A few days after Richard Hatch won the first season of "Survivor" — the show that would ultimately shape the decade in television to come more than any other — I wrote that what made "Survivor" special was that "even surrounded by cameras in a contrived situation, these 16 people and their actions and reactions were real, and didn’t feel remotely manufactured on some Hollywood assembly line." I looked at Rudy’s uneasy friendship with gay (and frequently naked) Richard, at the viciousness of Sue’s "the snake and the rat" speech, and at Richard’s win itself — the triumph of the man the show had been painting as the bad guy all season — as "proof" that the show was more authentic — or, at least, more surprising — than even the best scripted dramas had been in a long time.You can read the full "Survivor" column here.
Today, "Survivor" has become such an institution — and so institutionalized — that the 10th anniversary season is a collection of familiar faces from past seasons, grouped into two archetypes: "Heroes vs. Villains."
I haven't watched, or written about, "Survivor" on a regular basis since the "Fans vs. Favorites" season, but I think I'm going to at least check out tonight's two-hour premiere for nostalgia's sake. I don't really have time to add another Thursday show to the rotation, but we'll see if this one rekindles the magic for me. Either way, feel free to discuss the premiere here after it airs.