OPINION: Was Survival Of The Fittest a disaster?

OPINION: Was Survival Of The Fittest a disaster?

Survival Of The Fittest drew in more viewers than Love Island. Now there’s an opening line to get your chins wagging. Unfortunately, though, it’s only partially true.

Still. Partially true? How is that even possible?

When the brand new ITV2 series launched on February 11, it was met with glowing optimism.

Winter is coming, the U.K called out. Please TV, please give us an excuse to never leave the curled-up comfort of our sofas. Show us sunshine, give us warmth, let there be light at the end of gloomy February through televised tools making a mockery of themselves.

Then episode one came to a close. What the f*ck did we just watch.

The first episode of SOTF drew a decent crowd of 664,000, a fair amount more than the figures behind Love Island’s relaunch back in 2015. However, within a few days, and the ratings for Survival Of The Fittest had fallen by nearly 50%.

Even the grand finale, that finished a few days ago, failed to match the digits from Survival Of The Fittest’s opening day success. First impressions count, and we thought SOTF sucked.

There are many downfalls and flaws to the series, most notably a lack of direction. Was the objective of the series dating? Was it about physical challenges? Or was it supposed to be a fun game show? It’s all over now, yet we’re still unsure whether Survival Of The Fittest slots into the same box as Takeshi’s Castle or Big Brother.

The confusion of characters popping in and out of the ‘The Lodge’ did nothing but dilute content. Love Island’s success was built on a huge billing of cast members, 32 in total, but the same formula crumbled to pieces in South Africa.

SOTF boasted 12 fewer contestants than Love Island, yet, somehow, across three weeks of supposed character exploration and audiences failed to connect with the guys and girls on their screens.

The Survival Of The Fittest producers attempted to balance an emphasis on physical challenges with a wealth models, believing that the aesthetic beauty of them running around in tiny outfits would prove enough. It didn’t.

Excitement for new contestants wore thin within two episodes and the process soon became a chore for viewers attempting to keep up. The shudder and swing of the footbridge as a new contestant made their entrance only ever meant one thing, another fitness model.

The friendship between Mariam Musa and winner Mettisse Campbell was a highlight, the stupidity of David Lundy another, while Jenny West was actually likeable by the end. Yet, the generic game show restrictions placing boys against girls and using nothing but physical challenges as gauges for success meant that SOTF reflected a tiresomely stereotypical and outdated reality TV show.

There’s no doubt that the head-honchos at ITV2 will kick-back with their spreadsheets, sweating themselves into a pickle as to whether they should relaunch Survival Of The Fittest next year. It fell behind E4 dating series Celebs Go Dating, which also aired nightly at 9 pm, but proved that no matter how bad and budget a reality TV series is, it still has the power to draw a reasonable crowd.

Despite enjoying a modest 10% of the 18-hour Survival Of The Fittest footage I watched, I believe that Survival Of The Fittest is worth a reboot. With tweaks to the challenges, a more organised system for voting and a lucky casting of superstars, the series could bite back with vengeance over the next few years.

Nobody saw Love Island 2017 barging into the mixer as one of the most-watched TV series in U.K history, so what’s stopping SOTF . . .

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