Hello again everyone! Long time no post...yet again. Pahkitew Island made me catch the Total Drama bug again so I had to watch the series when I had the time. Since it just concluded its US run tonight, I thought I'd give my thoughts on it and the characters.
CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE FINALE! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT!
Overall I thought the series was a MAJOR step up from the failure of All Stars and probably on par or even better than Revenge of the Island. It felt like someone sprayed a can of air freshener to clear the air after the abomination known as All Stars.
1. Total Drama Island
2. Total Drama World Tour
3. Total Drama Pahkitew Island/Revenge of the Island
4. Total Drama Action
5. Total Drama All Stars
All in all I only felt like PI had three major problems that kept it from being as good as World Tour. The first and biggest issue was the length of the series. Given that it was officially the "second half of Season 5" instead of just "Season 6" helps explain some of that but it still felt that some of the storytelling needed more time and, because of only having 13 episodes, felt rushed with what COULD have been told.
The biggest example of this is the story of Amy and Samey. The two of them felt like a story that the writers could have told with Katie and Sadie had they ever chosen to use them for more than just living props. But Samey telling Amy off, getting her eliminated, then only for her to be eliminated 2 episodes later. Much like with Sadie in TDI when Katie was eliminated I felt a lot more could have been done with Samey now that she had finally gotten an "edge" to her by telling off her horrible sister and being the cause of her elimination.
The second problem with the season was that the finale did not have an "epic" feel to it. It wasn't really awful, but it just felt sub par considering some of the others that had come before it. Only having 4 of the contestants in the actual episode really held down the finale when even All Stars had at least all of the contestants in the last episode. It also contained a REALLY stupid and pointless conclusion to a story that the season had devoted way too much time to.
The last issue that PI had was the lack of much real suspense and drama about who was getting eliminated when. I love when the show can easily pull a surprise elimination out of its hat and not go with the obvious choice (Courtney's elimination in TDI, Sierra in TWDT, the twists and turns that TDROTI took, etc.) This season....nearly everyone eliminated from Beardo to Sugar felt like it was obvious half way through the episode who was going home at the end. The only two eliminations that felt like surprises were Jasmine (that episode it felt like all four characters had an equal chance of losing) and Max (who was eliminated ala Blaineley in World Tour).
What PI did really right was create a new generation of participants that I really enjoyed, even more so than the second generation of cast. The good thing about starting over again was that the writers could completely free themselves of the total garbage of the last season and its jumbled plots, sudden character changes, and all around unpleasantness.
Sadly All Stars did no favors to any of the second generation cast who participated in it apart from Scott. Scott, while easily one of the worst antagonists in the show during TDROTI, became much more sympathetic and actually somewhat likable in spite of how the show continued to treat him like dirt and make him the butt monkey of the Villains team. At the very least I would say that the one good thing that came out of All Stars is the amount of character development given to Scott. It just proves that developing and strengthening your characters allows them to grow, possibly from one of the most hated to one of the most liked (at least in my opinion). I already was not a fan of Cameron and Lightning to begin with while ROTI was on the air so hearing they were back before the season ended really did not make me look forward to the season. Jo was eliminated too early in the competition to do much of anything and Sam was completely pointless. Then you have Zoey and Mike....and the less said about those two, the better.
This season, however; I found myself enjoying the characters much more (even the ones who were supposed to be "annoying") and just enjoyed watching most of them.
Jasmine was a very strong character and a very good competitor.
Shawn, in spite of how odd I felt his "character label" was at first, really grew on me and I felt very happy that he won and ended up together with Jasmine. They were just a very good couple and it felt good that they decided to split the money evenly.
Sky was also a very strong character and another very good competitor. When I saw her in the first episode I instantly said "Now THERE'S someone who will be in the finale or be in the top 3 at least." This is one of the few seasons where I was fine with either choice in the finale and didn't mind which one won.
