What a fantastic season. A glorious shot in the arm to the franchise that's a great introduction for newer fans of the show. It's got great old school elements but feels very fresh right out of the gate. Tons of great characters and memorable moments and is rarely predictable. Very easy to watch and re-watch.
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This season was the first one we had tuned in to, and it won us over.
We stayed largely because of Rupert and Sandra, based on their attitudes in the first episode. Rupert's love for life, and Sandra's respect for the islanders they meet in the market, and skills in dealing with them, won us over.
OK, I'll admit there was also some appeal to seeing just how bad "Johnny Rotten" could be, some amazement at the contrast of resources and attitudes between the two tribes, and the twist with the "Outcasts" was very well done (and unexpected), but none of those elements alone (or even all of them together) would have kept us watching for the entire season had it not been for Rupert and Sandra.
We were very disappointed at the DVD options. Hving a 'play all' option is almost a required feature these days and not having one detracted fro the value of the DVD. In addition, not being able to select subtitles (some of the interactions are a bit hard to follow) was a negative aspect.
As a final note, we just could not believe Osten's decision in the first episode with respect to his clothing, were astonished at how Lill's behaviour following the Outcast episode was in such contrast to her oft-stated values, and were not impressed at all with Osten's attitude - did he just not know what he was getting into?
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
39 Days, 16 People and one (not) dead grandmotherMarch 14 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
From the shocking beginning to the surprising penultimate tribal council decision, Survivor Pearl Islands was filled with twists and turns as well as memorable players, all of which helped to make it one of the best seasons of the venerable king of reality shows.
Pearl Islands, the seventh season of Survivor, featured some amazing twists, possibly the physically strongest and most popular Survivor of all time, a well-documented twist that most contestants (and many fans) despised, a Survivor opting out, a surprising final two and one of the biggest villains in the history of the game.
Welcome to Survivor the way it should be.
This season got off to a great start, with tribes being thrown overboard with nothing but the clothes on their back. Andrew Savage and Shawn Cohen were wearing suits. Nicole, Christa and Tijuana were wearing nice dresses. Lillian was wearing a Boy Scout uniform. Whatever these people were wearing when their boat anchored off the shore of a Panamanian fishing village is what they had to wear for the rest of their time on the island.
Then, they were told there was nothing at their camp and were given money to barter with and purchase stuff in the village they were anchored off of. From the very beginning, the Drake Tribe worked together, using Sandra's fluent Spanish to get great deals, while the Morgan Tribe split up and ended up with very little and money left over. Of course the Drake Tribe was helped by "Blackbeard" Rupert Boneham looting the unattended shoes of the Morgan Tribe and then using them to trade for goods.
That looting was the first introduction of Rupert, the troubled teens mentor from Indianapolis and from that moment, he became a fan favorite. His incredible strength won his tribe many a reward or immunity, while he also used his knowledge of the outdoors to constantly supply his tribe with food. His attitude and personality made him, quite possibly the most popular Survivor ever and his strength showed that he is up there as one of the toughest competitors of all time.
However, Rupert didn't play a strong mental game and that was obvious. He trusted the wrong people at the wrong time and got voted out much earlier than anyone expected. His All-Star appearance seemed to be a much better mental game for Rupert and it was there that he finally got his million dollars.
At the other end of the spectrum was John "Johnny Fairplay" Dalton, the art consultant and WWE wannabe from Virginia. If the fans loved Rupert, they hated John. He lied, backstabbed and manipulated his way to the final three. In all fairness, he never denied that that was what he was going to do.
But John became the biggest villain in Survivor history (Except for maybe Richard Hatch) when, during the family challenge, he concocted a lie with his best friend, convincing his fellow castaways and host Jeff Probst, that his grandmother had died. The rest of the Survivors let him win the challenge and he used the momentum to get further in the game. While the castaways didn't know he was lying, the fans did and that turned John into a very memorable Survivor character.
Additionally, Pearl Islands featured a twist that seemed to piss off most of the Survivors and many of the fans. I must say I didn't watch this season in first run, but I remember there being a lot of outcry against this twist. The two tribes were greeted by the six former members who had been voted out and when the Outcasts won a challenge, they got to elect two new members back into the game. Lillian and Burton, originally voted out of Morgan and Drake respectively, went back into the game with their original tribes and eventually made it to second and fifth place respectively.
