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Showing 1-10 of 115 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2005
I was never a fan of reality television, and to this day only watch two reality shows, Survivor being one of them. Thus, I watched only one episode of The Australian Outback when it was on television. The first contestant voted off, Debb Eaton, lived in the next town over from where I grew up, so I tuned in to see how she did and after that, didn't tune back.

And now after watching this fantastic DVD set, I am disappointed I didn't keep watching. While I have seen only the three most recent seasons (All-Stars, Vanuatu and Palau) plus the DVD of the first season, I can understand why people who are big fans of this series consistently rank Survivor Australia as one of the best seasons ever. The perfect mix of people in a great environment led to a truly captivating series.

The second season provided some very memorable moments, moments that can probably be included among the very best in Survivor history. Of course there is the famous beef jerky incident where "aspiring actress" and resident evil woman Jerri Manthey accuses Army officer Kel Gleason of smuggling beef jerky. Who wasn't thrilled for farmer-schoolteacher Rodger "Kentucky Joe" Bingham when he confronted his fear of heights and his lack of swimming ability by leaping off a huge cliff into the water below? I am sure everyone was happy for gourmet (yes I think he can cook rice) chef Keith Famie when he proposed to his girlfriend in a quick internet chat from the Outback and she said yes. His emotion was genuine as he grabbed Jeff Probst and hugged him. Of course, the incredible relationship between Kentucky Joe and young footwear designer Elisabeth Filarski was a unique one, but one that kept them together until the last few days. Jerri's flirting with Colby Donaldson was amazingly pathetic, and it was actually funny to watch him as you knew he wasn't even remotely interested. And who can forget Michael Skupin's fall in the fire, the one move that essentially changed the game.

Of course, when Colby, the auto customizer from Texas, chose Tennessee mom Tina Wesson to join him in the final two, he assured he would finish second, but knew that Tina would be a deserving winner. This was a great moment in Survivor history, as a player put his friendship and alliance ahead of his own personal game. Not until Ian in Pulau did we see something quite like that again. It was a good move and Colby came out, although not with a million dollars, looking like the good guy.

Throw in some great characters, such as Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey, the retired cop from Virginia, Amber Brkich, the youngest of the group, who would go on to win the All-Stars edition, yet who in this edition was quite tentative, but hung tough, the conniving Jeff Varner who would start a battle between others and watch it brew, trainer Alicia Callaway and her finger-waving, and vegetarian Kimmi Kappenberg, the butt of much of Alicia's finger waves and you have the makings of a great season.

By comparison to the seasons now, these Survivors were given a lot to help their survival and the challenges weren't quite as difficult as the ones we have seen in the past few years, but they were still quite entertaining and it was great to see the original challenges that some of the newer seasons have used, or built off of.

The story of the season early on was the domination of Kucha at the challenges. They had Ogakor feeling down and depressed and it looked like, heading into the merge, that Kucha would have the numbers to just pick off Ogakor one-by-one. Then came Michael's fall in the fire. When he was airlifted out of the game, Kucha lost their advantage and the planning by Ogakor came into play and they were successful, as the final three were all members of the original Ogakor. In the end, it was Colby's domination that helped to push him to the finals, where he chose Tina to sit next to him and the rest is history.

There is a reason that five of these castaways (Alicia, Colby, Tina, Amber, Jerri) were chosen to participate in the All-Star version. This group of people was one of the finest casts assembled and the dynamics that came into play really made this season a joy to watch.

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Elisabeth one more time. In the first season, the incredibly beautiful Colleen Haskell became "America's Sweetheart." In this season, the incredibly cute Elisabeth took over that role. Her relationship with Rodger gave her a very real feel, and to anyone watching, she felt like she would be someone you would be friends with in the outside world.

The bonus features on this disc are very solid. There are six different commentary tracks, with two from Alicia, Kimmi and Michael (including the one where he falls in the fire), two from Keith, Rodger, Amber and Tina and two from Colby and Jeff Probst, who really began defining the role of realilty show host in this season. To this day, there is nobody who has that role down as well as he does. The two with Colby and Jeff are really, really good, while the others are very good and insightful. There are a couple of documentaries as well and the mid-season recap episode is included. Also included in the set is the previously released "Greatest and Most Outrageous Moments" which among other things features little bits on every Survivor and their time in the Outback.

On a personal note, I was watching that bonus disc and during the spot on Debb, they showed her sitting on her motorcycle on my mother's front lawn, which happens to be right next to a covered bridge. It was pretty funny to see and took me by surprise.

So whether you've been a fan of the show since day one, or it something you are learning to like, this set is top-notch. You will not be disappointed. Now let's hope they consider releasing more season sets.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better season of Survivor than season number two. It not only had some of the most memorable contestants, but also some very memorable moments. This seasons would produce no fewer than five Survivor all-stars! I mean just look who was on season two from the Australian Outback:

Amber Brkich, one of the hottest women ever on Survivor who would go onto win Survivor All-stars and now competing in the Amazing Race.

Alicia Callaway: the Buff, brazen no-nonsense one who got into the famous finger waving match with Kimmi. A Survivor All-star.

Michael Skupin, who suffered one of the worst injuries in Survivor history when he fell into a fire and badly burned his hands.

Jerri Manthey: Probably the all time B*tch Queen of Survivor. Also a Survivor all-star.

Colby Donaldson: The hunky runner-up now turned actor. Another Survivor all-star.