Max, while mostly a one note character, was very funny at how over the top and cliche he was. Everytime he tried something "evil" I would often cue up a sound of the "Price is Right" fail horn. Looking back at some of the earlier episodes, it was actually very glad to keep him around as long as they did or Scarlett probably would have gone insane and murdered the other cast had he not be around to unintentionally "stop" a more evil person than himself.
Speaking of Scarlett, they really planted the seeds of her psychotic nature and kudos to the writers that they actually used it as part of her character rather than another random thing that'll be soon forgotten when the season is over (Trent's anger in TDI, Most everything in All Stars). I thought she was pretty good as a villain but wish that it would have happened like three episodes sooner......one episode and done for one of your Big Bads really doesn't cut it.
Ella was a lot of fun. They nailed making fun of the Disney Princess cliches. Much like Dawn or Izzy she was just a lot of fun to watch and listen to her sing.
Rodney was HILARIOUS. The "country bumpkin" nature shined through while he still possessed a lot of heart and morals.
Topher was good too, taking one aspect of an old character (Sierra's love for Chris) and expanding on it. Then having him suck up to Chris so he could take over as host was actually a clever idea.
Samey was very sympathetic and it was great to see her stand up to Amy though, as I said above, I felt she could have been utilized more.
Amy was just a bi***, plain and simple. I really hope she and Samey return sometime in the future or they interact with Katie and Sadie. I think the four of them paired up could make for some really interesting ideas.
While everyone in the show thought that Beardo was just plain annoying, I actually thought he was pretty enjoyable and wouldn't mind if he had stuck around for even one or two more episodes. I really like Michael Winslow from Police Academy. I also wonder if Beardo could imitate other people's voices as well as he could do sound effects, making me wonder if he could manipulate others if they ever decided to bring him back. Unlike Staci who was MADE to be annoying, Beardo was an attempt at being annoying.
Now Leonard....he was just plain annoying.....talk about living in a fantasy world and not even attempting to take the game seriously or be taken out of his own environment. At least Sam managed to grow from being taken out of his element.......
Sugar is a hard one for me......on the one hand I get that she was MADE to be an unlikable drama queen but on the other.....she was REALLY unlikable. While she filled the role of main antagonist for the season (and was actually fairly good at the game), she also came across as the Owen (Creator's Pet) of the season which meant she got A LOT of screen time (and not all of it warranted). She also didn't really get her comeuppance for orchestrating the eliminations of both Ella and Jasmine. While Total Drama has gotten into a bad habit of doing the worst things possible to their antagonists (often undeserving), Sugar being eliminated with pretty much no retribution for her actions just left a bad taste in my mouth. Some people might call her the Scrappy (most hated, flat, boring, annoying, too much screen time, etc.) of the season, but....I don't think that I personally can call her that. I think because she was MADE precisely to be a loud obnoxious person she isn't quite a Scrappy.
If anyone was the Scrappy for this season....it was Dave.....where do I even start? He was billed as "the Normal Guy" yet he focuses so much on Sky during the entire season that you'd think his label would be "the Stalker" much like Sierra was. He reminded me of how much Cody was after Gwen in TDI and TDWT and he was just as unsympathetic as Dave because of how much of a hypocrite he was with Sierra in World Tour! Everything not Sky-related Dave was completely useless in and he just seemed to whine and complain about getting dirty. Much like Noah, Dave was the straight man who would often make deadpan remarks, but given his stalker-ish tendencies and general laziness he really just came off as a complete d-bag. While Sugar was written to be a horrible person....Dave was played to be the GOOD guy....It seemed like the writers were trying to make a combination of Noah and Cody to try and make him the next popular character and it failed miserably. Another big point about the finale was that Sky and Dave's "relationship" which had way too much focus in the season was pretty much made completely moot with the "sudden boyfriend" revelation that should have been said from the moment that Dave started with his sick obsession with Sky! At least when Dave started to go crazy in the finale he did SOMETHING..as opposed to the rest of the season where he dreamed about Sky, whined when he didn't get her, and the writers expected us to be sympathetic with him.....
All in all, very enjoyable season (though not without its flaws) and I can't wait for the next one!