Top 10 Best Survivor Seasons

The Top Ten
1 Heroes vs. Villains

In my opinion, this is the perfect season. The villains ended up dominating over the heroes, with some heroes like James turning into villains, and some villains like Jerri, Sandra, and Parvati turning into heroes against the season's big villain, Russell. Having Colby as the last Hero remaining was amazing since he was the "First Hero."

And let's not forget about Boston Rob vs. Russell. Russell ultimately came out on top, but we never got to see it again because of Russell's misguided tribe on Redemption Island.

2 Micronesia

By combining the elements of an All-Star season and a brand new one, Micronesia managed to take the best attributes of both and fuse them together.

While dealing with the idiosyncrasies of Kathy or Chet, you were able to see Cirie pull off a major blindside only minutes afterward. Not only did this season manage to show how much better the Favorites were, it also featured one quitter, along with two injury withdrawals.

Exile Island also made its return here, allowing for a more controlled method of operating when dealing with the immunity idol. It wasn't bad to look at either. Finally, Parvati won. She was definitely the most deserving player, and although the Final 2 Twist does not deserve credit, this season definitely does.

3 Cagayan

I'm surprised it's not higher. It's the best season with an all-new cast since the first one. It also managed to have an underdog you could root for in Spencer, after everything he went through.

But it also had a likable mastermind in Tony, who managed to be smart and hilarious. This season also featured Chaos Kass, Ninja Stealth Mode Woo, and Morgan (oh come on, you know she was one of the best parts of this season). The only downside was someone quitting, and J'tia.

Likely this low because it just ended, Cagayan should easily make its way up this list. There were so many blindsides that were edited so flawlessly that even the viewers could not predict what was going to happen (I gave up predicting about halfway through). Simply a great cast of characters with drama pre and post-merge that makes this one of the best ever.

4 Cook Islands

This season was clearly, to me, the second best one after Heroes vs. Villains because it featured the two things I love about the show: a strong player in challenges (Ozzy) and a strategic genius (Yul). And even better: they were allied to each other as the underdogs. So epic!

In my opinion, Yul was more than a very great player because he had something a lot of players don't have: he is a very smart guy. And smart players make a very good show!

To have the Aitu Four come into the merge in the minority, yet have a winner from the group was amazing. I feel Yul played a good game, along with Ozzy. Becky and Sundra, I'm a little disappointed in because they couldn't make fire without matches. Adam and Parvati were really awesome, and I'm happy Parv won Micronesia.

I'm mad at Penner for flipping, but he had to do it in order not to be in the jury as soon as the merge happened. I feel Candice was bullied because she made a big move. Nate was an awesome player. Jenny should have made the merge, and probably wouldn't have flipped. Rebecca, I like her, but I wish she hadn't swum in that challenge. Brad was a good player in my opinion. Flicka was a funny character. Cristina was okay. Cao Boi was... I don't know what to say.

I wish Stephannie wouldn't talk about home all the time because I wanted to see her more. JP was bossy, Cecelia was good, Billy was lazy, and Sekou loved the game so much he wrote a song about Survivor.

5 Blood vs. Water

Ciera went from being the pawn to be voted out to the mastermind of her own fate. This transformation made me go from loathing her to loving her. Brad's impromptu vote-off, which was decided during the tribal council at the eleventh hour, was dramatic. Candice matured from a girly flirt to a serious physical threat in Redemption Island and redeemed her image.

Overall, it was a great, great season. The ones in jeopardy went down with a fight (purple rock, flip-flopping and getting clues), and we got to hope and root for them. However, this season pales in comparison to the other two Redemption Island seasons.

6 Caramoan

I really liked this season more than most. Pre-merge, each tribe had their own distinct dynamic, from Phillip's overbearing leadership to the "cool kids" alliance of the Fans tribe. It also has one of the best post-merges of any season, from Malcolm's 3 amigos, Andrea's paranoid scheming to Dawn and Brenda's gut-wrenching fight. All the while, we get one of the best narrators of the show (and best winners) Cochran.

