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Was New Zealand’s first ever season of Survivor good or bad?

Our regular Survivor columnist Joseph Harper wraps up the season that was and the emotional finale, and looks to the future with high hopes. Click here for yesterday’s special pre-finale power rankings.

It’s all over. I’ve been crapping on the show’s editors all season long for being too obvious, but in the end they managed to totally bamboozle me, a 600 strong Facebook group called Survivor NZ Superfans, and the vast majority of self-appointed experts I sought winner picks from.

Turns out the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making us think that the guy who was very clearly signposted as the winner wasn’t actually the winner.

I guess there were plenty of people who were trumpeting an Avi win going into last night’s finale, but I doubt anyone saw that landslide coming. I get Barb receiving no votes, but wtf happened to the Tom train? The teacher boy seemed like a sure thing! Something is rotten in the state of Tauranga because his bro-lliance really hung him out to dry. Ah well.

Avi = New Zealand’s ultimate Good Guy Greg

A big ‘what if’ for me is whether Tom would have given Avi the flick if he didn’t pass out and die in the final immunity challenge. Hard to say. 

First thing’s first. Congrats to Avi. I was kind of harsh on the friendly man throughout the season but it’s undeniable that he had one hell of a social game. It felt like people were talking up Avi as a massive threat to win from day one, and yet he never seriously came up as a potential boot, which shows some serious skill from the journal boy. He created real, authentic relationships with the other players, read the room, and saw what this incarnation of the game valued.

Luckily for Avi, he was the human embodiment of those values.

The ultimate Good Guy Greg with perseverance, a can-do attitude and penchant for ‘staying true’. Maybe that’s not what passes for a cool player in the current big moves/RHAP era of real Survivor, but it’s what this season of Survivor NZ wanted and it’s what Avi provided. So massive props for that.

The Holy Trinity

How bout that final tribal, eh? Yeah sure, I’m a massive Barb homer, but that aside, the Queen of Teabags in no way deserved the dressing down she received. There were some rude dudes up to no good and I will not stand for people coming at my hero like that.

What it did show was the importance of getting a good read on the jury. Last night Kristie, the sole Sole Survivor from Survivor Australia reckoned that if she was up against this jury, she’d have no hope in hell and that, conversely, Barb would have had a real shot with her jury. Ah well, at least they apologised in modern day times.

Speaking of which, how cool did the live finale look?! Sources tell me that the vibe was good. I especially liked how they dressed Matthew Chis in full ‘Jeff at final tribal’ costume, including tight lil sweater. The only thing I smdh at was the cue cards.

Why was he using/allowed to use cue cards? Ah well, I guess it makes sense on a season where they used a silicon spatula and it seemed like 100% of the art direction was done by Countdown.

Most importantly, I think this season was better than Survivor Australia. There were definitely disappointments. Spreading each tribal council over two episodes meant a lot of empty screen time, and Redemption Island in the post-merge is just kind of a waste. I’d love to see an idol or two in there just to shake things up.

Mfw thinking about not getting a second season

Overall, I think this is a good foundation for our Survivor future. Lest we forget, in the first ever season of real Survivor, most castaways literally couldn’t conceptualise forming an alliance and there was a guy (with a medical degree) who voted in alphabetical order. In my opinion, we Survivor fans need to be keeping our fingers crossed and hoping we get a second season.

Until then, rest in peace Survivor New Zealand. Oh and thanks to everyone who read my things about it. Especially those who commented along the lines of ‘reality TV is bad’ or ‘who care about this’. Mad respect to you and yours. Laters to me.


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