Regardless of airing since 2006 and having six distinctive seasons underneath its belt, Survivor South Africa flew underneath the radar till its sixth season put it on the map in 2018. Whereas most followers who indulge within the Worldwide Survivor scene are conversant in SA: Philippines, the opposite 5 South African seasons stay comparatively untouched. Just like the awkward child who ate their lunch away from everybody else within the cafeteria, you’d be completely ignored and left to complete your bizarre, Probst-free meal alone should you needed to speak about them in fan circles previous to Philippines’ debut.
However now that Survivor SA is rising in popularity among the many superfan group, it’s about time that somebody put collectively a useful information to the collection to assist newcomers work out what Survivor SA is all about and whether or not or not it’s one thing they’d be interested by watching.
Consider this as a spoiler-free “cheat sheet” for Survivor SA. When you’re curious about watching these seasons with out being spoiled by a incorrect look on the Survivor Wiki, this retrospective take a look at the collection ought to offer you a good suggestion of what main twists, themes, and format modifications you must anticipate to see in every season. Or in the event you’re not eager about watching them proper now, hopefully one thing will catch your eye and persuade you to offer the collection a attempt sooner or later sooner or later.
Regardless, take into account that Survivor SA is its personal collection and shouldn’t be immediately in comparison with different variations of the present. Benefit from the collection for what it’s and I feel you possibly can have a very good time.
Season 1: Panama
Location: Pearl Islands, Panama
“29 Days, 14 Individuals, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
Penalty Votes: If a participant quits the sport, a Tribal Council will nonetheless happen, however the individual voted out that night time would obtain a penalty vote on the subsequent Tribal Council they attend as an alternative of leaving the sport.
Life Donation: In one of many more strange and oddly religious format modifications, a medically evacuated participant’s unsnuffed torch can be given to the subsequent individual voted out. If the 2 gamers have been on totally different tribes, the individual voted out would be a part of the tribe of the evacuated participant as an alternative of returning to the tribe that voted them out. Ridiculous, however artistic.
Lifeless Man’s Island: This twist features virtually precisely just like the already maligned Extinction Island, minus the choice to give up and the abnormally dangerous dwelling circumstances because it solely lasted a few week within the recreation. After the merge, anybody voted out can be despatched to Exile Island from the US Survivor’s twelfth season (I’m not joking, it’s the identical actual island however with out the enormous cranium) to await the prospect to return. Till then, a number of minutes of every episode is spent watching the inhabitants do nothing however complain about being hungry and bored.
Problem-Based mostly Eliminations: In a twist that might make you virtually respect pressured fire-making, the final two jurors and the ultimate two are determined solely via challenges as an alternative of voting. The primary individual to drop out of the primary problem can be eradicated whereas the winner would advance to the Remaining Tribal Council. The remaining two gamers would then compete in one other problem for the second spot within the last two. It’s as dangerous because it sounds, and I’m greater than grateful this twist hasn’t been used Stateside…. but.
My Verdict: I’ve combined emotions about Panama. I definitely keep in mind extra about it than another seasons as a result of the forged was robust, and the editors advised a very good story, however it suffers from two issues: a low price range and dangerous twists. It doesn’t have a lot ardour put into it and was made as a part of a timeshare with different worldwide seasons – so it’s principally a “purchase one, get one free” deal, made as a result of it was extremely low cost to supply, not as a result of they needed to make an excellent present. The challenges aren’t terrible (aside from the SA basic of operating and grabbing sticks that may turn out to be a staple in future seasons for some cause), however they’re nothing you haven’t seen earlier than.
Technique-wise, it’s caught in an old-fashioned mentality, and you must anticipate plenty of honor and integrity speak from sure gamers who will make your eyes sore from rolling a lot. And since it’s the one season within the collection with out idols, it may be onerous to recover from simply how old fashioned it’s. However for those who love basic seasons and may get previous these downsides, it’s not the worst season ever made.
Season 2: Malaysia
Location: Johor, Malaysia
“27 Days, 16 Individuals, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
Fan Chosen Participant: In the course of the casting course of, followers have been allowed to vote in a single participant to be the 16th castaway by way of the present’s web site. Survivor New Zealand tried one thing comparable for his or her second season in 2018, and, in fact, the US Survivor allowed followers to vote in all the forged of its Second Probability season in 2015.
The Cranium: Sounds fascinating, proper? Assume once more. That is Survivor SA’s unique impasse tiebreaker. The tied gamers would stand in entrance of a cranium and put one hand it once they thought a set period of time had handed. The one that touched the cranium closest to that point would keep within the recreation. In comparison with hearth making, survival trivia, and drawing rocks, it’s extremely uninteresting and does nothing however pad out the episode with lifeless silence.
