As we approach tonight’s finale of Big Brother Australia, I thought it would be a good time to discuss some changes that could be made next year. Don’t get me wrong, unlike the majority I’ve loved the refreshed format. They’ve taken the best bits of the North American format and mixed it with some things we’d usually see in the UK / former Australian show and made a new BB fit for a new era. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some issues along the way, which I want to get into.
First of all, the first episode was promoted as fast paced and exciting. It was so fast that it kicked off with an eviction. I get why they did it. They wanted to show the audience up front that this would be something new. It was night 3 for the housemates, but we had only been watching them for ninety minutes. Instead of kicking off the action straight away, I’d love to see at least the first episode, maybe even the second episode too, with no nomination comp and no one going home. That would give time for everyone to get an intro package and for us to see some human interaction. More time getting to know the HMs would mean how people nominate and vote further in the game would make more sense. And the intro packages don’t have to be drawn out like the old BB. I’d suggest watching how they get it done in America. Every person gets a very short package, but enough to learn a few quick things about them. In this year’s show only Kieran, Dan, Marissa, Allan, and Angela got intro packages while meeting Sonia, and a few got them featured later on. I’d say most of the evictions in the first half of the game, I wasn’t emotionally invested because I didn’t know them at all.
Another change that could make the game even more strategic would be introducing the Power of Veto, that is featured in the North American Big Brother. It would work pretty similar to the advantage that Sarah found this season. Either the show can have the nomination comp winner put three people up and the POV winner would be forced to remove one, or each week two people would be nominated and the POV winner would then have the choice to use the advantage or not. Of course like the North American version, if the POV is used there will be a replacement nominee. By adding in an extra comp in the first half of the game that would mean someone would only go home every second episode. For example in the Sunday episode there would be a nomination comp and the nominees revealed. Then in the following episode the audience would see the POV then the eviction. This would be another change that would also give more time to see the cast interaction, outside of the game play.
This season we saw at times when the person would win the challenge they’d head straight to Big Brother and lock in who they’d nominate. If they were given at least 30 minutes to talk with people they could confer with their alliance, and they people who feel are in danger could plead their case and try to sway the nomination away from them.
My last point on the comps would be that they need to be changed up. I’m glad to already hear Sonia has stated in an interview that they’ve taken that feedback on board, but I was shocked how many times this season we saw a comp that took strength and endurance to win. Even when we finally got a comp with a puzzle, they had half their body weight attracted to them. So we need to see comps next season that can be won by using your mind. Two that I’d suggest from BBUS is the facemash comp where three faces are put together and the fastest to get them all right wins, and the comp that’s been featured in recent seasons where colours flash up on the screen and then a question like “what was the middle colour shown” or “what colour came before blue” would be asked. Then there are comps that really can just be random chance. Sometimes simple is still exciting. Like whoever gets the hockey puck closest to the object. Is it exciting TV? No. But the exciting TV could come if someone random like Kieran would win.
Okay enough about the comps, the last two things that need to improve would be editing in more fun moments. If this can’t happen in the main show, then give us a side show with the best moments we missed. It could be put on 7Two on a Friday night, or 7Plus would work just as well. Whatever it would take to see them having some more fun. Looking at the cast it’s clear we need a more diverse group. The show promoted that things would be the most diverse cast yet, and while they did a good job, I think they can push themselves to improve. It doesn’t mean just looking at age and race, but really digging in and finding people that are really from different worlds of life. If you have a large group on your season, called the “Alphas” then your cast wasn’t too diverse in the first place.
Lastly let’s not have the players play in a game and vote each other out, but let the country decide who wins it all. If they are playing the game, either have a jury of the last seven or nine people voted out come together and decide who wins. They’d need to be shown the comps and footage from the eviction room, but it will mean the group has the final say, not the nation who doesn’t know everything that has happened.
In saying all that, I’ve loved having the show back this year. It needed a change, but at the end of the day it’s still Big Brother. A group of people enter a house and we watch their every move.