Survivor Fans: Which seasons are worth re-watching?

…And which seasons wouldn’t be worth the DVD they’re copied on?

I’m a HUGE Survivor fan, seen every season, although I don’t remember all the details about each individual one. I’m dating a man who has never watched it, and I hooked him on the show last season. We’re now watching Season 1 on DVD so he can see how it all started, and we are simultaneously watching the current season that started on Wednesday.

He is interested in watching some of the other Seasons 2-20, but I know there are some that are better than others. So, in your opinion, which are the ones we HAVE to watch and which are better left behind?

The original All Stars was great, but last season’s All stars was even better.

Survivor: China is also excellent.

Pearl Islands is very entertaining as well if you like Rupert

Cook Islands is pretty good too.

I’d start with those.

What about Australia? I remember Colby and his questionable choice to take Tina, and then when he won the SUV and spent the night with his mom. Was that season worthwhile?

And, which season was the one with Elisabeth, and the guy who was so protective of her, the one who couldn’t swim but jumped off the cliff?

And which season was the first one with Boston Rob?

I remember the little details but not exactly which season was which.

He got hooked on last season? Dump him immediately. The man is a lunatic. Last season nearly drove me away from the show for good.

But for rewatching, I recommend Survivor: China and Survivor: Gabon.

Well, he got hooked on Survivor, but I would like to show him that it’s SO much better than that!

I haven’t seen may full seasons as I am not a big fan of the show, but the one with Rupert and Johnny Fairplay sticks out as having been worth watching.

One of my friends recently watched all of Season 21 (which was pretty bad actually) and was interested in watching some of the past ones, so I made a list off of memory. Note that I haven’t rewatched any of them since they were originally on, so this may not be the best ranking.

My list of top recommendations:

(1) Borneo - the original
(2) Australian Outback - Colby becomes the first dominator
(7) Pearl Islands - Rubert, Johnny Fairplay, pirates theme
(8) All Stars
(13) Cook Islands - the tribes by race, turned out surprisingly good
(14) Fiji - Yau-Man and Dreamz
(15) China - this is my weakest recommendation since I don’t remember it well, but it did have Amanda and James
(16) Fans vs Favorites - and one of the best TCs ever
(18) Tocantins - COACH!
(20) Heroes vs Villains - probably will be best Survivor season ever (unless you want to go with #1)

I would go with (13) Cooks Islands and (20) Heroes v Villains

Personally, I think season 10 (?) in Palau was the best. Even better than all of the seasons before it (none of which I have actually watched). Tom the Fireman, the resilient Stephanie & her crappy loser tribe, the dolphin boy with a heart of gold (blanking on his name and too lazy to look it up). It took several seasons for me to break the addiction that this season started.

I’d also say Cook Islands and China were both among the best.

Heroes vs. Villians was the best, IMO, but part of the fun was knowing the players ahead of time - seeing Parvati and Sandra playing thier same games and getting away with it, and Russell doing the same and not getting away with it (again.) Someone new to Survivor wouldn’t see it the same way as a Survivor fan. Still, great season.

It also led to a different sort of game with the players having knowledge of the other competitors beforehand.

Similarly, part of the fun of Rupert’s season was the two distinct camps that developed around the office or virtual watercooler. About 80% of the people wanted to wrap Rupert up and take him home as a pet and the other 20% who thought that he was a klutz who screwed up everything he touched. You wouldn’t get that watching in hindsight.

I would recommend Australia - a great cast of characters, real drama in the form of fire and flood, and a good finish with Colby flaking out in the last few episodes.

China had a great cast and one of the most deserving winners ever.

Cook Islands had a stupid premise but turned out to be an excellent season.

It seems to be easiest to point out the ones to avoid:


It’s too bad Former Federal Agent? Phillip didn’t get cast on Marquesas.


IIRC, Australian Outback had some awesome moments, but day to day it was like watching paint dry. The castaways mostly sat around, doing nothing, bitching about how hungry they were.

I wonder how he would pronounce ‘Parvati’.
Anyone see the irony in ‘Special Agent Phillip’ initials?

Ian. I saw a list somewhere that listed him as one of the Survivor Quitters, and I just couldn’t agree. He didn’t quit the game, really, just that last challenge after hours and hours of psychological torture.

I came in here to say Palau, too. Fascinating season…watching and watching and just waiting for the merge that never came.

I was into Survivor from the very start, it was one show I never missed. I even have buffs from a few of my favorite tribes! I gave up after season 15; I was just all Survivor’d out. I’ve tried to get back into the show, but the thrill is gone.

I think you have to re-watch Season 1. Those guys pretty much decided how the game would be played for years to come. The Outback may have been dull day-to-day, but there were some really classic moments. Roger jumping off the cliff comes to mind, and who can forget Mike’s horrible accident? The alumni of that season went on to big things, both in and outside of the show.

I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned S6—The Amazon! Almost all the players were interesting and college educated, as opposed to castaways in later seasons who were recruited directly from the state department of corrections.

The answer to your question depends on what he finds most appealing about the show–it would help if you gave some idea who he liked the most from Nicaragua.

Is he interested in manipulative gameplay (Sash, Marty, Brenda)? Or in cheering for a fan favorite (Jane, Chase) or for trainwrecks (Naonka)? Or does he like those who are good at challenges (Fabio)?

If manipulative gameplay is his interest, I recommend (from early to late):
Thailand (ice-cold calculation/lying from the winner, who overcomes the worst “family video+visit” in the history of the show)
Amazon (brilliant play followed by devastating missteps by my favorite in that season)
All-Stars (Boston Rob’s breakout that we only caught a glimpse of in Marquesas)
Vanuatu (the moves the winner pulls off at the end are jaw-dropping)
Cook Islands (the winner played so well that the producers were forced to change the rules for the next season)
Fiji (Yau-Man and Earl are the perfect combo)
China (I’d like to see the winner come back for one more go)
Micronesia (Parvati’s star turn)
Heroes vs. Villains (perfect examples of subtle gameplay, bold gameplay, and being a scapegoat–you can decide who is who there)

I am no longer a Survivor fan. I’ve already seen a repeat of the Australia one which was interesting because they were atill working out the the strategic side & people still thought you could go it alone.

So personally the only one I’d like to see again was cook Islands where it was a contest between the best physical player of the game ever & one of the best strategists.