• Welcome to the discussion forums. To get posting, register an account. You can also register with your Facebook or Twitter login.

Format and production thoughts

Brekkie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
A week in just thought it's worth taking stock now of what we've seen so far in more general terms outside of the individual episodes thread.

Firstly other than being pre-recorded the actual format is fine. It's not quite as strong as the US/Canadian format but it is the equivalent of where the familar BBUSA format began (19 years ago). Only difference really is 3 nominees instead of 2 and the nominees get to vote, plus housemates can win back to back challenges. I also think the house is great and the challenges are pretty good so far.

However it is the overall production and editing letting the show down, and specifically around the two key moments of each episode - the Nomination Challenge and the eviction itself. I think even though it's pre-recorded both these issues could be fixed too.


Beginning with the challenge adding Big Brother narrating in is just so awkward. Big Brother has never been the narrator of the show and generally never spoken to housemates outside of the diary room. The commentating on challenges just makes no sense at all, and adds nothing to the show. As annoying as cutting away to housemates speaking after the event may be at least it would give us more insight - we have no idea if all the housemates are trying to win challenges or how they feel about others winning challenges, and that would be more useful than "Big Brother" commentating on events. Failing that just use Sonia to update the situation as she is used for narration elsewhere. Big Brother is there to talk to housemates in the diary room or call them to the diary room - not to narrate for us.

One thing though that can't be fixed now is the timing between the challenge, nominations and eviction. There is just no time for proper strategy and gameplay with nominations being immediately after and the eviction later that night - at the very least have the nomination challenge the night before then nominations and eviction the next day.


The other big flaw is the eviction itself, or more specifically the voting, which I think is partly due to it not being a live show and being seen from the perspective of the house rather than the studio. I fear they're going more for tribal council than eviction show with Sonia questioning the housemates - that does happen in the US/Canada but usually remains quite light and generic. One thing we are missing here is a direct plea by the nominees - we're only seeing them respond to Sonia's questions.

What really needs to change though and could still be re-edited is the voting. Spending a few minutes on not showing us how the vote plays out is pointless - we need to see who is voting for who, and frankly if we've watched the show for an hour and a half we're not going to tune out 5 minutes from the end just because the votes have been revealed. That moment of us knowing but the housemates not knowing gives viewers the feeling they know something they don't (or at least didn't 4 months ago), and part of the expeirence of watching. Finally, and too late to change this, but even with no crowd I think Sonia should have greeted the housemate upon leaving the house and asked a couple of questions rather than us ending with the evictee talking in the car.


Other than that I think the show is struggling to get the balance between the traditional scenes of every day life and the gameplay and leaving everybody feeling somewhat short changed. However worth remembering though that 3 days into 90 minutes is about the equivalent of what the show had on Ten with the 30 minute daily shows for most of it's life - but then we had the 24/7 live feed and website to flesh out the characters and enable us to get to know what was happening in the house beyond what we saw on screen.

I also think packing everything into one night is doing the show no favours - it could easily be split into two with a format point (like Intruders arriving or a shopping task) and the Nomination Challenge one night and then the nominations and evictions the next night. Yes, it means shorter shows each night but it means Seven could schedule it 4 nights a week for 10-12 weeks rather than 3 nights a week for 6-8 weeks.


Overall ignoring the sin of pre-recording it's not as bad as I feared, although I do think episodes have dragged so far and it's not really kicked into life yet. It remains to be seen if it ever does.
 

Cowie

Jack lives here
I'm liking the new era. While I do miss being immersed in bb six nights a week, I don't miss being bored watching them sunbake and dribble shit.

All daily shows have always been pre-recorded. I think the advantage of doing it this way is they are less time pressured and that has resulted in less of the boring stuff being aired. They've had months to select which content to air and the limited air time results in the boring content being axed.

Something I always loved about bbuk and bbau really lacked was the daily tasks. Bored people are boring to watch. While bbuk always got the casting better generally, bbau hms really could have done with more tasks to fill their day. So I am loving the daily tasks.

I think the only thing I am disliking is the hms deciding who goes each night. They're always going to get rid of the bold characters because they're annoying to live with. But they're the people the audience like to watch.