Some might find Cochran "Cochy," but if you follow his journey from awkward nerd on "South Pacific" to confident leader on Caramoan, he made a true hero's journey to being the sole Survivor!

7 Samoa

Despite the producers undermining Russell Hantz (detestable, but arguably the best player this season), this season had high drama and memorable moments. "Feckless," indeed!

Fantastic season. Russell Hantz singlehandedly kept it interesting week after week. It sucks that he was robbed by a jury too stupid and stubborn to get over their bitterness and reward the best player. Other than that, it was a great season.

I have to say, best season ever! Samoa was a perfect location, and the cast was the best Survivor has ever had!

8 All-Stars

I loved this season. Rob brought the whole girl/guy team concept to being a staple in future seasons. Plus, for a romantic like myself, I liked watching a true bond form that still exists today!

This season brought a whole new meaning to the common phrase "All's fair in love and war." With two love stories between Rob and Amber, and Jenna M. and Ethan, and with all of the blindsides, this is by far the best season of Survivor.

My favorite season of all time. It had everything you want in a season: great cast, good gameplay, and a good edit where you actually got to know the contestants. They were all actually surviving. Now the producers spoil them a bit.

9 China

Sorry, why so low? I loved this season so much! I loved how they chose 16 interesting people over 20 boring individuals. I loved the final 5 (except maybe Denise). I loved how they got a different landscape instead of tropical islands. I loved how *SPOILER* James got voted out with 2 immunity idols. I loved every word Courtney said. I loved absolutely everything about this season!

Good cast, memorable characters, and exciting moments. However, Amanda should have beaten that little twerp Todd and stolen his lunch money as well as the title. She's a hottie!

10 Cambodia

This is a VERY underrated season of Survivor. Many people think Heroes vs. Villains was the best season. However, what made me not like it as much as Cambodia was that, once the merge happened, it felt very bland, and there were just many better moments in Cambodia. Cambodia kept you on your toes the entire time. The tides were always changing for who was "safe," and you will learn to LOVE all of the cast of this season.

Not to mention, this season has some amazing moments with the Savage blindside, Jeremy using his Idol on Stephen to blindside Ciera, Spencer blindsiding Stephen IMMEDIATELY after that, and Joe's dream coming true of having his dad be on Survivor in the Loved Ones challenge with him, just for him to get voted out afterwards. There were no votes in the Finale, and the new twist of being able to steal someone else's vote and use it as your own was thrilling. Kelley Wentworth had to be my favorite part of this season for everything that happened thanks to her.

The Contenders
11 The Australian Outback

Arguably the best cast ever. We really got to know these people and see them interact with each other. We also got to see them actually SURVIVE, something that recent seasons have been lacking. Nowadays, the game is all about strategy, but in the Outback, we got to see how they struggled from day to day without food and against nature.

My favorite Survivor season. A great cast who really dealt with nature like true survivors would. An awesome scene when Colby won the car and his mom surprised him by serving his (award) dinner. Very little talk of strategy in this season, something that has become the primary issue in recent seasons.

12 Pearl Islands

People often criticize the Outcast twist, but it's important to remember that it significantly altered the trajectory of the entire season. None of the eliminated contestants really had a chance of winning going forward, so they served as catalysts for the remaining castaways. Without Lillian and Burton, Jonny Fairplay would never have had the opportunity to pull off his legendary "dead Grandma" lie. His general post-merge dominance was firmly entrenched as a result.

Pearl Islands gets far too many things right for it to be derided in any meaningful capacity. The season not only featured the legendary antics of Fairplay, but also introduced Rupert Boneham and Sandra Diaz-Twine, two of the most entertaining players ever. The pirate theme was perfectly suited to the setting and the castaways. It felt like they could be part of a swashbuckling crew of seaborne rapscallions, particularly the Drakes. Everything came together so well, from the very beginning right through to the finale, this season never failed to deliver.