Problem-Based mostly Elimination: In a painful nod to Panama, the ultimate 4 would compete in a problem to find out the primary finalist. The primary individual to drop from the problem can be eradicated, whereas the winner would select one of many remaining gamers to hitch them within the remaining two. A marked enchancment, however nonetheless very unsatisfying nonetheless.
My Verdict: By far the worst this collection has to supply. Whereas it’s free from a lot of the horrible twists that plagued Panama from begin to end, the manufacturing worth continues to be low, and the forged is filled with lackluster gamers that make for an finally forgettable and unsatisfying season. And like Panama, the eagerness simply isn’t there on manufacturing’s half, leaving the episodes feeling like schedule filler for the community to make use of every time they wanted to fill a time slot. In truth, it was so uninteresting I truly needed to see some actually dangerous twists present up simply to provide me one thing stimulating to observe for a change.
On the brilliant aspect, no less than it’s comparatively brief, and the aircraft crash impressed Tribal Council set is visually spectacular. I’d by no means advise skipping a season as a result of high quality is subjective and also you may discover some value in a season I didn’t take pleasure in… however in the event you jumped previous this one after a number of episodes, I actually wouldn’t maintain it towards you.
Season three: Santa Carolina
Theme: Superstar Version
Location: Santa Carolina, Mozambique
“27 Days, 18 Celebrities, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
A New Host: Whereas the primary two seasons have been hosted by Mark Bayly (who utilized as a contestant in Panama and obtained employed because the host as an alternative as a result of… why not?), Santa Carolina and the next seasons are hosted by Nico Panagio.
Exile Island: Producers determined to incorporate this basic twist at random factors within the season with numerous technique of sending somebody there. Often an idol clue can be ready for them, or maybe the idol itself.
Kidnapping and Capturing: As an alternative of full tribe swaps, gamers can be kidnapped or captured at numerous factors within the season to introduce new dynamics. Assume Survivor: China’s comparable twist for a good suggestion of the way it works.
Public Jury Vote: The followers got the prospect to vote for his or her favourite finalist, who would then get an additional jury vote delivered reside on the reunion along with the votes forged on the Ultimate Tribal Council.
My Verdict: Okay, so clearly a star season of a collection that wasn’t nice to start with doesn’t sound that interesting, particularly when it takes place on a former resort island and units Tribal Council in an deserted lodge of all locations. And belief me, I didn’t anticipate a lot out of this season in any respect after how Australia’s Movie star Survivor turned out (spoiler: it was terrible). However coming in with low expectations was the proper selection, as a result of there’s lots to take pleasure in about this scorching mess.
It has fascinating characters with enjoyable personalities, celebrities who truly got here to play the sport, a lot of humorous moments, and one of the best Survivor participant you’ve in all probability by no means heard of, who makes the season value watching only for them alone. In the event you can look previous the cheesier elements and the “honor and integrity” circle jerk that’s sadly current at some factors, you’ll have some actual enjoyable with it. Simply don’t take it too significantly. It’s undoubtedly a multitude, however a lovable one with lots of coronary heart that I’d fortunately watch once more sooner or later.
Season four: Maldives
Theme: Celebs vs. Plebs
Location: Addu Atoll, Maldives
“27 Days, 19 Individuals, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
Celebs vs. Plebs: This season has a mixture of movie star gamers and on a regular basis South African gamers. The precise “vs” factor of the theme solely lasts for one episode earlier than the tribes are swapped. It not often comes up, so viewers cautious of movie star seasons shouldn’t be nervous.
The Black Cowrie Shells: In one of many extra intrusive twists the collection has seen, one individual on every tribe is “voted out” throughout a First Impressions vote. These two gamers can be given black cowrie bracelets, giving them a penalty vote at every Tribal Council they attend within the pre-merge. If voted out with the bracelet, they’d select somebody to curse with it once they left. The one different solution to eliminate it might be to mutiny to the opposite tribe earlier than an immunity problem.
The White Cowrie Shell: On the merge feast, a white cowrie bracelet was hidden. The one that discovered it might play it on one other individual to cancel one vote forged towards them, and that individual (in the event that they survived the vote) would have the ability to do the identical on the subsequent tribal. You simply couldn’t apply it to your self. It doesn’t take a genius to see the key flaw with the twist.
Public Jury Vote: As soon as once more, South Africa had a (tiny) proportion of the ultimate jury vote.
