In the first year of the new millennium, a reality show premiered for the first time changing the face of reality television forever. Who doesn’t love seeing your average next-door neighbors appear on a television show, left stranded in the jungle on a forgotten island with strangers for an entire month?
Last Wednesday evening, “Survivor” season 43 premiered. Now, there has got to be a reason why a show like “Survivor” has managed to last 43 seasons. Maybe it’s because “Survivor” releases two seasons per year. The show is still up and running because you get double the content each year. Each season is different, with a different theme and higher stakes season after season. And don’t forget the wide range of players who go out of their way to earn their spot on the show.
“Survivor” first appeared on May 31, 2000. The season was set as “Survivor: Borneo.” The series was filmed in the South China Sea on a remote Malaysian Island. Clearly, a lot has changed since the first season of “Survivor.” Not just with the advancement of technology and the privilege of streaming services, but with the casted players themselves.
Over the past 22 years, the show’s producers have instituted a rule to cast more diverse characters Jeff Probst, the show’s host, speaks highly of the cast members for the new season, saying, “The players come from so many different types of backgrounds, experiences and cultures and that leads to really unique stories.”
Another example of “Survivor” representation is female representation. Female representation was seen increasing as the years progressed. The past two seasons of the show, the winners have been female players, Erika Casupanan of season 41 and Maryanne Oketch of season 42. At the beginning, women were more likely to be eliminated in the earlier seasons. Looking back on the winners, out of 42, 15 have been female.
Alongside incorporating inclusion with representation, “Survivor” has experienced a shift in their twists and challenges each season. One technique that keeps audiences engaged is changing the course of the game from time to time. In the beginning, “Survivor” players were fresh to the game. There wasn’t an ensemble of series to educate yourself with.
Today, most audience members at home know the outcome of decisions players decide. An example of this is my family. Whenever we watch an episode of “Survivor,” my mom can instantly predict the outcome, and she’s accurate. However, when the show started, individuals didn’t have that much knowledge. Players from the earlier seasons were more “confused” and tried their best to “understand the game” to not be eliminated.
Now, the majority of the players who are casted onto the show have common knowledge on how the games run and which strategies to pick up on. Producers have created more complex strategies when it comes to challenges, hidden immunity idols and advantages.
That being said, the future looks bright for “Survivor” season 50. That will be in the years to come. There is a hope that future winners of “Survivor” will bring more diversity.