The Big Adventure

The Big Adventure“Not happy Jan!” , “I’m pretty stoked!”, “Ooh shivers!”,  “I can’t blow smoke up someone’s back mate,” “See youse!” “Easy peasy Japaneasy…”

They’re a very colloquial lot in Seven’s new Reality game show, The Big Adventure.

There are 12 of them, ranging in ages from 23 – 52 and all are competing for one million dollars which, unless I am mistaken, is equal to the biggest single prize giveaway on Australian television (TEN’s Big Brother gave away $1M a decade ago along with Nine’s Millionaire twice).

“We are all so different and yet so similar,” an ominous voice-over tells us. “The one thing we have in common: we all have a dream.

“12 regular Australians are about to step away from their everyday lives.”

With their various hopes of winning the jackpot for their kids, to pay off the mortgage, to travel, to start that small business dream, to own a cafe, to help their disabled sibling, to have a dream wedding – these folk could be you, me or the bloke next door. Geddit?

Seven is always keen to reflect middle Australia when making its entertainment shows aka ‘roast chook’ telly. Whether it hits a bulls eye with My Kitchen Rules, or misfires with Bringing Sexy Back, casting is king.

We’re on a tropical island in Fiji for this Seven-devised format. What unfolds is a mix between Survivor, The Amazing Race and even Waterworld.

At the heart of this series is a large treasure grid which looks like something Sawyer might have stumbled over in the jungles of Lost.

It is divided into a 5 x 5 grid with 12 ‘golden keys’ buried in 24 of its squares (the 25th is its centre). Across the series contestants will compete Survivor-style to vie for the chance to dig for a golden key, only one of which will unlock the million dollar loot. It sounds a bit like a glorified radio competition, but in the hands of the MKR and House Rules producers, the drama will be milked and the jeopardy hopefully maximised.

Host Jason Dundas (officially the whitest teeth on TV) assumes the Jeff Probst-position of explaining the game-play and ‘calling’ the action of challenges. Dundas is friendly enough but I do miss the drama of Probst’s over-the-top gung-ho here, there’s just something about the flat Australian sound that can’t match his enthusiasm.

Our 12 are also not quite left to their own resources on a deserted beach for accommodation, either. Base camp is an inviting, rustic hideaway, albeit with some primitive cooking supplies (rice and beans). That said, it serves well as armchair escapism, especially against the inviting aqua-marine waters of Fiji. Visually, this is shot rather well, but there are far too many narration pieces to camera from contestants that interject the action. Australian reality television is really forgetting to ‘show me, don’t tell me’ these days…

The 12 contestants are an affable bunch, far removed from the best (worst?) MKR hostility. There’s already a bit of flirting in the opening episode. Whether this remains when so much money is at stake remains to be seen.

The most impressive feature of the series is the large ‘Sky Rig’ scaffolding hanging over the ocean. Looking like something Kevin Costner might have built, it serves as a gladiatorial arena for challenges. I haven’t worked out whether it’s also an economic consideration to have one centrepiece across the series rather than new ones every week. Probably.

At 90 minutes the premiere is stretching the friendship, but I’m intrigued to have a brand new format and to see where it goes. It’s good to see a network take some risks, even if it is in a saturated genre.

The Big Adventure should appeal to fans of Survivor -provided they don’t see it as a clone- and will help us all forget that debacle that was The Mole revived.

The Big Adventure premieres 6:30pm Sunday on Seven.


  1. survivorfan989

    @Nate You pretty much said everything I was going to say.

    Viewers are not stupid. We don’t need this much narration from the contestants with what is going on, its actually insulting. I couldn’t watch past 20 minutes and I was willing to give this one a go.

  2. @Nate you just reminded me of what this show reminded me of, the poorly done remake of the Mole. I loved the original series and they completely ruined it.

