‘Survivor: One World’

| Senior Cadenza Editor

“Survivor” premiered in the summer of 2000, when we seniors were still in elementary school. It’s been on the air twice a year ever since, and even though it’s already had 23 seasons, people keep watching. The producers have come up with some clever twists to keep things fresh. They’ve broken up the tribes by gender, age and race, and introduced concepts like Exile Island and Redemption Island to throw contestants off. But for season 24, they have introduced the biggest twist yet.

In a normal season of “Survivor,” the game begins with two tribes that live on separate beaches. They live apart for about six or eight episodes (18-24 days in game time), during which they compete in team reward and immunity challenges. After that, they merge into one tribe, giving contestants the opportunity to meet and form new alliances.

Season 24’s subtitle is “One World,” and just the presence of a subtitle indicates that things are very far from the norm. This season takes place in Samoa, a standard location, and when the contestants land on the beach, they will be divided into tribes like usual. However, the tribes will not go off to separate camps; they will all live together. In addition, the tribes will be separated by gender.

For a longtime viewer like me, this premise is incredibly interesting. Generally, separating the tribes by gender breeds both resentment and post-merge single-sex alliances, but this may not be the case anymore. Helpless but attractive young women often go far in the game by attaching themselves to strong male players, but now, they will not be in the same tribe. Will the men and women separate to stay competitive? Will they build two shelters or just one? It seems cruel to deny the opposing tribe use of things like fishing gear or flint, but is that the new name of the game?

This new premise has great promise. I can just imagine the secret relationships that will form between men and women as they share resources against the wills of their tribes. How very Romeo and Juliet. Please, producers, let this happen.

There are a few other twists to keep the show interesting. Redemption Island is no more, and host Jeff Probst will be absent for some of the challenges. Described as Do-It-Yourself affairs, the contestants are left vague instructions, and they will have to run the challenges themselves and make up some rules along the way.

“Survivor” has been on the air for so long, and it clearly has some staying power. Hopefully these new twists will tweak the formula just enough to make it better than ever.