My all-star Survivor team

So this week starts what could be the most interesting all-stars edition of a reality show.

Normally, I find these all-star editions to be a little dull. The first one on Survivor was pretty brutal, and the Fans vs. Favorites was horrible because there were too many stupid players. Nothing destroys a season of Survivor more than stupid people. Stupid moves are fines (for example, trusting the wrong person). But to do the wrong thing all the time is just sad.

But this time they brought some of the greatest players in the game together, called Heroes vs Villains. These are all smart or strong players.

But some of them leave me shaking my head. I think if you’re going to do this, then you shouldn’t have previous winners on, or people who have been on it twice.

So here are some former contestants that should have been on, one from each of the previous editions (minus the All-Stars editions).

Season 1: Gervase Peterson

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This one was tough. I eliminated Rudy, Sue and Rich because of the fact they’ve been on twice already. I really wanted to choose Kelly Wiglesworth, who was part of the final two with Rich. But I don’t think she played enough of a strategy game.

So I decided to go with Gervase because he played a good social game. People loved him, and he would be a fun guy to have on Survivor. One of the good things about the show at the beginning was the fact it wasn’t all about alliances. Half the show would be about them actually surviving. Gervase brought a lot of fun to it, and it would be interesting to see how a fun guy would do nowadays, especially with all the strategy. Jenna was a good example of this. She was a fun person in the first season, but turned into a strategist when she came back for the all-stars. Would Gervase be the same?

Season 2: Michael Skupin

Sure sure. Everyone remembers Colby and Jerry. But to me, none of that tribe would have stood a chance had Skupin remained in the game. He was the first player to ever leave the game without being voted off.

For those who don’t remember, Skupin was the king of the jungle in Australia. He made himself a spear and actually killed a boar with it. He was in a challenge where the other team had to put weight on a pole he held across his shoulders: The contest ended when the pole snapped.

Skupin’s Survivor quest was finished when he fell into a fire and burned himself pretty badly. I have no doubt that he won have won the whole thing had he stayed in the game.

Season 3: Frank Garrison

Frank is probably best remembered as the guy who imitated an elephant. But he was a man who brought a lot to the game.

Most of his time was spent arguing with his younger tribemates, whom he didn’t belong with. He worked hard, and believed his word was enough. With him, there was no backstabbing, no lies, no deceit. But because he could be trusted, a lot of people would probably make deals with him, wanting to go to the end.

Season 4: Hunter Ellis

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This is the season that gave us Boston Rob, but he’s already been on twice. So the next best choice would be Hunter Ellis. He was the leader of a tribe that couldn’t keep it together, and was the third one voted out., thanks to Boston Rob (Rob wanted to keep people he could control, which wasn’t Hunter). The former Navy aviator was strong, smart and (for the women) eye candy.

But being voted out third doesn’t matter. He could have been a strong player, and could have won quite a few immunities. I think voting out Hunter so early is one of the reasons why some of the stronger players lost so early, leaving the door wide open for four week finalists.

Season 5: Erin Collins

The worst season of Survivor in history (even Jeff Probst called it the worst season of the first 10). I ended up not caring about anyone in the final 8. Most people, even hardcore fans, probably don’t remember Brian Heidik, who won, much less most of the other players (give Brian credit though, he never received one single vote during any of the tribal councils).

So if you had to take someone, I’d go with Erin Collins. She was stuck in a numbers game, but was well-liked enough that the other team kept her around as long as they could. Plus, she would be eye candy for the fellows.

Season 6: Heidi Strobel

Her best friend on the show, Jenna Morasca, won the whole thing. But Heidi had played a good game up until she lost when the final five were three guys and two girls.

She also peeled off her clothes for peanut butter, and later posed in Playboy, so she deserves to make it to an All-Stars edition.

Season 7: Andrew Savage

One of the best seasons of the show, and probably the best one since the first season. (Notice how the seasons are now getting better, while seasons 2-5 weren’t very good? Chalk that up to better players and a better cast selection). Savage was another one of those players who got the short end of the stick after a merge because he was too good.

