I’m a massive fan of MTV’s long-running reality show, The Challenge. It’s just finishing up its 26th season and has had a variety of different formats, many of which are similar to Survivor twists. They’ve had a Battle of the Sexes, a three team format, and even a couple of seasons featuring ‘Good Guys’ vs. ‘Bad Asses,’ which is essentially Heroes vs. Villains before Heroes vs. Villains ever existed. And no, Drew Christy was unfortunately not on the ‘Bad Asses’ team. Additionally, they have had Rivals seasons and Battle of the Exes, which are concepts that Ozlet Bridget has written about in terms of possible Survivor twists (and can be seen here and here). One other format used by The Challenge that I think could be interesting on Survivor is their Rookies vs. Veterans season, or in Survivor terms, Old School vs. New School. However, since there are so many seasons and so much has changed over the years, I feel that it makes more sense to separate them into three tribes: Old School (seasons 1-10), Middle School (seasons 11-20), and New School (seasons 21-30). Today I will be discussing the concerns that would need to be addressed when casting a season like this, as well as casting my own season in this format.
The Age Factor
We can’t ignore the fact that Survivor is fifteen years old. Anyone that played in the first third of the series has aged considerably since they first played. Because of this, it would be important to not only cast some younger people on the Old School tribe, but to cast some older people on the Middle and New School tribes. This way, the average age of one tribe would not be so drastically different from the other two; that could potentially be unfair depending on everyone’s physical capabilities. Thirty-two years old is the absolute youngest that anyone on the Old School tribe could be, which is still young, however unusual to be the youngest on a Survivor tribe.
Staying Within Their Time Period
For the sake of this twist, it would be essential to only cast people that have played in one single time period. People like Colby, Jerri, Tina, Sandra, and Gervase have played in such a wide variety of formats that it would defeat the purpose of separating them into these categories. They’ve seen the game in its simplest form, as well as a more complex game, in both strategic and social terms.
Vary Challenges and Rewards
Survivor would have to dig deep back into its archives for information on each season: what was each tribe given at the beginning of the game? What types of challenges were done? What kinds of rewards were given out? Were there idols in play? Then this information could somehow be implemented into the structure of the game. Maybe at the start of the season, each tribe is given what castaways were given back in the early seasons. Sometimes the rewards could be grandiose feasts, and sometimes they could be some Mountain Dew and a can of Pringles. Maybe they should only include hidden immunity idols post-merge. Taking concepts from each era of the game could make for interesting viewing and drama among tribe mates.
We so frequently hear from the old school players about how easy the new players have it on the island. Would new school players struggle when given old school tasks and living conditions? Would old school players struggle with how much more strategic Survivor has become over time? Which era would struggle or thrive the most in any and all conditions, challenges, and other obstacles thrown at them? I know that we’ve seen players from all eras of the game play together before, but I still think this would be an interesting concept. This format would allow players to have the comfort of being with people who played in a similar time as them to begin, and then be mixed up with players of all calibers later.
Now for casting my own season of Old School vs. Middle School vs. New School…
What do you think of the potential of an ‘old school vs. middle school vs. new school season’? Would it work? Who would you like to see return from each period? Let us know your thoughts below!
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