    @DragonLass i am finding the casting on alot of the so called reality shows lately to be rather cringe worthy. Its just so far from an accurate cross section of Australian society that its pathetic. i mean ok no one wants to watch really ugly people on tv but do they always have to cast the contestants who have perfect teeth for gods sake??

  3. I just watched my recording of this from Sunday, this is a good show! I enjoyed watching it. Reminded me of the Amazing Race challenges from season two of the Australian series (building a boat, looking at flags and arranging them, etc).

    I hope the ratings increase. And I also hope Jess gets booted off soon; she is insufferable

  4. Great new show for the beginning of summer. Kids loved it.
    Good family viewing amongst all the bollocks on other stations.
    Hats off to Channel 7 for trying something new and not reheating the same show over and over again for us in one year.

  5. I think you got this pretty right, 90 mins was pushing it but for an opening episode it wasn’t too bad. But Jason Dundas, for the love of God lay off the teeth bleach!

  6. I couldn’t sit through the whole 90 minutes of this. Far too drawn out, and the casting seems very ho-hum. Reality TV casting agents completely lack imagination. Your typical set of “beauties” (both male and female) with a few token others thrown in – a token ethnic, a mother, and a couple of older “fair dinkum” type blokes.

    The whole show reminded me of that episode of The Simpsons where they go on a reality show – the ratings start flopping so the TV Execs sit in a room and say something like “we need new ideas – quick everyone turn on your TVs and start flipping around!”.
    They’ve just taken bits and pieces from other reality shows and mashed them together.

  7. The first 10 minutes of this was so utterly insufferable it was like they wanted people to switch off.

    Almost wall-to-wall in-camera narration of a boat race, whilst showing very little of the actual boat race. Having a cavalcade of talking heads explaining that the other boat is gaining is the worst way to build tension possible. I honestly can’t believe I watched a show where instead of showing an oar breaking and letting that tell the story, they had a contestant spoonfeed viewers the news 30 seconds before the oar broke that something was about to happen that would prevent their team from winning.

    The Mole, the latest TARA and now this – 3 formats that don’t need excessive in-camera narration to work, but 7 has evidently decided that viewers are too stupid to be able to comprehend pictures without constant narration, it is insulting television.

  8. I was at a friend’s house tonight and this idiotic, mind-numbing garbage just happened to be on.

    Every frame of this drivel felt like a contrived attempt to excite the senses but my brain was quick to persuade me to change the channel due to a desperate lack of stimulation.

    I feel inspired to write a parody of these sorts of stupid programmes. Has one ever been made?

  9. I want this to succeed even if I don’t like it because the retaliation from the others will be to have another go at an Australian Survivor (which I want to be on, especially because 7 runied TARAu by airing it at a stupid time slot)

  10. What was the name of that TV show, where people were on an island and had to find clues to buried treasure? It sounds pretty similar to this show.

  11. Well, it will be repeated at least 3 times during the week and over the weekend so no big deal if something better’s on another channel at 6:30 Sundays, like Scorpion perhaps.
    TEN can’t wait more than a few days before rerunning half their schedule, like last night, and tonight. Then again, miss Scorpion Sunday and catch it again on Friday? Then again, again, (as they do), maybe TEN simply has nothing else to run.
    But why the cost of Fiji when we have equally good, or better, Qld islands?

  12. Are these shows really genuine? I’ve often wondered when someone wanders off to do something secretive in Survivor, the cameraman is always there first at the destination to film his or her arrival.
    I’ve also had doubts about the alleged prize money on offer for the winner. Methinks they are all paid a set wage, albeit a generous one, with the first eliminated receiving the same as the winner.
    Reality television? Pull the other one.

  13. ‘but there are far too many narration pieces to camera from contestants that interject the action’. This is what killed TARA this season. I don’t need pointless commentary from the contestants explaining to me what I have just seen and they always telegraph what’s going to happen. As soon as you here a contestant say something along the lines of ‘we’re no chance of winning’ you know that they are going too.

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