New Kids, On The Block

Every year since around 2003, we have seen a rather formulaic approach to Big Brother. Other than “twists” meant more to change the interpersonal dynamics, the show’s formula has been the same – Head of Household gets crowned, two Houseguests are nominated, Veto comp gets played, someone gets saved or nominations are kept the same and a player goes home on Thursday. This formula has held well, and served to make Big Brother a consistent summer ratings success.

After the two-night premiere of Big Brother 16, that has changed – and though the extent to which the game has changed is unclear as of this writing, the fact that there are fundamental changes to Big Brother’s gameplay and strategic avenues is undeniable.

With an entirely new cast, Fly on the Wall has made it easy to incorporate new game play and removed the type of resistance an All-Stars cast would have put up towards change. We have seen the advent of two Heads of Household per week, a Battle of the Block to determine which HoH nominations remain (along with which HoH remains in power), and a shift that allows for a Head of Household to be evicted within the same week should the cards fall against them. We have seen early signs of Social gameplay and strategy, early mistakes in said gameplay and many questions that still remain unanswered.

In other words… this season has the potential to change the game entirely for the better. Rather than questionable twists that had little bearing on the game itself (Save for examples such as the “Pandora’s Box” reveal late in Big Brother 14), the production staff has changed the very base of the game itself.

More information on the twists will be forthcoming as the week goes forward, and many questions will be answered with those reveals. There are questions on how exactly the nomination and weeklong competition events play out. There are now 16 Houseguests, all of whom will have to change how they expected to play the game. Two Houseguests have already established themselves as threats by winning HoH, and how this plays out will have a major bearing on the rest of the game.

Special callouts need to be made to Production early on this year, as they have refreshed a game that was beginning to show its age. Having a bit of a “reboot” season with a new cast and new gameplay was a welcome change after the turbulence of last summer, and they stepped up in a major way.

We don’t know how the season will play out. After a good opening to the show, though, we have a renewed sense of hope for the game. That’s definitely a good thing.