Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Survivor 26: We Are Never Ever Gota Back Together -- Episode 6 Recap/Analysis

As the tribes are being switched up, one things remains the same: Gota continues to be the tribe where everything's happening, even if they aren't going to Tribal Council any more. As the fans look for new friends and the favourites mark their new territory, who stands to gain from this reshuffle? Will Erik and Brenda finally get a chance to shine (who are we kidding, but these things are tricky to write)? And Malcolm may not be an accomplished player when it comes to winning, but he's one of the standout performers this season. Is he set up for another deep run, and who should/does he want there with him? Meanwhile, on the beleaguered Bikal tribe, the fans await their execution. What hope is there for any of them that do survive until the merge? And might we actually see Phillip turn on Corinne, or is this just an excuse to give him even more screentime? All this and more on this week's show, available on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Survivor 26: Breaking Down the #survivorbreakdown -- Episode 5 Recap/Analysis

(NOTE: We discuss the 'Next time on ... Survivor' segment and the web previews towards the end of the show, so be aware of that if you want the next episode to remain a total mystery)

For better or for worse, people are finally talking about this season. Beyond the obvious questions - why things went this far, whether this could have been avoided, and so on - viewers and producers alike are forced to answer some more uncomfortable ones: whether it was irresponsible to invite Brandon back, what this says about Brandon's character and the culture of the Hantz family, and what this means for the show long-term. If you want to hear a more qualified voice talk about these issues, Coach gave us his thoughts on a parallel segment here; our take can be found on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Survivor: Coach on Brandon's Meltdown

(NOTE: Due to some problems while uploading, this and/or the regular episode recap might show up twice in iTunes. Apologies for any confusion)

When we interviewed Coach a few months ago, he told us something big would happen this season that he wanted to talk about; and after last Wednesday, there was no doubt what that was. As someone who spent more time than anyone with Brandon and is often compared to Phillip, Coach's insight into how and why their personality differences escalated into something unprecedented is well worth listening to. You can check it out on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Survivor 26: Phillip, Emo, Gollum -- Episode 4 Recap/Analysis

(in which Dom gets a new microphone after 70 episodes and it's somehow worse than the old one...)

Despite NPCs from Tata the Bushman to the 'Strayian medical team getting more airtime than half the Favourites, the season looks to be revving up. With one time US Marine and all-time attention whore Shamar removed from the game and another challenge loss sending them to Tribal Council, the Fans - the misfit men in particular - are forced to confront the timeless Survivor question of strength versus loyalty. Did they make the right choice, and what does this mean for them going forward?  Meanwhile, as Phillip, Andrea, and Cochran all reprise some old themes to compensate for a lack of action, are we about to see a meltdown of historic proportions, or is this an uniquely frustrating case of editorial misdirection? We discuss these questions and more on a late (some we would say timely!) episode available on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Survivor: Polite Conversation with Jonny Fairplay

(This interview is best avoided by the sensitive and is mandatory listening for everyone else)

Today's Survivor 'villains' are portrayed as a mixture of psychotic, lazy, bigoted, and/or stupid. Desperate for attention, many of them act up for the cameras only for their personas to come across as forced and inauthentic. Smart, complex antagonists are rare, which is why we're especially happy to talk to the one who set the standard by which all others are judged. Jonny Fairplay came into Survivor: Pearl Islands planning to be the greatest villain in the history of reality television and he delivered, redefining Survivor gameplay and reality TV villainy (and giving us a universally acclaimed season of Survivor in the process). He joins us to give the lowdown on everything  - his unique casting experience, the setup and fallout of the dead grandma lie, and so much more – with the bluntness and candour that he’s famous for. You can listen on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Survivor 26: Revenge of the Nerds -- Episode 3 Recap/Analysis

Three episodes in, the lunatics are running the asylum (and threatening to quit it). During the momentary breaks from the Phillip Sheppard and Shamar Thomas highlight reel, what is revealed about the other 16 contestants? With the game - and hopefully the season - likely to be shaken up by a probable tribe swap, how should people be planning ahead? And, with some of the favourites still missing from our screens, we have to wonder: is this a sign of their permanent irrelevance, or are they being saved for their breakout moments?

As always you can listen on the player below, here, or on iTunes here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Reality of TV with Max Dawson

It's impossible to fully appreciate shows like Survivor unless we understand the wider context that underlies them, so we asked Max Dawson, media consultant and professor at Northwestern University, to tell us what we need to know. He paints a vivid picture of the state of the American television industry at the turn of the century and explains how the show we all love revolutionized its genre and television as a whole, before looking at how reality TV has grown and changed over the past decade. We then return to the show that started it all, talking about the evolution of Survivor over the years in everything from casting to editing to gameplay, and try to find words to express our - and seemingly everyone's - collective disappointment with the current season. Finally, Max tells us about his TV course at NU (#rtvf330 for those of you in the Twitterverse), and the rewards and challenges of teaching an interactive class.

You can listen here or on iTunes here.

You can read more about #rtfv330 here and find Max on Twitter here.

For updates, like the podcast FB page or follow us on Twitter.