The Best Survivor Seasons: My Ranking

16 Feb

[Edited to include all seasons through #36]

With a new season beginning today, I thought it was time to rank every season I have seen so far (sorry I did miss one or two seasons along the way) and authoritatively tell you that season’s most memorable moment, character, or theme.

These are ranked from worst to best.

#32 One World. Lots of dumb players and a couple who were barely playing at all. Kim played a great game to win, but against almost no competition. Sadly, the most entertaining moment was probably when Tarzan threw his dirty underwear on top of Chelsea’s in the cooking pot.

#32 Ghost Island. Unfortunately the most exciting moment came with 5 minutes left in the last episode, namely the first-ever tie vote.

#31 San Juan Del Sur. Best moment: Reed excoriates Missy at final tribal council with his “wicked stepmother speech.” That, combined with some good blindsides and the fact that almost everyone was actually playing the game, though some badly, keep it out of the bottom spot.

#30 The Amazon. A low-key season that didn’t have many strategists, and had a pretty weak winner in Jenna. The moment people seem to mention most is Jenna and Heidi taking off their clothes in a challenge, and even that was kind of boring!

#29 South Pacific. Self-flagellating by Brandon and the nerdiness of Cochran were the season’s dominant themes. No wonder I have it near the bottom. Most memorable moment to me was Coach leading a prayer to find the idol even though he secretly had it!

#28 Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. In a new twist, the winner of the final immunity challenge (Chrissy) can only choose one person to join her at the finals, and the remaining two players do a fire-making challenge to get the last spot. Ben, otherwise certain to be voted out, wins the challenge and the game.

#27 Nicaragua. If it had memorable moments, I wouldn’t have it ranked third-to-last, would I? Jimmy Johnson was affable as could be, yet every guy was incredibly threatened by him except for stoner Fabio who somehow won the season.

#26 Vanuatu. Someone is talking trash about Twila when the camera suddenly swings around to find her listening in with a “gotcha” expression on her face.

#25 Tocantins. Coach tells a story at camp about being kidnapped by natives on a trip down the Amazon, and later says he has been in “5, 6, 7, 8” life-or-death situations.

#24 Fiji. Yau Man buries a fake idol. That’s a boring highlight but this was a really boring season that would probably be dead last if not for Yau Man.

#23 Panama (aka Exile Island). I hate to say it, but the most memorable thing is Shane and what a d–k he was.

#22 Gabon. Crystal, who despite being an Olympic gold medalist was the least athletic person in the game (?) loses a “shooting-baskets” challenge and decides to take out her frustration by doing a big slam dunk on a 5-foot-high basket. And misses. The all time most pathetic Survivor moment.

#21 Millennials vs. Gen-X. Jay smugly tells the camera what “fools” Ken and David are for not noticing the idol he found … when in fact it’s a fake made by David.

#20 Kaoh Rong. A tiny bug crawls inside Jennifer’s ear.

#19 Cambodia (aka Second Chance). Kelley has to try and grab an immunity idol during a challenge without anyone noticing.

#18 Pearl Islands. Jonny Fairplay and the fake death of his grandma.

#17 Australia. Very scary moment as Mike Skupin falls into the fire and burns himself.

#16 All-Stars. Lex gets suckered by Boston Rob into keeping Amber in the game.

#15 Philippines. A tribal council with lots of candidates to be sent home, at which Malcolm and Abi-Maria both reveal they have idols.

#14 Worlds Apart. Mike promises he won’t try any tricks at the food auction, then does anyway.

#13 Redemption Island. Crazy Phillip with the droopy briefs.

#12 Blood vs. Water. Ciera forces a tie at tribal council and players draw rocks for the tiebreaker, with Ciera’s ally Katie being sent home.

#11 Game Changers. Sarah hears about Sierra’s Legacy Advantage and gets her voted out of the game while still convincing Sierra to pass the advantage on to her!

#10 Borneo. Sue Hawk’s “snake and the rat” speech at the final tribal council.

#9 Cagayan (aka Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty). Tony and his “spy shacks.”

#8 Caramoan. Malcolm tells Reynold “hold up” and convinces him to give his idol to Malcolm, even though Malcolm secretly has one already.

#7 China. James has two immunity idols but doesn’t use either and gets voted out.

#6 Cook Islands. The four underdogs led by Yul and Ozzy beat the odds to win.

#5 Samoa. Russell Hantz (who should have won) finds three idols, one without even having a clue to the location.

#4 Micronesia (aka Fans vs. Favorites). In the dumbest move in Survivor history, Erik the ice cream scooper gives up his immunity to Natalie.

#3 Heroes vs. Villains. At tribal council when Jeff Probst asks about immunity idols, Russell steps toward Probst, then turns and gives his idol to Parvati in the bizarre twist that eliminated Tyson. “What just happened?” Danielle asks. This season was the opposite of most, with the early episodes being classics and the later ones boring.

#2 Guatemala. Why is this not hailed by everyone as one of the classic seasons? The most memorable moment to me was the ultra-grueling hike on the first episode. But this had skilled players in Danni and Rafe, great players in Stephenie and Gary Hogeboom, and great characters in Bobby Jon, Judd, and Jamie. Loved it.

#1 Palau. Oh my gosh was this a classic. What high drama! The final challenge with Tom and Ian holding on until after dark, than making a deal. Stephenie is like Robinson Crusoe in a tribe of one. Tom kills a shark. Cobi the gay guy knocks James the redneck into the water to win a challenge. Almost every challenge was taxing and brutal.  And unlike some seasons, the best player (Tom) was also the winner.

The tribe has spoken.


4 Responses to “The Best Survivor Seasons: My Ranking”


  1. Survivor premiere follow-ups « Barry's Bachelor Blog - February 16, 2012

    […] all of the biggest Survivor dumbasses mentioned in one place. What a trip down memory lane. In my recent ranking of previous seasons I addressed the demises of Erik and James as being the most memorable moments […]

  2. Survivor: Game Changers Final Thoughts | Barry's Reality Blog - May 27, 2017

    […] If someone had told me before the season that the final three would be a former 8th-place finisher (Troy), a former 15th place finisher (Brad), and an 11th-place finisher who I didn’t even remember (Sarah) I would have assumed this season turned out to be a bit of a dud. Luckily nothing could be further from the truth! In fact in my season rankings this one almost makes the top ten. […]

  3. Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers Final Thoughts | Barry's Reality Blog - December 27, 2017

    […] You can check out my full rankings of the seasons here. […]

  4. Survivor: Ghost Island Final Thoughts | Barry's Reality Blog - June 7, 2018

    […] You can check out my full rankings of the seasons here. […]

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