Very few shows capture my attention like CBS’s Survivor. What started as a fairly contrived reality television competition has evolved over many years to a fascinating cat-and-mouse game of wits. Survival of the environmental extremes pales in comparison to the mental madness brought on by deliberate deceit, misunderstood conversation, and naked errors in judgment. The lack of sleep by itself (on some nights strategic, on others unavoidable) would have me stepping out of the game well before the final day.
Like most reality shows Survivor is edited to manipulate the viewing experience to be as entertaining as possible. You only see what the producers want you to see. Given hundreds of hidden cameras, I can only imagine how much film ends up on the “cutting room floor”. Regardless, Survivor is undeniably popular in America (with similar competitions in fifty other countries). The current season – the thirty-fourth – is watched by over ten million viewers. There have been over five hundred episodes. And the format of the game is relatively unchanged from the first competition seventeen years ago.
When “The Hunger Games” movies came out in 2012, I remember how I couldn’t help drawing several parallels to Survivor. In both cases you have contestants battling until only one remains; the recipient of untold riches. In both cases the contestants have but a few items of comfort and are forced to endure the harsh conditions of their surroundings. Also in both cases, you have a game manipulated behind the scenes by the powers that be, to maximize the entertainment value for its viewers (even at the “expense” of contestants).
So now let’s talk about Game2: Winter, the latest spin on reality TV competition from Russia. Brace yourself.
Game2: Winter (G2W) is a hybrid of Survivor and “The Hunger Games”. Take fifteen men and fifteen women, drop them into a remote location in Siberia (which is anywhere in Siberia come to think of it), wait nine months and see who survives. Each entrant must be declared “mentally sane” to qualify (kind of an oxymoron for a G2W player, don’t you think?) and chooses up to 100kg of equipment from a warehouse en route to Siberia. Clothing. Tools. Weapons. Whatever they feel they need to survive. Each entrant also gets a satellite-linked panic button. That comes in handy when they encounter the hungry wolves and bears in the region – assuming the production crew can get to them fast enough.
With a particular nod to “The Hunger Games”, G2W will be televised 24/7. Oh, and the contestants can do anything they feel is necessary to win the game. Anything. The Russian government has gone on record to say players will be prosecuted for crimes (i.e. murder, rape, physical violence), and the producers say they won’t interrupt such activities. 2,000 cameras have been strategically located to capture the “entertainment”.
Games2: Winter premieres this July. The extremes of Siberia (100 degrees in the summer, -40 in the winter), the lack of adequate food/shelter, and the resident wildlife make you wonder if anyone will survive, let alone commit a crime along the way. But apparently the $1.6 million prize is worth the risk in Russia. G2W has a lengthy waiting list for its thirty contestants. To them I say: I hope one of you will outwit, outplay, and ultimately outlast the others. I certainly hope it doesn’t take nine months, nor something worthy of prison time. May the odds be ever in your favor, even if I know they won’t be in Siberia.
Some content sourced from Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.