Best Seasons Of Survivor, Ranked

Survivor is one of the longest reality TV series out there, and the following seasons are its strongest ones.

Highlights

  • Survivor: China (Season 15) stands out for its exciting cast of characters and thrilling strategic gameplay.
  • Survivor 2: The Australian Outback introduced unique challenges and interpersonal dynamics that set it apart from other seasons.
  • Survivor 41’s attempt to shake things up with new mechanics resulted in a lack of impactful moments and missed opportunities for the castaways.

GAMERANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

At its core, the competitive television series Survivor still to this day maintains its traditional format of separating competitors within Tribes, with each episode narrating their challenges across all areas of survival – maintaining their camps, succeeding in challenges, and surviving the dreaded Tribal Council.

Related 10 Great TV Drama Series With Underwhelming First Seasons Not every TV drama has stellar beginnings, but it doesn’t mean they can’t improve with time. Here are some of the best series with poor first seasons.

For newcomers to the Survivor franchise, it can be tricky to choose just which Survivor season to start with, so we’ve decided to list the best ones. Just which Survivor entry would fans enjoy the most to see the full extent of the show’s motto – to outwit, outplay, and outlast?

Updated on January 30, 2024, by Rhenn Taguiam: With Survivor 46 slated for a February 2024 premiere, fans of the reality show competition may eagerly await the franchise’s upcoming season that marks the fourth entry of its post-COVID slate. However, fans and newcomers to Survivor who want to figure out what made the reality show last for 46 seasons may be interested in its innate appeal. Among must-watches in Survivor’s long slate include the first of the post-COVID series, a contentious entry set in the Cook Islands, the most recent Survivor entry that showcased a more solid take on the new rules, and one season that highlighted the mental and social gymnastics that accompanied the franchise.

23 Season 15 (China)

IMDb Rating: 7.3

Survivor China

Release Period

September 20 – December 16, 2007

Location

Mount Lu West Sea, Jiujiang, China

Winner

Todd Herzog

Unlike other Seasons of the Survivor reality competition, it’s Survivor: China that perhaps partly encapsulated one of the key highlights of the franchise in the form of a delightful cast of characters. Aside from a rather peculiar choice of having the season set in China, what the Season has in rather unremarkable challenges makes up for having an exciting cast of characters that, aside from the enjoyable one-liners from Courtney Yates, the alliance between Todd Herzog and Amanda Kimmel remain an extremely exciting thing to witness.

Not to mention, the attempt of Jean-Robert Bellande to outsmart Todd in the strategy component of the title only for the tables to turn against him was quite a delight to see. Whereas James Clement’s elimination (with two Immunity Idols!) was a pain to witness, Todd’s spectacular rise from a schemer to Sole Survivor remains a hallmark of the season.

22 Season 2 (The Australian Outback)

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Survivor Season 2

Release Period

January 28, 2001 – May 3, 2001

Location

Goshen Station, Northern Queensland, Australia

Winner

Tina Wesson

One of the unique seasons in the reality drama competition so far, Survivor 2: The Australian Outback gives viewers a glimpse of life in Australia’s forested regions – distant in both aesthetic and survival demands, especially versus the tropical landscapes of modern seasons. With a wildfire just miles from the pre-merge camps, Survivors are pressed to ensure their camps are properly made – a reality check made more intense with other interpersonal stakes such as the dynamic between Jerri Manthey and Colby Donaldson, and eventual Sole Survivor Tina Wesson her other post-merge allies bonding over their motto being the most deserving to win the role.

Being only the second season, it also had notable events that became “firsts” throughout the series. For instance, this was the first season to have a blindfold challenge, as well as a standing-on-a-pole-in-the-water challenge, as well as solving a voting deadlock based on previous votes against each contender.

