TV review: “Survivor” returns to CBS with plenty of twists for the new season

By Mackenzie Bronk

“Survivor” returns for its 24th season next Wednesday, Feb. 15 with a whole new cast of characters and interesting twists to spice things up. Although last season featured Redemption Island and some familiar faces, this season will be taking a different route.

For the first time in “Survivor” history, the two tribes will be living together for the entire length of the season. The show has briefly experimented with this in the past, but it never lasted long. In addition to this twist, this season’s tribes will be men versus women, which has not been done in a few years. The combination of these two elements should make for some interesting and very dramatic interactions.

The exclusion of Redemption Island also means that there will probably be additional challenges and a larger focus on camp life. Varied allegiances and an altered sense of unity will likely ensue as everyone tries to get to know each other right from the start in order to avoid being thrust into uncomfortable friendships after the merge.

Other new twists include the way in which immunity idols are played and also a new element called the “Do It Yourself” Challenges. This season there will be immunity idols for each specific tribe and if a player finds an immunity idol, they can’t keep it for themselves, but must give it to a member of the other tribe. This will hopefully help form cross-camp bonds that make everything more tension-filled and full of “Real World” style drama (a girl can dream).

The “Do It Yourself” challenges will be tasks that the tribes have to accomplish by themselves without Jeff Probst yelling words of encouragement (or ridicule) to spur them on, or annoy the hell out of them. The survivors must complete these challenges alone, which will create an interesting leadership dynamic as certain people will undoubtedly try to take over, much to the chagrin of their tribemates.

The new cast of “Survivor: One World” has a pretty diverse spread of people, but at the same time includes a nice helping of aesthetically pleasing 30-and-under wannabe models. There is an actual male model in the cast this season, in addition to a gay Republican, a little person, and two men who identify with Tarzan.

With this new season, the show also decided not to include former cast members of “Survivor,” something Jeff Probst has done for the past two seasons. Hopefully, this should take the focus away from past favorites and allow the audience to pay more attention to the new cast, who seem like they will be pretty hilarious. I’m already placing bets on how many “I’m not here to make friends” speeches there will be and how many people will get blindsided. Both of these should probably be involved in some sort of epic “Survivor” drinking game.

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