Survivor: Borneo, Australia, Africa, and … Cagayan?

While the twenty eighth season of Survivor wraps up today, I’ve just finished re-watching the first three seasons. Survivor Cagayan has been one of the best in recent years, and dare I say, one of the best in the franchises history, but there would of been many who have watched this season of Survivor, that have never seen the shows conception and beginning. I’ve heard over the years people saying the show is totally different now, than what it was fourteen years ago. Maybe in production value, but the core of the show is still there. Only thing is this year with Cagayan, it’s been as clear as ever, how this show is still the same.

What makes the first three seasons, Borneo, Australian Outback, and Africa, is the great characters and everyone’s desire to win. Nobody is sitting around for third place (which is another topic in itself). In Borneo every castaway that made the merge was memorable, and was given quality screen time. Same thing for Australia and Africa. I can also say this for Cagayan, while I can’t say that for all seasons from the past few years.

In this season we had Tony, the villain playing super hard. Spencer, the young underdog. Kass, the outspoken older woman. Trish and Woo, playing under the radar in Tony’s majority alliance, and the challenge beast, Tasha. This final six was one where every single person had a case to win. Which is not un-similar to the seasons I have mentioned, where their final six’s featured legends of the game like Richard Hatch, Rudy Boesch, Sue Hawk, Colleen Haskell (from Borneo), Tina Wesson, Colby Donaldson, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Amber Brkich (from Australia), Ethan Zohn, Lex van den Berghe, Tom Buchanan, and Teresa Cooper (from Africa). So if you’ve enjoyed Survivor: Cagayan, but haven’t seen how the whole show started, definitely check them out.

What to watch: Orphan Black

As summer draws upon those in the United States, everyone’s favourite television shows will be coming to a close for another season. As much as we complain about how there is too much television to watch in one week, come summer, when you are all caught up on every Chuck Lorre show, there won’t be many options to pick from in your tv guide. Which means summer becomes a time to discover new shows, and some hidden gems that you haven’t had the time to binge watch.

One show that I recommend to check out if you already hadn’t is Orphan Black. This sci-fi action drama can get so confusing at times, that I wonder if even the writers know whats going on. No matter how many questions you have at the end of each episode, keep with the show. The one thing I’m sure of is how outstanding the acting is. In a show about the creation of clones, Tatiana Maslany manages to perfectly play them all, and switches accents from scene to scene. Along with the relatively unknown Maslany, is Jordan Gavaris who plays Felix, foster brother to Sarah Manning, the first clone we meet and the shows central character. Gavaris manages to bring some humor to the show, all while putting on a very convincing English accent. With the first season being only ten episodes long, and the show only three episodes into the current sophomore season, I managed to binge watch and catch up over three days.

An Open Letter to Carrie Bickmore

Dear Carrie,

I’m sorry that once again you walk away from the TV Week Logies Awards empty handed. I’m sure you’re not majorly disappointed that you have gone zero from six in the past three years, as you have said before doing TV was never your end goal and the Logies can be seen as a bit of a joke to many, but it would still be nice for you to be recognised as the amazing talented woman that you are.

People scoffed three years ago when, what others put as, a “news reader” was being nominated for our highest television award. Well if we can have a tradie who host’s a reality show win it, why can’t people vote for you.

To me you are more than just a “news reader”. You’re the person who is welcomed into my house whether it be at 6.00 PM, 6.30 PM, or 7.00 PM. I don’t see how, after three years in a row of being nominated, you haven’t won the top award, because you have such a warmth about you, that you have created a deep connection with The Project viewers (no matter how small that audience may be).

The way in which you are so open on the show is amazing. Not many on live television who fall over would want to get back up from sheer embarrassment, but when you fell over, the only reason you couldn’t get back up was due to your uncontrollable laughter at what had just happened. Many make jokes about you showing emotion, and the amount of times you have cried on screen. I only see that of a strength of yours. You have been through a lot in recent years, and your honesty and showing of emotions proves to everyone you’re not a robot who sits behind a desk and talks about the news.

I have no doubt you will be nominated for the Gold Logie again next year, I only hope everyone can see what I see, and you will be seen as Australia’s Most Popular Personality.