21 Survivor 41

IMDb Rating: 4.9

Survivor 41

Release Period

September 22, 2021 – December 15, 2021

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Erika Casupanan

Considered the first Survivor series to air during the COVID-19 pandemic, Survivor 41 attempts to shake things up for the franchise by introducing quite several new mechanics such as immunity in exchange for a vote (Shot in the Dark), being able to vote only after Immunity Idol activation (Beware Advantage), and even the ability to reverse the results of a group immunity challenge (Hourglass).

However, the new format presented a visible challenge for Survivor to adapt to shorter days, fewer episodes, and a longer runtime per episode. As a result, the final cut often failed to present impactful moments where they mattered, especially in the days leading up to the Final Tribal Council. Erika Casupanan’s win seemed well-deserved, but the unrefined new mechanics felt as though Erika and the other Castaways weren’t given enough opportunities to build momentum with them.

20 Survivor 42

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Survivor 42

Release Period

March 9, 2022 – May 25, 2022

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Maryanne Oketch

Considered one of the “newer” iterations of the reality competition under post-COVID television, Survivor 42 tries to spice things up by balancing a shorter 26-day (instead of 29) stay in Fiji with more intense challenges and newer twists. New to the game is the concept of leaving the exiled island, where the exiled player can either leave their hourglass alone with no consequence or break it to reverse the recent immunity win of a tribe and join the new winners. Meanwhile, another twist is the “Do Or Die,” where the first one to lose an immunity challenge can pick one (1) of three (3) boxes, two (2) of which forces them out of the competition.

However, it’s also perhaps the cast surrounding Survivor 42 that makes it quite a worthwhile watch. Aside from gleeful Maryanne Oketch, fans can see stereotypes broken by the bromance between buff Jonathan Young and nerdy Omar Zaheer, alongside other highly personal stories. Sadly, the absence of a “token bad guy” did eliminate a lot of excitement from the strategy aspect of the game, and the exiled island twist doesn’t give much of a strategic choice to the participants.

ES INTERESANTE:  Star Trek: Los 7 mejores episodios del Universo Espejo

19 Season 13 (Cook Islands)

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Season 13

Release Period

September 14, 2006 – December 17, 2006

Location

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Winner

Yul Kwon

Despite a rather slow start, Season 13: Cook Islands catapults into intense territory once viewers get into the “groove” of the series. While this season boasts perhaps one of the most diverse casts of Castaways so far, the two-episode premise of splitting tribes according to ethnicities can leave a sour taste in a viewer’s mouth. The third episode puts a quick end to this by mixing up everyone into two tribes as per Survivor tradition, but the intensity ramps up to 11 as its twists only begin here.

By the ninth episode, an opportunity to perform a Mutiny causes two Aiutaki members to defect to the Rarotonga tribe, leaving a four-person Aiutaki against a battalion of eight in Rarotonga. The twist doesn’t end here, however, as the disadvantaged Aiutaki simply decimated Rarotonga in subsequent challenges in quite a satisfying clapback, eventually eliminating Rarotonga after Rarotonga in Tribal Councils. Unfortunately, the rather racist connotations in Cook Islands can make the season difficult to appreciate from a modern perspective.

18 Season 26 (Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites)

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 69%

Survivor 26

Release Period

February 13, 2013 – May 12, 2013

Location

Caramoan Islands, Philippines

Winner

John Cochran

Serving as the show’s second version of the “Fans versus Favorites” concept, Survivor 26: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites served as one of the more intense seasons of the reality drama show, particularly with the blend of hardcore fans and standout returnees. While the pre-merge segments definitely gave the advantage to the returnees, it’s the post-merge reality drama and strategy that made Caramoan a sight to see.

Particular to this season would be the “Stealth R Us” alliance from Phillip Sheppard, the returnee strategist from Survivor 22: Redemption Island, making his presence known like a historical figure from a drama series. While their seven-man dominating alliance has proved just how efficient a well-thought-of social alliance could get, the underdog alliance between Malcolm Freberg (Survivor 25: Philippines) and fan Reynold Toepfer alongside their Immunity Idols have turned the tables against the seemingly-undefeatable team. Other than that, the usual banter between Survivors doesn’t leave much to expect from this particular season.

