Ask The 8-Ball is a new semi-regular feature here on Inside Survivor where we will be making predictions of things we’ll see over the next 10 seasons of Survivor.
Survivor in the 30s brought us an array of weird and wonderful themes, from the zeitgeisty Millennials vs. Gen-X to the spooky Ghost Island to the mouthful of Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. With the show set to stay in Fiji for the foreseeable future, one should expect many more themed editions to come over the next 10 seasons. But what crazy concepts will Survivor come up with next?
Here are Inside Survivor’s predictions for 5 Future Survivor Themes…
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OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL
It’s perhaps the most obvious returnee theme yet to be seen, but we feel it’s only a matter of time (especially as the OGs aren’t getting any younger). The differing mentalities of “old school gameplay” and “new school gameplay” was a key narrative focus in Second Chance and, more recently, Winners At War, and is certainly worthy of further exploration.
The theme is easy to grasp and one that we feel could be very competitive (there are even competing Old School / New School Survivor t-shirts on sale). Plus, with 40 seasons now in the books, Heroes vs. Villains makes for a neat cut-off point between the two eras.
CITY VS. COUNTRY
City vs. Country could be a happy compromise for the oft-suggested geographical divide theme. Take a tribe of people who live and work in the bustling hubbub of a metropolitan area and pit them against those who reside in the quiet, pastoral landscapes of rural America. It has all the hallmarks of a classic Survivor social experiment that Jeff Probst likes to tout: differences in upbringing, employment, wealth, diversity, political affiliation, etc.
It has echoes of White Collar vs. Blue Collar, but it doesn’t need to be based solely on jobs. The City tribe doesn’t have to be all suit-wearing business-types, just as the Country tribe doesn’t have to be full of farmers. There can be a mix of personalities and backgrounds on both tribes while still maintaining that core “city life vs. country life” divide. With some recent themes being a little too obscure, City vs. Country is a marketable and straightforward theme that we could see being used in the near future.
ADULTS VS. TEENAGERS or PARENTS VS. CHILDREN
This one makes us shudder, but, unfortunately, we can see it being a real possibility. Probst has outright stated that he wants a tribe of teenagers on Survivor and directly asked for teens to apply during the finale of Winners At War. With casting lowering the age of applicants to 16, it certainly seems like some kind of teen-related theme is on the horizon, whether that’s a random mix of adults and teens or children with their parents/guardians in a Blood vs. Water-type scenario.
It’s not a theme we personally want to see, as it veers into some real moral grey area. The physical and mental toll Survivor takes on grown adults is bad enough in itself; we can’t imagine the damage it could do to a 16 or 17-year-old who is still developing emotionally and physically. But that’s never stopped Survivor before, so we expect to see a teen-related theme over the next couple of years.
SECOND CHANCE II or OTHER FAN-VOTED THEME
Second Chance was one of the most popular themes ever and one that almost everyone is clamoring to see again. There was such a buzz in the Survivor community during the first one, with the 32 one-time players campaigning for votes and making their pitches to the public. The live vote reveal during the Worlds Apart finale was a spectacle in itself.
Probst is on record as saying production wanted to do another fan-voted cast for season 34, but CBS felt it was too soon to repeat it. Well, it is coming up to 10 seasons now since the last one, and there are many castaways, old and new, deserving of a second shot. While it might not specifically be Second Chance II, we feel confident that there will be another fan-voted theme in the next 10 seasons.
BLOOD VS. WATER III
It’s surprising that we never saw the Blood vs. Water theme return in the 30s seasons. While it’s one of those themes that sounds preposterous on paper, it actually worked well in practice, particularly in the first go-around with returning players. And, let’s face it, another returnee Blood vs. Water season would definitely have been preferable to Game Changers.
The concept of having returnees with their loved ones is a fun way to do a mixed season and an excellent opportunity to invite back some players that might not fit a larger all-star-type theme. David vs. Goliath‘s Pat Cusack has said he’d love to play Survivor with his daughter, and, more recently, Marquesas champ Vecepia Towery told EW she’d only return if she could play with her son. With it becoming harder to develop fresh, creative new themes, we could definitely see the revival of Blood vs. Water in the 40s era.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.