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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Geek/CounterGeek: Survivor

Since I refuse, on principle, to watch reality dreck like Survivor, I guess I should refrain from editorializing in my intro this week. So I'll keep it simple and just subtly introduce Vito's weekly Geek/CounterGeek.

All Hail The Return of Survivor

Survivor returns this Thursday and I can't wait. It may not be the granddaddy of reality TV (Even The Real World doesn't hold that distinction, - see the PBS series An American Family from 1973, or the British TV documentary Up series that started in 1964 and continues today) but it was the first modern smash hit of the genre that started the current reality craze.

Survivor is still the best of the bunch. Executive Producer Mark Burnett always manages to throw a wrench into the works of the show. Just when you think you know where things are going, everything changes. The reason I like Survivor over, say, The Amazing Race, is the bulk of the show is spent on the survivors interacting in their camps.

Sure the challenges are exciting, but what goes on before and after them is fascinating. Suddenly power shifts and the cocky mastermind is on the chopping block. How far are people willing to go, or not go, for a million bucks?

CounterGeek: Survivor... Wake Me When It's Over

I've watched every season of Survivor since Richard Hatch first bared his flabby ass. That first season was exciting because nobody, especially the survivors themselves, knew what was coming. With the exception of Hatch, I don't think anybody back then really knew how to play the game. Every season since has been a disappointment.

Sure, there were some interesting characters and cool twists, but it's basically the same Survivor, different Island. If the casting goes wrong, an entire season can become a total bore. Even within seasons that could be considered good, there might be several consecutive weeks when everything goes according to plan, which is totally lame for the viewers.

Current promos promise a shock that completely changes the game from the beginning- we'll see. The truth is, there will never be anyone as fascinating to watch as Richard Hatch that first season. He invented the strategy of the game and everyone since are just imitators.

Do you agree? Post your comments below!

Vito's Geek/CounterGeek appears every Tuesday.

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