samedi 30 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Rewatch: Survivor: Borneo "The Marooning" (Episode 1)

39 days, 16 people, 1 survivor!

Episode 1: "The Marooning"
Original airdate: May 31st, 2000
American ratings: 15.5 million viewers

It was with both pleasure and trepidation that I revisited the very first episode of the reality show which soon became by favorite TV show for years to come. I had not seen a single minute of Survivor: Borneo since the reruns aired on CBS during the summer of 2000.

It sure brought back memories to see the original castaways board that boat in that small Malaysian fishing village to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. And when the host Jeff Probst gave them two minutes to salvage whatever they could from the boat, the game was officially on and chaos ensued.

To win, you must survive the island, survive the vote, and ultimately survive each other.

Remember when Survivor pushed the contestants to the limit of their abilities and endurance? There were very few puzzle challenges back then, and every single minute seemed to be gruesome and painful. This is, in my mind, what Survivor is meant to be about. And that's how it all began.

A group of strangers forced to throw themselves off the boat and somehow make their way to their respective beaches on rafts that could not fit them all as well as the material they had salvaged from the ship. With an unforgiving sun beating down upon them, they were forced to row and swim, ever so slowly, toward their destinations. Getting there was obviously an ordeal for most of the contestants, especially Ramona. When you end up vomiting before the game has even truly started yet, it probably dawns upon you that this may not exactly be what you signed up for.

They must learn to adapt, or they are voted off.

Left to fend for themselves (this is Survivor, after all), the castaways are at a loss as to how to get organized. But this first episode, rewatched with 22 Survivor seasons under my belt, shows just how the entire production team is also learning the ropes. The camera crews are all over the place, creating a chaotic jumble of images. The picture quality isn't the same, nor is the location scouting up to par with subsequent seasons. Russ Landau's unforgettable soundtrack feels more present in this first episode, creating a musical backdrop to what is taking place. Even Jeff Probst appears uncomfortable, not quite sure as to exactly what sort of role the host is supposed to play in a reality show like this.

Day 1

With a few boxes' worth of survival supplies, both the Tagi and the Pagong tribes finally made it to their beach. Funny how the bulk of those supplies would disappear in future seasons, forcing the castaways to make to almost nothing but machetes and a bit of rice.

As a corporate consultant, Richard Hatch tried his best to get his tribesmates to sit down , talk, and come up with a plan so they could all work together. "Guys, the first thing we ought to do is talk about how we're going to do whatever it is we're going to do. Talk about the process," he opined. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the Tagi tribe felt that they had things well in hand and there was hence no need to discuss anything. At which point Susan Hawk came up with the kind of quote that would immotalize her in Survivor lore:

I'm a redneck. And I don't know corporate world at all. But corporate world ain't going to work out here in the bush.

Meanwhile, Rudy Boesch, a retired Navy Seal, tried to take control and issued orders to the rest of the tribe. Which quickly put him at odds with several of them.

Funny how such disparate men would soon become part of the first and one of the most infamous Survivor alliances in the history of the show. Funny also how Richard appears to put so much effort into creating a good team spirit and building their campsite, as he'll soon become one of the most selfish, cocky, and calculating players ever. But this was day 1. . .

On the Pagong beach, it's not Club Med either. B. B. seems to have his priorities straight, something that will rapidly put him at odds with the rest of his tribe. Along with Ramona, following the water map they'll finally manage to find their water spot after over an hour of searching. They hatch the very first strategic move the game has ever seen by considering not telling the others where the water can be found, hence forcing them to keep the two of them around if they want to survive.

As night falls on both beaches, the castaways try to get some sleep in their unfinished makeshift camps as rats prowl the premises. Both tribes get a taste of what life on the island will be like. . .

Day 2

The hardest part is hanging around with all those young kids. I don't even know what MTV means, you know.

Rudy is aware that things are not necessarily looking up for him. A hardened military man, he appears baffled by this stranded community among which he must now make his home. "If they listened to me, they'd all have haircuts and everything else, you know. We'd be in formation in the morning and all that kind of stuff. But they're not going to do that. I've got to fit in, not them. You know, there's more of them than there is of me."