Another thing I could criticize is the time slot. Would we get better content if it aired outside the family timeslot?
 

s2art

Glistening Purple Member
Another thing I could criticize is the time slot. Would we get better content if it aired outside the family timeslot?
The pace of the show suits me too, the time getting to know the HMs does not, especially how they are building their group dynamics. I have always maintained that a less family freindly time slot would create a far different show to the current PG show we see now. What hasn't changed is those splits along alpha male/female/[jock] versus the oddballs.
 

s2art

Glistening Purple Member
Just curious what time slot does MAFS air?
Hmmm good point, people's behaviour on that show was deplorable, but I feel it was not on that late at night. Definelty after 7 but not after 9 . Then of course there's all the catchup TV.
 

the Theorist

Over-thinker. Over-analyser. Over-complainer.
Awesome site donor
I have always maintained that a less family freindly time slot would create a far different show to the current PG show we see now.
Hmmm good point, people's behaviour on that show was deplorable, but I feel it was not on that late at night. Definelty after 7 but not after 9 . Then of course there's all the catchup TV.
Totally. However, in regards to BBAU I think the reason has absolutely nothing to do with what can be shown in that timeslot and everything to do with the fact these same rules don't exactly apply to Big Brother. Roughly speaking, anyway.

It's easy to forget the name is tarnished here. This is still the same show that made global news 14 years ago and became the subject of some very heated political discussions. It's directly due to BBAU that there was major media reforms in Australia and new broadcast legislations were introduced into Parliament.

I mean, current ratings prove that interest in the brand is obviously there and I don't doubt they'd easily get away with showing slightly more "mature" content at that time, but it's for the above reasons that networks (and viewers) are still skeptical to pick up the show without reinventing it, resulting in the version we received with Nine and the complete overhaul on Seven. Unfortunately BBAU just gets scrutinised that little bit more than other shows do. Therefore, I think for there to be Big Brother in any form here in Australia, networks will forever tread carefully - I think it's even part of the current contract the brand is to remain "family-friendly" and purposely avoid any sort of content that might get them into trouble again.

Is that what the original concept of Big Brother intended to be? No, not really. But to make it work in today's climate, and particularly here in Australia, there are new ways of producing the show nowadays that just won't change... sadly.
 

Poxy

Well-Known Member
I'm getting the impression that only a portion of what BB is saying is being heard by HMs. There seems a lot that could be edited in afterwards. So BB is providing a general commentary for the audience but not HMs.
 

Dave

Old Uplate Recap Guy
Staff member
I also think packing everything into one night is doing the show no favours - it could easily be split into two with a format point (like Intruders arriving or a shopping task) and the Nomination Challenge one night and then the nominations and evictions the next night. Yes, it means shorter shows each night but it means Seven could schedule it 4 nights a week for 10-12 weeks rather than 3 nights a week for 6-8 weeks.

hey brekkie old pal, hope you are well. i agree that they could space this out a bit more - i just think they were being really cautious with this season in case it totally flopped. i hope that now they see the potential they will try to extend it at least an extra day of the week next week so we can have at least one ep a week where there is no eviction.

overall, i am really happy it's back on and it's taken me by surprise that i have wanted to watch all three episodes so far. i'm not watching live, and have been spoilt for ep2 and 3 which is slightly annoying but thats my mistake. what i am finding is that i am fast forwarding through the actual vote -as you mention there is no point watching for 5 minutes of people "not" voting.

exciting times though! next year extend the season a bit, showe it 4 times a week and it'll be great.
oh and can i also say the cast is reallly well balanced too - i understand there are racial suggestions after the first three evictions, but i was pleasantly surprised at the ages, backgrounds etc of the cast - they clearly aren't all wannabe stars like we got treated to earlier this year on MAFS for example.
 

Tim

All seeing pink butthole floating in space.
Staff member
Administrator
The commentating on challenges just makes no sense at all
I'm getting the impression that only a portion of what BB is saying is being heard by HMs. There seems a lot that could be edited in afterwards. So BB is providing a general commentary for the audience but not HMs.

Totally. I don't have a problem with BB providing updates that might add to the suspense during a task, but these dad jokes can be binned. It's quite obvious that the housemates aren't hearing most of the narration, and when BB cracks a lame joke, the editors are punching a HM laugh track button.

Audio is being heavily chopped up elsewhere too. Did you notice when Marissa went to "confront" Sarah (which ended up being an eye rolling bait and switch), she yelled out "Sarah!" more than three times but it was all the same audio clip? Then the same video clips from two different cameras were stacked on top of each other. Cheap and tacky editing.

