Big Brother

With his HAL-like 2001 voice Big Brother is a pretty demanding bloke.

“I’m residing in here, you’re out there, so this is my house now,” laughs new housemate Angela.

“This is my house Angela,” BB insists. “My house.”

If he had an Orwellian 1984 foot, he was firmly putting it down. “MY. House.”

Seven is also demanding viewers put aside their expectations of Big Brother of old, and welcome the new. Almost everything is revamped: the house, the voice, the nominations process and most especially the format and the pre-produced model. All purists to the Diary Room.

It’s a pimped, neon house near Manly, complete with living green walls, sustainable timber and toilets flushing with rainwater. Who knew? Sonia Kruger, who hosted three seasons on Nine, becomes the link to the past, greeting housemates in a warm, if low key arrival at the front door.

First to arrive is 21 year old Kieran, who describes himself as “Adelaide’s worst driver.” No sooner is he in the house than he is given a secret mission to high-5, nickname and “massage” each housemate upon arrival. If he fails there will be no bedroom access on Night 1. While this deal is being negotiated, cameras are already onto the next arrival: woodwork teacher Zoe. With dual information now hitting the viewers’ eyes and ears at the same time, it’s pretty clear: this will be a fast and furious BB. Strap in.

10 more housemates come thick and fast: Footballer Daniel, Ian in a Hawaiian shirt, Allan with the tiger parents, Mat from Broken Hill, Marissa the former aerobics queen. I can’t keep up. I’d forgotten BB was always a challenge for viewers and editors alike.

A handful get extra screen time… Kieran with his challenge, Angela with her early demands, Daniel with his snoring, Allan with his competitiveness, Talia with a hint of unresolved sexual tension… producers are playing the long game as they steer storylines.

First impressions are important in BB as they are in life. The sheer numbers mean some are initially under the radar, and there is minimal exchange on social issues for now. All roads lead to the challenge, a mighty physical tournament involving huge swings in the basement. This is no mere challenge to stay awake all night, or to remain chained to your housemate. This is a power play in which the winner will get to choose the 3 housemates up for nomination. It will upend the social hierarchy and become a double-edged sword for the winner.

BB  even narrates the challenge like Jeff Probst, accompanied by a tense reality soundtrack. After 3 are shortlisted for Eviction we follow with an extended scrambling as housemates negotiate alliances and threats. A nominations ceremony, conducted by Sonia Kruger via monitor, is also the Tribal-you-have-when-you’re-not-having-Tribal.

As one housemate asks, “Can we just keep all three? I’ve just learned everybody’s name.” Sorry, this is BB not a Kumbaya choir.

Narratively, the editing also leans upon Survivor, by favouring one worried housemate only to surprise the audience with another evicted. Expect this blindside with some regularity? However I really have no idea who voted for who, nor why they made their choices. It’s important to know their true emotions as revealed by votes. Like it or not, the gameplay overwhelms the social aspect, despite the extra airtime.

I also have concerns several non-Anglo housemates are presented as either unlikeable or as villains early on. Hopefully this will shift as the series progresses. That said, Angela is a producer’s dream with her demands…

BB purists will be challenged by the shift in the story balance, while Seven may have its work cut out to win over an older audience more attuned to cooking, renovating and talent auditions.

If you’re missing SurvivorBB is one flashy substitute.

Once there is more time to get to know these housemates, where they stand on social issues and form friendships (or not), then Big Brother will very possibly sucker you in, whether Live or not.

Big Brother continues 7:30pm Tuesday, Wednesday on Seven.

42 Comments:

  1. Maev....Sydney

    So mildly curious…reading new.com.au ….
    ‘The house, which has now been dismantled, was created in less than two months with a focus on sustainability.’
    Is there no more BB next year…and what did they do with all the internal stuff?

  2. The Things I've Seen.

    Basically. I love the mix of contestants. (Thank you for not all being 20-somethings with beach-bods.)
    The house is good, but for some reason I can’t describe, the diary room just feels like it’s positioned wrong in the house.
    I miss it being live because I enjoyed the audience reacting in real time.
    I prefer having a narrator, not Sonia and BB sharing that role.
    I miss the exit interviews on stage where people are held to account for their actions.
    I don’t care for the voice, but if we can get Leon Murray (former voice) to take a 5 minute clip and dub it with his voice, will it be any different? (I don’t know.)
    Sonia is fine as a host, but her hosting booth is weird, then again, probably comes down to me wanting the audience.
    It goes to fast. Remember how it used to be the entire launch show just to introduce the housemates? I want that.
    I miss having a say, because if I…

    • carolemorrissey

      Yes, that’s what has bothered me in all the promos. This Big Brother’s voice just isn’t the same as previous Big Brothers. I was hoping Alex Mavrodokis was doing it again. This Big Brother’s voice sounds tinny & not as authorotative as the others.

  3. I really like this new format. To be fair I was never a fan of the old format, particularly nominations. I also like Survivor so I’m all for game play, which unfortunately was not really permitted with the old show. I like the fact it’s not drawn out and is pretty sharply edited, but agree a lot happened pretty quickly, so they could afford to dial the pace back a little.

    There’s certainly room for a show late at night that spends time showing various conversations, to help viewers get to know the contestants better.

