The Good

"Battle of the sexes" theme make this season a bit fresher over the rest.

The Bad

Special features that are more like recaps and poor video quality make this set a technical disappointment.

Reality television on DVD, it never made sense to me. Yes, it's great for people who like the show but miss it on television, but reality television has absolutely no re-watchabality. The fun of reality television is watching how the people interact and progress. Survivor e longest running reality series. I never caught the Survivor fever, but many Americans did. Watching people play off each other to battle for a $1 million prize was fun and entertaining. People could side with certain people they liked, and it always provided great water cooler talk the next day. However, sometimes things can get drawn out to a point where it's hard to provide new and fresh content. For instance, I absolutely loved The Apprentice when it came on, and so did almost everyone in America. However, after the second season I found it to be dull and repetitive. Even though I have not watched the previous seasons of Survivor I can safely bet that Survivor: Vanuatu is pretty much the same old thing.

In this season we have a battle of the sexes where the teams are split up by gender. You wonder why they didn't do this earlier because it seems to be the most interesting? Anyway, it was a bit interesting to see how the teams worked together. After a few people were eliminated and the teams were reshuffled it was even more interesting to see how the once separated contestants then adapted within a coed group. I guess I have to give the producers some credit for trying to breathe new life into the series, but in the end it's a similar experience. Recently Survivor separated the tribes by race, it was clearly a marketing stunt to gain back ratings. So, I don't know how much longer the series can go on, but it can't be for long. The show is still raking in considerable ratings so as long as it does CBS will keep it around. I suppose that if people are still watching that means that they are happy, and if a large amount of the demographic is happy I guess that's all that matters.

Features

Cast Commentaries:

5 select episodes have cast commentaries mainly them discussing the events that take place between the group. It's great that they have a large number of people doing the commentaries, but then again it seems unfocused.

Fire, Fire Everywhere:

The theme of "battle of the sexes" is explored and which team truly functions better as a group.

On Shaky Ground:

An earthquake hits the island so they use it as a metaphor for the shaky relations within the group.

Solitary Man:

When the teams are reshuffled and only 1 man is assigned to a group that is all female, the solitary man tries to use this situation to his advantage.

A Taste Of Home:

One of the contestant's mom comes and visits the island.

All these special features are just mere recaps and recounting of events that took place on the island and how they unfolded. I mean, if you want to hear the cast recount their experiences I suppose that's fine, but I think it's repetitive.

Video

The show is presented in its original 1.33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio. Reality shows are shot all on digital due to the fact that it's not scripted (or at least that's what they want you to think). Survivor: Vanuatu's problems mainly lie in compression issues. The picture comes out looking grainy, but since grain only refers to film this means there is some pixelation issues. I notices some artifacting here and there, nothing too bad. Colors come out sharp as expected, but due to the length of the show and the fact that it's shot digital there was bound to be some problems. Just as a comparison, shows like LOST and 24 that are shot on film don't tend to have these problems on DVD, and it's pretty universal that there are a maximum of 4 episodes per disc. LOST for instance reserves an entire disc for features. Maybe if they put all the special features on disc 4 where there was some space it would have reduced the problem.

Audio

Each episode is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. It's pretty standard for a show like this where sound is not of the utmost importance in creating the experience. It's appropriate for the content of the show.

Package

The 4 discs are housed in two clear slimline DVD cases, with two discs appointed to each case. The two cases slide into a cardboard keep-case. It's a pretty standard packaging job.

Final Word

Survivor will continue to be the one reality TV show that sparked the genre to be as popular as it is today. While it has calmed down a bit, reality television still makes up a large part of the network' line-ups. The show itself has gotten repetitive over the years, but the battle of the sexes helped make this season a tad bit fresher. Still, it's not the show that I mark my calendar for.