Also I maintain the moment the second lot of housemates had a "near miss" with Allan going to the kitchen was just a split screen edit.

we have no idea if all the housemates are trying to win challenges or how they feel about others winning challenges
Sonia should have greeted the housemate upon leaving the house and asked a couple of questions rather than us ending with the evictee talking in the car.

Yeah the housemates are completely disposable in this format. The evictees being driven away really emphasises how disposable they are. We will never really get to know them, there's just not enough space with the available timeslots and the show's split personality. Does it want to be voyeuristic or challenge focused or confrontational? Often it doesn't know what it wants to be.

It feels like all the show decision makers were in a room, and the conversation was:
  • "Hey Channel 10 are doing good with Survivor so we need Big Brother but make it Survivor"
  • "Yeah good point... oh but also Channel 9 are doing good with MAFS, so we need Big Brother but make it MAFS too"
  • "Yeaahhhhh great TV, oh but it's also Big Brother so I guess we should try and show some footage for character development"
I fear they're going more for tribal council than eviction show with Sonia questioning the housemates - that does happen in the US/Canada but usually remains quite light and generic. One thing we are missing here is a direct plea by the nominees - we're only seeing them respond to Sonia's questions.

I don't mind Sonia grilling them a bit, at least she's being slightly useful. I would rather that over watching her dance to 'Bodyrockers' again lolllll awful.

But definitely agree the nominees should be shown pleading their case. I'm not sure if this would translate to Australian culture very well because of tall poppy and all that shit, but I still wanna see it.

the traditional scenes of every day life and the gameplay and leaving everybody feeling somewhat short changed

So agree. This is side effect of the show's Survivor/MAFS/BB split personality.

Would we get better content if it aired outside the family timeslot?

I think reality TV has got to a point where to make it more "mature" it doesn't actually mean making it sexier (because all of the nudity people care about is already shown early on). A more mature show would mean starting to tackle issues like race and politics, which Caucasian station Seven would never, ever do. Laura has already said she would have conversations with race about housemates and they would "shut her down" (her words) - can you imagine Australian commercial TV even going near this?

I was genuinely surprised where I heard "shit" uncensored last night. Caught me off guard for BBAU.
 

Tim

All seeing pink butthole floating in space.
Staff member
Administrator
Oh and one final comment for now: the music is too much. I'm not saying get rid of it, but it's just too tacky and doesn't help with the rushed pacing. The worst point was Kieren's 3 second redemption scene in the diary room where he suddenly didn't feel sad anymore. Judging by the music you'd think he'd fucking cured COVID.
 

timmy

100% Free. Apply now!
Awesome site donor
I'm getting the impression that only a portion of what BB is saying is being heard by HMs. There seems a lot that could be edited in afterwards. So BB is providing a general commentary for the audience but not HMs.
They said the digitised BB voice would be added in post production. I suspect this is also why they are heavy on the music at times when producer talks to the house. They are covering up that they are muting the producer's voice. Just like in pornos where they play music and add a bunch of obvious moans, grunts, OMG! Yes! Yes! Oh f*** me Daddy! on top.
 

sirspankalot

traumactised
So far, so good. Tweaks can be made, but it's a whole new format so I'm happy to let that play out.

I feel that 3 nights a week is the perfect balance (I don't think I could commit to more), although I'd prefer for the episodes to be a tight 90mins vs the almost-2hrs we're currently getting.

Day-to-day activity/housemates editing is just fine. Thankfully they don't need to rely on filler moments, and I'm enjoying how they lean into the more vibrant personalities.

Looking forward to the challenges being integrated into the house/more substantial than these endurance tasks have been.

The one key element that I feel needs work is the nominations/evictions process. It lacks structure, and it lacks ceremony (particularly the eviction), and theres a missed opportunity for strategic gameplay. I don't feel that Sonia's role as moderator is required, and I don't understand the dedicated space for voting (particularly where the end up doing it in private in the diary room anyway). This could be done much more effectively, with but stronger payoff. I'd also rather see Sonia do a short post-eviction interview rather than these The Apprentice drive-away talking head moments.

It'll be interesting to see if and how the production is accelerated given the shorter filming time. We're 3/20 down, with four weeks of footage left.

