If you’re a longtime Challenge fan, you probably think Spies, Lies & Allies is somewhat unrecognizable. Sure, there are some people you’d recognize. CT is back again, Aneesa is back again, and Nany is back…again.
If you’re a recent Challenge fan, half of the cast will look really familiar. The other half will look really random. Production is pulling people from all over the world. This leaves viewers with questions. Some people are probably looking at someone like Tacha and wondering “how can I watch Big Brother Nigeria? I live in the US.” More people will look at the cast and think “who the fuck are these people?”
Spies, Lies, & Allies isn’t even a War of the Worlds theme. Somehow, over half of the cast is made of rookies. While viewers might be familiar with alumni from Survivor or Love Island, the international contenders haven’t been on shows accessible to US viewers. The other half of the cast, the alumni, feel really stale. Almost all of them appeared on Double Agents and have an ongoing streak of Challenge appearances.
Amanda Garcia- 6th season, first season back after a 3 season break
Aneesa Ferreira- 15th season, 3rd consecutive season
Ashley Mitchell- 9th season, 6th consecutive season
Big T Fazakerley- 4th season, 4th consecutive season
CT Tamburello- 19th season, 6th consecutive season
Cory Wharton- 9th season, 3rd consecutive season
Devin Walker- 6th season, 2nd consecutive season
Fessy Shafaat- 3rd season, 3rd consecutive season
Josh Martinez- 5th season, 5th consecutive season
Kaycee Clark- 3rd season, 3rd consecutive season
Kyle Christie- 7th season, 7th consecutive season
Nam Vo- 2nd season, 2nd consecutive season
Nany Gonzalez- 11th season, 5th consecutive season
Nelson Thomas- 8th seasons, 3rd consecutive season
Tori Deal- 6th season, 4th consecutive season
Amber Borzotra- 2nd season, 2nd consecutive season (she’s a replacement, but we know this from the trailer).
Amanda Garcia is the only returner who took a break between Challenge appearances. She took 3 seasons off while she had a baby. So, viewers are left with a bunch of people they just saw on Double Agents. If they loved that season , they’re in for a treat. This season will continue some of those storylines. If they’re getting tired of the people they saw on Double Agents, they’re going to be tired on Spies, Lies & Allies really quickly.
Season 37 only features two of the ten people who debuted on Double Agents: Nam and Amber. To make matters worse, Amber wasn’t even part of the original cast. This demonstrates a lack of interest in the rookies. Viewers aren’t able to build connections with these people if they expire after one season, and they likely had no pre-existing relationship with the person because their origin show can only be viewed overseas.
Double Agents and Spies, Lies & Allies highlight one of the biggest issues when casting current Challenge seasons. Casts are massively overlooking the young “veterans.” We’ve seen an influx of new rookies on War of the Worlds-Double Agents. Many of these people fail to appear on a subsequent season, and it’s not due to lack of interest. This means viewers can’t establish relationships with the newbies. Over time, this will make them reluctant to accept more new faces.
Meanwhile, we’re just seeing the same old super vets on the show. CT is a staple of the franchise, and at least he stands a chance at winning. Other people return season after season, apply the same effort, and expect different results. Only three prior Champions (CT, Ashley, and Amber) were deemed valuable enough to return to Spies, Lies & Allies. Some veterans are getting sick of the direction of the show. Bananas has been outspoken about casting, and he seems to agree that the random people are ruining the franchise. Meanwhile, winners like Jenny are getting regulated to alternate status if they’re even getting called.
Spies, Lies & Allies has already been filmed. In the future, I hope production starts to shake things up. I like Nany, Cory, and Nelson, but a break wouldn’t kill them. Meanwhile, there are Real World alumni who want to reappear on the show. This is why people are excited about the All Stars spin-off. Fans can remember the faces on TV and we get a good mix of people. Meanwhile, the main series seems to be a mix of mediocre veterans, international promotional materials, and CT.