Musical Interlude

As you know, I'm a huge Survivor fan. Ever since the show first aired in the spring of 2000, I've been addicted. And even though the last two seasons have been sleep-inducing with their clueless and worthless castaways, I still can't wait for the next season.

I've tried a few times to get on the show, but my being Canadian precludes me from getting an audition. Dumb bastards, every last one of them. Per capita, Survivor is more popular in Canada, so it's about time they allow Canucks to at least audition.

France bought the rights to produce their own version the year Survivor came out and the first season of Koh-Lanta saw the light in 2000. Unlike Survivor, whose ratings gradually went down and stabilized over the subsequent years, making the show drop from the number 1 spot to about a top 10 or top 15 show in America, Koh-Lanta remained the most watched TV show in France for a decade. Indeed, only the crappy 2010 season, Koh-Lanta: Vietnam, saw its ratings go down. Still, the show remained in the top 3.

I've always known that there was a French version of Survivor, but never had the chance to watch it. Last fall, Canal Évasion aired the 2008 Koh-Lanta: Caramoan season. Believing (wrongly) that it would be a poor man's version of Survivor, I didn't really pay much attention to it. Hence, I did miss the first half of the season and didn't get to watch a full episode until the merge.

The concept is the same and the rules are identical (even if there are a few small differences), I was shocked by the fact that the game is played in a thoroughly different fashion from its American counterpart. Imagine if Survivor was played based on merit! Strategy and blindsides are not frowned upon, they are reviled. There are no puzzles, only physical challenges. They suffer for 40 days, only for 100.000 euro!

Imagine a Survivor season in which people like Parvati, Ciree, Boston Rob, Russell, Johnny Fairplay, Tyson, etc, would get voted out at the first sign of duplicity. Merit is not everything; it's the only thing. I would have thought that taking the strategic element out of the game (by the way, it's not a rule. It's the way people play.) would be to its detriment, but no. Getting rid of ill-intentioned or undeserving castaways makes for a totally different and enjoyable watching experience. The challenges take on an importance that we haven't seen on Survivor since the first couple of seasons.

In any case, since last fall I started watching past Koh-Lanta seasons on the web, and basically all of them are much better and fun to watch than the Survivor seasons of the last couple of years. If you understand French and like Survivor, you should definitely give Koh-Lanta a shot. And like Survivor, Koh-Lanta has its own cast of all-stars, many of whom could kick the ass of any American players. May you have the opportunity to get to know Jade, Christelle, Grégoire, Mohamed, Claude, François-David, Tony, Clémence, Moundir, Freddy, and many more!

So to make a long story short, although Russ Landau's Survivor soundtracks are awesome, the Koh-Lanta music also serves as a perfect backdrop to the TV show.

And though Canadians are not eligible to be a part of the show, I was able to get a dispensation to partake of the casting for the Koh-Lanta season which will be aired this summer or fall. Wasn't picked, but maybe I'm slowly getting there. Who knows? Perhaps you'll see me, starving and dehydrated, running around in my swimsuit, trying to win the jackpot! ;-)

Enjoy the soundtrack!

9 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait, Pat. Cheers and Bonne Chance.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean that the French show always takes place in Thailand???

Cecrow said...

I'm in the "Russel gets robbed" camp, as in, the most strategic player in Survivor history never gets the win he deserves because sore losers can't handle the way he plays. I was pleased to see Boston Rob walk away with it this season, however. It starts making me believe the last person to speak on the jury plays kingmaker: where was that guy when Russel was looking for votes?

Anonymous said...

you want something appropriately different check out the first and maybe only season of big brother russia

Anonymous said...

I am French and a big fan of both. But I have to admit that Koh Lanta seems more tough but the candidates in Survivors seem way more tough (even the little oh my god girls!). And Pat you forgot to mention Raphael the guy who fished a shark, hunted iguanas and was definitely a total badass (remind me of Torvald Nom :)).

Patrick said...

Anonymous: No, the first season was filmed in Thailand and the name stuck. Like Survivor, it's in a different exotic location every year.

Cecrow: I was sure that Russell would win in Samoa, but you know what happened. But it's the jury's prerogative to vote the way they want. It's part of the game to somehow convince those you've eliminated and/or blindsided to give you a million dollars. Boston Rob should have won Survivor All-Stars. He did everything during that season. Winning against the worst dumbasses in Survivor history is no great feat...

Romain: Many castaways in Survivor are more fit and muscular than any Koh-Lanta players. But the French version is much more physical, which means that the candidates must dig deeper and play harder than their American counterparts. Some of the girls like Jade and Christelle would wipe the floor with all the women who have been part of Survivor since the start. Jade, especially, could beat half of the men who have ever played the game!

Raphael était dans quelle saison??? Jusqu'ici j'ai regardé Koh-Lanta 2005, 2008, Le Retour des Héros, Koh-Lanta: Vietnam, et je suis en train de regarder Koh-Lanta 2009. J'ai les saisons 2006, 2007, et Le Choc des Héros sur mon ordinateur, mais je ne pourrai pas les voir avant mon retour d'Europe de l'Est...

Anonymous said...

Il etait dans la saison 4 (2004) ! Apres il a eu un conflit avec la production et n'est pas revenu pour le choc des heros...Enjoy :)

Mary Fagan said...

Au-u-urgh! Can't get the music to play! Maybe I can get to it some other way.
How refreshing it would be to see a Survivor game that doesn't rely on the worst aspects of human nature to win! Go Koh Lanta! (Gotta learn French...)

Patrick said...

Romain: Merci! Je vais m'attaquer à la saison 2004 quand j'aurai terminé celles que j'ai déjà. C'est la saison avec Romuald et Philippe, right?

Mary: Click on the link right below instead and it should take you to the clip with the soundtrack.

And yes, it's extremely refreshing to watch the game played a different way. But at times, it's more than a little odd. But for a Survivor fan who's becoming a bit jaded, Koh-Lanta really is a breath of fresh air!