Happy Thanksgiving!

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 5.43.20 PMHey, guys and gals. This is Josh. I’m sorry that I didn’t get your new episode up this week. I’m even more sorry to Cody Clark and Brian Patchett for showing up to record and then failing to get the show edited in time. It is especially disappointing because Cody and I did a big Survivor recap and now we are an episode behind the show.

It was a crazy week for me, as usual, plus Thanksgiving, plus I had also committed to get the massive “Science of Star Wars” episode up by Thanksgiving for The Sci-Fi Podcast. My own interests took a backseat.

I am leaving the country in a few hours, but I will do my best to get this episode up in a timely manner. The good news is that I will be traveling with MSC co-host Aaron Thompson, so we can record our next few episodes very easily together.

Also, when we finally do get this up, it’s going to be a big one. If you haven’t seen Coherence, I’d recommend checking it out for our discussion. It’s an indie sic-fi mind-bender.

In the meantime, I’d recommend “The Science of Star Wars” ep we did over on The Sci Fi Podcast (if you are nerdy and/or science-minded and/or sci-curious), and I’d recommend everyone give a listen to our “Black Friday” episode over on Horror Movie Podcast. It’s one of my favorite podcast episodes I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of–seriously. Even if you don’t like horror, I think it’s a really fun conversation.

23 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. With how much you travel for work, you must rack up some great frequent flyer miles.

    What country are you heading to now?

    • Heading to Barbados and SVG, which sounds way more fancy than it is. We’re going to be working our butts off the entire time.

      I wish I got all the frequent yer miles, but my producers or investors or whoever often buy the tickets. I get about 1/3 of the miles I travel.

      • some airlines will assign you the flyer miles if you give them your account number when you check in.

  2. Nine seasons now completed.

    —SPOILERS FOR SURVIVOR TOCANTINS—

    – If I’m to be completely honest, I feel as if this was the easy weakest season that I’ve seen thus far. My biggest issue is that it wasn’t very eventful. The two hidden immunity idols were never used. The fake hidden immunity went unused. The very unique twist that a member on exile island could swap tribes was never done. Time after time, players went to exile island hoping for a clue to another hidden immunity idol, but instead they just continued to receive clues to idols found ages ago. There weren’t any re-drawing of tribes.

    – Not only is it not very eventful, but since it’s not really an old school season, you don’t get that heavy emphasis on the actual surviving aspect that the earlier shows feature.

    – I watched this season because David thought I would be interested in seeing Coach’s time on Survivor. Well…I hated Coach. Easily my least favorite player in the game. He’s basically another version of Phillip Sheppard from Caramoan. A very unique and wacky player that at first is kind of fun solely because of what an oddball character he is, but like with Phillip, I grew tired of his character pretty quickly. Had he only lasted as long as Sandy, he may have been tolerable.

    – Even though she didn’t give me any actual reasons to support her, Sierra was one of the ones I rooted for the most. This is all because of how poorly everyone treated her. From the very moment the game began, she was being screwed over and regardless of what she did, they refused to like her. It was pretty annoying when players criticized her for her actions when they were doing the same exact thing. If she was this really annoying person like the other players made her out to be, I wished the editors had added some scenes to showcase that.

    – My favorite players of the seasons included JT, Fishbach, and Taj. JT was obviously easy to like because dominant players are easy for me to get behind. Fishbach was pretty entertaining. Taj is a rare player in which she never came off as annoying to me.

    – Tyson may have been a prick, but he added a lot of entertainment to the series with his hilarious confessional videos. Once he was eliminated, no one stepped up to fill that void. If anything, it made dealing with Coach all the worse since I didn’t have that one player I could count on to make me laugh.

    – The visit from the loved ones is another case of the season being uneventful. Typically, one player is faced with a pretty tough choice of seeing their loved one while the others can’t or deciding which other players gets to spend time with their loved ones. Here, Taj is faced with the super hard choice of bringing her husband back to camp while no one else gets to visit with their loved ones or go to exile island, easily the most beautiful location on the season, alone with her husband for some alone time while everyone else gets a visit from their loved one at camp. Wow…tough choice. >_> It was maybe the easiest decision in Survivor history.