17 Season 32 (Kaoh Rong – Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty)

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 86%

Survivor 32

Release Period

February 17, 2016 – May 18, 2016

Location

Rong, Cambodia

Winner

Michele Fitzgerald

In a survival situation, what would dominate: the smart ones, the athletic ones, or the charismatic ones? This is something that Survivor 32: Kaoh Rong – Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty exemplified, as the three (3) tribes in this Cambodia-set reality drama competition are based on these perceived dominant attributes as though they are characters from a drama. Aside from the delightful cast members, Season 32 does feature exciting mechanics. For instance, aside from Hidden Immunity Idols, possessing two (2) of these Idols can be combined into a Super Idol that can be played after votes are read. Moreover, the winner of the final reward challenge was also given the option to remove a member of the jury.

Most notable in this season is the sheer level of unpredictability and intense competition between the cast. Moreover, the Season is probably the most “punishing” iteration of the series, especially with its multiple evacuations. And while these situations can make this season not for the faint of heart, the level of discipline and control on the part of Jeff Probst as both a host and a producer made

16 Season 4: Marquesas

Amazon: 3.5/5

Survvior Marquesas

Release Period

February 28, 2002 – May 19, 2002

Location

Nuku Hiba, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Winner

Vecepia Towery

Set in French Polynesia’s Marquesas Islands, Season 4: Marquesas was a refreshing early twist to the Survivor formula. The season did start ordinarily, with the contestants being divided into the Maraamu and Rotu Tribes, which stood for “Wind” and “Rain” in Marquesan, respectively. In third tribe fashion, the two (2) tribes merged into a singular Soliantu tribe, which the contestants coined to mean “Sacred Allegiance to the Sun.”

Despite the “regular” trends, Marquesas set a precedent on various trends and rules for seasons of the reality show to come. For instance, admirable in this season is the effort of the otherwise-regarded “weaker” contestants ganging up to dominate their “stronger” counterparts in voting sessions. However, an internal alliance called the Rotu Four caused a Survivor’s forced “rocking out” due to continuously deadlocked votes in a surprising twist, forcing subsequent seasons to avoid ties. Likewise, this served as the debut of fan-favorite Rob Mariano, who would become a contestant in at least four (4) other seasons after this one.

15 Season 10: Palau

IMDb Rating: 8.2

Survivor Season 10

Release Period

February 17, 2005 – May 15, 2005

Location

Koror, Palau

Winner

Tom Westman

It’s not uncommon for a Survivor Season to have a theme, but it’s Season 10: Palau that would probably do a bit of divergence away from the usual “tropical” trends of the island-survival competition. This time, the Palau-set Survivor season would have a World War 2 Pacific Theater theme, featuring more intense challenges for Survivors, and a Tribal Council featuring actual World War 2 relics, including barbed wires, cement, weapons, and fallen aircraft.

This time around, Tom Westman of the New York City fire department outvoted advertising exec Katie Gallagher in a final vote, making him the Sole Survivor in a surprising twist. Aside from this win, however, perhaps iconic to Season 10 are three (3) players who would eventually become popular enough to return in other Seasons, such as Tom Westman, Stephenie LaGrossa, and Bobby Drinkard.

14 Survivor 45

IMDb Rating: 6.2

Survivor 45

Release Period

September 27, 2023 – December 20, 2023

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Dee Valladares

Serving as the latest season of Survivor to grace the post-Pandemic era, Survivor 45 set in Fiji retains many of the safety protocols introduced since Survivor 41. In turn, the show still boasts 18 Castaways split into three tribes and a 26-day gameplay period. This overall shortened take on the show might make older fans crave more extended hijinks and tactical movement between Survivors, but the season does live up to the adage “less is more.”

Vash in Trigun and Shinji in Neon Genesis Evangelion Related 6 90s Anime That Would Make Great Live-Action Netflix Adaptations With the success of One Piece and Yu Yu Hakusho, Netflix should look to these other 90s anime for its next live-action adaptations.

