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Yo Ho Ho and a Cash Jackpot - June 8

After the unsurprising but always entertaining final episode of Survivor: Fiji wrapped, Mark Burnett is trying to spin off the original creation for even more loot. Unfortunately, I think Pirate Master works about as well as the "truck for immunity" deal did for both Yau-man and Dreamz. (By the by, the correct answer for Dreamz was "No thanks, I don't want to trade," as opposed to keeping both and then trying to rationalize his choice later on by saying "It's just a game.")

The similarities are many, and there's no real reason for Burnett to try and hide them. Sixteen people are given the pirate's life, and shuffle around as crews competing to find a dozen or so treasures, with the last one ($500,000) being worth all of the others combined. The kicker is that treasures are immediately awarded in the form of coins so that players can barter, blackmail and generally behave just like a real pirate. There's a Pirate Court after every challenge where three crew members nominated by the Captain of the winning crew are judged, and one of them is set adrift, unless the entire voting bloc decides that the current Captain is being a churl and they decide to Mutiny.

Oy. Did you catch all that? I thought Survivor: Pearl Islands was the right blend of an adventure show with pirate flair. Here, the Captain and his mates don period outfits, and the players are competing to open the chest belonging to a fictional captain. Everything is overdone to the point of parody. One of the great things about Jeff Probst is that he knows when to turn up the cheese during tribal council, and also when to hang back and let things just happen. Pirate Master overplays its hand at every turn.

With a broken game (the breakdown of Captain 1/2-Mate 1/4-crew the rest makes a crew Mutiny inevitable unless the Captain shares his wealth), silly dialogue and characters who are more like caricatures, I don't think Pirate Master will get a second series, so enjoy it while you can. There's still some good watching to be had here, you just have to dig for it.

Like a buried treasure, I guess.

Travis Eberle doesn't need a patch over his eye; but you knew that. Toss him a message in a bottle at traviseberle@gmail.com if you want to try and find his booty.

 

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