Ratings are boding well, I'd almost guarantee it'll be renewed at this point.
 

Zcsund1234

Well-Known Member
The format is fine to me, the fact that they are voting each other out isn't disturbing the social experiment as much as a I thought. I'd just like to add my 2 cents worth in regards to a comment made by the executive producer in an interview, I can't exactly remember what it was or if it was Sonia who said it so please correct me if I'm wrong but it was something along the lines of "viewers want a big outcome every episode" and then Sonia also said something like "TV has changed in 20 years, people don't want to watch people make bread". Now I personally totally disagree with these statements. Well more so with the "event comment" I disagree that an eviction every episode is the way to go about it. Yes we want events every episode but that doesn't mean we want evictions every ep, house drama or changes in dynamics or simply great housemate interactions would completely suffice. I don't agree that people don't want to watch people do basic things in the house anymore. Especially I think that my age group (early twenties) are assumed to want to watch drama, challenges and evictions. That is completely wrong, my group and friends and I all say the same thing when we've talked about the past 3 episodes, we've all said we want to hear them speak about their lives, their interests their jobs. I want to see where this Angela and Kieran friendship came to be or why Talia and Daniel get along, I want to see these connections form. So yes viewers do want to see big events on television, but Big Brother itself can be event television by letting these event moments happen naturally. My main issue with the show is also the pace, its too quick to have people evicted every day. I think it would have been totally fine to just air each day in it's own single episode and it the show 4-5 times a week Sunday-Thursday. I see no reason why we can't have an episode with the challenge, then a rest day of them just talking, and then have the nominations in another episode, and or the eviction in another and have weekly evictions. The one comment that all my friends made to me when I asked what they think so far is that we're not getting to know them well enough and that the weekly evictions were hyped each week and we looked forward to them. You would pick your favourite housemate and hope that they weren't going to go. So no I don't hate this format at all, its fun to watch and they have a pretty good cast, it's just the way the production choices that have been made. 3 episodes isn't enough IMO, and to squish 2-3 days of content, a challenge, nominations and eviction into 90 minutes is extremely rushed. And whats the purpose of us voting for a winner when they only give the same 5 people airtime? We can only vote based off what we see in the episodes?
 

Columbo

Somehow I Still Believe
They shouldn't have spent the first part of the opening episode on Kieran and his secret mission. They should have just had all the housemates introduce themselves like the housemates in the cage did on Wednesday.

They should announce the person who has the most votes. They shouldn't say who has the least votes, then who has the second least votes, and who has the most votes. Ruins the suspense.
 

BBantUK07

The Legit Boss 💵
For me the casting and the house design are two things they nailed. I'm abit on the fence about it being pre-recorded, on one hand i like how they can fit multiple days into one ep and develop interesting storylines but then on the other hand it would've felt so much more better if it was live. I personally think they have a good mix between general chit chat and strat talk, maybe 5-10 more mins of general chit chat and it'd be perfect for me. Shows seem to be going at very fast paces these days and with shows like the backelor, survivor, etc, where someone is going home every night, it seems like there is pressure to do so. I am enjoying the fast pace, it's not something everyone would like, but I can't help but watch shows where noone gets evicted or nothing major happens and feel as though it is a pointless episode. I think the production quality is ok overall, but at times it is overproduced when there is no need to be, eg. no need to use editing sound when there is a general chat.

I think it would be better having sonia be present when the games are happening and narrating to make it feel more like an event as people have said, but then again it would be too similar to survivor so appreciate their effort in trying to differentiate where possible.

My MAJOR issue with the show is how they play out noms and evictions. I would like to see a nomination session like the US as they are very iconic and create more drama. I think sonia should make the nominees stand up and give a quick speech why they should stay. I don't know what they were thinking but the way the results are read out is absolute trash, if they're not gonna show the votes at least do an 'it's time to go' and create suspense, if not perfectly fine if they showed the votes then had sonia reveal the count alike the US. Overall i am very pleased and suprised by the show so far, positives outweigh the negatives for me and am looking forward to the rest of the season.
 

The10thDoctor

Well-Known Member
so when the housemates talk to BB they are hearing a producers normal voice?? then they use the HAL9000 voice in post production to repeat exactly what the producer originally said?

thats kinda stupid.

any prodcer could use that voice changer and just speak as big brother. simple
 
Top