Survivor TV Series Review

Survivor is an American reality game show which was launched by CBS May, 2000. The show itself is inspired by the international Survivor Series, which has been launched in various countries. The original creator of the series, Charlie Parsons, is one of the executive producers of the American version. Survivor is hosted by the award winning TV host, Jeff Probst. The show completed its thirtieth season this year, and its thirty first season is expected to premiere this fall. Needless to say, the show has been a big hit among the American audience. You can watch all the episodes of this fabulous program by streaming them with an affordable and reliable Time Warner Cable Internet Plan.

Charlie Parsons is a British TV producer and he created the format of this game show for a TV production company called Planet 24 in 1992. Then, it was called Castaway. However, the show never saw the light of day on British soil. It was later picked up by the Swedish entertainment industry and the series debuted for the first time in 1997. The show was an instant hit, and its popularity only gained momentum as time passed. When the final episode of season 4 went on air, 4 million out of the 8 million people in Sweden were hooked to their television screens. Its success inspired the production of the series in other countries, including America. The only difference is that the Swedish version is known as Expedition Robinson.

The American series was a huge hit too. The series is credited as being the precursor to the modern day competition based reality TV shows. Survivor was the first highly rated and profitable reality TV show in America. It spawned a number of shows in its sub-genre in the reality TV category. The show has completed thirty seasons to date, and over the course of a decade and a half, has evolved very little. Even in 2015, the same structure is intact, which was first established in the launch season. Obviously, the producers do not intend to mess with a winning formula.

Show Format

Each season of the show follows a select group of 16 strangers, who make up one or more tribes. The candidates are then left stranded in an isolated location and are given bare minimal resources to survive. They have to work hard to fulfill their needs like - food, water, shelter, fire, and so on. Apart from the main quest to survive, the participants are also required to compete in challenges that will decide their fate. The contestants have to display their survival skills on the show during the various challenges to gain the goodwill and votes of the viewers.
The show progresses with the lowest voted member is eliminated from the show regularly. The challenges are also an opportunity for the participants to earn either rewards or immunity from elimination during the next voting. The 2 to 3 last surviving contestants face a jury composed of a few selected previously eliminated members of the season. The jury members interact with each surviving contestant and then decide who will be the last survivor. The chosen one is rewarded with the title, Sole Survivor, and a million dollar in prize.

The fixed format of the show was proving to be an Achilles heel for the show-makers. To make the competition more interesting and demanding for the contestants, many modifications were introduced in each season to keep people guessing. These modifications are usually only seen in the season they are introduced, while the basic show format is preserved over the long run.

Show Locations and Conditions

The conditions to which the contestants are exposed to are not simulated. They are real places, each with their own flora, fauna and environment. Each season is set in a relatively unknown corner of the world, away from civilization. These locations can be as varied as a remote island in Malaysia, or a state park in Brazil. So far, 30 seasons have been completed in 30 different locations, usually in the tropical regions.

So far, the show has been filmed in 31 different locations (including the 31st season). These locations are varied and vastly unknown to a majority of the TV audiences. The show has conducted the competition across five continents so far - Africa, Asia, Australia, North America and South America. The countries that have hosted the show are Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gabon, Guatemala, Kenya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Samoa, Thailand, and Vanuatu. The show has returned to a country more than once, but at a different location each time. Nicaragua, Philippines, and Samoa have hosted the show four times, i.e. for four seasons, although not always consecutively.

Controversies

It would be a surprise if a show that has been running for 30 seasons would not have some sort of controversies attached to it and Survivor does not disappoint. The show has seen everything from producers suing contestants to contestants suing producers to even governments getting involved. One of the major ones was related to the winner of the first season, Richard Hatch. He failed to mention his prize winnings on the show to the IRS, to save taxes. For this, he was awarded more than four years in prison.
During the filming of Survivor: The Australian Outback, the crew broke Australian laws on two accounts. Colby Donaldson removed corals in the Great Barrier Reef and a crew helicopter was spotted hovering in the protected seabird rookeries. The executive producer, Mark Burnett, had to apologize on behalf of the crew to not face the wrath of the Australian government.

There have been many cases of contestants accusing the producers of engaging in malpractices like favoritism among show contestants. In some of the cases, it has even emerged that the allegations were indeed true.

Reception

Survivor has been a hit in the U.S. from the moment it was launched. For the first 11 seasons, the show was ranked among the top 10 TV shows in America. The first episode of season 1, was viewed by over 15 million Americans. By the time the show reached its season finale, a total of roughly 52 million viewers were hooked to the show. For the first eighteen seasons of the show, Survivor was consistently ranked among the top 20 most watched shows in the country.
However, over the course of time, the popularity of the show has decreased. The first episode of the thirtieth season only saw a viewership of about 10 million, which by the end of the season had dropped to slightly less than 10 million. The five latest seasons of the show did not even make it into the top 20 most watched shows in America. In fact, the summer installment of the show was ranked 31, a far cry from the top spots it once used to occupy.

Although the numbers have decreased over the years, Survivor still forms an innate part of American television. The show has received numerous award nominations and won a number of them in different categories. Since its first year, the show has received dozens of Primetime Emmy Awards nominations and won more than half a dozen of them. The other nominations include TVA awards and Critics' Choice Television Awards, among others. The show even made it into the Time magazine’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All-Time in 2007.

 

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