But Savage was well-liked, focused on getting rid of the weak players to make his own tribe better. He would be a good strong competitor for this game, and deserves to be back.

Season 8: All-Star edition, so no one can come from this one, because that means they would be on more than two seasons.

Season 9: Twila Tanner

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This goes down as the second most stupid season of Survivor ever. It was guys versus girls, and the weak guys kept voting off the strong guys, so they kept losing all their challenges. At the merge, the guys were outnumbers, and were picked off one by one. And then when it was one guy left and six girls, the girls turned on each other. Then, they were so bitter at one another, they voted for the guy to win the million dollars.

So choosing someone from this season was kind of tough. I decided to go with Twila because she was the runnerup. And that’s pretty much the only reason. Eliza and Ami went on all-star editions, and the winner can’t be on the tribes according to my rules. So Twila it is.

Season 10: Ian Rosenberger

This is the season that gave us Tom, one of the most dominating players ever in the game. He’s back as part of the Heroes tribe this season, but because he won, he’s not eligible for this exercise anyways.

So that leaves Ian, probably the best player to not make the final two. He was strong, likeable, and honourable. He had a chance to go to the final two, but made Tom keep his promise to vote out Ian. He definitely deserves another chance.

Season 11: Rafe Judkins

This was a tough one, because so many of the good players have already been on it more than once. But Judkins played the game shrewdly. His original alliance was falling apart because his tribe kept losing, and then he was mixed into the other tribe. But he helped convince someone to turn on their tribe, and that was the start of his alliance dominating the game.

He did make a classic Survivor mistake. At the final three, he told Danni that she didn’t have to take him to the final two, and that any previous promises were null and void. Danni took Stephanie instead, and Rafe was a little upset about it. But he kind of brought that onto himself.

Would he make the same mistake twice? Probably not, and that would put him into a dangerous position in an all-star game.

Season 12: Terry Deitz

Every once in a while, Survivor seems to want to stay in the news by starting off seasons with gimmicks. They rarely work, such as the case here. 

At the beginning, they divided the players into four tribes: old men, young men, old women and young women. Not very exciting stuff. They stopped it after the first episode.

But Terry turned out to be one of the most dangerous people never to make it to the finals. He found the hidden immunity idol, but never had to play it because he won five straight individual immunity challenges (and three of the last four reward challenges).

Season 13: Brad Virata

Honestly, I would much prefer Yul to be here. With all due respect to guys like Rich and Todd, I would argue Yul was actually the best person to ever play the game. He kept his word and his alliance strong, despite being down eight members to four at one point. He was a strong competitor, and a brilliant strategist.

But, because he won, I can’t use him in this genre. I also can’t use Ozzy, Parvati or Penner because they were on a later all-star edition. So I decided to go with Brad Virata. A strong player whose big mouth got him into trouble (pretty much saying it would be every man for himself when the merge happened), Brad would be an underdog in an all-star edition. But as Parvati showed, even the underdogs can win an all-star game since the big guns go after one another.

Season 14: Cassandra Franklin

I wasn’t a big fan of this season, mostly because of the Haves vs the Have-nots portion at the beginning of the season. It created some pretty lopsided results, which is never a good thing.

So because of my attention not being fully into this season, it’s hard to choose someone who should be there. Most would take Yau-Man, but that can’t happen since he’s been on the show twice already. So I decided to take one of the two finalists.

One wasn’t really worthy more than the other, but I went with Cassandra instead of Dreamz because of Dreamz broken promise to Yau-Man. Yau-Man gave the car he won to Dreamz if Dreamz would give him immunity at the final four (he didn’t). I think that would affect the rest of the cast, making it an easy decision when it’s time to vote someone out at the beginning on an all-star edition (similar to Johnny Fairplay in the Fans vs Favourites season).

Season 15: Peih-Gee Law

It’s hard to compete against one of the top three Survivor players of all time (Todd). But Peih-Gee had done a good job, winning a few immunity challenges and being a smart social player.

She also proved to be a bit of a drama queen, as she got upset that she wasn’t taken on reward challenges. That would make for some good television in an all-star edition.

