Not only has “Big Brother: Over the Top” been a treat for fans in the sense that they’re allowed to see so many aspects of the game that are usually kept off the live feeds, but it has been shining a light on something the game has been desperately missing for several years — strong female players.

It’s not that the last few “Big Brother” seasons have had no strong women, it’s that there haven’t been enough of them to form a decent alliance. It’s been a problem on “BB” in recent years — there is a marked difference in the type of men and women who are cast on the show, and it’s no surprise when an all-male alliance makes it really far and the women get picked off one by one.

It’s not that “Big Brother” needs to be girls vs. boys or something. It absolutely doesn’t — some of the best alliances have been co-ed. But it gets tiresome watching the guys stick together season after season and the women not be able to get their crap together to stop it.

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Nicole Franzel winning “BB 18” doesn’t make up for it, either. She had no business winning. It’s nice (we guess?) that a woman finally beat a man in the final two, but Paul Abrahamian out-played her and it stinks that the jury did not reward him for that.

However, what’s happening in the “BBOTT” house is demonstrative of what can happen when the “Big Brother” casting department isn’t afraid to cast strong women. What’s interesting is that because “BB 18” and “BBOTT” happened so close together, the casting for “BBOTT” was done at least in part by someone from the “Survivor”/”Amazing Race” casting department — it cannot be a coincidence that the “BBOTT” cast is stacked with awesome ladies this year because season after season, we are continually more impressed by the women on those other two reality shows than the women on “Big Brother.”

Whether you’re rooting for the Jamboree (Kryssie, Danielle and the evicted Neeley) or the Ballsmashers (Shelby, Alex, Morgan and Whitney), you cannot deny that all of these women are playing solid games. Some are better than others, but two alliances of strong women ruling the house? That’s crazy (and it shouldn’t be). Sure, Jason and Scott are both part of the alliances — and Justin is floating somewhere between the two — but the majority of the ruling powers in the game are women. When have we ever seen that on “Big Brother”?

Furthermore, what reinforces the idea that viewers want to see strong, smart players (men and women) who are not jerks and dude-bros is the fact that the first three evicted houseguests on "BBOTT" were Cornbread, Monte and Shane. You know if this were a regular season of "Big Brother," somehow Monte and Shane would be ruling the house.

But looking at various things America votes on for "BBOTT" makes it perfectly clear who they want to see succeed, even if the viewers' loyalty is sharply divided between the two alliances.

It's actually really awesome to see two alliances that are each nearly all women and two factions of viewers go head-to-head like this. Not in some stupid "catfight" way, but because this is unprecedented "Big Brother" viewing.

Take note, CBS and "Big Brother" casting -- this is what a really successful season of the show looks like.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."