Survivor Season Rankings (Worst to Best)|
Last updated with: Worlds Apart
Disclaimer: The following countdown contains MAJOR SPOILERS. Other items worth noting:
|?.|| Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance (season #31)|
Who I wanted to get voted in and why: blog
|30.|| Survivor: Thailand (season #5)|
A painfully boring season that best exemplified why I almost stopped watching the show. This season also featured the lamest twist ever: rival tribes cohabitating instead of merging. blog
Highlights: Can't remember any.
|29.|| Survivor: Nicaragua (season #21)|
For me, this season took the cake for annoying castaways and inane gameplay. Although some of the more colorful characters, e.g., "Hurricane" NaOnka, "Fabio", and ex-NFL coach Jimmy Johnson entertained me, I basically had no one to root for during the entire season. In fact, I felt that the series hit a low point when Fabio won the game and Jane won Sprint's Player of the Season. Also found that Medallion of Power twist pretty lame. blog
|28.|| Survivor: One World (season #24)|
An embarrassing, mind-numbing season of quite possibly the dumbest (and most delusional) crop of players in Survivor history. It still pains me to think that a juvenile twerp like Colton could run the game and convince an entire tribe to forfeit team immunity (the dumbest tribal move I've ever seen until I see one worse)! I actually rooted for the women to vote out all of the men. Plus I'm sick of that tiresome "impulsively ally with four other strangers" strategy. blog, blog
|27.|| Survivor: Panama - Exile Island (season #12)|
I considered this season one of the flukiest in that the most annoying people seemed to dominate the game instead of getting voted out at the beginning (admittedly, Cirie Fields eventually impressed me in a later Survivor season). The only player that I liked (Terry) made it pretty far only to get betrayed and eliminated after the final challenge. That reinforced my disdain for the unpredictability of the final challenge--and unfortunately, the expansion of a final two into a final three didn't start until next season. :(
Highlight: Rooting for Terry in individual immunity challenges.
|26.|| Survivor: Guatemala - The Mayan Empire (season #11)|
I just remember this season for the returning Stephenie LaGrossa. I lamented how she tarnished that "America's sweetheart" image from "Survivor: Palau", but still rooted for her to win. To my chagrin, she blew it on the very last immunity challenge.
Highlights: Can't remember any.
|25.|| Survivor: China (season #15)|
A season highlighted by the bizarre coincidence of one castaway (James) ending up with both hidden immunity idols. I honestly cannot remember very much else about this season.
|24.|| Survivor: Marquesas (season #4)|
A dull season except for the pivotal power shift and the infamous "purple rock" tiebreaker.
|23.|| Survivor: South Pacific (season #23)|
The return of Ozzy and Coach! Cue the chirping crickets. I did get excited for the merge due to my high hopes for that Trojan Horse ploy--but alas, nothing much came of that. blog, blog
|22.|| Survivor: Pearl Islands (season #7)|
I hated the twist in this season where eliminated castaways voted two outcasts in. I also hated how two of my favorite castaways, Rubert and Andrew, got voted out while two of my least favorite castaways, Jonny Fairplay and Lillian, made it all the way to the final episode.
|21.|| Survivor: Vanuatu - Islands of Fire (season #9)|
A female-dominated season where the last man managed to win against all odds. I remember a lame controversy about whether a player crossed the line by swearing an oath on her son.
|20.|| Survivor: Africa (season #3)|
I loved the generational clashes in this season. Didn't care much for the self-righteous winner though. :(
|19.|| Survivor: The Amazon (season #6)|
The first season to divide tribes into all-male and all-female castaways. Made for some interesting social dynamics.
|18.|| Survivor: Gabon (season #17)|
A veritable encyclopedia of the different Survivor strategems, including: a) a player who voted tactifully and constantly lied, b) a player who voted emotionally and felt that "the good guys should win in the end", and c) a "paragon" player, good at challenges, who tricked voters with fake immunity idols. blog
|17.|| Survivor: Tocantins (season #18)|
An unpredictably cutthroat season wherein the last two castaways managed to betray all three of their alliances. This cast featured one of the haughtiest personalities I've ever seen, Coach the "Dragonslayer", and showed the importance of building character references. For instance, I couldn't help but respect J.T. and stigmatize Sierra after hearing fairly consistent remarks about them. blog
|16.|| Survivor: Fiji (season #14)|
This season reminded me of a counter-intelligence thriller because of that one episode where a rival alliance conspired to use a hidden immunity idol. It also featured a castaway that I hated more than anyone in Survivor history, Dreamz, because of a deal with that he infamously reneged on. Granted, back stabs happen a lot on Survivor--but it make me sick how this guy boasted on and on about how he'd honor the deal and show his son a good example. Then he had the nerve to act all proud of the betrayal! Stinking hypocrite. blog, blog
|15.|| Survivor: Philippines (season #25)|
A refreshingly unpredictable season thanks to the return of the three tribe formula (breaking the five-person alliance tradition), shifts in alliances (including one betrayal foreshadowed by the "four-fingered handshake"), and...players who didn't seem to know what they were doing (particularly during the tribal council where all of the alliances and hidden immunity idols got blown). I enjoyed rooting for Jonathan Penner again as he narrowly escaped elimination multiple times. I also legimitimately worried that Michael Skupin might require evacuation again. blog
|14.|| Survivor: Palau (season #10)|
A season highlighted by two standout players: Tom Westman and Stephenie LaGrossa. I once called Tom the best Survivor player of all time. He inspired such respect in fellow players that the jurors actually took his BS seriously. He even inspired one player to forfeit the last immunity challenge for him! Now that's what I call charisma. blog
|13.|| Survivor: All-Stars (season #8)|
This season pitted a lot of renowned Survivor players against each other, stirred some intense emotions, and sparked the romance between my favorite Survivor couple, Rob and "Ambuh" (both of whom I later enjoyed watching in "The Amazing Race").