    Overall, I still enjoyed myself while watching this season, despite all of the negative things I have to say. So chances are, Josh is right about me enjoying every season. That being said, I doubt there’s going to be many seasons that I will rank lower than this one.

    • Sal, I’m sorry to hear that Tocantins was your worst season so far. I quite like it but it’s definitely not up there with the best of them. The main reason I recommended that you check this one out was so you had a launch pad for Heroes Vs Villains and South Pacific. I’m not surprised you found Coach annoying in this season, I did too; he’s obnoxious and frustrating but now you get to see his gradual, tumultuous and oft-times hilarious metamorphosis into a more likeable and more self aware guy in those follow up seasons. Plus you get to see him go up against your favourite, Russell Hantz, in Heroes Vs Villains! As well as J.T making a return that kind of proves how important Stephen actually was to his game in Tocantins and Tyson coming back to dole out more hilariously barbed confessionals!

      • If I end up loving Coach at the end of the third season, that would be the biggest transformation in Survivor history. A part of me is curious to hear what the SURVIVOR GOD himself, Russell Hantz, would have to say about a moron like Coach.

        For now, I started Survivor 8: All Stars. Pretty surprised with how many players I’m aware of despite only watching a single season (Which brought one just one player) since I began this giant watching spree. I’d say I knew of a good 50% of the players.

        Any idea what seasons Ozzy played in? In Amazon’s description for South Pacific’s first episode, they make special note to say Coach and Ozzy would both be back for one last time. So I assume Ozzy is one of the more memorable players along with the likes of Coach, the SURVIVOR GOD, Boston Rob (Whom I’m liking thus far in All Stars), ect.

        One thing I’ve learned about Survivor is your success level on your first season doesn’t automatically mean you will have that sort of success in your next one. So I can see JT not having as much success in future seasons because no one wants a player to win twice and everyone knows his game.

        • 1st, Boston Rob is the only true god of Survivor.

          Ozzy is on Cook Islands, season 13. Cook Islands is the “race war” season and it’s a season that we all really liked (I had it 8th, Cody had it 2nd, and David had it 3rd). For me, Ozzy is rootable by the end of Cook Islands, but in the beginning of Cook and all of the other seasons I see him as a character you love to hate. He is popular bc he is one of the all-time greatest challenge performers and he’s great at living off the land. Also in Cook you get the first appearance of Penner (who I love) and two other significant returnees (who are kind of insignificant here). You also have Yul and Cao Boi who I love. The first third of Cook sucks, in my opinion (which is why it is further down on my list) but it gets really good. Ozzy also comes back on Micronesia “Fans vs Favorites 1” which is a beloved season that none of us much care for.

          • I never saw Russell “The REAL Survivor God” crying over some other player just because she ended up having to switch tribes. He’s a real man!

            (Eleven episodes into All Stars and Boston Rob crying over the loss of Amber has been the only time I’ve disliked him. Otherwise, I dig the dude)

          • Rob is AMAZING! He turns the crying into a strategic move and it is also sincere … the crying pays off in the end.

            And don’t you worry. Russell cries during Survivor as well and not over true love. Just stick with it.

            I hope you end up enjoying it. Cody, inexplicably, has Alll-Stars all the way down at 24th, but All-Stars is my number 2, Rachel’s number 1 AND and David’s number 1.

            • Based on what I’ve heard about how Brandon’s father and Russell treated Brandon after Survivor, I imagine Russell cried at how honest of a game his nephew played. Ha

        • If anything, a really strong first game means that you’re targeted early on your second game. It’s one of the things that makes people love/hate All-star seasons. All of their favorite players go out early BUT new favorite players emerge.

      • Tyson is at his best BY FAR in Blood vs Water.

        I too love Coach, but it is not because he is great. It is because he’s not great. He’s just so human and so flawed yet holds himself up to such high standards. I love to watch that guy.

        I’m not surprised you didn’t like the season. I have it pretty far down myself. Still a hell of a lot better than Gabon, but whatever.