My Verdict: This season is nearly unattainable to seek out on-line anymore, nevertheless it’s value watching in the event you can sniff it out. It’s a step down from Santa Carolina when it comes to pure leisure worth, nevertheless it nonetheless has an honest quantity of enjoyable characters and memorable moments together with a means greater price range, permitting for complicated problem builds rivaling these of the American present. Some work, some don’t, and a few actually don’t work to the purpose of almost killing individuals, however the ardour is there. Talking of challenges, should you ever needed to understand how “Final Gasp” might get much more traumatizing, the problem designers determined holding it in the midst of the ocean and tying luggage of bricks to individuals would do the trick.
It does have a problem with idol and benefit overload although, so in case you’re a fan who prefers a extra “pure” recreation, you may need a tough time when these issues begin shaping the course of the sport greater than the precise gamers do.
Season 5: Champions
Theme: Honoring South African sports activities legends
Location: Someplace within the South China Sea
“27 Days, 20 Individuals, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
Tribal Captains: Tribes have been “coached” by a South African sports activities star you’ve in all probability by no means heard of. The captains competed in challenges and lived in camp like common gamers, however have been unable to vote at Tribal Councils and couldn’t be voted out, primarily making them tremendous seen NPCs. They might, nevertheless, be a part of the jury on the finish of the sport and vote on a winner.
Particular Visitors: Numerous sports activities stars appeared as friends all through the season, appearing as rewards, helpers in challenges, and strolling product placement.
The Salvation Cup: After the merge, the 2 captains left their tribes and lived on Salvation Island, competing in duels to win the Salvation Cup. This cup (or fairly an urn) might burn one vote forged towards the participant of the winner’s selection on the subsequent Tribal Council (and gave the winner an opportunity to grandstand about how morally righteous they have been in entrance of the gamers).
Idol Stealing: Because of probably the most controversial rule (or lack thereof) in Survivor SA historical past, hidden immunity idols might actually be stolen from different gamers. Unfair? In fact it’s, and there’s a cause it acquired modified within the following seasons. However is it entertaining? Oh yeah.
My Verdict: If you’d like a season with trendy ranges of technique, Champions is for you. It’s obtained loads of standout characters with memorable moments, a various array of challenges, a cool technique of tribe swapping by no means achieved on some other English talking model, complicated technique like what you’d see in a contemporary American season, and regardless of the title suggesting in any other case, doesn’t have returning gamers, making for a very strong season to observe by itself for newcomers.
Nevertheless! The theme is horrible and intrudes on the season for no cause aside from to point out off South African sports activities stars for straightforward scores. When you actually hate sports activities and simply need to watch the sport, it’d break the season for you. I’m critical. The captains inject their morality into the present and get a variety of airtime to take action, which means a number of gamers get dangerous edits as a direct results of their inclusion. However for those who can look previous the theme and get right down to the precise season beneath, it’s a very nice (if flawed) journey you’ll keep in mind for a very long time.
Season 6: Philippines
Location: El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
“39 Days, 18 Individuals, 1 Survivor!”
Main Twists/Format Modifications
Numerous Trendy Survivor Staples: These accustomed to any current US season will know what to anticipate: a bunch of idols, additional votes, a number of swaps, a random Exile Island, and so forth. This season has all of them in wholesome doses.
Juror Removing: Self-explanatory, it’s the identical twist we noticed in Survivor: Kaoh Rong, solely the facility right here is obtained by profitable the ultimate immunity problem as an alternative of a reward problem.
My Verdict: The cream of the Survivor SA crop by far, and the season most just like the US model. I’ve seen it in comparison with a live-action Brantsteele simulation, and that comparability is spot on. Take the wacky forged of a practice wreck season like Nicaragua or Gabon and throw them into an uber-strategic setting like Cagayan, and that’s SA: Philippines for you. It’s full chaos, pandemonium, and messiness all the best way to the end line and not using a single uninteresting second to be discovered.
It has simply sufficient twists to maintain the sport shifting and the gamers (in addition to the viewers) on their toes however by no means pushes the restrict to the purpose of over-saturation or an Benefit-geddon state of affairs. With an ideal stability of significant character improvement, enjoyable drama that doesn’t turn into uncomfortably darkish, and well-edited, superior strategic dynamics, Philippines may give any Survivor fan one thing to take pleasure in, particularly those that really feel alienated by the current course of the American model and need a top quality “trendy” season.
A Closing Assertion
And there you might have it: an in depth information to watching Survivor South Africa. Even when it may’t all the time match the standard of extra the costly and well-known variations of the franchise, Survivor SA has a wealthy legacy of its personal and shouldn’t be missed due to smaller budgets and odd ideas. With a seventh season, Island of Secrets and techniques, airing this Might, and host Nico suggesting the excessive risk of an All-Stars season sooner or later, now can be the right time to take a look at this underappreciated addition to the worldwide Survivor canon and determine for your self: is Survivor South Africa a field of ignored buried treasure, a field of moldy meals higher left buried, or maybe one thing in between?