Tina Wesson. The Winner. A Very HOT forty-something! Another All-star!

Elisabeth Elisabeth Hasselbeck of "The View"

Keith Famie, the much maligned chef who got engaged over the internet.

Rodger Bingham, the All-time good guy of Survivor!

This season really had it all. Great looking women and men, intrigue, romance, injuries and more. Who can forget Jerri accusing Kel of eating a hidden beef jerky in the second episode leading to Kel's being voted off. Or what about Kimmi and Alicia getting into a fight over eating the chickens...

Later, Colby gets a reward to visit the coral reef and brings back coral for everyone which we find out is illegal in Australia. Then the tribe has their camp wiped out by a flood including all of their rice. And in one of Survivors all-time dumbest moves, when it came down to 3 final candidates, Colby voted out keith, instead of the more popular and univerally loved Tina, assuring that Tina would win the Million bucks!

What a great show and season!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2005
I have waited a very long time to see Survivor's second installation again. Following the success of the Richard Hatch-helmed adventure the previous summer, "Outback" aired in the spring of 2001, drawing the highest ratings of any prior or successive Survivor season. It's highlights:

The final four featured "Outback" winner Tina Wesson, runner-up Colby Donaldson (that's his face you see on Schick Razor ads), arrogant TV chef Keith Famie, and blonde and tearful sweetheart Elisabeth Filarski. Relive the rise and fall of Survivor's greatest femme villain, Jerri Manthey. See the sizzling hot and eventual "All-Stars" winner Amber Brkich play for the first a different bikini! Entertain yourself with intense fueding, as Alicia Calaway's finger-wagging has never looked better in digital performance. Burn your eyes in the sight of Michael Skupin's tragic hands-first fall into the campfire, prematurely ending his game. Witness the underdog Ogakor tribe battle its way back into the fight against Kucha, and dominate the game post-merge. Hear out sassy Jeff Varner's quips as he...well, you get the point. Enjoy the season!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2005
Yep, Richard and Susan needs to take a back seat to this one.

Can't wait. Back to when Survivor wasn't all pretty boys & girls. Except Elisabeth of course ;) The flood, the fire, the pig hunting, the vegetarian. Was an excellent combination. These survivors were hungry. Not like the latest episodes. They had to hunt and find food. Roger over-coming his fear of water is a good inspiration.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2005
This Survivor is so much better than any of the other seasons. It had the greatest mix of people. It also had fights, very strong alliances, huge twists, and the harsh elements of the Australian Outback taking its toll on people. The Commentary and Bonus features are great.You'll see so many things happen in this season than any of the other seasons.You are not a true Survivor fan until you have this season on DVD.

P.S. Don't forget to watch Survivor every Thursday at 8/7 Central on your Local CBS Affiliate!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2005
I don't think any other season will live up to the 2nd installment. The cast actually had charisma. The show's structure remained simple; no crazy tribe shuffles or switcheroos. The locale was awesome; not just some other island. Only complaint: Kel's early departure, but hey, you can't have it all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2005
I am a Survivor fan from the first season and have watched every season of the show. I just watched The Outback again and it was as compelling as the first time I saw it.

This season had it all and ended with no animosity. The game was played beautifully and was a true toss up for the sole survivor.

If you are going to watch just one season of Survivor to get the true feeling and intention of the game this is the season to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2009
My wife and I wre very satisfied with the purchase and entertainment it provided... We were particularly interested because Elizabeth Hasalbeck was aa contender and is familiar to us bexcause of her presence on "The View." The cast was great and each episode done very well. The cast was subjected to some real hardships with food shortage, flooding out their campsite, and an accident to one of the contestants. Not staged for sure.
All in all this was a worth while show for all ages.
W.J. Young
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2005
I don't know how Patrick gave this only one star, as this stands out as the best season. It has the best players, including Colby and Jerri, and the winner of Survivor All - Stars - Amber. It has many memorable moments - the pig, Mike falling into the fire, Jerri's chocolate, Alicia's finger wave, Jeff's practical jokes, and the flooding of the camp. Also, I know that there are at least a few commentaries, some with Colby.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2015
This has always been one of my favorite Survivor seasons, because of both the cast and the locale. If you haven't seen this one, or haven't seen it since it aired, then you should definitely give it a re-run. You'll be amazed at all the differences between this season and more current ones: canned food and waterproof matches are just two shocking examples! A fan of the game will really enjoy noticing how much the production and gameplay have changed and improved over all the years.

Immunity challenges are a lot easier. Food rewards are pretty spare (just chips and soda constitute a "picnic"?!). Tough terrain and weather are important factors. The type and amount of initial supplies given to each tribe seems overwhelmingly generous, but even so they definitely struggle to make it at some points in the game.

The biggest difference, though, might be the lack of plotting/scheming among the players, who seem to genuinely get along and like each other for the most part. Even the famous "finger-pointing" incident between a couple of girls is nothing more than a loud disagreement---nothing like the vile personal attacks that have been seen in more recent seasons. No cast member is truly detestable in fact: a couple might be a little annoying in a pretty mild way. Additionally, most of the tribemates seem to be playing the game with decency, and want any eventual winner to be doing the same.

NOTE: this and certain seasons are difficult to find in streaming format online. Head to the CBS site and their all-access option (often with a free trial) and fire up a binge-watching weekend of every Survivor.
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