Hooray – the wait is over. Australian Survivor starts on Channel 10 at 7.30pm, with episode 2 the following night.
It will be interesting to see how the twice-a-week format plays out. Host Jonathon LaPaglia has said they filmed a tribal council every two days, as opposed to the US original’s every three days, and the contestants are there for 55 days in total, rather than the usual 39.
— Australian Survivor (@Survivor_AU) 21 August 2016
The promos are looking pretty slick so, thankfully, it looks much better than the pathetic attempt at an Aussie version of the classic reality show a decade ago.
I showed my four-year-old the cast photos and asked him to pick a winner and he chose Peter “because he got a big smile”. Usually older guys don’t fare well unless they are firefighter Tom types, but who knows …
Make sure you vote in the new poll.
HERE WE GO
I’ve already seen the first six minutes but Mr Juz has not. He’s not a fan, although he watched some of Australia, Amazon and Pirate Islands.
Jonathan LaPaglia walks to camera and Mr Juz is mesmerised by his sinewy arms. “God, he’s ripped. Did they deliberately pick someone who looks like Wolverine?” How many push ups did he do by the rockpools to get the veins to pop like that?
I like that he is kinda rugged looking, like Jeff Probst, but not a clone.
We’ll be giving first impressions as we watch the show (but no white rose):
First talking head is Conner (23, law student ACT): Mr Juz says – Likeable, will go far. Me: Yep, has that nerdy Rob C quality and young guys aren’t usually an early boot.
Geez, Samoa looks stunning – tou
El (33, Army corporal, Qld): Mr Juz: army hero, first to crumble. Me: She may be tempted to be a tribal leader, which always results in an exit by about episode five.
Lee (40, ex pro cricketer) Mr Juz: Everyone will him.
Des (59, courier driver, Qld): Mr Juz: He’ll be the mixed metaphor guy, coming up with the pearlers. Me: Looks a Keith Nail type for the one liners but without Keith’s wiry nimbleness. Fitness could be an issue in some of the early team challenges if there is a lot of running and swimming, which is customary. Older folks always go first – unless they are the only ones who can build fire.
Phoebe (27, criminal lawyer, NSW): Mr Juz: Bland. Me: People who talk about how great they are at interrogating others are headed for a fall.
Evan (30, high school drama teacher, Vic): Mr Juz: Delusional. Me: Cocky, but at least he seems to have an understanding of the game.
Flick (23, bartender and personal assistant): Mr Juz: She’s going to fail miserably in her strategy. Me: Meh.
Sam (28, charity co-founder and CEO): Mr Juz: Genuine nice guy. My pick for final two. Me: Could be cocky, but perhaps the horrible spider web should tatt is prejudicing me.
Andrew (29, marketing executive, Qld): Mr Juz: I’m going to enjoy watching that guy – that guy is me (re: his hatred of the outdoors). Me: I do feel sorry that anyone who’s a business person has to wear totally unsuitable clothing, as per Survivor casting directive. Cirie hated the outdoors and she did very well in Survivor. I’m not convinced about Andrew – will he rub people the wrong way or he is playing a villain?
Kylie (38, firefighter, Vic): Mr Juz: I like her. Me: She’s very likeable. Will go far but could get taken out near the end because she’s an obvious threat.
The contestants meet JLap and his arms a still a-poppin’. He gets a few contestants to chat and, first mistake, Des reveals his real age. Should have shaved off a few years. Conner seems personable and is obviously a fan – hope he doesn’t get lost in strategy.
They’re going with the three-tribe format: red, blue and yellow (who can remember the Samoan names?)
JLap points to a lit cauldron floating on a raft out in the ocean behind him. Whoever swims to it first and lights a torch gets fire for the tribe. But there’s another raft with general camp stuff, which they also need, so they’ll need to balance both needs. A girl called Tegan grabs a chicken, which usually turn out to be more trouble than they are worth.
Red tribe isn’t very good at getting into their canoe. They partially flood it and plantains float everywhere. Blue tribe is first to untie, followed by yellow. Both send out two swimmers. Red team wisely realises they suck and instead loads up on supplies. Smart – history has shown most water provided on Survivor isn’t as impure as the producers make out and is safe to drink without boiling. Of course, fire is nice for warmth but dehydration is a bigger worry than being cold.
Sam the spiderweb man is first to light the torch and wins fire for the blues, which include Conner and Kylie the firefighter.
We get the iconic Survivor music and intro and the tribes are at their own beaches, getting to know each other rather than building a shelter straight away. At red old fella Des reveals he used to be in the army so is used to sleeping rough. Rohan sparks laughter when he says he’s a model (but reveals to camera he has several degrees). Brand manager Kat in the floppy hat assumes the boss role (danger, danger!) and the others start chopping down branches. Des says to camera he wants to save his strength: “I’m going to try and do as little physical work as possible.” Kat comes over to tell him to help and he barks back: “I’m just getting the fruit out of the sun so it don’t go crap.” I was really hoping we’d see him dash into the jungle to look for hidden immunity idols, but no-one has mentioned them … yet. “I’m goimg to sit in the background like Kung Fu Panda and just sneak up on them at the end. Always wanted to play the villain,” Des says. But he’s a bit tetchy to the others, so will be an easy target if they go to tribal first.
Over at yellow beach they all look a bit clueless.
Craig (recruitment officer) says he’s gay but happy to take on the alpha males.
High school teacher Nick looks soo much like Rob C and he knows how dangerous it is to be a leader. “However, when there’s seven dodos just roaming around, you have to do something to try and coral them.” He tells the camera he’s been going to the gym, practising puzzles and seeing a hypnotist to overcome his fear of rodents (surely this piece of info will come in handy later). he realises he’s made a mistake by appearing too knowledgable and diverts everyone with an ocean swim. Businessman Andrew notes Nick has put himself in a dangerous spot from the get go.
At blue everyone is standing round with their Olympic torch, chatting, rather than scrambling for kindling to keep their hard-won flame alight. Conner is getting A LOT of camera time.
Bianca (36, Vic) tells the tribe she works in a boring insurance job, but to camera she confesses: “I currently work as a private investigator.” Ooh – she’s a bit of a Tony I work in construction but really I’m a cop.
Oh no, nice boy Conner has already hurt himself by grabbing a hot stick. Keep it in the saltwater, Conner! Listen to firefighter Kylie. At red they have neither shelter nor fire and, to camera, army corporal El says it won’t work with wet wood. Des gives his tribemates the shits by implying he knows how to start a fire but can’t be bothered wasting his energy.
Over at blue they don’t have any building skills (as Matt says: “I’m a magician”) but they do have some go getters like Sam, Kylie and Flick. This is a strong team – poor bugger Conner, out in the water.
He and Flick finally go for a walk and they start talking alliances – good one. I was worried the Aussies wouldn’t jump in to strategy straight away. Flicks tells she may need to cut him further on as he’s strategic (which shows there’s more to her than meets the eye).
They are setting yellow up to be the loser team that gets Pagonged. Sue, 59, is a personal trainer and retired customs officer – plus she was in the army reserve: “I’m not the average nanna.” But after a while they do in fact get their act together and build a shelter. They all lie on it and – crack – it breaks in the middle. They have a laugh but they’d better hope they fix it before the rain comes.
Night falls and over at red the girls are spooning, trying to get warm. Since some are just in hot pants I’m not surprised. Des just grabs a giant banana leaf and wanders off to the side to use it as a mattress. The others follow suit but it’s a full moon and the tide comes in and threatens to wash them away. No-one gets any sleep.
The next day reds are scrambling to move their stuff out of the way of the oncoming waves. Drama teacher Evan goes for a swim in the storm surge, which is foolish. Much of the camp is under water, so they are going to have to rebuild further inland.
Yellows confess they didn’t start a fire but reds try to bluff for a bit, until model Rohan cracks and tells the truth.
JLap explains the challenge, which is a racing over obstacles, building bridges, pulling ropes type one, with a traditional puzzle-solving component to finish.
The obstacles are physically very challenging – there would have been a lot of cuts and bruises afterwards. Sam proves a linchpin for his blue team, hauling everyone over as needed. They are ahead at the bridge building section.
Waiting at the puzzle station, Des is calling out instructions to the red bridge builders but just pisses them off. Yellow team, who were last, pick up the pace and tears through the bridge building – it looks like Nick (aka Rob C clone) had a lot to do with it, but it could be the edit. Red are last to the puzzle.
For yellow, the puzzlers are 59-year-old Sue and businessman Andrew.
Red’s puzzlers are “leader” Kat and taciturn Des, but he’s not really listening to her.
Blue’s puzzlers are magician Matt – who’s fast – and bartender Flick. They win and yellow is second. Red wasn’t in the race, mainly thanks to Des, but really they had no choice but to put him there – he would not have made it over those steep obstacles.
Yellow team gets a flint for coming second.
Red is going to tribal. It has to be Kat or Des – and he knows it. Quick – get back to camp and light a fire, Des, if you want to save your skin.
Muscle men Rohan and Lee go for a swim, leaving the girls to chat on the beach. Women’s alliance! They reckon the boys don’t have a clue how close they are. Kat knows Des will be gunning for her. But the girls don’t seem to have pulled in a guy to help their numbers, which is a mistake. Des knows he’s in trouble and, finally, he starts giving some direction about building a decent shelter. He teaches weaving palm fronds for a shelter roof and even does a bit of schmoozing with the girls.
Des goes to get water with Rohan and alerts him to the girls’ alliance. Rohan reckons Des might be handy to keep around, now he’s showing some survival skills – after they got flooded.
Drama teacher Evan says he, Des and Pigtails Kristie are the oddball outsiders. Personally, I’d keep Des for at least one more tribal, until the shelter was schmick, then cut him.
It’s tribal council
JLap is now attired in a checked shirt and chinos. I miss his T-shirt and shorts – wardrobe changes are not very Probstian. They start with red detailing how rubbish they were at building camp, and Rohan notes Des kept his skills to himself. Des does little to take the target off his back with his explanation of the magical skills. Kat goes hard in her defence of her puzzling skills and her pointing the figure (and likely rightly so) at Des. Des tells JLap he’s voting Kat because he doesn’t like her.
It’s time to vote and Kat is up first to write down Des’s name (if Kat goes tonight she should leave her clothes behind for the others – at least she’s got a flowy cardy and three-quarter pants). Des votes for Kat: “Kat, I’m voting for you. Don’t like being told what to do. Only my wife does that.”
JLap reads the votes and … it’s Des. His fire is extinguished and, to his credit, he gives his teammates the thumbs up and says “good luck, guys”. And then they were seven – at least they get flint.
There seems to be some injuries and paranoia going on. But we only get a five-second preview so can’t analyse much.
“I think my wife’s going to say my wife made the right decision … because I’m very hard to live with.” We see everyone voted for Des.
So, what did we think?
Interesting there was no talk of hidden immunity idols. Surely there will be some? Some good characters there but the tribes are so darn big it’s going to take a while to keep track of all the personalities. As usual, sadly, the younger women tend to blend as one in the non-winning tribes because they don’t get any airtime. I want to see more of secretive Bianca.