        I mostly like David’s rankings, but I think he has Tocantins too high and Heroes Vs Villains, Worlds Apart and Philippines too low. We’ll have to really discuss this stuff if/when you guys complete all of the seasons.

        SPOILERS THROUGH EP 10 OF SURVIVOR: CAMBODIA

        BTW, just looking over my season rankings and I think Cambodia is going to come in REALLY high. My favorite possible winner is out now, so I don’t see it climbing above 4, but I think it will make it onto the Top 9 easy if the rest of the season maintains this level and doesn’t suddenly suck.

    • Cody’s rating of “All-Stars” is entirely explicable. Because “All-Stars” is boring. Full props to Rob, of course, for clowning everyone he beat. (As I’ve said elsewhere, this season, not “Redemption Island,” is Rob’s masterpiece.) This is the textbook example, for me, however, of the curse of the dull first half. It’s takes a lot to bore me with the first half of your “Survivor” season, because I’m the (at least somewhat) rare fan who doesn’t mind trying to keep track of the huge early-season cast and getting at least a little invested in who everyone is, and what they’re trying to do. It’s usually pretty easy to spot the ballers, and there’s excitement for me in seeing which of them manage to survive until the merge. First halves of seasons tend to be a lot more random and free-flowing than second halves.

      With “All-Stars,” however, it feel like everyone is already locked into their ” ‘Survivor’ persona,” and nobody really does anything unexpected or evolutionary. I think one reason Rob did so well here is that most of the other players didn’t seem to really try anything different. Rupert distinguished himself in that regard by making a strong alliance fairly early on and sticking to it, showing that he’d at least thought about what he did poorly the first time around. There was a quit in the first three episodes, and the first seven or eight vote-offs felt perfunctory. It doesn’t really feel like things get rolling until Rob turns on Lex. (The signature pre-merge moment is entirely inconsequential to gameplay: Hatch vs. shark. It’s “just” a primordially awesome display of keeping one’s cool.)

      The second half of the season is fine, though still a little lackluster for me in the manner of many early seasons. Also, the wrong person won. (Boo!) Although you can’t even really get all that up in arms about it, because he married his way to the million anyway. And there were signs of that soon enough that most of us (I think) watching at the time realized that even if Rob lost, he would still win.

      I like “Tocantins” because the location is unique and interesting, there are a lot of memorable players, and the underdogs figure out a way to beat the tribe with the big numbers advantage (6-3 after Joe D. gets medivacked) at the merge. Any season of “Survivor” where the tribe that is down in the numbers at the merge turns the tables is going to get points from me.

      Also, to the surprise of probably no one at all, I’m with Sal, here. Rob is a “Survivor” god, fine. But so is Russell. Hantz power!

      Coach is fun in “Tocantins,” dull in “Hvs.V” (although he does blossom at Ponderosa), and then really comes into his own on “South Pacific.” But you can’t get to “South Pacific” Coach without enjoying “Tocantins” Coach for who he is and tolerating “Hvs.V” Coach.

  3. Josh, what’s your re-watching like for the past seasons? You’ve been watching Survivor for…five-ish (?) years? How many re-watchings does that mean for your favorite seasons of Heroes vs Villains, All Stars, ect?

    I do imagine opinions over the various seasons could change based on additional viewings where the twists are no longer surprising.

    Any seasons fell down in the rankings with additional viewings?

    Any seasons became more enjoyable the more you watched them?

    • There is a huge difference between my first and 2nd watch. My first watch I’m talking to the players, sometimes telling at them over idiotic moves, covering my face in terror, making bets about who is going home, second-guessing the editing. I’ve actually jumped up off my couch and cheered a couple of times, fist pumping in the air.

      I most enjoy re-watching a season if I’m watching it along with a first time viewer bc the element of surprise is gone and so it’s fun for me to watch their surprise. For that reason, I’ve seen Palau, Heroes v Villiains, All Stars and Cook Islands all more than four times bc they are the seasons I often start people out on. I’ve seen some of the “classic” seasons like Pearl Islands three times.

      On my own, I mainly like to rewatch to figure out strategic moves or occasionally an awesome character or challenge moment–but strategy über alles.

