“Survivor” premieres with new rules after COVID restrictions delay

Viewers hoping to see the show without access to cable TV can stream episodes the next day on Paramount+ or watch them on the CBS website. New episodes air weekly on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (photo from pennlive.com)

“Survivor” is back! After a backup thanks to COVID, viewers, competitors, and host Jeff Probst are beyond excited to be back in business.

When I sat down on my couch on Thursday evening to watch the first episode, I felt the wave of nostalgia invigorate my senses. After over a year since the previous season ended virtually, I was beyond eager to see the show return in all its glory.

My excitement turned to slight skepticism, however, the second the black screen zapped to life.

Immediately I noticed that this season is more cutthroat than those prior. The competition this time around will unfortunately last just 26 days as opposed to the usual 39. A shorter competition means fewer episodes and more contestants dropping like flies at tribals, where players are voted out of the show.

The stakes of season 41 are also much higher. Tribes are smaller and competitors of previous years were given rice as a food source, which is not a liberty given to the new set of players. 

Thanks to this recent change to the set of rules I had many suspicions as to how this season would compare to others. Would it leave me on the edge of my seat still? And of course like many others I was disappointed to hear that the competition wouldn’t last as long.

The season started off with some struggles for all three tribes in “one of the biggest embarrassments of any day one in ‘Survivor’ history,” Probst said. 

The tribes had not yet figured out how to work together and created difficulties for themselves that could have easily been solved if they all had communicated better. The inability to see items in near plain sight and the negligence to unhook a boat from an anchor left me wondering how these teams would survive any of the upcoming challenges.

So far, the first episode has been quite a whirlwind. Several days passed and yet I feel like I barely know even half the cast. The episode continues to highlight the same five or six people. In the first episode I like getting to know all of the contestants so I know who I want to root for the rest of the season. 

Nevertheless season 41 takes on a more diverse cast than previous seasons. As a show that I and many others have grown up with, it’s exciting to see that there are many different types of people represented since that is such a fundamental part of childhood development. 

The show also provides a website for aspiring “Survivor” competitors to play along, which is a unique way to engage the audience and allow them to participate alongside players. As a daydreamer who constantly imagines what it would be like to be on the show, I was very intrigued by this new feature.

Although this season of “Survivor” appears to be different from its predecessors, I am still as captivated as ever to see where the season goes. Despite the new changes, the common phrases and familiar traditions still bring a smile to my face.

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