God knows there's been quite a few characters on Survivor over the years. And yet, no matter how many fish in the sea, Rudy managed to leave an indelible mark on the history of this TV show.

Still, as a rule, military figures haven't fared all that well on Survivor. And Rudy is no exception. As a former Navy Seal, one would have thought that survival was second nature to such a man, and that starting a fire would be a piece of cake for one such as him. Be that as it may, as some of his tribesmates pointed out, he was pretty close to worthless when the Tagi crew attempted to create fire. With the help of Sean, Richard and Sue, Dirk gave it everything he had. But nothing short of divine intervention could have struck the sought-after spark. Alas, the Lord was busy doing something more important. . .

For her part, Sonja's only claim to fame during her time on Survivor would turn out to be singing "Bye Bye Blues" with the ukulele. Yes, she did leave her mark. . .

On the Pagong side of the island, B. B. is giving everything he has to build the tribe's shelter. To his dismay, his teammates do not seem to attach the same importance to the project. The old man's patience comes in short supply, and the Pagong widespread laziness and lack of work ethic irk him to no small degree. Tension exists between B. B. and Joel, and it's only a question of time before this kettle explodes.

Gretchen tries to reason with B. B., encourages him to calm down and take a 15-minute break. But the old man will have none of that and continues to dig his own grave. "I thought we were going to try to stay competitive. And if you work all day and you're burned at the end of the day, then we're not going to be competitive," she tells him. But as a matter of course, Gretchen's words of wisdom fell on deaf ears. On a more positive note, Gretchen did manage to create fire using B. B.'s glasses.

Back on the Tagi beach, Richard is already trying to catch some food using the fish traps and the rat traps. You can see that, right from the beginning, Richard wanted to assume the role of provider for the rest of his tribesmates.

The tribes' first tree mail summons them to their first encounter against the competition. The first challenge in Survivor history was the "Quest for Fire," for both reward and immunity. The castaways needed to swim to a raft containing fire, push it toward the beach and lighting torches along the way. At the beach, they had to carry their raft toward a fire bowl set upon some kind of statue. Pagong were the first to light up their fire bowl, getting their hands on the coveted immunity idol and a number of waterproof matches as their reward. During the course of the challenge, there was no commentary coming from Jeff and the host's silence was a bit odd compared to his active involvement in future seasons. Setting up the challenge at dusk was also a questionable call, as the lack of light made for poor visibility. The good news for viewers is that the production crew would learn from their mistake and turn Survivor in the most visually stunning TV show this side of National Geographic.

Day 3

This chick thinks I'm voting for one person, but I'm not.

Annoyed by Rudy's demeanor, Stacey tries to convince her tribesmates to vote him out. But little does she know that Richard and Rudy have bonded, and that Sue is not being honest with her or getting with the program. Still, Sonja, who was responsible for the Tagi lost of the previous day, and Rudy will be on the hot seat that night.

Dirk was the first God-fearing contestant on Survivor. He appeared to undergo a thoroughly uplifting experience while reading the Bible and praying. In any case, he was in no danger for this first council and thus did not need any intercession from God.

With Russ Landau's now mythical "Tally the Vote" theme playing in the background, the Tagi tribe entered the council area. The wooden chest containing the million dollar prize in cash was a bit overdone, methinks, and it's a good thing they got rid of it in subsequent seasons. "On the island, fire represents life," intoned the host. Once again, Jeff Probst doesn't seem quite sure about what his role should be at tribal council. He doesn't quite know how to set the tone yet.

The tribe has spoken.

In the end, Stacey's strategy is foiled by Sue. Rudy nevertheless got 3 votes cast against him, Stacey got one, and Sonja was the first ever castaway to be voted off the island with 4 votes cast against her.

All in all, though it certainly doesn't hit you with the same sort of impact it had in 2000, the first episode of Survivor: Borneo survived the test of time and still delivers. It marks the beginning of one of the biggest reality shows in the history of television, and as such it makes for a satisfying viewing experience, even more than a decade after it first aired.