ES INTERESANTE:  Star Wars: 5 cosas impresionantes que hizo Han Solo antes de unirse a la Alianza Rebelde

As a result, Survivor 45’s jampacked 90-minute episodes condensed storylines into rollercoasters of tactical moves that needed quick thinkers to follow them. The Final Tribal Council flip from winner Dee Valladares that upended alliances and shocked the jury into submission was something worth the watch, especially with the build-up from previous episodes. Unfortunately, the rather long format failed to give the final episode its deserving “wow” moment – an oomph that much of its thrilling episodes lacked due to the format change.

13 Season 34: Game Changers

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Survivor Season 34

Release Period

March 8, 2017 – May 24, 2017

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Sarah Lacina

As the name implies, Season 34: Game Changers was when the show went full experimental and tried changing a lot of known mechanics in the Survivor reality show. Fans know this season for causing many chaotic changes to the show formula, which the contestants used to their maximum strategic efficiency – quite similar to twists and turns in a crime show.

This strategic supremacy is demonstrated by Sarah Lacina, whose calculated flips managed to take control of critical elements that resulted in her decisive win. A key component introduced in the show is the Game Changers format, where 20 returning contestants return to contend for the title of Soul Survivor. Another surprising twist came from the Exile island, where one person without a tribe was sent in exile – only to be given one of the secret advantages, including a challenge advantage, an Extra Vote, or the ability to create a fake Hidden Immunity Idol.

12 Season 6: The Amazon

IMDb Rating: 6.8

Survivor Season 6

Release Period

February 13, 2003 – May 11, 2003

Location

Amazonas, Brazil

Winner

Jenna Morasca

It’s not uncommon for a long-lasting reality show to have seasons that try to change the formula, but it’s usually one season that begins the trend. In the case of Survivor, this came in the form of Season 6: The Amazon, where its Amazon-heavy themes became the first for the show. The season also introduced “twists” in the Survivor formula that heavily influenced the seasons. These included the first instance of a merged tribe and a Final Tribe Council with seven jury members.

There were also interesting twists that changed the dynamic of the season entirely, which can be a breath of fresh air for TV fans who got used to comedies. For instance, Day 13 had the youngest members of the tribe go on a summit where they decided on a “remix” of the tribes, as they had been initially separated as men (Tambaqui) and women (Jaburu). Moreover, this was the first season to feature a Survivor contender with a disability, in the form of Christy Smith, who was hearing impaired.

11 Season 27: Blood Vs. Water

IMDb Rating: 7.0

Survivor Season 27

Release Period

September 18, 2013 – December 15, 2013

Location

Palaui Island, Philippines

Winner

Tyson Apostol

Reality show contestants who are blood-related often have the expectations of teaming up together. This same notion is broken early in Season 27: Blood vs. Water of the Survivor reality show. In this Survivor season set in the Palaui Island of the Philippines, the “Blood vs. Water” mechanic is emphasized, where contestants – returnee Survivor contestants and a loved one – were sent to the island a day before (Day 0) under the notion of being in the same tribe, only for the biggest shocker the next day to reveal that returnees and their loved ones would be in separate tribes.

Not only that, but the season also features a Redemption Island, where everyone voted out will be sent here first. When the Redemption Survivors reach three, they must conduct a three-way duel to officially kick someone out while the two (2) remain and afterward engage in a match that returns them to the game. Exciting events in the season include early-game domination between strategists MAras Baskauskas and Brad Culpepper before returning players Gervase Peterson, Monica Culpepper, and Tyson Apostol created a powerful three-way alliance. Despite efforts from contenders Hayden Moss and Ciera Eastin to destroy the team, Tyson won Sole Survivor due to this play.