    I would usually watch Masterchef, but I’ll definitely be watching BB from now on.

  4. It will serve some well, those who enjoy survivor-like game shows. For people like myself who liked BB for being the only reality show that really let you get to know and watch different personalities live in a house, it’s far from enjoyable. (especially that dramatic music all throughout)

  5. Ten minutes was all it took to show why the old format is superior. The benefit of doing it live was that we got to know them in almost real time through the daily shows. This was far too rushed. The editing of the entrances was awful – some people arriving unannounced, not enough time to learn people’s names. We didn’t even get a tour of the house. And then suddenly we’re supposed to have known them for three days and care about who’s leaving?

    For years, all we wanted was BB back. It’s such an obvious success story if they’d have just left the format alone. Not happy.

    • You’re absolutely correct. Another annoying aspect is that I think they did a decent job with the casting, but it’s wasted because we’re only getting certain storylines. I can see what could have been, but this is inferior.

  6. Was much better than I thought, but yes was a shock when they said 3 days had passed by eviction time, so that means the next 4 coming in tonight are half a week behind the others in forming bonds and maybe similarly for the 4 after that. Did seem quite rushed but then again in the old format when you think about it a lot was dragged out, pre eviction who was going etc.

  7. I can’t quite figure out why people are complaining about it not being live. I can’t think of a reality show that is actually live these days? Much better editing out the people who just get in there and sleep all the time. Also they did say it was 3 days they had been in there before the eviction. BB voice makes me laugh (especially the ‘my house’ thing ! One negative from me is that we missed a few of them coming in. Who is the blonde guy for one? Still love my BB !

  8. Show was better than expected but editing needs to be a lot better! Seemed very rushed.
    Was very surprised when at eviction it was revealed it was 3rd day! Hadn’t even heard from some contestants. So what did they do for those days and who did they talk to?
    Why were we not shown who voted for who?
    Could have done it Survivor style and show the votes after eviction! Not going to work if we don’t know the votes and who likes or hates who! Fix it quickly by re-editing show!

  9. I didnt like the way she read the votes it killed the suspense for me. She should have gone “with 6 votes its time to go…” and then said “for the viewers at home heres where the votes fell and show the 3 names with voted for who under it. There was no need for it to go 20 minutes over too! Better not be every night!

  10. The key to Big Brother’s success in the good old day on Ten was the interaction between housemates. There wasn’t enough of that in the first episode and with the promoted focus on the challenges, probably won’t be throughout the series. Chrissie Swan going head to head with Ben, or having a heart to heart with Reggie or Dan. That’s what Big Brother is all about.

  11. Knowing a thing or two about editing and how Producers push a story line it was extremely obvious Laura was going. It’s a shame the live element has gone as now it’s just served up on a platter without any viewer choice. Any viewer sense of involvement and investment in the outcome has been deleted. I prefer the old live buffet where it was unpredictable and anything could happen. Not even the Producers knew the outcome till the end. Well, knowing that I don’t have to watch it live or I might miss something, maybe I’ll just wait for the finale and find the highlights package online to catch up before the live event! Anyone running a book on how long till the final 3 contestant names leak?

  12. I liked it. I actually like the Survivor-type play. As far as who voted for who and why, this should surely be shown on 7-Plus in full.

  13. I agree it feels a lot like Survivor…it many, many ways.
    I’m unsure if I really like it, but I might watch it again in the future after MasterChef is over/or isn’t airing.

  14. TV fanatic29

    I enjoyed BB (at least the 1st episode) but it was quite fast for me. I was surprised that they showed everyone entering without going to an ad break. I must say it is a bit like survivor with all people up for evictions scrambling to save themselves and the challenges. Maybe 7 might benefit from the lack of survivor this year

    • No, they only showed the hand picked few who had been on the ads arriving. The other arrivals are on the cutting room floor. There were 2 contestants that only had their name mentioned during the eviction. They were actually like extras – they had non speaking roles for the 1st ep.

  15. themanfromoz

    Sorry, I have a continuity issue to raise.
    Evictions on “Day 1”??
    They all arrived at night and yet evictions at night – so had to cover at least two days/one night of filming.
    And one of the ‘guests’/’housemates’ said during her eviction vote “I have liked him since day one”.

      • themanfromoz

        Sorry David but I need to disagree with your reply.
        I am not an avid fan of either Big Brother or Survivor.
        But if a show promotes itself as “1+1=2” but delivers “1+1=3” or states in your own interview that the episodes are 90 minutes and we get 116 minutes then they need to be called out.

        I agree with the thoughts that some were deliberately edited in a negative light.

        I’ll give it another couple of nights to see if I will continue or not. But not a great start IMHO.

  16. Im enjoying this so far, however the pace is way to fast i dont even remember their names tbh!! The first ep could have gone slower. I get seven are trying they need eyeballs on this and to be hooked but its just too fast. This is nowhere near survivor. Hopefully the next few eps slow down abit.

  17. I must admit from the teaser videos the last few days that it looks incredible. The house is really slick and the fast paced new format should be entertaining, even if there’s not time to build personal relationships like the old format.
    It said an eviction every night, how long does the series last for?

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