      Most seasons I have seen at least twice. Gabon I have never rewatched more than part of an episode for a reference. Same with Nicaragua and Australia, though I’ve seen most of those eps a second time. Tried to watch Thailand and Tocantins a second time and couldn’t. Fiji was worse on a second time. Panama and Guatemala were both far better the second time, surprisingly.

      • I’ve also listened to hundreds of hours of recap and strategy podcasts, covering every season, as well as player interviews, both exit and long-form. And I’ve watched all of the Ponderosa videos and many “secret” scenes.

  4. Well, yesterday is the most Survivor I’ve ever watched in a 24 hour period. I’d rather not admit how many episodes I watched. Ha. Plenty of binge watching was had for that Sunday.

    —SPOILERS FOR SURVIVOR ALL STARS—

    – So, Boston Rob. The reason why I watched this season. I liked him. He was willing to be ruthless, which based on my appreciation for Russell H is something I love in players. However, like Malcolm, Rob was a beast at challenges. I think he was treated pretty poorly by a lot of people at the very end and he was robbed from what should have been an easy victory over Boston Amber.

    – I wish we would have had more time to reference the friendships that some of the players had prior to returning to Survivor. It would have made the issues between Lex and Boston Rob more interesting had I known how close they were. At the time of the favor being asked, I figured it was basically the first time Boston Rob had ever said a word to Lex.

    – At various points, the show felt different from the other seasons that I’ve seen. The episode that stands out the most is the one in which Sue left. You had this large chunk of the episode left without anything really to do. I won’t say all of these “Differences” made for a better season, but I did appreciate having the episode format being shake up some.

    – Rupert was far more likable in this episode. For Pearl Islands, I loved Rupert except for whenever he acted like a big baby. Here, we never really saw Rupert act that way so it was always likable Rupert.

    – I can’t say I’m pleased with who won. To me, Amber just road Boston Rob’s coattails. What did she actually do on her own? I don’t know. As we were getting close to the end of the season, I was hoping she would do something big to be more deserving. In an ideal situation, she would have screwed over Boston Rob and got him voted off of the island when it was down to the final three or four.

    – I’m shocked that they never brought up Hatch’s incident with Sue during the reunion show. In my eyes, it was a low moment in Survivor history, although, and I think this is fairly important, I don’t think Hatch realized what a stupid thing it was to do. Hatch seems like a pretty open and fun loving guy that may not have very good social awareness that not everyone else is like him.

    – Speaking of Hatch, in the first episode, I hated him. Yet, after that first episode, I began to like his character because of how matter of fact and knowledgeable he was. He knew what was important to win the game.

    – Since it was a chief complaint that I had with Tocantins, I’m glad they shook things up at various points with dissolving a tribe, re-picking of tribes, and the challenge for immunity and reward. For an early season, there’s not a lot that they could do, but they did what they could.

    – I honestly don’t understand why so many players just allowed Boston Rob and Amber to survive time after time. It’s Survivor 101 that you shouldn’t let tight two player alliances survive. Forget about game play, strategy, or challenges, a big part of why Boston Rob and Amber made it to the finals is because those morons never tried stopping them.

    – After all this time, I think I’m finally at a point where I’m okay with Rupert’s bonehead move in the first episode of Blood vs Water. I’ve now seen him in two seasons where he lasted a fairly long time, while knowing he’s in at least one more season between All Stars and Blood vs Water, for an unknown amount of time. So I get it. Let your wife have an experience for a change. It’s not about the money anymore.

    Overall, I enjoyed the season. I won’t say it’s one of my favorites, but it’s certainly better than the seasons at the bottom of my list. I prefer the newer seasons when the hidden immunity can bring a lot of insanity to the game. Likewise, being unhappy with the winner is a strike against the season. If the goal was to get me to like Boston Rob and want to see more of him? This season was a success though.

  5. Josh (like Jason) works so hard on this stuff, and does such a brilliant job of it, that only a real jackhammer would get mad at him for an episode not getting posted. No need to apologize, my friend. Please enjoy any and all moments of respite from being worked like a dog in Barbados and SVG, and don’t feel any pressure from me (or anyone else) to post the episode when you should be strolling on the beach. :-) I’ll just be over here rethinking all of the life choices I’ve made such that the only business trip I’ve taken in the last 10 years was to New Jersey.

