It was the Summer of 2000 when “Survivor” first aired on CBS, and the television landscape has never been the same. As successful as the show was, nobody could have anticipated that it would see 30 seasons, have a rabid fan-base of dedicated followers and still consistently win its time slot. As a recent promo stated, check out these numbers: 15 years of Survivor, 52 Emmy nominations, 17 countries, 93 tribes, 442 contestants, 451 torch snuffings, 445 episodes filmed, over 87,000 hours of total filmed footage and 25,569 cups of rice consumed. Perhaps the most surprising fact? That Survivor is not slowing down – despite not officially picked up beyond this season – and that these numbers will most likely be much higher when all is said and done…that is, assuming that it does ever end.
Now is a great time to jump back into Survivor, if you are like many who might have watched the show back in the day and are even surprised to find out that it is still on TV. For long time fans, the anticipation couldn’t quite be any higher, because not only is this the 30th anniversary season, the expectations are greater than normal because it is being touted by Jeff Probst and others as the best all-around cast in Survivor history.
All will begin to be revealed with the 90-minute premiere episode of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” tonight. Three initial tribes – divided by class and known as the white collars, blue collars and the free-spirited no collars – each made up of six contestants, will begin their quest to “outwit, outplay, outlast” their competition and become the Sole Survivor (not to mention, win that coveted one million dollar prize).
A quick note: A few select members of the press are invited out to the first three days of taping, and Gordon Holmes from XfinityTV.com is one of them. I spoke to him just the other day, about his experience in Nicaragua (this season was shot last Summer) and discussed in-depth with him his take and initial impressions of all 18 cast-mates, all of whom he interviewed prior to the season starting. You can catch my entire conversation with Gordon Holmes by clicking here on my FilmSurvivor Podcast.
Here is the official synopsis from CBS about tonight’s episode:
Episode 1 – “It’s Survivor Warfare” – The 30th season will feature the first-time theme of “Worlds Apart,” with castaways divided into the three separate tribes, White Collar, Blue Collar and No Collar. Minutes into the game, castaways are forced to choose between honesty or deception, and one castaway becomes ill after trying to satisfy his need for protein, on the special 90-minute season premiere of SURVIVOR, Wednesday, Feb. 25 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. Who knows what to expect! Much has been made of Jeff Probst’s continuous reminder to us that this is “pound for pound” the best cast that he thinks has ever played. He has also talked a great deal about how the gameplay is amazing this season, and that this is a season where people have come to play. It’s a bit eye-opening then, to read that the first episode includes a contestant becoming ill…there is no way though, that this will lead to a medical evacuation, after all the hype this season has received.
We also know that a few players will be faced with a decision right off the bat. Probst loves when players have to make decisions, as it creates drama. We saw a few seasons ago where members were given a choice between extra rice for their tribe or a clue to a hidden idol, so this too, should start the game off on the right foot, if they decide to do something similar.
Episode 1 is usually spent letting us get to know the contestants, so it’s hard to discuss them all just based on their pre-game interviews. The first episode also usually plays up the season’s theme more than other episodes, so expect to hear a lot about the whole “collars” from the group…this usually will not be as big of a factor as the game progresses.
If you’re wondering who I think has a great chance of winning, or who I may be cheering for this season, then be sure to subscribe to this column (above) or follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli. Beginning tonight – and every week throughout the season – I will post an Episode Preview article (like this one) every Wednesday morning. Then after the episode airs (usually by around midnight EST), look for my full episode recap as well as my analysis of what just happened in the episode. Finally, you won’t want to miss my exclusive one-on-one exit interviews every Thursday afternoon, with the person who was just voted out. Following me on Twitter or subscribing (where you would get email alerts every time a new article posts) are the best ways to stay tuned in with all-things Survivor as we progress through the season. In tonight’s analysis article, I’ll mention who I think might have a great chance of winning as I break down the entirety of the Premiere Episode.
Thank you all once again for checking in with me, I too have high expectations for Worlds Apart…let’s hope that it lives up to the hype! Please feel free to share your comments below and let’s make this a very interactive, celebratory 30th season of Survivor.