Logies 2014 – My picks

Another year, another Logies award night. Filled with far to many musical acts, and international guest who have no clue whats going on, being it the 56th annual night, it looks like they will be with us for a long time more. Here I look at seven of the most popular categories, and determine who I think should win, and who will most likely win, seeing that the Logies are a popularity contest based on the opinion of TV Weeks readers.

Should Win: The Project – Slammed by critics at first, and thought of by viewers as a show that would be off the air within weeks, The Project has become the little show that did over the past six years, and has often gotten minimal recognition for it. While it has seen a major change over the past five months, the show is still one of Network Ten’s best performers.

Will Win: Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year Asia – The lovable radio duo have a massive twitter following, who will be the kind of people to vote for the awards. While The Voice took home this award last year, I can’t see this one slipping away from the boys.

Should Win: Caren Pistorius – Her inclusion to the cast of Offspring, currently one of Australia’s better drama, was a welcome addition. Also is nominated for her work on Redfern Now and Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, so for someone seen as a new talent, she has had a very busy year.

Will Win: Johnny Ruffo – The former reality tv star turned “actor” is part of Home & Away, full of tween/teen viewers, and is also a young male, this category was made for people like him.

Should Win: Offspring – While it has been nominated in this category for the past three years, it has failed each time to win, being beaten by Packed to the Rafters and House Husband. The cast of Asher Keddie, Kat Stewart, Eddie Perfect, Matthew Le Nevez, and Lachy Hulme are able to create a kind of show that has both warmth and humor, and keeps the audience coming back for more every year.

Will Win: Offspring – See above

Should Win: Carrie Bickmore – Appears of television every week of the year, while is also the mother to a seven year old. She really is the most deserving winner of a award for presenting, out of the five nominees.

Will Win: Carrie Bickmore – Will be very disappointed if someone like Scott Cam or Hamish/Andy end up winning this.

Should Win: Matthew Le Nevez – Part of Offspring’s fantastic ensemble cast, and was Nina’s boyfriend for the past three seasons, in the relationship that really drove the show. Not to mention the impact of his death last year.

Will Win: Steve Peacock – Took out this award last year, beating out many other deserving actors. Don’t see what would change voters minds over the past year.

Should Win: Asher Keddie – Very talent actress, who won last year (and also won in 2011 & 2012). I would not be able to name another Australian actress that could pull of the character that is Nina Proudman, like she can.

Will Win: Asher Keddie – See Above

Should Win: Carrie Bickmore – When I look at what this award is really about, the most popular personality, I really think Carrie is the standout of the bunch, not to take anything away from the work the others have done in the past year. While many would argue that we shouldn’t be giving out our highest award, to a news reader, I disagree. Carrie is with us, every night of the week, every week of the year. Many others in her position, would of gone about her job, and accomplished it to the standard required. But Carrie has something about her. Her personality, and her openness with not only the joys she has had in life, but the heartbreaks as well, has created a strong bond with viewers. While many made jokes about the amount of times she has gotten emotional or cried on camera, I think this shows she isn’t a robot while presenting the days news.

Will Win: Either Carrie Bickmore or Asher Keddie, and would be very happy with either.

For the times (late night television) they are a-changin’

Recently I have slowly been plowing through Bill Carter’s The War For Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy, getting an in depth and well crafted look into the 2010 Tonight Show host and time slot conflict. The events presented by Carter are fresh to me, as when I was younger names like Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and Chelsea Handler were not apart of my, now pop culture invested, life, while the two heavy weights of late night, David Letterman and Jay Leno, were known to me, but on a very small scale. It is now less than a week after Letterman’s announcement of retirement, I fear that Carter may be getting ready to pen a follow up to War For Late Night that could be billed as the third in his Late Show trilogy (Carter first documented the 1992 Tonight Show host conflict between Letterman and Leno in The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, & the Network Battle for the Night published in 1994). The 11.30 P.M game is in for a big shake up, and not everyone will come out of it being a winner.

