February 12, 2010By Joe Diliberto Posted: Feb 12, 2010
SURVIVOR, one of the two* so-called "reality shows" that I enjoy, has returned with another all-star edition, and last night's premiere of HEROES VS. VILLAINS was the best season opener in years.
It may seem strange that the series could be revitalized by looking backward, but the-powers-that-be appear to have captured lightning in a bottle with this cast by gathering well-known characters from previous seasons and grouping them (sometimes mysteriously) into "Heroes" and "Villains." The "good guys" were identified by TPTB as having played the game with sportsmanship and integrity, while the baddies were defined as playing selfishly or particularly deviously. While some Villains' credentials are obvious (Jerri, Coach), some are less-apparent (Courtney?). Even a few Heroes are judgment calls (I don't even remember Candice).
But whichever sides the contestants were placed on, they were playing for keeps! The opening reward challenge, a battle for fire that involved wrestling with opponents — was a brutal physical confrontation that left Stephenie with a dislocated shoulder, Rupert nursing a busted toe, and Sugar topless!
Both sides played their roles to the hilt: the Heroes ran an orderly, friendly camp with a solid shelter, water and even domesticated chickens, while the Villains lazed around their camp, boasting, preening and chortling over the Heroes' injuries. One very unexpected development: The possibility of a camp romance between Black Widow Jerri and Dragon Slayer Coach — complete with giggling tribemates egging them on.
SURVIVOR: HEROES VS. VILLAINS is set up to be a fantastic season. Now I just have to decide who will be my favorite...
*Oh, that other "good" unscripted series? THE AMAZING RACE, which debuts this Sunday at 8 o'clock.