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REVIEW: Australian Survivor

ReviewSteve Molk

The first challenge begins
Image - Ten

Network Ten are leaning heavily on their new series Australian Survivor with good reason - it's cost them an absolute packet.

There's every element of the Survivor franchise right there on the screen: remote tropical location, a variety of bodies in ever-dirtying clothes, a buff host and more helicopter and drone shots than you can poke a sharpened stick at.

It looks lush and the attention to detail is what will draw every Survivor fan in - and Ten needed to be this precise. With its US parent (the longest running reality show to date) soon to deliver its THIRTY THIRD season even the casual viewer knows how Survivor should look, sound and feel.

The success of any Survivor season comes down ultimately to casting, and while it's certainly very, very white, the broad mix of ages and backgrounds is enough to cause tension from the first moments as contestants size each other up and work their strategies whilst attempting to form precious alliances within their respective tribes.

Host Jonathan LaPaglia has come straight from Jeff Probst central casting, so much so if he lost the beard it'd be hard to tell them apart at times. LaPaglia has the cadence down for all the big lines ("This... is Australian Survivor") and appears to follow all the rules when it comes to interacting with the cast (get to know them when the first arrive, not knowing their names; be direct, almost brusque when setting out the rules for challenges; speak softer at Tribal Council to encourage everyone to speak their mind while still remaining the alpha male; etc). He does enjoy slapping one hand in the other to emphasize points and while that becomes annoyingly noticeable it's a nit-picky criticism at best.

Ultimately it's about the interpersonal relationships. Who will outwit, outplay and outlast the other 23 contestants to be Ten's first Australian Survivor? Like me I think you'll have your top 3 picked out very early on.

Ten's version of Survivor is certainly very slick, super sunny and reasonably sexy. It's got all the makings of a cracking reality franchise for the network and quickly washes away the stench of Seven & Nine's past failures with the franchise. They've promoted the hell out of it and with good reason - it's up against some tough competition - but Australian Survivor will stand head and shoulders above the pack as the show to watch.

Australian Survivor premieres Sunday 21 August 7:30pm and continues Monday 22 August 7:30pm on Ten.