As is often the case within group dynamics, strong personalities come to the fore early on. Survivor: Borneo was no exception to that rule. Richard, Rudy, Sue, B. B., and Gretchen stayed in the spotlight throughout the episode. Other castaways such as Greg, Colleen, Jenna, Gervase, Kelly, and Sean, who will come into their own at the series progresses, remained in the background and did not create any waves. It will be interesting to watch them gain confidence and take their rightful place among their respective tribes.

Stay tuned for the rewatch of the second episode. . .

To purchase the Survivor: Borneo DVD boxset: Canada, USA, Europe.
vendredi 29 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Nouveau logo

Vu sur

La saison 11 de Koh Lanta a enfin un nom : Koh Lanta Raja Ampat. La date de diffusion est toujours inconnue et nous ne savons donc pas encore précisément quand l’émission débutera sur TF1. Attendue pour le mois de septembre sur la première chaîne cette nouvelle saison rimera avec nouveautés.

Bon, le logo maintenant dévoilé, il ne nous manque plus que la date du coup d'envoi de cette nouvelle saison!
jeudi 28 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Encore des détails sur Koh-Lanta: Indonésie

Vu sur

Alors que la 11ème édition de Koh Lanta prendra bientôt effet, quelques changements ont été effectués pour ce nouvel opus. Suite à une légère érosion d’audience, lors du Koh Lanta au Vietnam, Denis Brogniart a expliqué la volonté de la part de la production de prendre en compte les remarques des téléspectateurs. Résultats de ces remontrances : le nouveau site, l’archipel indonésien des Raja Ampat (les quatre rois) est plus propice à l’évasion que celui de la saison passée au Vietnam. Les épreuves, elles, seront pour les deux tiers aquatiques et, enfin, aucun abandon volontaire ne sera plus jamais remplacé.

Côté casting, les candidats, dix femmes et dix hommes, rejoindront soit l’équipe des Wasaï (les Jaunes), soit celle des Mombak (Les Rouges) parmi eux se dégagent déjà de fortes personnalités dont Gégé le sexagénaire (champion du monde de pêche - « pendant un jour » - et détenteurs de 150 chats !) ; Maxime, 20 ans étudiant à Science Po, fin stratège prêt à tout, même à mentir, pour prouver que l’intellect peut l’emporter sur le physique ; Lisa, 25 ans « princesse et tigresse » dixit son père ; Martin, fils d’un des actionnaires du PSG ; Patricia, mère célibataire de trois enfants et occupant les fonctions de chauffeur routier. Puis, Steve, fonctionnaire de police sera également de la partie et ces dames n’ont qu’à bien se tenir puisque l’intéressé assume pleinement son côté misogyne. Laurent, quant à lui, n’hésite pas à troquer son image parfaite de mannequin contre celui d’aventurier, tandis que Teheiura, candidat indonésien, est en harmonie totale avec la nature environnante.

Pour ce qui est des règles du jeu, les fondamentaux sont conservés mais certaines modifications voient le jour comme « Le collier d’immunité ». Permettant aux candidats en leur possession de bénéficier d’une seule et unique immunité lors du conseil de leur choix (avant dépouillement des bulletins), ces fameux colliers se comptent aux nombre de quatre. Deux d’entre eux seront à trouver par les candidats, déjà répartis en équipe, dès leur arrivée, tandis que deux autres seront cachés sur chacun des campements. Concernant ces deux derniers colliers, les candidats ayant mis la main dessus pourront taire leur trouvaille...

Toujours à l’affiche des nouveautés, « le vote noir », permettra à l’aventurier éliminé de déposer un bulletin dans l’urne avec le nom du candidat qu’il souhaite voir partir. Un vote qui sera pris en compte lors du conseil suivant... Enfin, cette année, les participants ne bénéficieront pas d’un sac de riz en début de jeu. En effet, la denrée alimentaire sera attribuée à l’équipe victorieuse de la première épreuve de confort... de quoi faire grincer certaines dents

Il était bien temps de voir l'apparition de nouvelles règles du jeu dans Koh-Lanta. Et puisque celles-ci sont des éléments stratégiques, il sera intéressant de voir à quel point ces nouvelles règles auront un impact sur le jeu et les participants.