This twist was certainly a new one and without it, the Pearl Islands season would have been much different, but I can't imagine anyone voting for an Outcast at final tribal council. It just wouldn't have been right.
Which, is what makes Lillian's decision to take Sandra Diaz-Twine, the outspoken mom from Washington State, with her to the final two. Lill had the choice of John or Sandra. Had she taken John, the player everyone basically despised, she would've won a million dollars. But she went with her heart, feeling Sandra was more deserving of the money, and in the end, Sandra got it.
Sandra was not the typical Survivor winner. She flew under the radar, riding her alliance with Christa and Rupert as long as it took her. But she was always quick to turn the attention away from her and onto someone else, keeping herself from ever receiving one vote against her at Tribal Council. She was sneaky, spying on tribe mates when she felt she was being double-crossed, and she did have a few yelling bouts on the island, but basically, she kept a low profile and in the end, she didn't piss off a lot of people and her counterparts gave her the big check.
Osten, the physically huge guy from Boston, opted to take himself out of the game when he felt his health was at risk and he would be a liability to his tribe, not a help. He was the first player in the history of the game to lay down his torch and actually seemed to start a trend, as two players quit during All-Stars, the next season and another quit down the road in Pulau.
This season's characters were memorable. In addition to Rupert, John, Osten, Lill and Sandra, there were some great castaways. As mentioned, Burton Roberts, voted back into the game, was a very strong player. He controlled the game after the merge, playing the good cop bad cop routine with John and getting to the final five. Beautiful mortician Darrah Johnson won three immunity challenges in a row in the final few days, giving herself a spot in the final four and joining with the women to vote out Burton. Andrew Savage stepped into a leadership role at Morgan and helped bring them to the merge with even numbers, a big accomplishment after losing constantly for the first few days on the island. Who can forget the site of Christa Hastie, the tall blond from California, crying after being accused of dumping the fish to sabotage the tribe? (Something she didn't do by the way).
As extras, this set has six commentaries, three from Rupert, Sandra and Christa and three from John, Burton, Andrew and Ryan Opray. These are very interesting and insightful into what was really going on in the game. As with other Survivor sets, these commentaries are what helps to make the set sell when you already know who wins. Additionally, there were pre-island interviews with all the castaways, as well as a feature on the season, from conception to completion.
All told, this set is worth it's weight in pirate's gold. A very solid season and a very solid release.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN: GREAT SEASON OVERALL!Feb. 26 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I didn't think the show would hold up well to repeat viewing but it does. Surprisingly it's better when you can watch the episodes back to back without the week delay. Like "24" this show is tailor made for dvd.
Although Australia Outback is probably my favorite season overall this one is very good. You had an interesting mix of personalities. Obviously Rupert was the most popular and he was very enjoyable to watch but I'm one of the few who also liked Johnny "Fairplay". Sure he was a snake but he never pretended to be anything else. He really knew who to manipulate people and move himself along each week. His strategy to save Burton was brilliant.
As for Lilly well her constant whining/crying really grated on my nerves after a while and that darn boyscout uniform seemed out of place for some reason.
The "outcast twist" was a great idea too and completely changed the dynamics of the game. It pretty much sealed the Morgan tribes fate once the merge took place.
*SPOILER ALERT" as for the eventual winner Sandra well she played the game well enough to get her to the final three. Even though she didn't win any challenges she stuck with her alliance with Christa and Rupert as long as she could then sided with others to move her along and letting poor Christa take the blame for the whole "who threw out the fish?" incident was priceless. In retrospect she didn't ruffle any feathers too much and let people Like Fairplay and Burton do most of the dirty work. Her luckiest break was Lilly taking her to the final two and the rest as they say is Survivor history.
In closing I think the shows shot by the water make for more compelling television because the challenges are generally more difficult and the scenery is breathtaking. As someone who's visited the ocean there's nothing more beautiful in the world imo.
PS: The Tribe has Spoken. Season 7 Pearl Islands is a winner on dvd!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Honestly, I was too busy ogling Burton doing his thing in the Pearl Islands ;) Good heavens, that man is an Adonis!
