GTFO.
But seriously, while there’s some “wiggle room” for debate, there really is nothing in the much (and sometimes unfairly) maligned genre of reality that has so fundamentally shaped it and television in general as a little ol’ show called Survivor.
There’s plenty of places you can find out about the format and objective of Survivor for the ten people who both have the net and have been living as a hermit in a remote jungle for 13 years, so the skinny on the show itself will do for now: Deriving the format from one Brit Charlie Parsons had created for a Swedish show that already had three seasons under its belt at the time, reality pimp-daddy extraordinaire Mark Burnett bought the now ubiquitous show to American screens in 2000, its first season initially just a summer filler during the non-ratings period in the US. But it took the country – and the rest of the world besides Sweden, who were probably all “Um, what?” – by storm, with 52 million Americans watching the grand finale that saw Richard Hatch win the grand prize of one million dollars. (Younger digital natives may not be massively overawed by the size of that prize, but it was far and away the largest prize money any TV show put on Aussie screens had ever offered at the time. Our pre-pubescent selves were blown away at how massive that amount of money was for just being a “game” show contestant. I mean, did get you a million bucks if you got all the maze keys in A*mazing? Did you get a million dollars from Larry Emdur if you guessed the correct lineup of the showcase? And I don’t remember Robbo Brough signing too many massive cheques on the original Family Feud.)
13 years and 26 seasons later, there have been over 200 contestants on the American show (there have been dozens of other local versions, but no-one seems to care about them by look of it save for the French one). And as is the nature of reality TV and most games in general, most of them were eliminated without being able to take home the big mil. But any Survivor discussion online or between friends will always bring up those who got robbed.
So what of it? There’s been “all-star” seasons of Survivor before where returning winners and other contestants known for their gameplay skills have come back to face off against each other or coach tribes of noobs. Why not have a season where people who were going quite well and seemed to know their stuff – but were then – controversially or unfairly eliminated due to bullshit twists or other contestant’s bonehead decisions – get to come back and have a second chance to prove they can be All-Stars too? The Amazing Race had a season for guys with unfinished business for redeem themselves, so why not its sibling show?
So we’re going to do just that.
Over the next few months, TwoDaysSpecial will be proud to present to you our first long-running feature for our site: Survivor: Vietnam – Quest for Redemption. Two tribes, each with nine former contestants with unfinished business from their first season, will compete – first as teams, then as individuals – for a million dollar prize in our nominated location of Con Dao National Park in southern Vietnam (thanks French Survivor!) to show that they really did have the right stuff all along. They were outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the first time – but can they rise to the top in different circumstances?
Coming soon will be a rundown of our tribes, who’s in them and why they’ve been cast in this special “Second Chances” season of Survivor. And then we’ll kick things off with a day-by-day play out of the ultimate game of survival and redemption. For all the reality and Survivor geeks out there, we hope you enjoy the show that’s about to unfold.
Oh, and if CBS actually do this for the next season of the real Survivor after we’ve already started doing this, we’re going to be somewhat mildly upset.
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