  6. Fourteen minutes into the first episode of Cook Islands and I’ve just witnessed the worst opening minutes mistake that I’ve ever seen in a season of Survivor.

    It’s always nice seeing a season that stand out as being historic, particularly in the opening minutes. Ha

  7. Finished up my 11th season of Survivor.

    —Spoilers for Survivor Cook Islands—

    – Right away, the biggest positive is that it might be my new favorite season. If it isn’t, it’s at least really high. It kept being exciting for me from the beginning until the end.

    – Love Ozzy. He’s now right up there with Malcolm and Russell Hantz as my favorite Survivor players.

    – While I found the initial premise of tribes decided by race to be interesting, I do think that they did away with those tribes too quickly. Was there really any reason to get rid of the initial tribes after just two tribal councils? Obviously, with only five members per tribe, you couldn’t keep it going for long, but they could have had it go on for another tribal council or two.

    – I felt really bad for Billy. I haven’t watched the reunion yet, but his tribe screwed him over in an act that ultimately didn’t need to happen due to new tribes happening after that, but all of the TV time devoted to his feelings for Candice. If he legitimately thought there was love there, devoting that amount of TV time on it felt like bullying to me.

    – For most of the season, Penner was my second favorite player. The only time this changed was immediately after the mutiny when he became Satan #2 to me. (Candice was Satan #1) Penner did end up winning me over again after a few episodes though. Once the season was over, I couldn’t decide if Penner was a good or bad player. On one hand, he clearly was trying to play the game, on the other, he made some terrible moves to ensure that no one would vote for him in the final tribal council. While it seemed as if Survivor was trying to edit him into appearing as a villain, it didn’t seem that way to me. He just made an awful choice to trust in his “Alliance” with Candice than she did. From there, he was smart enough to know he needed to jump ship if he wanted to avoid being eliminated due to Yul’s hidden immunity.

    – The hidden immunity was interesting this season. I dislike the fact that it could only be used AFTER the results of the vote were revealed, but I love that the Survivor producers recognized the potential of the hidden immunity, but that it would be a far more interesting tool if you had to use it before the reveal. It’s the whole appreciation for recognizing an error and actually correcting it. With that being said, Yul’s use of it to take control of the game made the hidden immunity far more interesting than had it been had it remained a mystery. Normally I hate when hidden immunities aren’t used, but you could say Yul found an alternate means for using the immunity.

    – Speaking of Yul, it’s difficult to dislike the guy. He seems like a legit good guy and far smarter than anyone else in the game. Normally I’m disappointed in seasons where my favorite doesn’t win, but I can’t dispute that Yul was deserving of a win. The only way this season could have been ruined was if Becky* had someone won.

    * Becky was a sweetheart, but there was zero reason to vote for her over Ozzy or Yul.

    – Cao Boi was a real character. He’s the sort of character you hope is in another season just because he’d really stand out.

    – Least favorite player this season was Parvarti. I found her annoying and her attempts at flirting to be more funny than anything else. The fact that she made it so far surprised me.

    – I was expecting some sort of Soap Opera-like twist with Candice finding out that Adam and Parvarti were hooking up behind her back. Ha

    – Loved the competition in the final five with the large spider and the eight separate route tasks that the players had to cross to get their bag. I want to see more of that with everyone having to do different tasks.

    – I hate to keep criticizing TOCANTINS, but part of what made this season so interesting is that things actually happened. New tribes, a mutiny (I would love to see this done in other seasons), surprise double elimination, a twist of the first every three player finale, ect.

    – I had one of the more unique experiences with Amazon Video during this season. In the middle of the season finale, the screen went dark and the little video in the corner popped up to let you know how long it was until the next episode would automatically play. Typically, this happens in the final 50 seconds during the previews of the next episode and the voted off player gets to do their final video. Here, this happened when the episode still had fifty-five minutes to go. Ha

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