TV Roundup: Survivor, #6
So far, our list looks like this:
21. Kids In The Hall
19. How I Met Your Mother
17. The Simpsons
16. The Daily Show
15. Mad Men
14. Arrested Development
12. The Office (UK & US)
9. Six Feet Under
8. The West Wing
7. Friday Night Lights
When I posted about Friday Night Lights, I noted that it was the last show on my list that was still on the air -- a fact that isn't only wrong, it's wrong about the very next show on the list.
- It defined a new genre -- albeit one erroneously named "reality TV" instead of the more accurate "unscripted television" and is still running 20 seasons later. (Note: This has covered ten calendar years, but 20 seasons is 20 seasons, yo.)
- In the sixth season, I left the country for a few weeks - and when I returned, I discovered that my VCR had failed to record this show. The same day I realized this, I went and bought a DVR and have never looked back. Sure, technology would have caught up with me anyway, but it would have been a much slower burn.
- I still have email conversations with friends about the show -- there simply isn't any other show, even the ones atop the list, that I can say that about.
I didn't watch the show from the very start -- I'd heard about it vaguely, but it took some prodding from my brother for me to tune in. I was immediately intrigued - though I'd watched The Real World, this was in many ways something new. And by the season finale, I thought I liked it .. and then I saw Sue Hawk's "Rat and Snake" speech:
It's actually funny to me that this moment has somewhat faded into the background as reality TV has gotten increasingly more desperate and over the top. But at the time, it was actually pretty shocking and compelling.
I'm also well aware that there are friends of mine who find it appalling to even have a reality-TV show here on the list, to which I say ... yeah, it's my list. I know this isn't Masterpiece Theater; I also know it's consistently more watchable than Masterpiece Theater.
Brian Heidik - car salesman and soft core pornstar - is considered one of the worst. But through it all, the show has been fascinating to watch. And there is simply no one better at his job than Jeff Probst, the best host out there. Probst calls the challenges like a play-by-play professional, throwing in digs at contestants who are flailing but keeping it fun and exciting nonetheless. (He also showed the savvy to - amidst a whole host of choices, really - date one of the hottest contestants ever in Julie Berry. Though they've broken up since, you have to admire Probst for this one.)
|Jeff's no dummy.|
So, why isn't it even higher on my list? Here are a few photos:
|Who are these mystery castaways?|
If you put a gun to my head, I could probably name two or three of these folks (and as noted, I'm a die-hard fan of the game). But sure, you say ... every season there are 16-20 castaways, and some of the folks who get kicked off early aren't memorable.
|"I'm not Russell."|
(For those wondering, the folks in the above photo are: Neleh Dennis (Thailand), Matthew Von Ertfelda (Amazon), Katie Gallagher (Palau), Cassandra Franklin (Fiji), Clay Jordan (Thailand), Twila Tanner (Vanuatu), Kim Johnson (Africa) and Susie Smith (Gabon).)
And therein lies some of the problem which the show has - somewhat - addressed. The best players in the game, be it physical or mental players, are targeted early by others and never make it to the finale. Who does is often one good player, who carries along a meek and/or offensive player who they think will never garner any votes. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't - see for example, the recent win by Natalie White, instead of Russell Hantz who many (especially Hantz) think is the best player in the history of the game.
|How 'bout them Immunity Challenges?|
Still, like some of the other shows on this list, I'm comfortable putting it here on the list knowing it might end up lower down eventually. Because no other show has revolutionized TV, made it more social and fun and kept an original idea fresh ten years later.
While we're at it, here's a little collage of some of the better looking castaways that Mark Burnett & Co. have brought to the worlds attention:
And after that, I got nothing for you ...grab your torches, head back to camp.