Two More!

10:19 AM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I knocked out two more season premieres last night, and here are my thoughts:

Survivor: Nicaragua
After two all star-ish seasons across five seasons (16 and 20 respectively), it was nice to see a fresh cast of characters with some potential to be memorable. Survivor's stumbling block in the last few all-new cast years has been poor casting, and that is a massive part of that show, especially as it carries onto its 21st season! Samoa had one of the worst casts in history, with Russell as the breakout star over two tribes of idiots and mannequins (save for Shambo, although I wasn't much of a fan). Tocantins, well, it was nice to see the good guy win and Coach alone kind of made the season, but in general this season was a snooze because everyone handed JT the win. Gabon had a pretty unlikable cast and villainized the most interesting people in my books, but it had its moments.

As for Survivor Nicaragua? I'm tentatively optimistic about this season:
- Well for one, Jimmy Johnson added some star power that ruffled many feathers on the show. I'm interested to see how he plays out.
- Technically speaking Thailand was not divided by old vs. young, but the way the tribe leaders selected their tribemates it ended up that way. The only other time they've done old vs. young is Danielle's 'Exile Island' season which had four initial tribes - old men, old women, young men, young women. Interestingly the final four had one representative from each group, and a young male took home the prize. The difference this time is there is a ten-year age gap between the young guns and the old folks, while before several Survivors (such as Cirie) commented they felt more in tune with a different group than the one they were assigned to.
- The medallion of powahhhh has one of the cheesiest titles of all time and felt a bit gimmicky, although the choice it provided the survivors in the beginning and the fact it will be cycled back and forth (potentially) between the teams throughout the season makes it an intriguing experiment for this season at least. I agreed with the old folks choice to not use it this time, not only because the reward wasn't as great as the producers intended (read Jeff Probst's blog on, but also because this wasn't an incredibly physical challenge, which is where they'll need more help.
- I'm intrigued by how the first clues to the hidden immunity idol were presented this season. For one, does that mean those two girls will always have to go get tree mail to ensure they are the only ones to get additional clues? Or will additional clues be rolled out in different ways, causing suspicions to arise as the contestants try to figure out how else has a piece of the puzzle? I can definitely see how Russell's domination of idol snatching came into play when rejigging the idol thing. For another, did anyone on the other tribe get a clue yet? If not, why? The young girls got the clue *before* the immunity challenge so it's not like it was a reward for winning. Was it because they didn't have the medallion of powahhhh? Curious.
- I have no early favourites, but I enjoyed watching a celebrity in the midst of the Survivors. It also inspired me to think up a few Survivor casting twists for the future, although I thoroughly get that a big part of the show is tied to the idea of 'group of strangers thrown together - make it work!' (or am I just mixing up my reality show catch phrases now?)

Moving on to Life Unexpected, The CW's new-ish sweet family drama about a teenager whose parents gave her up for adoption until she was reunited with them through the courts at 16. When we last left the LUX cast, Base realized he had feelings for Cate and tired to break up her wedding, Ryan and Cate went through with said wedding, and Lux was sort of caught in the middle of her two fathers. The season opener shook things up and provided some short and long-term threads for the show, some expected, some not so much. General thoughts:
- Cate getting sacked from the radio station wasn't entirely unexpected. Knowing all about the radio biz (and hearing the boyfriend continually gripe during this week's episode 'NEVER DATE SOMEONE YOU WORK WITH IN RADIO') I was expecting some sort of career friction to break their happy union. I'm not loving the Bree Van De Kamp-esque replacement and her obvious lusting after Ryan, but perhaps they can define her character to be less of a caricature and more of a foil to Ryan & Cate
- Cate being fired and Base having to rebuild the bar...I'm sensing the two of them having a lot of free time will have an impact on their respective relationships.
- I'm not a fan of removing Allison, even though her character was a bit underdeveloped. She provided (along with Cate's understandably MIA sister) an outlet for Cate to talk about what was going on in her life. Without her, I'm worried Cate will become as two-dimensional as Ryan seemed other than the scenes he had with Lux.
- On the introduction of Paige: well, I thought it was a bit contrived for her not to be at last season's wedding (a mere two weeks ago by the show's timeline) regardless of her character's free-spirited adventurer persona, but I am intrigued because A) Base knows she's responsible for the fire and had a steamy night with her, and B) Last season I specifically talked about how Ryan really needed someone in 'his world' in the same way Cate had Allison and her sister and Base had his roomies, while Ryan really only shined and was given dimension in his scenes with Lux. The introduction of Paige - however radically different she is from her brother and the fact she's already intertwined in their story - provides a platform for us to see more of Ryan.
- Ryan and this mysterious Julia I think it was, gifter of fancy-looking vases. Again I felt it was a tad contrived to throw us for a mysterious loop, but as the same time I felt like there really WAS a dead zone last season where we didn't know just what Ryan was up to. And quite frankly if he hooked up with someone during that time, when he was referring to 'Cate not knowing anything', I wouldn't blame him. I'm glad he has his own little plotline to unwind though.
- Yay for the potential end of Lux and Bug. After two misguided romantic leads last season, I was surprised the writers threw another challenging relationship at Lux in the form of a new teacher (not even playing the student teacher card, wow) who she recently shared some smooches with. I don't know how long this will last for but I hope the show hits a stride when it comes to finding Lux a suitable mate for the audience to fall in love with - the best episodes of Gilmore Girls often centred on Rory's romantic relationships (Dean! Jess! Tristan! Logan!), but I feel like the show hasn't hit on who exactly Lux should be with. I guess when the right fictional relationship comes along it'll be that much sweeter next to these duds.

Overall I thought this was a solid season premiere in terms of setting up tons of drama for the season to come. Sometimes I worry that Life Unexpected has set the Cate/Base 'destined to be together' bar a bit too high too soon, especially since they've made Ryan a relatively appealing alternative so far, but I have faith the show will continue to tangle and untangle their feelings for one another for quite some time.

Two solid season premieres, and just a handful more to go!


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