13 Philippines

(WARNING: SPOILERS!)
Although I get tired of seeing returning players coming on to the show instead of a completely new cast, I loved seeing Skupin return to make it to the end, Penner being entertaining as ever, and Russel Swan being all dramatic and seeing his reactions as his tribe lost every challenge until he got voted off. Best choice of returning players for me.

Fantastic season. The most likable final four ever, unpredictable tribal councils, great water challenges, and power shifts easily make this season a top 10. Plus, who could forget the tribal council where both Abi and Malcolm flashed their immunity idols?

14 Tocantins

This season had an amazing cast. Two of the greatest characters to ever be on the show, Coach and Tyson. The challenges were also kick-ass from the very start. It had a great number of blindsides and an incredible final two, capped off by a fantastic clean sweep of the votes by JT.

It got hard to watch those grown men gang up on Sierra, and everyone watch it happen. It was like 6th grade with grown men. Even the principal didn't stand up to the bullies. I wish Tyson had never won because of this!

The first season I remember watching. Made me an enormous fan of the show. It's forever a part of my heart. I just love it.

15 Vanuatu

The best winner, period. Great gameplay, and a man who dominated his season better than Richard, Brian, Russell, and Boston Rob. Unfortunately, this is the only season Chris was on. He needs another one, but this is the best.

While I'm typing, Heroes vs. Villains had a lot of nobodies on the show. Danielle, Candice, how in the world was James a villain, and really? Randy? Sugar? Why get anyone from Gabon?

Despite my urge to tell how good this season was, which it was, Parvati Shallow was not the best winner. She barely played strategy, and if it weren't for a few mistakes by others and being on James's winning team, she would've gotten out early, just like Tom Westman and Rob Mariano.

16 Gabon

Such a great cast. Kenny, Sugar, Susie, Corinne, Matty, Randy, and Crystal were all so funny and memorable. The Fong alliance taking power from the Onion alliance is amazing to watch. I personally thought Susie should have won over Bob, but it's still an amazing season.

Underrated winner along with the first nerd to go far, Kenny. Sure, Stephen would come later, but Kenny was proof that even a weak guy could be good at Survivor.

Too underrated! See this Survivor for strategy and interesting players. This one can't be missed. It should be top 5!

17 Borneo

Borneo was not the best season simply because it was the first one. It is the best because it let you really get to know the characters (Sonja, B.B., Stacy, Ramona, Dirk, Joel, Gretchen, Greg, Jenna, Gervase, Sean, Sue, Rudy, Kelly, Richard). I remembered everyone by heart. In recent seasons, you mention "Monica from 'Survivor: Samoa' (which was voted #1)" and you ask, "Who's Monica?" In Borneo, you got to see people having fun and their personalities, like stubborn Rudy, goofy Sean, or insane Greg. You got to see who they really are. These days, it's all strategy and you don't get to meet the people. In South Pacific, I haven't actually seen them build a shelter, make a fire, or search for food in the jungle. You saw all of that in Borneo. The first season made things seem more real and more fun. I enjoyed it more than any other season.

I think Richard was the most deserving winner, even more than Yul. Ozzy should have won Cook Islands. Go Ozzy. I hope he wins South Pacific.

18 Kaôh Rōng

Tai is easily the best SURVIVOR this season. By survivor, I mean he is the most adaptable to the Kaôh Rōng environment. This season is filled with the most medical instances I've seen! Caleb being sent home by medical early was a huge letdown, but I bet he'll be back in another season. This season already has some nice blindsides, and the cast is great.

Jason and Scot are way worse than Russell. At least he kept it secret. The pair is only isolating themselves.

This season will be much higher after all the recency bias. I am LOVING the suspense so far! Best cast ever!

