But the show had one major flaw this season: too many of the early challenges favoured the athlete-packed Champions tribe, resulting in a huge imbalance coming into the merge and only one Contender in the final four. And we're not the only ones that think so.
“I think one of the faults this season - and the producers will probably hate me for saying this - was that the challenges leading up to the merge were a little too weighted to the physical side,” Jonathan LaPaglia told Binge List. Listen on iTunes http://po.st/1vN2h7 or Google Podcasts: http://po.st/yUocbZ or Spotify http://po.st/7Zn8WQ.
“They probably should have had challenges that involved a little more in terms of physical dexterity, instead of physical endurance and power, and should have leaned on the mental side of things a little more as well.”
It’s a view shared by WHO’s resident Survivor fanatic and Binge List co-host, Gavin Scott.
“Earlier in the season, when it was still the tribes, I feel like [the challenges] that saw them carrying a whole lot of packs, or jumping and diving, or throwing things and pushing each other off pontoons - there was a real imbalance,” he said.
So why didn't the producers mix it up a bit more? It’s a good question, and one that LaPaglia weighs in on.
“I think what they were aiming for was the Champions vs Contenders ‘boxing match’," he mused. “I think that is what they were trying to extract from the concept, and maybe it was a little too much in favour of the Champions?”
One thing the Binge List team was happy about was that there seemed to be less stretching and padding in the show, even though the Australian format is still extended significantly from the US version, which sees 18 or 20 contestants compete over 39 days to produce 14 episodes.
“We have stretched this considerably from the US version ... the episodes are longer, too,” LaPaglia said.
A recurring complaint with the local version is that there has been too much “filler” content in the past, with confessionals and conversations between tribe-mates repeating the same content to fill the extended episode length the Ten Network allocated to the show.
This season, the balance has been much better, according to Scott who said, “I feel like they have got the message - that we don’t need to hear the contestants say something five times to know what’s going on."
“I don’t disagree with you,” LaPaglia concurred. “I am all for making it as tight and sharp as possible. And that's a challenge - Ten want the extended format, but the challenge is to keep the pace up and keep people engaged."
For more of what LaPaglia thinks about the most recent season, listen to this week’s episode of Binge List and check out this week's issue of Who magazine.