With Duel's premiere
coming on the heels of Survivor's final episode, Survivor got the short
end of the stick around here. The Amazing Race is on the home stretch,
and seeing the 'new twists' of the Race demonstrates to me that Survivor
has learned from the past, the Race has not.
For the first time in a while, Survivor was played by sixteen
contestants in two tribes. No racial or age divisions. No competing for
the good camp. No exile island. (They did keep the hidden pocket
immunity, but I thought that was one of the better tweaks of the game)
Burnett and Company got rid of the twists that didn't work, and refined
the game back to what made it successful in the first place. I was
against the "final three" vote, but after realizing that having three
finalists means you can't just bring along the camp loudmouth and coast
to victory, so I came around there. I eagerly await the next series,
where eight veterans of the game compete against eight new fans.
Meanwhile, the Amazing Race continues to dig its own grave by
continually dropping the hammer on trailing teams without giving them a
realistic chance to get ahead. If it isn't the U-Turn (requiring a
nominated team to complete both forks of a Detour), it's the Speed Bump
(where the last place team of a non-elimination leg has to complete a
third task before checking in). And that doesn't even take into account
the casting, which seems to be more and more made up of teams who fall
apart under the stress of the ordeal and argue from check out to pit
Even in the realm of in-game challenges, Survivor has the upper hand.
Survivor routinely has intriguing and complex challenges that are rife
with strategic opportunities, even if they do lean a bit heavily on the
whole "jigsaw puzzle" element. The Amazing Race relies far too much on
moving something from one part of the city to another, but they did get
rid of the luck challenges that were the equivalent of finding a needle
in a haystack.
With every passing season, it's getting harder and harder to enjoy the
Race, but Survivor is continuing to surprise and evolve. I hope you'll
continue to watch the latter.
Travis Eberle is hiding a pocket immunity idol somewhere on his body.
Send your guesses to