But I have to agree, this was one of the most entertaining Survivor seasons: among others, you had Blackbeard in a tie dyed shirt (and later, a skirt) who stole shoes... a Cub Scout from the 666th level of Hell...a 250 lbs., hugely muscle-bound crybaby who was afraid of pelicans, crabs, palm fronds and WATER... and a despicably brilliant wrestler wannabe with a not-quite-dead-yet grandma.
And, of course, the Outcast twist, which drove Survivor purists in the internet forums crazy for weeks. All in all, a great season, and a worthy addition to your DVD library :)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Survivor - Still StrongFeb. 22 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I loved this season - Rupert was great, and I loved to "hate" Jon. I thought Sandra played an excellent game as well. This season contained some Survivor twists that were new and unexpected. I believe that Lil was blamed just a bit too much, and the ones that pointed the finger at her are the SAME ONES that attempted to vote her out, so who stabbed who in the back????
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
BEST SEASON OF SURVIVOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!May 21 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Okay, so I'm kind of biased because this is the first one I ever saw. BUT, I've yet to see one that's better than this. This one has all the elements that make "Survivor": Great characters; an exotic location; alliances; deceit; incredible challenges; amazing rewards; the coolest Immunity Idol ever and a huge big fat load of STRATEGY!!!!!!!! I mean it: If you're in any way someone who enjoys watching the social politics of the game, BUY IT RIGHT NOW!
This season contains one of the most adept and consummate strategists ever to play the game: The infamous "Johnny Fairplay". He glides through the game, effortlessly deceiving his tribemates, and pulls off one of the most audacious deceptions of reality televison. The best Survivor "villain" since "The Outback's" Jerri Manthey.
Of course, to balance Jon's "villainy", we also have Survivor's most loved contestant of all time: Rupert Boneham. It's not hard to see why the shoe-stealing, skirt-wearing, Grisly Adams-esque, affable pirate is so likable. Although many have argued that this season was dedicated to Rupert, there's no doubt that he was a huge factor in this seventh season's success. But that, of course, is only two of many greats. The determined Burton Roberts, the elegant Tijuana Bradley, the beautiful Darrah Johnson, and the opinionated Sandra Diaz-Twine also added their own personalities and influences to the game.
Producer Mark Burnett alters his proven formula for this season, with some controversial results. The decision to shipwreck the castaways with nothing but the clothes on their backs was inspiring, and the scenes following the premiere's opening titles showing the survivors bartering and bargaining at the Panamanian village are great.
The "Outcast" twist, of course, remains the most shocking of all Burnett's inventions. The return of the first six ousted survivors to form a third tribe wouldn't have had such an impact if they had not won that fateful challenge and secured the right to reinstate two of their numbers as castaways once more. Panama itself is one of the most beautiful locations of all the seasons (with the producers having returned there for Survivor: 8 and 12) and the camera work does the stunning vistas and crystal beaches justice in every sense.
As for the box set, a lot of people complained that it didn't comply with the larger one-disk-per-box sets of Borneo, Austrailia and All-Stars. YAWN! WHO CARES?!?!?! This one's good enough. It contains the entire season, as well as several audio commentary features with Rupert, Sandra and Christa (Episodes 1 and 10), and "Fairplay", Burton, Ryan O. and Andrew (Episodes 7, 8 and 11). The first Rupert/Sandra/Christa combination is probably the best of all. The arrogant Fairplay refuses to comment on Episode 8, purely because he himself is not featured prominently in that particular one. JERK! They're all really insightful, though.
The aptly-named "Pirate's Tale" Documentary is really good, with all of the "audio" participants named above giving interviews about many of the memorable events of the show. It also includes a few words from producer Burnett and host Jeff Probst. The "strategy" featurette is the only 'let-down' of the entire box set. It's pretty much made up of short, pre-game interviews mixed with clips of each survivor in Panama. Not that great (Watch out for Christa's "super" self-exagerations).
As a whole, "Survivor: Pearl Islands" lives up to everything that should be expected from an unforgetable season of the best show on television! From the thrilling marooning off the Panamanian coast, to the final tribal council and the penultimate vote, Pearl Islands delivers the BEST SEASON OF SURVIVOR EVER!!!