On est encore très loin de Survivor, la version américaine dont Koh-Lanta est l'adaptation française, mais ça mettra certainement un peu plus de piquant dans l'aventure!

Vivement l'automne!!!
mercredi 27 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Survivor: Season 24 set to begin shooting soon

This from a recent Jeff Probst Facebook update:

hey guys! Sorry so quiet. Been shooting S23. Back in LA for a few days but heading out tonight to shoot S24! Yes.. S24! Crazy.

So by the time the first episode of Survivor: South Pacific hits our TV screens, production for the 24th season will already have wrapped up.

Which makes it likely that Survivor 24 will air in early 2012. I wonder if there will be returnee players for that season as well. Let the rumor mill get to work! :P

Podcast interview with Yau-Man Chan

Two-time Survivor castaway Yau-Man Chan has been interviewed on Australian podcast The Skeptic Zone. He discusses some of behind-the-scenes details regarding Survivor and how he got on the show.

Follow this link to listen to the interview.
mardi 26 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Reality Mud Run Fundraiser

Reality Mud Run - Survivor/Stand Up to Cancer Fundraiser from Irvine Lake Mud Run on Vimeo.

Help raise money for Stand Up to Cancer by racing through mud with your favorite reality stars!

On September 10th 2011, race against/with some of your favorite Survivor and The Amazing Race contestants!

For more information, please check out the Reality Mud Run website.
lundi 25 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Looks like it's going to be Coach and Ozzy. . .

Though there has been no confirmation yet, everything seems to hint that Ben "Coach" Wade and Oscar "Ozzy" Lusth will be the two returnees on Survivor: South Pacific, which will premiere on CBS on September 14th.

This from Reality Blurred:

The evidence that Coach/Ben is on season 23 is pretty clear. As someone alerted me to, his voice mail message isn’t subtle: “I’m going to be traveling the next couple weeks,” he says, encouraging people to e.mail instead of texting or leaving a message. Ben conducts the Susanville Symphony, which he helped to found, and its final concert is next weekend, which up until recently he was conducting. But now, its web site says there will be “a very special guest conductor” instead.


Ozzy’s return was confirmed in a report today on TVFunSpot, which says that Ozzy’s voicemail has a similar message to Coach’s, and that he’s taken a leave of absence from his job as a waiter.

Unless it's a special season like Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Fans vs Favorites, I'm against former players returning as a new twist. It was an epic fail in terms of bringing something new and interesting in Survivor: Redemption Island, and I doubt it will inject new life in the franchise later this fall.

In any case, it's too early to bring Coach back. Survivor: Tocantins was aired in 2009, while Survivor: Heroes vs Villains came the following year. Giving Coach a third shot at the money now makes little sense. Especially since he is not the type of game-changing player that will put more asses into the seats.

Ozzy, on the other hand, is charismatic and a power player. It will be interesting to see if he'll manage to make the most of this new opportunity. As dangerous as he is, there will be a huge target on his back right from the get-go. Yet you never know. If he is fortunate enough to end up in a dumbass tribe like the Ometepe crew from Survivor: Redemption Island, he could go all the way. . .

We should discover soon enough whether or not it will be Coach and Ozzy returning for another shot at the million bucks. . .
samedi 23 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Rewatch: Survivor: Borneo (Season 1)

I don't think I can ever forget the spring/summer of 2000. Little did I know then, but I was set on a path that I'd follow for years to come. Eleven years later, I realize that so much as changed in my life. And yet, oddly enough, some things are the same. . .

