Survivor NZ

The first episode of the newest season of Survivor NZ has been released and I’d tentatively like to say we could be in for a great series.

Due to the massive backlash about the format of Survivor NZ: Nicaragua, I had little interest in the first New Zealand series. Call me a purist, but after more than 30 seasons of US Survivor, I would have expected the NZ team to realise there has been enough experimenting and refining of the show to know how to do it, and how important it is to get this right.

The contestants of Survivor NZ: Thailand
All aboard; the contestants of Survivor NZ: Thailand.

With two episodes airing a week (but only one week’s worth of content), plus the hit-and-miss “Redemption Island,” the series just didn’t sound convincing. However, Survivor NZ is back and seems to have learnt from its mistakes, and resembles something that can fill the mid-week gap between episodes of the newest US season, Survivor: Ghost Island.

From the arrival to Thailand, everything about the opening episode was hitting the mark. The host, Matt Chisholm, is a great Kiwi Jeff Probst and manages to strike the balance of imitating the iconic presenter without becoming a cringe-worthy copycat. The challenges were large scale, with lots going on. Finally, the discussion around Hidden Immunity Idols and the atmosphere of Tribal Council made for an exciting episode.

Matt Chisholm, host of Survivor NZ: Thailand
The Kiwi Jeff Probst (Matt Chisholm).

My only criticism so far would be the demographics of the contestants. They are all young, fit and mostly White. With no one over the age of 40 playing, it does feel a little old school. There was also the slightly irritating confession by one of the survivors that she had never watched the show before but thought the game sounded fun. You can’t help but think there could have been at least one other person who had applied that was a fan and wanted to live the experience a whole lot more.

That aside, I was truly impressed by the opening episode, albeit because I had such low expectations. I’m looking forward to watching the season develop, and hope it continues to entertain.

Survivor NZ: Thailand
Release Date
22 April 2018
Season 2, Episode 1