|12.|| Survivor: The Australian Outback (season #2)|
This season had a good villain (Jerri) and a memorable tragedy where Michael Skupin passed out into the fire. It also featured a young Elisabeth Filarski before she went on to co-host "The View" as a staunch Republican.
|11.|| Survivor: Caramoan - Fans vs. Favorites (season #26)|
Just as "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" helped me proclaim the best player of all time, this season helped me crown the worst player of all time. I mean seriously, at first glance that "Favorites" tribe looked like a Survivor Hall of Shame. But admittedly to my admiration, some of them really stepped up their gameplay. I felt particularly proud of Cochran, who in my judgment delivered the best jury presentation in Survivor history. blog
|10.|| Survivor: Cagayan - Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty (season #28)|
A bizarro, borderline subversive season where the players (particularly "Chaos" Kass and Tony Vlachos) seemed to indulge whatever harebrained "strategy" suited their fancy. Examples: the inaptly-named "Brains" tribe keeping a nutjob who dumped out their rice, castaways swapping immunity idols at tribal council, safe players illogically flipping on their solid alliances, and Woo opting to "compete against the best" in the final two! But possibly the biggest farce of them all: the show bringing back the super-powered "immunization" idol, which combined with the normal immunity idol gave Tony the most ridiculous handicap in Survivor history. blog
|9.|| Survivor: San Juan del Sur - Blood vs. Water (season #29)|
Same tears, pangs of emotion, and double-edged swords as the first Blood vs. Water season (as far as I'm concerned, the show can bring back this premise every season)--but even more unpredictable this time around, mostly because of this one maddening lovey-dovey couple who seemed to play musical chairs with their loyalties every time a new tune played (from Jaclyn not getting enough attention to Jon trusting someone different). Side note: Never seemed to dawn on any of the players that relinquishing a reward to win someone over doesn't work!
|8.|| Survivor: Worlds Apart - White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar (season #30)|
All season long, it felt like I was watching a bunch of children. From the vicious mean streaks to castaways wallowing in their own hurt feelings (in one case because a guy didn't get a reward for his birthday!), the overall lack of maturity made it hard to root for anybody. I kept dreading a nightmare final three of the season's three biggest jerks: Dan, Will, and Rodney. Thankfully, Mike Holloway managed to scrape and claw his way back from the brink of oblivion (due to that auction mistake fairly early in the game, he went from odds-on favorite to dangling by a thread). The most touching irony for me: that Mike spent the whole game premeditating stratagems, but probably never even stopped to consider that a single act of kindness (his impromptu defense of Shirin while everyone else stood by) would end up helping him when he needed it most. blog
|7.|| Survivor: Borneo (season #1)|
Although I remember complaining about the lack of strategy among these castaways, this first season of Survivor kept me on the edge of my seat and led to some interesting talk around the water cooler.
|6.|| Survivor: Redemption Island (season #22)|
The return of Boston Rob and Russell Hantz! Even though Russell went out too early, I'd still rather watch four episodes of him rather than entire seasons of lame players. :) As for Boston Rob...I developed a whole new respect for the guy. He took the game to new heights, and masterminded some impressive (albeit troubling) new strategies. Of all the castaways to ever play Survivor, I proclaim that Rob deserved to win the most. P.S. I didn't like the Redemption Island twist. blog
|5.|| Survivor: Blood vs. Water (season #27)|
A fiendishly personal season where returning castaways had their own loved ones used against them. The premise paid off so well that I wondered why they hadn't come up with it sooner! That is, until one player voted out her own mother. Then it just got awkward and weird for me (in my opinion, you'd have to be one heckuva Survivor purist not to blink at that). I also felt that the rock tiebreaker tainted the season's results.
|4.|| Survivor: Samoa (season #19)|
An entertaining season thanks to a guy whom I'd easily characterize as the most interesting Survivor player of all time: Russell Hantz. At first, he seemed like a complete jerk...but then after he found a hidden immunity idol without any clues, I really began to admire his guile. To my amazement, his machinations went on to save his tribe from a near-hopeless 8-to-4 decifit! If only this guy had won... blog
|3.|| Survivor: Cook Islands (season #13)|
One of the rarer seasons where the player that I heavily rooted for, Yul Kwon, actually won the game. He overcame formidable obstacles too: a mutiny and a popular player (Ozzy) in the final vote. Although this season took a lot of criticism for dividing the tribes by ethnicity, I welcomed the variety. I also loved how this season finally cast some charismatic "intellectuals", i.e., Yul and another favorite player of mine, Jonathan Penner. blog
|2.|| Survivor: Micronesia - Fans vs. Favorites (season #16)|
A refreshing season that cast some of the most conniving players in Survivor history--most notably, an alliance of women that kept ensnaring men in their traps. This "black widow" alliance led to one of my favorite Survivor moments of all time: the final four women managing to persuade the last surviving man to give up his immunity! blog
|1.|| Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (season #20)|
A big-time "WrestleMania" meets "Game of Thrones" for Survivor fans that excited me before it even began...and wow, it did not disappoint. Unlike other seasons where the best TV only occurred after the merge, this season managed to thrill me from start to finish. It featured suspenseful gameplay, shockingly bold moves, and lots of WTF moments for the water cooler. Some of my favorite seasons' all-stars like Boston Rob, Russell, and alumni from the "black widow" alliance managed to shine all over again. blog, blog