My grandfather died in March of that year, finally succumbing to pneumonia after spending weeks under medical care. Trouble is, he was in good health during the Holidays and no one would have thought that he would pass away in a matter of weeks. That's when it dawned upon me that life is short. Also, life's a bitch. And that if I didn't seize the day, then perhaps I'd never do what I've always wanted to do. My grandfather's death opened my eyes and changed my perspective on life in general. I had always wanted to travel but had never had the courage to leave my comfort zone, because none of my friends wanted to do the sort of adventures I was into. So when we left the funeral home, I had made up my mind that I was going to fly away as soon as possible. Bought a Greece guidebook the next day during my lunch break and made an appointment to a nearby travel agency for the following Monday. A few days later, my flights and trip were booked. I would be spending three weeks traveling around Greece, including a 7-day cruise through the Greek Isles and Turkey. Needless to say, that trip changed my life. A couple of years down the line, and here I am with 44 different countries under my belt. And a whole world left unexplored. . .

I returned home the last week of May. Took a few days off to get rid of jetlag before going back to work. Laugh it up if you must, but I've always been a fan of The Price is Right! Bob Barker was the shit, there's no doubt about it! Late spring and summer are, in North America at least, a wasteland as far as the television industry is concerned. It's the time of reruns and pilots, for no one really watches much TV during summertime. CBS, whose ship seemed to be going down, was marketing a new reality show quite aggressively. During every commercial break from The Price is Right, we'd get a Survivor ad. So much so that, my curiosity getting the better of me, I was intrigued enough to give the premiere a shot.

On May 31st 2000, at 8:00pm, I watched "The Marooning," the very first episode of a brand new TV show called Survivor. Little did I know then, but it would become a veritable phenomenon. There were more than 15.5 millions of us watching that Wednesday night. Before long, the show would attract over 25 million viewers every week. The grand finale attracted an incredible 51.7 million viewers! "Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast," was on everyone's mind, it appeared.

As a matter of course, I watched every single episode as it was aired. I watched the reruns aired by CBS a few weeks following the Survivor finale. And the rest, as they say, is history. I haven't missed an episode since then!

On a whim, I purchased the Survivor: Borneo DVD set (Canada, USA, Europe) a few weeks back. I haven't watched this season since it was last aired on television, so it will be interesting to see how it measures up against all those that came after.

During this episode-by-episode rewatch, I'll analyze and offer commentary on each installment, hoping that the very first season of Survivor will have survived the test of time and delight me the way the show did back in 2000.

One thing's for sure: I can't wait to be reunited with Richard, Rudy, Sue, Gervase, Jenna, and the rest of the crew! =)
jeudi 21 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Un peu plus sur Koh-Lanta: Indonésie

Selon TV Mag, Denis Brogniart a déclaré que "les téléspectateurs vont en prendre plein les yeux" car l'Indonésie est l'un des "plus beau site que Koh Lanta ait connu". En ce qui a trait aux candidats, ils sont supposément plus motivés que jamais et très sportifs.

Denis Brogniart promet également plus de surprises et de suspense grâce à des changement dans les règles du jeu. Il déclare: "Désormais, le participant éliminé peut influencer le déroulement du suivant. . . Mais stop, je n'en dirai pas plus !"

Ce qui semble vouloir dire que la production a adopté soit l'un ou l'autre des principes de "redemption island" ou "exile island" popularisés par la version américaine Survivor. Vivement quelques changements dans les règles et les épreuves, qui sont devenus au fil des ans un peu prévisibles.

Denis Brogniart s'est aussi prononcé au niveau du casting de l'édition 2011: "De vrais aventuriers, motivés, sportifs, avec l'envie d'en découdre. De plus, ils font partie de ceux qui ont connu les conditions météo les plus difficiles! J'ai retrouvé le véritable esprit Koh-Lanta. Je ne peux pas trop en dire, mais il y a de vrais personnages, des caractères forts, avec une grosse envie de gagner."

Force m'est de constater que le casting peut difficilement être pire que celui de Koh-Lanta: Vietnam. Mais j'ai souvent déclarer la même chose à propos de Survivor ces dernières années, et la production américaine a quand même trouvé le moyen de faire pire. . .

Toujours est-il, Denis Brogniart est là pour vendre sa salade. Or, il faut prendre tout ce qu'il révèle avec un grain de sel. Mais vu la baisse dans le nombre de téléspectateurs pour l'édition 2010 de Koh-Lanta, il y a fort a parier que tout a été mis en oeuvre pour redonner à Koh-Lanta: Indonésie ses lettres de noblesse.