In regard to Dave’s announcement, praise from other public figures such as, Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGenerres, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, and even the President Barack Obama, was shown through their Twitter accounts, but instead of offering the same praise and recognition, most of the entertainment reporters and sites were focusing on who should be his replacement. This is full while knowing that Letterman will be with us on the air for at least another solid year. The Los Angeles Times couldn’t resist the headline, ‘With David Letterman retiring, all eyes on CBS’ next move”. Shouldn’t all eyes be Dave, and his fantastic contribution he has made to television. I guess it must be human nature to speculate about such things, but I was surprised at how many reporters were busy making their own shortlist’s for replacements, all featuring Stephen Colbert and Handler in top contention, while little were looking at Letterman’s achievements. Many need to take a second to note that David Letterman has been on the our television screens, whether it be at NCB or CBS, since 1982. While Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night, and now Tonight Show, flourishes on using Twitter and Youtube to its advantage, those were non existent for Letterman, and others in the field, in the eighties, nineties, and early two thousands. To date he has filmed over 6,000 episodes of The Late Show with David Letterman, and by the time he finishes up, he will have spent more years on the air than the king of late night television, Johnny Carson.

The thing that bugs me most about the lists of replacements is that, even though it is unlikely he will get the job, Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show which follows Letterman on CBS, is not at the top of them (Jesse David Fox and Josef Adalian from has been the only site I’ve seen to list him a top of a candidates list). When your long standing sports coach steps down, do you first interview the assistant, or to you scout out other talents? You first interview the assistant. Look maybe Ferguson doesn’t even want the earlier time slot with more pressure to perform (am I kidding myself, anybody his Ferguson’s position would want that slot), and maybe CBS will have no choice but to go with someone else due to Ferguson’s style, in the same way that Conan O’Brien didn’t work out on NBC’s Tonight Show, as he keep his same style from Late Night, while the NBC executive expected him to continue on with Leno’s ways keeping a broad audience. If Ferguson does in fact get over looked for the gig, which could cause some brand damage to the station, he will be getting a nice pay check for it. His previously inked deals with CBS include a “Prince of Wales” clause meaning Ferguson has the right slide into Letterman’s seat. We all know that if CBS really doesn’t want him to take on that role, a payout, reported between $8 to $12 million, will take place, and most likely Ferguson would walk, leaving not one, but two, shows for CBS to find a host for.

Others featured on the list of potentials are Colbert, who’s contract runs through 2014. Handler made an unexpected announcement that she would leave E! and her show Chelsea Lately once her contract expires at the same time of Colbert, making her available for the Late Show gig. Many believed that maybe a deal had already been struck, as it couldn’t be a coincidence that both announce major news like that within days of each other. Bravo’s Andy Cohen, and O’Brien, who has been at TBS since he walked from the Tonight Show are up for contract renewals in 2015. Even Jimmy Kimmel’s name has been thrown into the mix, as his contract is also up for renewal in 2015. Some have even dared to suggest Letterman’s long time rival, Leno would even be considered. I think Jimmy Fallon’s joke during his “Top Ten reasons David Letterman is retiring”, put it best, by saying “Jay Leno needs a partner for next season’s Amazing Race”. The joke was funny, but it really is true that Leno needs to move away from television, just as Letterman is. Actor’s and actress’ like Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Neil Patrick Harris, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Ellen DeGeneres (who you would think is comfortable in day-time television) have all been considered by reporters. It’s known that CBS are looking to find a replacement sooner rather than latter, which is the right way to do things, so Letterman can enjoy his final year without the focus being on his successor.

When looking at my own views originally I would of given Ferguson the job straight away, and if CBS wants to go with honor and integrity they will most likely go with him, but if they are playing to win, not playing to be nice, then they will most likely go with someone else. While Colbert may be the most critically acclaimed, winning over the critics may not be whats needed to win over The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. CBS needs to attract the young audience. My suggestion would be to bring in Handler (who is already known to be a free agent on the move), who would bring in a heap of female viewers, or Neil Patrick Harris (it is unknown if he would even be interested in such a gig, but being such a popular entertainer, and familiar with young faces after finishing up nine years on How I Met Your Mother, he would be just what CBS are looking for). Handler would really create a point of difference between the three commercial networks. From 2010 onwards we have had Leno, Letterman, and Kimmel. This year we have the two Jimmy’s, and David. All three slot filled by straight white middle aged men. I’m not saying diversity should be added just for the sake of it. I believe in employing the right person for the job regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, but it would help to add someone different into mix. The only thing with Chelsea is that she has worked for a long time to create her own brand and style at E!, and if CBS are expecting her to change things, it won’t work out. That’s why Patrick Harris could be a better fit.

