I just watched episode 1 of Koh-Lanta Palau, France's version of Survivor that is shown on a cable station in Montreal
It's weird to see the same islands, the same underwater footage of sharks and war planes, to hear that one tribe is named Koror (the other is Mawai) and to see two people eliminated before the game even started but it's really different at the same time.
The nicest difference between the opening and what we now have is that they've kept the contestant's vignettes from home. We saw most, if not all, of the cast in their job place and with family. The majority are very athletic and driven.
The funniest difference was seeing Koror lose immunity! I'm not used to seeing that.
The show itself is the 10th edition of Koh-Lanta but I haven't seen any of the other season. What struck me is that their Probst is much more present, not in a physical way but as narrator. He is the one describing the action in camp. I guess it's just like French movies which are much more based on dialogue and less on visuals.
The 18 castaways arrived together on one beach and immediately, Freddy the engineer did like Samoa's John and gave out directions for shelter building and fire making. We heard some complaints in confessionals and Freddy sure looks cocky but not really that negative.
When they met the host on day 2, he told them they would compete and that 2 would be going home but it wasn't through a pick 'em, it would be after a race. The last man and the last woman to complete the cross-country race would be leaving.
The race was fun: They randomly picked 3 teams of 6, balanced by gender and were tied up. Each bundle of 6 players had to race to retrieve keys and a knife. The knife would cut the ropes holding them together and then the race would become individual.
At her request, the woman that lost was never shown (???? I know. Weird.) Anthony, a smart-ass from Marseilles was eliminated and he left telling us that he had the mental part of the game down but that it was BS to start by a physical competition. An older woman completed the race but hurt her leg. She was sent off to see medical. She would not return because she broke her leg.
The first woman and first man to finish earned reward and each chose a partner to share that reward. Lou picked Marine who had done the first part of the race with him and was the 2nd woman to finish. Kaouter chose Freddy who had helped her a lot during the opening when she had been sick. Note, no one ever mentioned that a bond of two like that was dangerous. They all said Freddy was a good guy.
For reward, the two couples met up with, I think, the two same locals that had helped Parvati and Airai find food! (If not the same, then their brothers!) They feasted on coconut crabs and fish.
In camp, with Freddy gone, Kader started asserting himself and, while everyone was cold and shivering, he tended the fire and dried the clothes. He was greatly appreciated.
The next day, all 15 remaining castaways were told that the injured woman was already on a plane back to Paris. Anthony, the eliminated guy, would be coming back to the game to even things up. (Except for the gender balance but that's what it was)
The youngest woman, Marine, and the oldest man, Rodolphe, were pulled aside and told that teams would be formed. Marine would divide the teams and Rodolphe would choose his side.
Marine did a good job but she got a dirty look from Kaouter when she separated her from Freddy. Rodolphe picked the side of Kader which would therefore have 5 men but were slightly older.
Marine got to choose her tribe's color and she chose red over yellow which turned out to be the colors of Koror. They then had their first immunity challenge and Koror took a big early lead which was a race in the ocean. They ran into trouble on land however and Kader won it for Mawai.
The biggest difference came in the strategy part. It was like watching Samburu, dividing by gender instead of by age. The four guys walked off and told each other: We need to keep the 4 guys because Mawai has 5. One of the guys, Patrick, then went to Marine to get her to vote with the guys. Nothing special was offered to Marine, just vote with us to keep the tribe strong. Dumbass!
Marine then told us that she wasn't "une idiote", she wouldn't let the guys take over and then get voted out when they are down to 5. She united the women. Freddy's name never came up as a target, the women went after the weakest man.
TC led to a 4-4 tie and it remained after the revote so Raphaelle and Julien, the two that were tied, were forced to pick a rock. Julien picked the black rock and was eliminated. That made for a much less complicated tie-breaking process but it didn't force the players to break the tie either.
On the whole, I'd say it looks like the contestants are tougher than the average Survivor cast, they are much friendlier but less strategic. We didn't see anyone like Coby planting seeds on who to vote out while the 18 were together. We didn't see an alliance forming like Tom, Stephenie and Ian. Freddy did say he hoped to count on Kaouter but their bond wasn't hidden from the others. There didn't seem to be a group splintering like the shelter builders and the explorers of Fiji. Maybe they never had a Cesternino. Maybe Mawai will be more strategic.