CBS announced the latest Survivor cast today. So far, so good; they’ve done this 12 times already. And then they reveal this edition’s twisteroo: four tribes, divided by…race.
I’m honestly not quite sure what to make of this move. I’ve always stuck up for this show, which, let’s face it, has taken more than its fair share of critical beatings over the past six years. Its strengths (drama, intrigue, revealing bald-faced deceit and prejudice) have generally outweighed its weaknesses (cast homogeneity, simplistic characterizations, bland camp life). True, the franchise is starting to look a bit long in the tooth, as they say, and this move is clearly an attempt to goose its ratings beyond the usual game-related innovation. On top of that, I’m still willing to give Mark Burnett et al the benefit of the doubt. For now.
This could (could, mind) be the kind of in-your-face media experiment we just might need at this moment. If nothing else, it’ll be incredibly refreshing to see a whole lot of brown faces on the show (instead of the usual two or three). Then again, it could simply retreat into the usual kind of racial difference presentation and discussion we’ve had on TV for the past thirty-odd years. I haven’t had time to snoop around the web to see what others are thinking about this thus far, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it for sure.
Damn, and I was going to follow Ugly Betty this fall…