Of course at the moment only one shows host needs to be found, but if Ferguson does indeed walk from the show, he has nearly worked on for close to a decade, due to not being chosen for Letterman’s job, then two positions will need to be filled. Maybe room for both of my picks? Who ever is chosen looks to become part of the next stage in late night on television. In the past viewers just had one: Carson. Now they have many. With so many chess pieces to pick from, I’m sure a few of them will be sitting in different positions by August 2015.

What to do with a problem like Network Ten?

It’s unfortunate that Network Ten has now become a bit of a joke, after many years of not only coming behind Seven and Nine, but also falling behind the non-commercial ABC. I don’t know how they got to this point, but nothing is working for them. Year after year, they announce a fresh new line up in November, all ready for the new year, only to have thrown in the towel by Easter, which is seen as the closing point on the first quarter of the year. Thinking about it now, Network Ten are similar to the Melbourne F.C, in the way all hope is lost by round five.

More times than not, Channel Ten put out some quality programs. Emphases on the some. What it comes down to is a damaged brand. When people started thinking of Ten, they see them as the kind of people that are putting out The Shire, Being Lara Bingle, I Will Survive, Everybody Dance Now and the deadfall revival of Young Talent Time. We could switch, the nation’s most watched show, My Kitchen Rules over to Ten and it would do poorly there, because at the moment nobody is wanting anything to do with Ten. What I suggest is a full on face lift. Ten need to bring in the bulldozers in and completely start again. Looking at the ratings from the past four days, there is no other way to get out of the hole they have dug.

Starting with Sunday, where Ten had one of their worst days on record with its primary share of 6.2%, but with a bleak line up, what did they expect. Even Eyewitness News is their saving grace, but that couldn’t pull any higher than 500,000, which even for Ten’s standards is very bad. Taking on reality heavyweights (MRK and The Block) was Kung Fu Panda 2, as in recent weeks a movie has replaced the struggling SYTYCD. But this new move didn’t work out, as the kids flick faired even worse that SYTYCD. Elementary also failed but it had little chance when its competitors were Fat Tony & Co and Downton Abbey. Have You Being Paying Attention was a low point for the nights line up with the shows numbers coming in under 200,000. How that show is still on the air confuses me greatly.

The next night didn’t go any better with The Bold and the Beautiful doing better than Aussie drama Secrets and Lies. And even Vikings on SBS was close to beating Ten in a prime time slot. Tuesday and Wednesday was the same. With The Project, Eyewitness News, and Puberty Blues showing the only glimmer of hope.

The Biggest Loser has had its day, and if anyone down at Network Ten has a brain, it will never be seen again. I fear Masterchef will see the same fate as its network reality counterpart in the national ratings. Shows like The Good Wife, Bondi Vet, and NCIS have little appeal to the masses. I know it’s no good for me to say clear out basically their entire programing schedule with nothing to replace it, but they really do need to start afresh.

I’m still LOST

Last week Lost showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof came together for a panel discussion with former cast members, to celebrate the ten years that have passed since the show debuted, at PaleyFest. Stars Josh Holloway, Ian Somerhalder, and Jorge Garcia shared stories from the set, as Cuse and Lindelof once again shot down the idea that the characters were dead the whole time. Other items discussed were how the original Pilot would of worked, how little each cast member knew about there own episode (Yunjin Kim, who played Sun Kwon, knew only that her character could understand English while shooting the first episode), and the Nikki and Paulo situation. Cuse then said something, which I completely agreed with.

“Lost was a show about people on an island in the middle of nowhere, but metaphorically they were lost in their lives [and in need of] purpose and redemption,” Cuse said to a packed Dolby Theater in Hollywood. This is something I realised long before the series final, titled “The End”, was shown on television sets all around the world. The flashbacks, which could sometimes take up to one third of an episode, weren’t there for no reason at all.