At one point, she won two immunities and a reward challenge in three weeks, showing how tough a player she is.

Season 16: Joel Anderson

The Fans vs Favourites produced more stupidity in one season of Survivor than every other season combined. Blindsides, the fans tribe voting out their strongest players at the beginning because of alpha male issues and one guy giving up his immunity at tribal council only to be immediately voted out.

It was no surprise that the favourites ended up dominating.

So it was difficult to choose someone from the fans tribe to represent this season. Erik gave up his immunity necklace, so he’s out. Chet whined and eventually asked to be voted out, so he’s no good.

I decided to go with Joel because he’s strong, and did have a good head for the game. He was lacking in the social aspect, and was voted out because Cirie didn’t want the weaker players to go since she would be one of them. But I think he would learn from his mistakes, and not be blindsided again.

Season 17: Jessica Kiper, aka Sugar

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It always amazes me how personal some contestants can get on this show. Any time there’s the final vote and the jury votes for one person because they’re mad at the other one because they got outwitted, that’s just silly. Admit you got beat, and move on.

This season was probably a bit harsher than any other one, especially on Sugar. There were a couple of people who were on the show who purposefully tried to be the “bad” guy (to the effect they appeared petty instead). But when Sugar kept outlasting them, they got upset and would openly insult her. Sour grapes much?

Anyways, Sugar ended up outlasting most of them to make it to the final three, where she didn’t get one vote, despite the fact she deserved it. She figured out the hidden immunity challenge, she aligned herself with the right people when the time was right, and played a good social game.

The final thought on this season was that it produced a lot of good players. Besides Sugar, and Bob (the winner), other great players included Ken Hoang and Matty Whitmore. Of course, in the Survivor world, it’s better to bring Randy into an all-star edition instead of someone who actually deserves it more.

Season 18: Stephen Fishbach

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It’s not too often that both finalists deserve to win the million dollars, but that definitely was the case in Season 18. Although J.T. won thanks to his tenacity and southern charm, Stephen was just as deserving for playing a smart game. He was the brains behind the alliance, and without him, J.T. could not have won.

As you can probably tell by now, it’s not necessarily brawn that makes someone deadly at this game, it’s a combination. They need to have two of smarts, brawn and social game. If you have only one, you won’t make it very far. Stephen had the brains and some of the social game, but that fell to J.T., who had all three.

Season 19: Russell Hantz

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Without a doubt the best strategist in the game since Yul. Although he nearly cost himself the game several times. Burning others’ socks and emptying their water canteens to make them weak may have caused his tribe to lose several challenges.

And in the end he fell to the ultimate Survivor curse: The moment you get cocky and think you have the game all figured out, you get voted out. That’s what happened in the end.

But he was smart enough to find three hidden immunity idols (two of them with no clues), which helped him stay in the game on several occasions. He was smart enough to align himself with people loyal enough that they would never even consider getting rid of him.

Overall and thoughts about this season

• An interesting thought: Wouldn’t it be fun if they decided to bring back all those who were the first to be eliminated each season. I wonder how many great players never had a chance to compete because they were gone too quickly. One season had two captains choose teams, with the final two eliminated without ever actually doing anything. Bring them all back, and let’s see if any of them are any good. (Maybe that could be the next all-star edition: the first eliminated against a tribe of winners).

• One of the problems with the way Heroes vs Villians is set up is that so many of the contestants come from the last few seasons. The first 10 season are hardly heard from, which is a shame. It’d be nice to have someone from every season, and really, this is the only year you could actually do it before the tribes would get too big.

• Seriously, how do the Heroes tribe lose anything this time round? Have you seen the list of players? They have Rupert, James, Colby, J.T. and Tom (plus Amanda and Stephanie for the girls). That team should be able to dominate, unless a few of them have had hip surgery in the last few years.

• But I swear, if these people don’t get rid of Cirie after four weeks, then all these people deserve to be called stupid. She plays everyone every time, despite not doing anything in challenges and being weak around camp. The Heroes should hopefully be smart enough to see through her right away.

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