Season 25: Philippines

IMDb Rating: 8.0

Season 25

Release PeriodSeptember 19, 2012 – December 16, 2012
LocationCaramoan, Philippines
WinnerDenise Stapley

While the idea of
three Tribes
isn’t at all new to the
Survivor
franchise, it’s in
Season 25: Philippines
that transformed the tri-tribe concept into something to look forward to. Although this series is the seventh to feature returning castaways, three of the returnees in
Philippines
were all medically evacuated in previous Seasons, making this their time to shine.Starting tribes in the Season were Tandang (Rooster), Kalabaw (Carabao), and Matsing (Monkey), respectively. And what’s perhaps interesting would be Sole Survivor Denise Stapley, who serves as not only the oldest female winner in the show’s history. Rather, Stapley also became the only person thus far to have attended and survived every Tribal Council meeting in the Season.

Season 7: Pearl Islands

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Season 7

Release PeriodSeptember 18, 2003 – December 14, 2003
LocationPearl Islands, Panama
WinnerSandra Diaz-Twine

Fans of
Survivor
who thought it was high time the series explored pirates would delight in
Season 7: Pearl Islands
. Set in the Pearl Islands close to Panama, the Season lasted for 39 days, with 16 castaways duking it out for the title of Sole Survivor.
best anime movies netflix Related The Best Anime Movies On Netflix (January 2024) Gearing up for an anime binge on Netflix? Make sure you queue up these anime films.
What’s perhaps interesting about
Pearl Islands
has to do with the
level of intrigue
castaways were willing to indulge in for the purposes of executing their plans. For instance, castaway Johnny Fairplay faked his grandmother’s death in order to gain sympathy from his Tribe. Not only that, but a shocking twist that brought two castaways back for another shot at the title of Sole Survivor was a thrill to watch at the time for a show that was just getting its footing.

10 Season 18 (Tocantins)

IMDb Rating: 7.1

Season 18

Release Period

February 12, 2009 – May 17, 2009

Location

Tocantins, Brazil

Winner

James “J.T.” Thomas

Completing the even more exotic locales of the Brazilian Highlands in Season 18: Tocantins is its cast of remarkably colorful characters, making this one of the more beloved seasons in the reality show. The return of Exile Island with new mechanics spiced things up for tribes Jalapao and Timbira, with the post-merge Forza Tribe being where much of the season shines. Just the presence of goofy Coach Wade alone is enough to win fans over with his interactions with his peers, and the rather villainous Tyson Apostol creates quite the thrill with his iconic cunning smile.

ES INTERESANTE:  Tamil Nadu HSC Plus One Result 2018: DGE declara las puntuaciones del primer año

Even the eventual rivalry between Stephen Fishbach and eventual Sole Survivor James Thomas Jr. became a sight to see, especially for the latter J.T. whose maneuvering over Survivor politics allowed him to cruise through Tribal Councils relatively unscathed. While others may call J.T. quite the “boring” Sole Survivor, others also admire his deft social and mental gymnastics against his fellow competitors.​​​​​​​

9 Season 40: Winners At War

IMDb Rating: 8.7

Survivor Season 40

Release Period

February 12, 2020 – May 13, 2020

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Tony Vlachos

Celebrating the series’ 20th Anniversary, Season 40: Winners At War had 20 previous Sole Survivors return to once again compete for the much-coveted title. Set once more in Fiji, the game brings back the “Edge Of Extinction” as a game mode, whereas eliminated players are sent to a desolate island to wait for an opportunity to get back into the game.

The game also offered Fire Tokens as a new form of currency, allowing players to purchase advantages such as food and items. What’s perhaps tenser are the strategies the winners used throughout the match. After all, they first started eliminating people with deep connections outside the show, such as spouses and children. Afterward, they were able to target the older, “old-school” Survivors as well.​​​​​​​

8 Season 33: Millennials Vs. Gen-X

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 88%

Survivor Season 33

Release Period

September 21, 2016 – December 14, 2016

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Adam Klein

Given the premise of a season title such as Millennials Vs. Gen-X, viewers of the show would at first think it’s about time these generations proved their superiority against the other. Instead, what resulted was a tight-knit cast with friendships and rivalries that resonated with viewers even after the show had ended.