The series final, which was watched by 13.5 million households, left viewers with many questions regarding the events they had witnessed during the groups stay on the island. One in particular that was brought up was who was shooting at Sawyer and Juliet’s group while they were on a canoe out at seas, during the period of time when they were suffering another island time shift. The events occur in the season five episode “The Little Prince”. Lindelof reveals, that a scene was written for the finale season, which would of explained it, but thought it would be much cooler to keep it to himself. “We wrote that scene, and it was going to air in the final season, and it definitely answered who was on the outrigger. But all the writers … thought it would be much cooler not to answer. … The scene exists on paper. Years from now, for some excellent charity, we’ll probably auction it off.” Okay, I’m all for donating to charity, but can this auction be now so I can find this out. If it was important enough for someone to be shooting at Sawyer during the time shift, then it’s important enough to tell us why it was happening.

Cuse thinks answering every single mystery would be “didatic and boring”, but I beg to differ. As I said I understand the meaning of the show, but they also added a Sci-Fi element to the show to hook viewers in. If you’re going to grab our attention for six years, please explain what was happening. The first season averaged 18.4 million viewers, all hooked into what the monster was, and what was the purpose of the hatch, and how Locke could suddenly walk. Before the panel, Exodus (Part 1) was aired, which (along which the second part) I would class as, not only one of the best episodes of the show, but one of the best hours of television that I have witnessed. At the end of the second part,
M. C. Gainey as Tom, then credited as “Other”, delivers the chilling line, “We’re gonna have to take the boy”. Walt is snatched from his father’s arms, and the raft Walt, Michael, Sawyer, and Jin were traveling no his blown up. Twenty two days later in island time, Walt and Michael are reunited, and in exchange for Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley, they leave the island together. But it was never fully explain why the Others wanted Walt. I know they will most likely never answer every little question that each individual fan has, but I’m dying to know this one.

Where is The Walking Dead heading?

Two weeks away from this seasons finale “A”, there is still a lot that can happen to our struggling group of zombie apocalypse survivors. The block of back eight episodes have been interesting, in the fact that the writers, really took a chance and kept everyone separated for more than one episode. What I’ve liked even more, is the leap of faith the writers took in hope that the fans would be okay with many of these episodes featuring only one story, for the entire forty-two minutes. The mid season premier, “After”, showed both Rick and Carl, and Michonne, struggling after the events in “Too Far Gone”, but by the end of the episode, Michonne had found the Grimes, and two plots collided into one. The following week during “Inmates”, we discovered where the rest of the survivors were at and followed four different plots; Glenn and Tara (soon joined by Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita), Tyreese and Carol, Beth and Daryl, and Maggie, Sasha and Bob. While the episode offered an update on everyone, it was all too much to be crammed into one week. So in the weeks after we have been treated to “Still”, and “The Grove”.

“Still” followed Beth and Daryl. Not only was it an extraordinary venture to show only two characters for the week, but it was the first time the show had had an episode with no one featured in the comic books. It showed that Scott Gimple, The Walking Dead’s third show runner, was true to his word when he wanted to take some things directly out of the comic, but also keep fans of both the comic and the television show on their toe’s. This followed “After”, which took what happened with Carl and Rick straight out of the book.

Now this weeks episode went along a little differently. “The Grove” saw the deaths of Mika, due to Lizzie’s mental instability, and Lizzie, who is killed by Carol, as she was a risk to others safety. The Walking Dead once again went to a dark place, and it was exciting. This story was also taken from the book, but involved Carl and two other young boys. So in a way they remixed a plot into a different time of the storyline.

Even though these episodes that follow less characters have added a heap of character development, it has been hard to not see Rick for three episodes straight. All this leaves me wondering where the end of the season will lead season five onto. I can only assume everyone will be back together by the season finale, but where are they heading. Will we see more of the men with Daryl, and are they The Hunters? Is the terminus a false hope for the group, or is it the Alexandra Safe Zone from the comics? The name of the last episode makes me think this, seeing as it is titled “A”, but I thought the show would of spent a longer time on the road, before settling down at a new safe place. And how will the group’s dynamics change with the additions of people like Abraham and Tara, who was part of the assault on the prison? With only two episodes left, I’m hoping some of these questions will be answered.