19 Palau

The only time in Survivor history where an entire tribe dominated all immunity challenges, leaving us with one of the greatest Survivor heroines, Stephenie. She was, by definition, a true Survivor of the game of Survivor.

20th?! This season has the best location, cast, winner, and a ton of entertainment! At least Vanuatu made the top ten!

Dominance like no other season made for a spectacle, with some very likable characters.

20 Millennials vs. Gen X

This season is one of my far favorites, seeing the difference between the older, rule-playing people (Gen X) versus millennials who are more laid-back and carefree. This led to big twists when the merger occurred. This was my first season that I watched, and it got me to watch all the others. If you haven't watched this season, I recommend doing so!

I feel that this is the most underrated season ever. There were so many power shifts, which made it difficult to determine the winner. The cast was one of the best in Survivor history. Had David won this season, I believe it would be ranked higher.

21 South Pacific

The only flaw is that Coach did not win. Other than that, it's a very underrated season. Brandon's emotional character arc, Cochran's knowledge and flipping, and Coach's strategy make for an awesome season.

I thought this was a suspenseful season. Congrats to Sophie for upsetting Coach to become the sole Survivor.

22 The Amazon

Great cast. This season has it all: the battle of the sexes, battle between generations, cunning strategists causing the game to twist and turn, players flipping back and forth between alliances, and lots of laughter in between. The interviews were funny, the challenges very interesting, and there were finally beautiful men and women to watch on TV.

What?! Amazon is my second favorite season of the show because this was the first season where you genuinely never knew what was going to happen. How could it be behind All Stars, South Pacific, and Caramoan?

23 Game Changers

Game Changers should not be last. While it was not a great season, it was certainly not a terrible one. The pre-merge portion was good, as it was fun to see Sandra control the game, even though we knew there was no chance for her to win. The episode after Sandra left may have been the worst episode in Survivor history, but it left everyone feeling somewhat satisfied. It did not make any sense for Jeff to out Zeke as transgender, and it gave the audience closure when the players on Zeke's tribe came to his defense, including Jeff Probst.

As the season went on, I think it got better. It was awesome to see Cirie navigate through the game well for a third time (not so much in HvV), and she ultimately could have won had there not been a ton of advantages throughout the season. It was completely heartbreaking for Cirie to go out in the way that she did, even though she had no votes. To remind everyone of what happened, Brad won immunity, Tai played his two immunity idols on himself and Aubry, Troyzan played an immunity idol, and Sarah played her legacy advantage. The only person who was not immune was Cirie, so she was sent home in the oddest and worst way possible.

Speaking of Sarah, she was fantastic in this season! She used the twists to her advantage and played like a criminal. Her two best moves were convincing Sierra to give her the legacy advantage and finding the vote steal at the challenge, despite it not being obvious to anyone else. She completely owned her game at the final tribal council, and she said everything she needed to say to win. She was able to play a killer social and strategic game, keeping her options open and herself in the middle, allowing her to control the post-merge portion of the season.

Some of the other highlights of the season were the first episode, the joint tribal council (where Malcolm was sent home), the merge episode, Brad winning 5 immunities, and everything that Sandra did. Altogether, this season had too... more

24 Panama

Great characters, especially Terry and Cirie. Aras wasn't a bad winner, either. Shane was hilarious! Why he wasn't invited back for "Second Chances" was a true crime.

Great season, featuring one of the most beloved players, Cirie, who played a very strategic game!

One of the best Final Fives ever.

25 David vs. Goliath

One of my favorite seasons since Kaoh Rong, with so many memorable castaways, shocking blindsides, and fantastic gameplay. I just wish the finale wasn't so underwhelming, but overall it is definitely a top 5 season to watch.

Many great castaways. It had a very good winner. It was amazing to see how these Survivors handled the theme. Anyone could come back, and I would enjoy that season.

One of the better seasons in a long time. Finally, we're treated to more balanced editing, fewer unnecessary twists, and more enjoyable players.

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