Not to mention, David Wright’s start as one of the “weakest” members of the Gen-X team and eventual rise into one of the powerhouses of the show was a delight to watch. Even the betrayal experienced by one of the castaways became one of the most memorable moments of the show.

7 Season 37: David Vs. Goliath

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 93%

Survivor Season 37

Release Period

September 26, 2018 – December 19, 2018

Location

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

Winner

Nick Wilson

One of the most suspenseful Survivor seasons out there, Season 37: David Vs. Goliath evidently introduced some of the most thrilling components of a Survivor show out there. Aside from the initial Survivors being segregated into underdog “Davids” and overachieving “Goliaths,” other exciting twists were introduced. Aside from the Hidden Immunity Idol, there was a one-time Exile Island that contained an Idol Nullifier that would render Hidden Immunities useless.

There were also incredible moments of sheer human amazement. This was especially true when the “Davids” encountered dangerous moments that they managed to reverse with quick thinking and tactical prowess.

6 Season 19: Samoa

IMDb Rating: 6.6

Season 19

Release Period

September 17, 2009 – December 20, 2009

Location

Upolu, Samoa

Winner

Natalie White

Despite initial similarities with its predecessor Tocantins, Season 19: Samoa strikes the iron hot with Russell Swan stealing the show as one of the most vicious villain figures to ever arrive in a Survivor season. Russell’s notoriety begins early on pre-merge, as he quickly dominates his home Foa Foa Tribe by maneuvering everyone into doing what he wants. Even as the merged Aiga Tribe comprised a mere four Foa Foa to eight Galu members, the divide among Galu’s large numbers became an opportune moment for Russell to strike.

Collage Related 8 Best Bruce Willis Sci-Fi Movies Bruce Willis is known as an action star, but some of his best performances are in films with science fiction elements.

Such was Russell’s early-game domination that he even managed to bring his former Foa Foa alliance members, Mick Trimming and Natalie White, all the way to the Final Tribal Council. Such was the escalation of events that the final episode’s shocking (or not-so-shocking) twist of jury members decidedly turning on Russell, voting for Natalie instead.

5 Season 31: Cambodia – Second Chance

IMDb Rating: 8.5

Survivor Season 31

Release Period

September 23, 2015 – December 16, 2015

Location

Rong, Cambodia

Winner

Jeremy Collins

What better way to spice things up for a Survivor season than to actually give fans the chance to vote? This is what Season 31: Cambodia – Second Chance has done, and this gimmick resulted in one of the most interesting Survivor seasons to ever grace television. Even its conception was a thrilling new gimmick, as fans had the chance to choose its contestants – all returning castaways who were eliminated in previous seasons.

Aside from these gimmicks were organized voting blocs formed before each vote. This added a lot of strategic complexity, as long-term alliances weren’t necessarily important in the further context of the game. With the castaways boasting a fair degree of both strategic prowess and innate allure, this was definitely a season to remember.

4 Season 28: Cagayan – Brains Vs. Brawn Vs. Beauty

IMDb Rating: 8.4

Survivor Season 28

Release Period

February 26, 2014 – May 21, 2014

Location

Palaui Island, Philippines

Winner

Tony Vlachos

Unlike other Survivor seasons, Season 28: Cagayan – Brains Vs. Brawns Vs. Beauty was one of the best seasons in the context of newcomers. The premise of the show was to prove whether the sole quality of “brains,” “brawn,” or “beauty” would be enough to outwit the rest and win the title of Sole Survivor. As such, these were the predominant qualities of the Survivors of each Tribe.

Much to the credit of the show, the gimmick worked – with all Tribes defying first impressions and preconceived notions about their specializations. Not to mention, the victory of Sole Survivor Tony Vlachos wasn’t simply well-deserved; it was a cleverly-revealed moment courtesy of a fellow tribemate whose decision rocked the minds of viewers even to this day.​​​​​​​

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Trend

Leave a Comment