Game of Thrones: Where does the series go from here?

It’s sad that it will come to this, but with George R.R. Martin’s slow writing pace, HBO’s Game of Thrones will most likely over take the book series! The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the long running series A Song of Ice and Fire, is predicted to be in the book stores in 2015, with book seven to be seen who knows when. Even Martin has agreed that this is a problem, saying that “it’s alarming”.

Since the second season, they have started moving plot points either forward or backwards. Take for example Jamie Lannister’s plot from A Storm of Swords being moved into the second season, or Bran’s plot from the latter part of A Clash of Kings, being pushed to season three. So the show has never planned on every season to equal one book. But things are soon going to get complicated soon. With co-creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, announcing this week that they see the show finishing after season seven or eight, the show has a whole lot of content to fit into forty more hours of footage.

It’s good new for us that Benioff and Weiss have been thinking ahead and took a trip down to Santa Fe to map out the end of the series. “Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be,” said Benioff. “If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.”

So it looks as though Benioff and Weiss have their work cut out for them, but as they guys at have been at the helm of the popular fantasy drama for three years, I think the show, and in a way, the whole franchise, are safe in their hands.

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast: My obsession with Survivor (Part ll)

On the arrival of the twenty-eight season of reality tv juggernaut Survivor, I’ve decided to look back on my relationship with a show I love dearly. The show became a cultural and critical success in the summer of 2000 and was originally seen as a fad. Fourteen years latter, Survivor is still going strong, and takes viewers to incredible locations like The Amazon, Guatemala, Vanuatu, China, Palau, Kenya, Samoa, and Australian.

Today on the eve of the premiere of Survivors 28th season, I will continue my look back on the show by listing my favourite contestant, season, tribe.

Contestant -> Parvati Shallow – Cook Islands, Micronesia, Heroes Vs Villains.
While she was seen as just a flirt in her first season, Parvati took a second chance and ran with in it Micronesia. Wile the odds were against her in the Cooks’, she made sure she had strong alliances with the right people, and this time knew when to cut them off. Her return to the game for a third time saw her as a early threat, but she managed to adopt the the conditions and made it to the final three, and was crowned runner up. Many note that she was more deserving than Sandra, who won Heroes Vs Villains. As one of few who is able to recognise how important having a strong social game is, and also being able to compete well in challenges, along with creating one of the strongest alliances of all time, she is easily one of the best players the game has seen.

Other choices were: Rob Mariano (Marquesas, All Stars, Heroes Vs Villains, Redemption Island), Vecpeia Towery (Marquesas), Richard Hatch (Borneo, All Stars), and Rob Cesternino (The Amazon, All Stars).

Season -> The Amazon
This season has so many reasons for being my pick. We had the first battle of the sexes, which went perfectly, giving the game so many cross tribe alliances, after the tribe swift. We also had one of the most memorable moment, that had nothing to do with the game. Heidi and Jenna taking their clothes of in a challenge for peanut butter. A lot of people look highly upon tis season for its unpredictability thanks to Rob C, but really the characters make this season. I don’t think anyone could of predicted that Butch, Rob, Matt and Jenna would end up being the final four, and I would of be fine with any of them winning the whole thing. And top of that, we have one of the most under rated castaways of all time in Deena Bennett. She was just as smart as Rob, until she started talking to the wrong people.

Other choices were: China, Pearl Islands, Palau, and Micronesia

Tribe -> Casaya (Panama)
Never has there been a tribe as dysfunctional, while still being successful, as Casaya. Featuring some legends of the game in the likes of Aras Baskauskas, Cirie Fields, and Shane Powers, the tribe managed to eliminate the completion, until they had to turn on themselves. The result was chaos.

Other choices were Fei Long (China), Mogo Mogo (All Stars), and Tandang (Philippines)

Don’t forget to check out my Survivor: Cagayan recaps at and look out for my retrospective recaps of the first season of Survivor on this blog.