Le magazine Entrevue vient de dévoiler le casting:

Laurent: Mannequin de 29 ans qui a peur des insectes, se dit comique, n'aime pas perdre.

Naoual: 25 ans, autoentrepreneur disant qu'elle est mauvaise perdante.

Steeve: 24 ans, policier, est macho et peut vite avoir des colères.

Kevin: 37 ans, restaurateur, raleur, têtu.

Jessie: 21 ans, éducatrice sportive, est disposée à jouer la comédie pour arriver à ses fins, très sportive.

Yannick: 32 ans, sapeur pompier, veut tout donner pour gagner, mais se met rarement en colère.

Anthony: 23 ans, coach sportif, les cheveux très longs, se dit le meilleur, susceptible.

Laeticia: 36 ans, surveillante pénitentiaire, se dit homesexuelle outée.

Typhaine: 25 ans, inspecteur des finances, malentendante, parle donc avec le langage des signes.

Claude: 70 ans, pète la forme en permanence.

Ella: 25 ans, étudiante, têtue, franche.

Virginie: 32 ans, agent de production, ses amis disent qu'elle est complètement timbrée, est prête à être lèche-cul.

Hugo: étudiant de 19 ans, dit qu'il est le candidat qui s'adapte à tout le monde.

Oksana: 29 ans, garcon manqué et danseuse, est très sensible et autoritaire.

Semih et Melih, les jumeaux de 26 ans, agent RATP et serveur, sont athlètes, se disent aventuriers.

Un tel résumé ne sert qu'à nous présenter sommairement les candidats de la cuvée 2011 et ne nous permet en aucun point de nous faire une idée concernant la qualité et le désir de vaincre de ceux-ci. L'avenir nous dira si on débusquera une nouvelle Jade ou un nouveau Grégoire cet automne.

À suivre. . .
mercredi 20 juillet 2011 | By: Patrick

Welcome to Redemption Island / Bienvenue à Redemption Island

Hi there!

A big fan of the show since Survivor first aired in the spring of 2000, I haven't missed an episode so far. After spending the last two years commenting and debating each new season on various online venues, I've decided to devote a little corner of the internet for my favorite TV show.

So I'll try to make this your one-stop destination for all things Survivor. Once the new Survivor: Redemption Island season begin this fall, I will analyze each episode of the series. But we'll go beyond that. There will be recap from previous seasons and a few surprises along the way.

In addition, I'd love to introduce English-speaking francophiles to Koh-Lanta, the French adaptation of Survivor. Imagine the game without the backstabbing and the strategy, a game in which merit and hard work are still considered important. That's Koh-Lanta for you! The 2011 season will be aired on TF1 this fall as well, so my analysis of the French version of Survivor will run in tandem with its American counterpart.

Stay tuned for me!


Un grand fan de la série télévisée Survivor, j'ai passé les deux dernières années à commenter et débattre de la saison en cours. Donc, j'ai décidé de dédier un petit coin du web à cette télé-réalité qui est demeurée ma préférée depuis ses débuts en 2000.

Puisque la deuxième saison de Survivor: Redemption Island (la dernière incarnation de la série) prend l'antenne en Septembre, je ferai l'analyse de chaque épisode. Mais nous irons aussi un peu plus loin. Nous ferons un retour en arrière en récapitulant les anciennes saisons qui ont marqué la télévision nord-américaine en visionnant les coffrets DVDs disponibles. Et il y aura, nous l'espérons, quelques surprises de temps à autre.

Ayant tombé en amour avec Koh-Lanta, l'adaptation française de Survivor sur les ondes de TF1, j'ai décidé de faire l'analyse en tandem des saisons des deux séries diffusées en 2011. Puisque Koh-Lanta est joué d'une façon si différente, je suis persuadé que de nombreux francophiles anglophones pourraient eux aussi tomber sous le charme de la version française de leur émission favorite.

C'est donc un rendez-vous!