When Jeff Probst announced that the next season of Survivor would be in the style of “Fans vs. Favorites”, I got excited.
After all, Survivor: Micronesia, the original Fans vs. Faves, was what I consider to be the best season of Survivor ever. It featured a great cast, with fantastic strategic players like Parvati, Yao-Man, Cirie and Penner, as well as physical threats like James, Ozzy and, well, Parvati. These new favorites? They don’t quite live up to those standards.
In fact, so many of the returning players made boneheaded mistakes or exited the game early that John Cochran actually told EW.com that he worried the theme of the season would be “Dunce Island”. I do in fact like some of these players, but I wouldn’tnecessarily call them “favorites”. Let’s run through the list of who’s coming back.
Survivor: Redemption Island – 13th castaway voted out
I enjoyed Andrea on Redemption Island, and she was clearly the smartest of that pack of young girls who played in the shadow of Boston Rob. In fact, her biggest downfall was Matt, so it will be interesting to see her play again. She could do very well. I just hope she doesn’t fall for Malcolm – do you think she has a thing for guys with long hair?
Survivor: South Pacific – 15th castaway voted out
This is one of the players I was less excited to see return. I don’t need to see anyone from the Hantz family on TV again, and there was nothing about Brandon’s manic, bizarre style of play that I could appreciate. I hope the other players realize what a loose cannon he is and vote him out quickly.
Survivor: Nicaragua – 11th castaway voted out
I was surprised to read that Brenda is 30 years old, because she looks very young. She doesn’t act young, though – Brenda had a cunning, strategic mind when she played. I always felt her greatest flaw was ego, and if she can keep that in check this season she has a chance of going far.
Survivor: Gabon – 12th castaway voted out
Oh, Corinne. There are reality TV show villains, and then there are downright horrible people. I don’t know Corinne, but if I had to guess I’d say she’s the latter. I love a girl with a snarky edge, but her cruel words to Sugar during the final tribal council of Gabon were just plain despicable. If she can tone down the meanness and stay funny, she might not be so awful to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the bully to Cochran’s nerd.
Survivor: South Pacific – 11th castaway voted off
I’m thrilled to see Dawn back. She was someone who really improved during her first time out there, and I hope she can stay tough this season. I can see her aligning with some other underdogs like Cochran, Francesca, Brandon and Phillip.
Survivor: Micronesia – 13th castaway voted out/6th Jury Member
This one is very interesting. Erik was a big fan of the show, and then from what I understand he stopped watching Survivor after he finally got to play. I don’t know if it was bitterness over being fooled and publicly humiliated, that being on the show eliminated any intrigue or glamor it had, or that he just has a life to live. Probably a combination of all those things. I do wonder why he’s agreed to play again, though. If it’s for fame or a career boost (he’s a comic book artist), then he’ll fizzle like Colby did. But if he still loves the game and has learned from his boyish mistake (he is older now) he could do really well.
Survivor: Redemption Island – 1st castaway voted out
Is Francesca the first player to return after being voted out first? I’m actually really on board with this casting choice. Francesca had a great personality in her pre-game interviews last time she played, she was funny in the three days she was on the island, and I enjoy her online presence. She’s a fan of the game who never got to live up to her potential. Hopefully she’s learned from making a bad first-day alliance.
Survivor: South Pacific – 13th castaway voted out
Cochran made a few mistakes when he played last time, but you can’t deny that the kid is smart. If he’s learned anything from his mistakes, this will go better for him. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if he were the first person voted off his tribe.
Survivor: Philippines – 15th castaway voted off
Malcolm is a dark horse. He’s young and fit, and his tribe will need him. Only Erik, if he’s as athletic and fit as he was last time, will be able to perform as well in challenges. (Since Malcolm filmed these back to back, hopefully he wasn’t too exhausted and starved to still play well.) But no one has seen him play, which means he’s both a threat and lacks the friendships other players bring into he game. I think his likable personality and physical fitness will get him to the merge, but after that he’ll have an uphill battle.
Survivor: Redemption Island – Placed second (receiving one vote) in the final three
I mean, really? Must we? I don’t need to see Phillip play again, unless he returns with an entirely different persona. But he won’t.
I haven’t watched any videos from the new players yet, so my opinions on them are limited. Considering these people are “fans”, I noticed a lot of recent players mentioned when they were asked to name a former player they’re most like. That’s not always the best sign. But I’m reserving judgment until I know more.
What do you guys think of the cast of returning players? Any early favorites?