Survivor: Old School vs. New School might make a great all-star season theme

Survivor star Sarah Lacina - (Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)
Survivor star Sarah Lacina - (Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved) /

Survivor: Winners at War showed a distinct gap between the old school and new school styles of play.

As Survivor moves into the future, the past may deserve one last look. An idea for a future all-star season theme to explore is Old School vs. New School.

In Survivor: Winners at War, the more recent, or new school players, systematically picked off the winners from earlier seasons of the game. The newer players didn’t seem as if they wanted to work with some of the more prominent legends of the game or let them advance very far in season 40.

The old school players, for their part, seemed unable to adjust to the game’s current, fast-paced style of play. They were slow to react to what was going on around them and were outplayed outside of a few very early instances.

A Survivor season pitting Old School players against New School players could be intriguing.

For this theme to work to its best effect, tribes would need to be divided into two distinct groupings. One tribe would consist of players who either played most of their days or had their biggest successes early. The other tribe would be those who players mostly in recent seasons.

The line of division is somewhat random, but it seems as if the game started changing after season 22. The game became quicker paced, there are more idols and advantages, and jury management is a more significant strategy point.

The players could be a mixture of winners and non-winners. For the old school side, it would be fun to see former winners like Earl Cole, Chris Daugherty, Yul Kwon, J. T. Thomas, and of course, Parvati Shallow play again.

Non-winners like Ami Cusack (Vanuatu), Rob Cesternino (Amazon, All-Stars), Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia, South Pacific, Game Changers), Amanda Kimmel (China, Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains), and Michelle Yi (Figi) are just a few of the names that would make for an exciting cast.

For the new school, any combination of winners from the following would be entertaining –  Sophie Clarke, Kim Spradlin, John Cochran, Mike Holloway, Michelle Fitzgerald, Sarah Lacina, Wendell Holland (had a horrible edit during WInners at War), and of course, Tony Vlachos.

Non-winners could include David Wright (Millennials vs. Gen X, Edge of Extinction), Andrea Boelke (Redemption Island, Caramoan, Game Changers), Stephen Fishbach (Tocantins, Cambodia), Woo Hwang (Cagayan, Cambodia), Lauren O’Connell (Edge of Extinction), Rick Devens (Edge of Extinction), Aubry Bracco (Kaoh Rong, Cambodia, Edge of Extinction), Missy Byrd (Island of the Idols), Christian Hubicki (David vs. Goliath), and Laurel Johnson (Ghost Island).

This doesn’t even count whatever new stars we see emerge in upcoming seasons!

What makes this type of season intriguing is if the old school players can adjust to different styles of play. To make it more interesting, Survivor could eliminate the swap in a season like this and hopefully merge with an equal number of players from each tribe. That is hard to predict, but it would offer intrigue before the merge and after.

What players could compete against their peers from their era, and how would each set of tribes compete against each other? Post-merge, would the new school players dominate as they did in Winners at War?

Some fans may be tired of all-star seasons, but it is always nice to see favorites multiple times. Would an extra appearance enhance a player’s standing in the echelon of the game’s legends, or might someone slip in their standings with fans?

Other factors might prevent several old school players from returning. We saw in Winners at War players like Boston Rob and Parvati were older and not on their games. Being away from families and loved ones also seemed to put more stress on the old school players, and even someone like Jeremy Collins, a fantastic, and maybe underrated player, looked weighed down by the family he left at home.

Regardless, this idea for an all-star game theme is exciting, but it would have to happen whenever the next all-star season runs. Anything after that will probably be too late for many of the old school players.