Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Siren: Survive The Island’ on Netflix, Where Teams of Women Professionals Compete For Vocational Honor And Bragging Rights

In the Korean reality series Siren: Survive the Island (Netflix), six teams gather on a remote mid-ocean hump to compete in a battle for survival with major Capture the Flag overtones. Each team of four women are professionals in their typically male-dominated fields – the military, law enforcement, fire protection, athletics, stunt performance, and close asset protection – and will draw on their teamwork, resourcefulness, physical stamina, and competitive spirit to be the last group standing and win out “for the honor of their professions.” Netflix will premiere all ten episodes of Siren: Survive the Island over the course of two weeks.   

Opening Shot: It’s the middle of the night, and raining everywhere on this island, as an increasing patchwork of surveillance camera images illustrates. Suddenly an emergency tone sounds, and a group of women suit up and respond to the call.

The Gist: That alert and all of the resulting reaction represent the beginning of another “base battle” in Siren: Survive the Island, one of two crucial elements in this reality competition series set on 140,000 square meters of rangy jungle, jutting cliffs, muddy sandbars, and undeveloped terrain rising out of the Pacific Ocean. Team Soldier, Team Fire, Team Police, Team Athlete, Team Stunt, and Team Bodyguard have picked their bases to live in and defend – the spaces range from a coastal boathouse and elevated treehouse-like structure to an expedition-style tent shelter and typical log cabin – and hidden their respective team flags inside. If any of the other teams capture your flag, your group is eliminated from competition, and to the victors go the spoils. And if any team member’s individual flag is taken, she must sit for the duration of the base battle. In Siren, protecting each other and working together toward victory are the biggest keys to winning the competition.  

Base battles are a daily occurrence around these parts, and can happen anytime in a 24-hour period. But there is also a corresponding component to the competition on Siren. In the purpose-built environment of the Arena, contestants will face each other in endurance challenges – chopping the most wood, for example – and reap rewards that benefit the group, like being temporarily shielded from a base battle. It’s the same kind of demand on one’s stamina that’s expected almost immediately of the contestants on Siren, as arrivals to the island and a round of sizing one another up soon gives way to a foot race across a gloppy, featureless mud flats that sucks shoes into its morass and quickly drains players’ strength reserves.

As brief video segments illustrate their daily lives back home, the women of each professional group assert that theirs is the most in shape, the most trained up, the most prepared for whatever mysteries and adversities Siren: Survive the Island will throw their way. “I’m confident when it comes to survival,” Kang Eun-mi of Team Soldier says. “There’s no doubt about it. We’re going to win.”

Photo: Netflix

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? In the Netflix reality series Outlast, people acclimated to living off the land alone must develop team building skills if they are to survive a 45-day stint on an island off the coast of Alaska. And in Physical: 100, also on Netflix, individuals in tip-top shape compete in single and team challenges and are eliminated one by one until a winner stands to take home a cash prize – it’s Squid Game in the form of a reality competition.

Our Take: Siren: Survive the Island establishes right away how integral teamwork and communication are to its format and gameplay. There is no apparatus of host here – there’s neither an onsite greeter of the contestants nor a panel of observers patched into the action from some studio somewhere. Instead, an avatar of the traditional siren from Greek mythology delivers game information and commands via big screen, a faceless security staff interacts with players if any physical exchange is required, and telephones wired to each base camp communicate further instructions. And with each bit of information handed out, teams internalize it and strategize how it will influence their position. In this way, Siren reduces the kind of individual showboating that the reality competition format has a tendency to encourage. When one member of Team Athlete finishes the grueling mud flats challenge a hundred yards ahead of the entire pack, she learns via telephone that she must help all of her teammates finish the course – only when they complete it as a group will the team win the challenge.

Those team building skills will quickly become key. Early on, what can be seen of the “base battles” to come includes makeshift tactical assaults on one side, elaborate defensive alignments on the other, and one-on-one melees that seem to escalate pretty quickly. The stakes are sufficiently high, after all – let a team steal your base’s flag, and elimination from competition is swift. But it’s clear that the series format is designed to balance that threat of expulsion against the stamina and spirit of cooperation that these teams will need to look inward to find. The island environment of Siren is full of mystery and adversity. But it’s what these competitors are made of as a group that truly counts. 

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: As the lead episode of Siren: Survive the Island comes to a close, we hear assorted hot takes over footage of the base battles and close-quarters brawls to come. “They’re literal assassins, I didn’t even hear them”; “It’s like a war”; “We’ll use our bodies as weapons”; “It just keeps getting more interesting.”

Sleeper Star: “To be frank, I don’t even know stunt performers do” – Team Stunt, who at the outset of Siren are dismissed by nearly every other team in the competition, nevertheless show off their endurance skills and sense of teamwork during the very first challenge. They’re definitely the dark horse pick to win this thing.  

Most Pilot-y Line: On a large screen in the Arena, “The Master” appears, who is depicted as a siren/Medusa type out of classical literature. And she lays down the stakes for the contestants. “For the next seven days, you will be cut off from the outside world, to compete in battles for survival. You will face many challenges. Survival situations full of unexpected twists. The seemingly insurmountable limits of your strength. You may overcome those challenges and find another side of yourself that you never knew about. Only one thing is certain. You will have to overcome these numerous challenges alongside your teammates who sit beside you.” 

Our Call: STREAM IT. By eschewing the usual reality competition boilerplate of a host for its festivities, Siren: Survive the Island keeps its focus on the modes of competition and teamwork within its six groups of women professionals, who have an equal determination to be the last vocation standing. 

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges

Most Related Links :
Latest News||Sports News||Uk News

Source link

Back to top button