11 February 2011
A week from tonight, Survivor: Redemption Island premieres at 8pm on CBS. This season, along with the return of fan favorites Rob and Russell, a new twist has been added to the game. Each week the eliminated castoff will be sent to live alone on Redemption Island. When the following individual is voted off, the two will compete in a duel and the loser will leave the game for good. Eventually, the remaining player on Redemption Island will rejoin the game and have a shot at the million dollar prize.
Today, we had the opportunity to listen in as executive producer Mark Burnett explained the new twist, offered some useful insight, and made several random metaphors (something about the show being an envelope and each season the letter which contains different words…lost me there). New details were revealed, anticipation was built, and several questions were left unanswered.
10 Things I Learned About Survivor
(1) Fundamentally, Survivor is “morality play.” Burnett made this point early on and continued to expand upon it. While playing dirty can easily bring you to the end, it’s typically the good guy who takes home the prize (or the lesser of the two evils in some cases). This is why tribemates such as Russell are always the bridesmaid and never the bride. You cannot easily win this game without playing at least somewhat morally.
(2) The game is fueled by death imagery. Sure, it’s obvious that the snuffing of the torch has always been a symbol of the individual’s death in the tribe, but who know there were others? Burnett explained that losers’ exists are generally hasty and quiet in order to stay true to our exits from life: no opportunity to say our goodbyes and a sudden whisking away to the dark unknown. The wise words of Jeff Probst’s parables serve as a rebirth for the team or group of players. The episodes purposefully end with Jeff giving them advice about the game/life that, when heeded, could increase their life expectancy. Then there was something about the ousted individuals walking into blue lighting which further symbolizes death…kinda lost me there.
(3) Probst’s contract is still up in the air. Right now he’s only signed on for the current season, which could potentially be his last. Burnett claims they have yet to deal with the issue. Sounds like someone will be getting more money, or someone will be hiring a new host (just a guess).
(4) Russell is supposedly leaking spoilers regarding the current season. Mark Burnett says he just found out about this and doesn’t know whether it’s true or not. My guess? If true, this probably means he loses again and is whining about it.
(5) A celebrity version of the show has been talked about in. As of right now there are no plans to do so, but Burnett could potentially see them doing a shortened version for charity some day.
(6) There is a new rule for quitters. In order to appease viewer’s complaints, and likely dissuade tribemates from opting out, quitters will no longer serve as jury members. Last season, Naonka and Purple Kelly stayed on as juror’s post-quitting because a precedent had been set in an earlier season and legally this could not be altered. Now, the official rules will no longer allow quitters to vote as jury members unless there are “extraordinary circumstances”.
And on to the twist…
(7) All castmembers will be told during the first episode about the new twist (and it sounds like producers get the facial expressions they were looking for).
(8) The new twist was thought up by none other than Mr. Probst himself. Ladies and gentleman, this is why Jeff wins all those Emmy’s. Apparently, he thought of the idea a few years back and it’s just now coming into play.
(9) Players who are voted out won’t have it easy. Think of Redemption Island like you think of Exile Island. The ousted tribemates will be living alone with little food and thus have similar conditions as the others do back at camp. Granted, it might even be a bit worse since they are completely on their own.
(10) Some current players in the game will be able to watch the Redemption Island duel. It wasn’t made clear exactly what decides who gets to watch the duel, but there will be an audience filled with people who may have voted out one or both of the duelers.
10 Reasons Why Redemption Island Could be the Greatest Twist Yet
(1) The loneliness factor. Survivor capitalized on the emotional journey Stephenie underwent as the sole member of her tribe by instituting Exile Island. Now they are back with more attempts at breaking down the individual with Redemption Island. Hypothetically, one castaway could be voted out the first week and spend 30 plus days alone. This is bound to lead to tears, emotional distress, and some damn good television.
(2) Spectators watching the duel can only make for drama. Burnett promised “dramatic eye to eye” confrontations when current tribemates come face to face with individuals they voted out. I expect to see sore losers, boastful winners, and some nasty verbal attacks.
(3) Strong alliances could be destroyed even after the game. Picture this: two strong allies voted out back to back now must compete to rejoin the game. In the past, you simply had to beat your allies in a verbal speech to win the million, but now you might have to confront them physically and cost them the game.
(4) Blindsides will have to be covered up to perfection. With the threat of an ousted player returning to the game, turning on a friend or ally becomes that much more difficult. Players will have to learn to be even sneakier to ensure that their ally won’t find out exactly who voted them out. The potential for lying has tripled and I wouldn’t be surprised to see tons of confusion. This also probably means that bullying won’t work (sorry Russell). You can’t very well be openly mean to someone who has a decent shot of getting you back.
(5) We finally get to hear from those eliminated. Let’s be honest, the simple speech as the credits role is sometimes not enough. If the producers take full advantage of the twist, each episode should give us insight into the mind of the ousted player. We can see how their emotions change from day to day and that will be a heck of a journey.
(6) It’s no longer just the jury who matters. Those first 5 or so players who leave could significantly impact the game. It’s no longer a “goodbye never see you again” deal. One of them could come back and win, or even worse, become a jury member down the road.
(7) The age of question of keeping the strong or eliminating them right off that bat just got a whole lot more confusing. If the physical threats are removed first, they have the potential to dominate the duels (unless they are puzzle based) and return closer to the end when individual immunity is a guarantee. On the other hand, keeping them in gives them a greater shot of winning a duel against you down the road.
(8) The strategy behind voting gets a whole lot trickier. Voting might switch to oust a player that the tribe feels has a good shot of beating the current Redemption Island castaway. Or on the opposite end, someone might be voted out who has no chance in beating that castaway. If you know you’re time is coming up to leave, you just might snuff the torch of someone you feel confident in beating. Suddenly who was voted out last week becomes just as important as who will be voted out this week.
(9) Everyone loves the underdog. The possibility of one person staying on Redemption Island for weeks is thrilling. A fan favorite could potentially have a second chance for the win and thus reenter the game as the underdog. Everyone loves an underdog!!
(10) Rob versus Russell. I mean, it’s what the producers had in mind when they decided to through them back in, right? Who doesn’t want to see this Redemption Island Duel? Here’s hoping they both get voted out back to back.
10 Questions Left Unanswered
(1) Will there still be a hidden immunity idol?
(2) Will the spectator’s of the duel be the only ones that know who the current resident of Redemption Island is, or will Probst announce it every week?
(3) Who or what decides which tribemates get to watch the Redemption Island duel?
(4) When will the Redemption Islander come back into the game?
(5) Will more than one person be allowed back in?
(6) If someone from week one survives in Redemption Island until close to the very end do they get to at least be jury members?
(7) Will the duels be physical, mental, or a combination of both?
(8) Will they seriously continue this series without Jeff Probst?
(9) Will Redemption Island take over the thrown as best twist yet and remove the hidden immunity idol from it’s long-standing throne?
(10) Will Russell every play a different game (cause seriously everyone should see through his bull**** this time)?