Review – Big Brother Australia
Big Brother Australia – Nine – 7:00pm Weeknights – AUS
The question that has been hanging over Channel 9’s relaunch of Big Brother Australia is whether or not it can live up to the original series. Luckily for Channel 9 it has been a long time since there was a ‘good’ season of Big Brother and Australia seems ready for it all to be relaunched anew. This is where I make the confession that, yes, I was a Big Brother addict, and yes, I was one of those Big Brother addicts who got over my addiction the season after Trevor won the grand prize (or rather more accurately I got over my addiction the season after I moved out of home and didn’t have as much time to kill in front of the television), and yes, I was one of those Big Brother addicts who embarrassingly auditioned for the show like an idiot, and yes, I understand that admitting that pretty much undermines any valid point I will ever attempt to make about television ever again.
There’s just something so enthralling about this simple premise – watching strangers locked in a house together – that if the mix of housemates is right it doesn’t need anything else to keep me interested. Channel 9’s reboot hedges its bets though and while it seems to have gathered up a collection of intriguing and watchable participants it also has the ‘secrets’ hook which threatens to overcomplicate a show that doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Every person who steps into the house has a secret – somebody is a multi-millionaire, somebody is a genius, etc – and this week the girls are tasked with finding out the guys’ secrets. It’s a neat ice-breaker that encourages the housemates to get to know each other, but it’s not like these people are at a dinner party, they’ve all actively agreed to go on national television so I think they’ll be okay striking up conversations with strangers.
Sonia Kruger steps into the shoes of Gretel Killeen and proves what was already obvious, that Killeen’s warmth and fun as a host came from being able to possess what us humans call ‘personality’. The only thing working in Kruger’s favour is that we got to watch Sarah Murdoch be even worse at this job last night on Everybody Dance Now. Sarah Murdoch makes Sonia Kruger look like Gretel Killeen and so you can see why Channel 9 thought she might make a good host. Kruger has weeks to ease into the role of ‘human’ but Big Brother has never really been about the host, it’s always been about the contestants and this first batch suggest that this season could be a winner.
Michael with his hair and constant mugging could become tiring but he was a goofy, infectious and funny first entrant. There is a nice mix of contestants who could be fun (watching Bradley struggle to figure out how not to be the most awkward person alive will be the transformation of the season) and who will definitely be irritating (Sarah is a car salesperson after all). The show has quite purposefully steered away from a cast of nothing but vapid nobodies but has remembered that it wouldn’t be Big Brother without one or two (hi Layla!). The decision to slowly introduce more housemates through the week is also a clever one and I can already feel my time getting sucked away from me as I once again fall into the Big Brother trap.
There’s no way to know whether Channel 9 have recaptured the magic of those early seasons but there is a lot of potential in this batch and I’m far more optimistic having seen this episode than I was right up until the moment it began. The proof will be in the pudding but it has to be remembered that there were at least four good seasons of Big Brother before things went downhill and it collapsed under its own weight. If Channel 9 can keep its ‘back to basics’ mantra going and stop Sonia Kruger from looking directly into the camera and scaring the children, Big Brother Australia may very well be back in fine form. But then again what the hell do I know; I once auditioned for this damned show.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?