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What went wrong with Midway Island?
It's a generally agreed fact among most, if not all of the SFC fanbase that Season 8: The Midway Island was one of the worst, if not the worst season of Survivor: Fan Characters. I personally think that had Season 9 not been a strong season (which fortunately was) this season could have been the beginning of the end of the whole series.

So what went wrong?

First, the story. Melanie's win seemed a bit too contrived for a lot of people, as after the merge, everything seemed to all go her way without herself taking any blows from the others. SWSU's postseason notes detailed that he wanted to have the third person in the F3, like Mick of Samoa or Cody of TDWT, win, and I think this kinda resulted in a winner that lacked a decent story to carry her to the end. The Heinz/Matt rivalry seemed promising, but this feud devolved into Heinz being a dumbass because Melanie was supposed to get the votes at the end.

Second, the bootlist. Some of the pre-mergers and post-mergers were felt to be voted off too early or too late. For example, Geena, the character that didn't come out the way as expected, placed fifth when Emilee, who SWSU wished had lasted longer, placed 12th. Comparing this to Season 9, it would be like Summer, the fluked character, placing fourth, while Kathy, who developed into a really big character, placing 14th. (Note: The characters' descriptions are mostly what SWSU said about them.)

Third, the characters. Iraenus started off as one of the most polarizing characters in existence, but as the season went by the scale rapidly tipped towards the "hate" side. And then there was that controversy with his character and the character's owner apparently saying something homophobic about him... I think that the drama was kinda too much for the casual fans to bear, and thus a lot of people stopped caring. Other post-mergers like Malik, Johnny, Geena, and Matt were not well-received by a lot of the readers either.

Fourth (though it's a bit minor), the actual show. At the time Season 8 aired, the actual Survivor was finishing its 22nd season. This meant that people who hated seeing Rob winning could have been too fatigued to see someone get the win like Rob AGAIN.

So that's what I think went wrong with Season 8.
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A notch above the rest
I came into Survivor: Fan Characters with high expectations; I haven't really found a Survivor fanfic that filled my need for Survivor and videogame characters at all. Survivor: Fan Characters? It comes damn close.

I'll start off with the negatives. First of all, grammar and spelling needs a lot of work. Most of the time, I can see what the author was trying to do, but it's disconcerting to go through a dramatic scene and suddenly see a mispelt word that throws the whole mood of the scene out of whack. Next, we have the main plot and the characters: what's kind of glaring is that the focus of the story doesn't seem to be on Survival, like the main TV series, but more on alliances and gameplans. I'll chalk this up to being video game characters, and therefor not really needing much survival skills, or maybe even just a distillation of the series: maybe the author doesn't like the characters on the show, but more the strategy part of it, the social game. But then why do you have injuries and such, but not starvation, inability to start fire, or the effects of malnutrition or a far whittled down supply of food, like the show? As a whole, it makes the characters seem too much like bland strategy bots, and for the most part not really discussing the important stuff as often as they do on the show.

That's not to say they're bad characters, god no. I'll pinpoint Season 3 for this: You can see a lot of character development going around for the characters that need it: Montana, Violet, Baxter, Spade, Hope, "N", all these important characters are for better or for worse, the best things about the season (oh, and Popper, gotta love Popper). There's no such thing here as an not-deliberately unlikeable character. On the show-wide side of things, the twists are more entertaining than the show for the most part, such as Midway Island and the Curses. You've got other parts of the comic which seem to take inspiration from the show, the blindsides, fake immunity idols, etc, and those are just as good.

So...final verdict? Survivor Fan Characters has a lot of work to do to become perfect, but for the moment, it's the closest you'll come to a great Survivor Fan fiction. It's interesting, greatly characterised, and wonderfully twisted. I only found it days ago, but I haven't stopped reading since. I might submit my own character some time. Who knows?
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