Survivor was the show that brought on the reality craze that's taken over the networks, and this season brought some of the best players together to duke it out for a million dollars. Survivors from every season were cast in this special edition of the show, and the game they would play this time was different from every other season of Survivor. Friendships would be tested; alliances broken; and some of the players would give up and walk away. Everyone knew one another, and that made playing the game a bit more personal this time; they weren't strangers, and everyone knew how the others played the game.
If I were casting Survivor All-Stars I would have made a few different choices in who was on the show, but I found the cast, and the season, very entertaining. The Survivors are: Alicia (Outback), Amber (Outback), Colby (Outback), Ethan (Africa), Jenna L (Borneo), Jenna M (Amazon), Jerri (Outback), Kathy (Marquesas), Lex (Africa), Richard (Borneo), Rob C (Amazon), Rob M (Marquesas), Rudy (Borneo), Rupert (Pearl Islands), Shii Ann (Thailand), Sue (Borneo), Tina (Outback) and Tom (Africa). Who will be the Ultimate All-Star Survivor?
Shot with video cameras on location in the Pearl Islands, the video is somewhat varied. The conditions they had to shoot in weren't ideal, and the video is compromised a bit. There's some noise in the picture, especially during darker shots. It looks better than it did on TV. And for those of you wondering, "Is it blurred or not," it's blurred. No naked Hatch on this DVD. There aren't "play all" or scene selections on the DVDs, but the episodes do contain chapters.
It's difficult for a reality show to live up to the quality of a show that's recorded on a sound stage. The audio is captured by microphones in situations that are less than ideal. Some dialog is lost, but overall it's good. The music comes from all the speakers, but the dialog is only heard from the center speaker. There aren't any subtitles, but the episodes are closed captioned.
Bonus Footage (1:36:00)
Each disc contains a bunch of bonus footage, including never-before-seen clips from the show, and a longer Confessional than was aired.
Chapera Mock Tribal Council (4:12)
Saboga's First Night (2:12)
Confessional: Tina Wesson (2:06)
Chapera's Lost Clue (3:06)
Confessional: Rudy Boaesch (1:22)
Mogo Mogo Tribal Council (4:45)
Tree Mail Letters (5:43)
Confessional: Rob C (1:52)
Mogo Mogo: Colby and Jerri Heart to Heart (2:27)
Confessional: Richard Hatch (3:15)
Mogo Mogo's Perfect Day (4:17)
Chapera: Tom Gets Drunk on Yacht (3:32)
Confessional: Colby Donaldson (2:38)
Mogo Mogo: Ethan's Pitch (3:40)
Confessional: Ethan Zohn (3:07)
Chapera: Lex & The Girls (4:20)
Confessional: Jerri Manthey (1:57)
Mogo Mogo: Rob & Tom Go Fishing (4:22)
Confessional: Lex Van Den Berghe (3:10)
Chaboga Mogo: Buggie Nights (2:47)
Confessional: Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien (4:01)
Chabogo Mogo: Rob the Flag Painter (2:31)
Confessional: Alicia Calaway (3:15)
Chabogo Mogo: Rob's Toothache (3:23)
Confessional: Shii Ann Huang (2:35)
Chabogo Mogo: Bananas For All (3:31)
Confessional: Tom Buchanan (4:10)
Chabogo Mogo: Picture Time (3:09)
Confessional: Rupert Boneham (3:34)
Confessional: Jenna Lewis (1:01)
Behind the Dream Team (4:59)
John Kirhoffer (challenges producer) creates all the challenges for the show. His "dream team" tests the challenges for the show, and makes sure they all work.
Anthology with the All-Stars (4:03)
This is a compilation of the best moments from the first 8 seasons of Survivor. I'm sure this could have been longer.
Survivor Profiles (1:10:23)
These interviews were done before Survivor All-Stars and they're very good.
Amber (3:58), Rob M (3:59), Jenna L (3:51), Rupert (3:57), Tom (3:19), Shii Ann (3:17), Alicia (4:35), Kathy (5:19), Lex (4:12), Jerri (2:33), Ethan (4:28), Colby (4:51), Sue (3:58), Richard (3:50), Rob C (4:28), Jenna M (3:36), Rudy (2:43) and Tina (3:29). There's a "play all" feature for this section.
The Big Night (10:28)
Cast and crew prepare for the final episode of the season, and the party afterwards.
Casting the Castaways (9:12)
Lynne Spillman (casting director) explains how they cast the show. This also features interviews with Rupert, Jenna L, Rob and Amber.
Watch the promos for the first 7 seasons of Survivor.
Survivor: The Complete First Season Trailer (0:36)
A quick trailer for the first DVD set.
There are 9 commentary tracks for this set, and they're all fairly good. It's fun to hear them rip into the contestants not present in the room, and share some behind-the-scenes moments with us. I thought the first 4 tracks were the best ones because they were calm, but still had things to say. The Lex, Alicia, Kathy and Shii Ann tracks were chaotic, and Rupert, Jenna, Rob and Amber didn't talk enough. It's too bad we didn't get to hear from all the Survivors, and it would have been great to hear a Probst/Burnett track on one of the episodes.
1-4 - Rudy, Jenna M, Rob C and Tina.
11-14 - Lex, Alicia, Kathy and Shii Ann. Talk over each other WAY too much.
16-17 - Rupert, Jenna L, Rob M and Amber. They don't comment during the Q&A period of the final episode.
I've enjoyed every season of Survivor, so seeing some of the past players come back for another shot at the money was awesome. There were a number of twists in the game, and I don't think I was ever "cheering" for anyone in particular, but I was entertained the entire time.
CBS/Paramount did a nice job with the set, loading it with bonus material and commentary tracks, but there's one thing that bothers me. Where is episode 9? That's the recap episode, but it was still part of the season, and it's hard to have "The Complete Season" when there's an episode missing. Who decided it should be left out, and why? Fans are ticked, and I don't blame them, because the episode contained footage that didn't appear in any other episode, and now it's gone. The set is still worth owning, but be aware that it's not actually the complete season in the box.