These are exciting times, readers. Tonight sees the return of Castaway on the BBC. I didn’t catch much of it last time, but it seemed to involve a handful of malcontents wearing chunky-knits, pitted against the inhospitable conditions of the Western Isles.

This time it’s set on Great Barrier Island, off the coast of North Island, New Zealand, but the premise (as far as I can see it) remains the same. We have a clutch of all-new malcontents, well-buffed and ill-prepared, and thus the stage is set.

Proceedings will be overseen by the always-good-value Danny Wallace. This is the chap who wrote Join Me, one of my favourite books of all time. In the words of another, Danny’s a genius. Let’s hope he doesn’t blot his hitherto immaculate copybook with this latest assignment.

I note that the whole arrangement has (surprise, surprise) been dubbed a ‘social experiment’. I always wonder what the scientific community would have to say about the methodology of such undertakings. Do they really tell us anything we don’t already know?

Of course, there have been some excellent experiments in social psychology over the years. But the recent fad for research to be ethical has done away with the likes of Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo. And in any case, one can hardly imagine them throwing in the odd lap dancer just to make their research more entertaining.

Talking of throwing things in, it appears that we the public will be able to steer the course of the events on the island, and we can even end up as castaways ourselves if we play our cards right. No doubt it has something to do with that red button on the remote control again. The problem with all this viewer interaction is that viewers don’t want naturalistic social experiments. They want weird and unnatural twists. And they want fireworks.

While we’re talking about weird and unnatural twists, I’m sure I need hardly draw your attention to all the inter-channel concept-thievery in evidence. As an observant lot, I doubt it will have been Lost on you.


I could go on.

Explore posts in the same categories: Psychology, TV

2 Comments on “Castaway”

  1. Wee Gorbals Says:

    Having never watched Lost (apart from a brief 5 minutes) I’m wondering what happened to the largish gentleman you’ve pictured…did he win ( I maybe confusing TV genres here) or get out alive? Recalling Piggy in Lord of the Flies and the big-framed baddie in Jurassic Park who got eaten, I feel worried for him. And so, as a card-carrying reactionary underdog backer, I wish this bloke with the upper range BMI in Castaway ’07every success. By the way, I’ve been to Great Barrier Island and had a very nice lunch in an Irish style pub there. There were also NZ government helicopters bombing cannabis plantations on the island with weedkillers! Hobbits ahoy!

  2. Wee Gorbals Says:

    Me again. By the way, Doug, with regard to your opening sentence, are you aware of the Chinese curse “May you be born in interesting times.” ? The imputation is that in exciting times you will be distracted from the practice and reward of quiet, contemplative religious meditation by the gaudy chatter of the external world. Am I spiritually damaging myself by watching Castaway and following your blog! Help me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: