Survivor Seasons 1-10 Review

Outwit. Outplay. Outlast

Recently, I’ve taken to watching Survivor. Gasp. How could I have waited so long, you ask? No lies, I was just being resistant. I’ve heard of Survivor before, in passing. But I’d never watched it week by week and gotten attached to any of the contestants. That is, until this season, Survivor: Worlds Apart. And then I realized what I was missing. This reality game of castaways and voting contestants off the island had enthralled me. But more than that it had enthralled my father. Which is quite the feat, to say the least.

Since this is typically a movie blog, I have yet to reveal just how many questions my father asks when we watch a TV series. But, let me tell you, it is an outrageous amount. Now, I’m 100% positive that part of this is because he knows that I compulsively research everything we watch (because we watch a lot of comics or books to TV, okay?). And because I like to know what’s going on. So I usually have all the answers and spoilers when he gets into question mode. But with Survivor, I just didn’t know anything. And that was unacceptable to me. So I purchased my CBS All Access membership and set to correct that.

And then, I realized I love Survivor. No seriously, it’s really entertaining. I get that it’s reality TV and that it’s edited to make me love or hate certain players. But I’m still genuinely interested it what will happen each episode and each season. Usually. I’m human. And I’m probably more judgmental than most.

So I will preface this review that I did not watch every season. And yes, you read that correctly. I did, however, give every season a shot. I watched at least one episode for every season. Now, maybe you’ll say that I just missed the best season ever. But I highly doubt it. I only skipped the ones that were SO BORING that I couldn’t interest myself in watching. (I will note the seasons I didn’t finish.)

This has been a work-in-progress post. I began this as I started watching Survivor. So that I could write a little review of each season as I watched them. This is going to be a long post. But I hope that it’s entertaining…it was certainly entertaining to write! Feel free to leave your opinions (agree OR disagree) in the comments! Now, without further ado, let the reviewing (and rambling) begin!

1

borneo

Season 1: Borneo – The season that started it all. This was so different from the current season. Which means that I’m about to see Survivor really evolve! I’m so excited for this journey to begin! And I finished the entire season in one day. It was a Sunday, okay?

  • First Thoughts: Oh goodness. This season has some characters for sure. I’m ready Jeff Probst. I’m ready.
  • My Pick for the Season: Richard Hatch. He was just so smart! (And I was right, YES!)
  • Most OMG Moment: The merge. Hey, I’d never seen Survivor. So I didn’t know! I was as shocked as the contestants!
  • Favorite Contestant: Rudy. Oh, my dear sweet old man. You were my favorite ALL SEASON. (Finished 3rd)
  • The Winner: Richard Hatch. My favorite “big naked gay man”. Hatch created the concept of alliances. His alliance was the reason for the term “pagonging” (eliminating the entire other tribe, one by one, after the merge). He paved the way for everyone that was to come. Also, he was hilarious. I liked Richard Hatch. I actively rooted for him.
  • The Villain: Kelly Wiglesworth. I hated her. I wanted her voted out. But she kept winning immunity after immunity. Thank the lord she lost, in the end. (Finished 2nd)
  • The Cutest: Greg Buis. You were adorable. Yet awkward and strange. And I really wanted to hug you. (Finished 9th)
  • Last Thoughts: Okay, Survivor, I’m officially hooked.

2

aussie

Season 2: Australian Outback – Back and even better. If I had any doubts that Survivor could replicate the awesomeness that was Borneo, this season proved me wrong. It had more people that I liked (and hated). And the survivors almost starved to death! And their camp was washed away in a storm! THIS SEASON HAD IT ALL.

  • First Thoughts: Australia. Headed down under. This could be interesting. I’m in. Skeptical (because the beach was great last season), but I’ll give it a shot, Jeff.
  • My Pick for the Season: Colby Donaldson. The sexy and sweet Texas man. He had bronze and brain. And heart. I was SO CLOSE to being right! (Finished 2nd)
  • Most OMG Moment: Mike and the fire. Oh poor Mike. He was so good! His tribe was amazing. He would have changed the game completely.
  • Favorite Contestant: Rodger Bingham. He was the dad figure. If I were on Survivor, I’d like to have the nice dad-like Rodger on there with me! (Finished 5th)
  • The Winner: Tina Wesson. Colby might have won if he didn’t choose to bring Tina to the final vote. But he was a man of honor. And Tina deserved to win too, according to Colby. She was sweet, but not all that memorable, if you ask me.
  • The Villain:Jerri Manthey. It wasn’t that she was evil. But she was soo annoying. She spent so much time hitting on Colby, and he was not interested. It was painfully obvious. Buh-bye Jerri! Voted out by her own alliance. Sweet karmic justice! (Finished 8th)
  • The Cutest: Elisabeth Filarski. She was so sweet and innocent and she tried so hard! (Finished 4th)
  • Last Thoughts: Okay, Survivor, you are not playing around. IT GOT BETTER! Also, I hope the contestants don’t almost starve again next season. That was SCARY HARSH.

3

 africa

Season 3: Africa – Survivor needs to be held closer to water. For water challenges. It’s more fun that way. And also, the contestants ALMOST GOT EATEN! But overall, it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t as good as what I’d seen so far.

  • First Thoughts: Oh Africa! That could be fun. And hot. Yeah, it’s another hard season in store for the survivors! Not taking it easy huh, Jeff?
  • My Pick for the Season: Silas Gaither. It’s laughable how wrong I was. But he seemed like a real contender when the season started! (Finished 12th)
  • Most OMG Moment: The tribe member swap! The first Survivor “twist”! And it couldn’t have come at a better time!
  • Favorite Contestant: Tom Buchanan. Good ole Big Tom. He was so fun. And he played a lot dumber than he was. Which was a good strategy! (Finished 4th)
  • The Winner: Ethan Zohn. He didn’t really emerge as a threat for a long time. But he was cute. And not too cut-throat. Props Ethan, the nice guy!
  • The Villain: Lex van den Berghe. I know that a lot of people liked him. And he was in an alliance with Tom and Ethan. But he really irked me. The entire season. (Finished 3rd)
  • The Cutest: Ethan Zohn. Mister soccer player. Mister nice guy. He was cute. Cute people finish first in this case.
  • Last Thoughts: Not bad, Survivor. Not bad at all. But I’m ready to move on. Let’s go to the water! Please.

4

marqeas

Season 4: Marquesas – I didn’t finish it. Are you disappointed? It’s not even that this was a bad season. There were good contestants. There were people to like and dislike and drama to watch. And technically, I finished the season. But I blankly skipped to tribal council MULTIPLE TIMES. I’m a whiner. And I was angry that my favorite castaway was gone so early. Sorry. But for me, it was a nope.

  • First Thoughts: Water. Water. Water. Oh yes, WATER! Also, WHAT ABOUT SUPPLIES?! PEOPLE NEED FOOD, JEFF! We do not need another starving group of castaways!
  • My Pick for the Season: Rob Mariano aka “Boston Rob”. I had so much hope for you! (Finished 10th)
  • Most OMG Moment: The purple rock. WHAT KIND OF TIE BREAKER IS THAT?! I was fond of the previous votes cast method, thank you very much.
  • Favorite Contestant: Boston Rob. No lies, the reason I didn’t finish this season was the lack of Boston Rob. I adored this comical genius. I wanted him to win. And then he was gone so early. I was just so angry, okay? I WAS TOO ATTACHED.
  • The Winner: Vecepia Towery. She played the game. And she did it well. BUT I STILL WASN’T ATTACHED.
  • The Villain: I didn’t hate one person. I hated them all. Besides Boston Rob. And Kathy. VILLAIN SEASON.
  • The Cutest: Boston Rob. Okay, I know I already highlighted him in this review. A lot. But WAS the cutest too!
  • Last Thoughts: I hope next season is better, Survivor. I’m losing heart. This is depressing.

5

thailand

Season 5: Thailand – Is this the worst season do you think? Because it’s general opinion on the internet that this is the worst season. I watched the first episode. And I didn’t remember a single castaway’s name. BAD SIGN. I just couldn’t force myself to suffer through an entire season of boring people. Even if there was a mutiny twist involved. Sigh.

  • First Thoughts: No. No, no, no. I NEED A BREAK. MY HEART HURTS. I BLAME YOU, JEFF.
  • My Pick for the Season: –
  • Most OMG Moment: There was a fake merge and a mutiny. And I still couldn’t watch it. DAMN.
  • Favorite Contestant: –
  • The Winner: Brian Heidik. I looked this up just for this review. I couldn’t tell you who he is.
  • The Villain: –
  • The Cutest: –
  • Last Thoughts: Okay, Survivor, let’s get serious. We need some players. I WANNA BE EXCITED AGAIN.

6

amazon

Season 6: Amazon – Okay, this was a serious pick up from the disaster that was Thailand. Plus the Amazon is exciting. And the castaways were far more entertaining.  And also so was Jeff Probst. I guess he was excited too.

  • First Thoughts: Women versus Men. I’ll take it. In the Amazon. Okay, I get behind this, Jeff.
  • My Pick for the Season: Heidi Strobel. I picked a girl. FIRST TIME FOR THAT. Alas, I was wrong. But she did pretty darn good. (Finished 5th)
  • Most OMG Moment: These women are sleeping on the ground. All season, I could not get over that simple fact from the very beginning. DO NOT SLEEP ON THE AMAZON GROUND. Giving women a bad name.
  • Favorite Contestant: Rob Cesternino. He was clever! He was funny! Also, he was a little bit awkward. All my favorite qualities! (Finished 3rd)
  • The Winner: Jenna Morasca. See? IT WAS A GIRL! I just picked the wrong one! But I liked her all well and good, nonetheless. Congrats Jenna!
  • The Villain: I didn’t really have a villain? Was Rob C supposed to be the villain. I don’t know! But I didn’t hate anyone! WAHOO!
  • The Cutest: Jenna Morasca. She was adorable. Plus, winner winner chicken dinner!
  • Last Thoughts: Okay, we’re back on track here, Survivor. Thank goodness. I’m ready for more!

7

pearl islands

Season 7: Pearl Islands – This season was GREAT. Absolutely great. I’m definitely back on board with Jeff’s decisions for this season. The people really make the game (HELLO REMEMBER THE DISASTER THAT WAS THAILAND?!), and this season had so many noteworthy people.

  • First Thoughts: They don’t get any of their stuff?! BEST START EVER, JEFF. And pirates are the theme?! I’m so very very delighted by this season ALREADY!
  • My Pick for the Season: Rupert Boneham. He started the season looting the other team’s shoes! WHAT A PIRATE! But alas, Rupert got blindsided. (Finished 8th)
  • Most OMG Moment: The Outcast Tribe. Because once you’re voted out you should definitely stay out. BUT TWO PEOPLE CAME BACK: Annoying Lil and Good-Looking Burton.
  • Favorite Contestant: Darrah Johnson. I was always rooting for the petite mortician! She deserved to make it farther than she did. And she tried so hard! (Finished 4th)
  • The Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine. “Anybody but me.” Sandra was a scoundrel. And I really liked her. I genuinely thought she was going home a few times, BUT she worked the system. TEAM SANDRA!
  • The Villain: Lillian Morris and Jon Dalton aka Johnny Fariplay. Could you be more annoying that Johnny Fairplay? Yes, and her name was Lillian. I was psyched when she went home. And then she came back. Worst nightmare. Except for the evil that was Johnny Fariplay. He lied that his grandma died! But he did play the game (and the other contestants) very well. And they were both THERE UNTIL THE VERY END. At least thye didn’t win? (Finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively)
  • The Cutest: Burton Roberts. Okay, he came back in the game when Lil did, but I wasn’t angry. Because look at that face. He’s so very attractive (and charming, I thought). And he came back with a better attitude. (Finished 5th)
  • Last Thoughts: Okay, Survivor, I forgive you for those other failed seasons. This one was worth waiting for. How could it get better?

8

all stars

Season 8: All-Stars – It got better. No seriously, it did. AN ALL-STARS SEASON. This sets a precident (I hope) for future all-stars seasons, right? Because this season was superior to most. BRAVO.

  • First Thoughts: Boston Rob is back. This season is a YES. Also, Richard Hatch. And Colby. And Rudy. And Rob C. And Jerri. And Tom. And Rupert. And I don’t really need to list the entire cast of survivors, do I? BUT I WAS EXCITED! Full speed ahead, Jeff!
  • My Pick for the Season: Boston Rob. But this was a tough call. Because I had lots that I wanted to choose. But I decided to stick with Boston Rob. (Finished 2nd)
  • Most OMG Moment: The proposal in the finale. Because aww and because they’re still married with 4 daughters. And it’s been 12 years. So more aww.
  • Favorite Contestant: HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CHOOSE?! Okay, okay, Boston Rob it is. He’s hilarious, okay? I can’t help it! He’s my favorite survivor contestant so far! Also, those abs. Like just saying.
  • The Winner: Amber Brkich. Just by one vote though! So she got the man and the money! Cheers to Amber!
  • The Villain: Lex van den Berghe. I still couldn’t like this guy. Seriously. He’s just the worst, in my mind. (Finished 9th)
  • The Cutest: Coby Donaldson & Rob Mariano. Because they were back. And just as sexy and sweet as ever! (Finished 12th and 2nd, respectively)
  • Last Thoughts: This was the greatest. Continue on, Survivor. Next season won’t be as great (because how do you follow up all-stars?), but I have faith in this show!

9

vanuatu

Season 9: Vanuatu – This season is also ranked in the bottom for Survivor, according to the internet. And maybe that has to do with the fact that it followed such a great season (maybe, but I kinda doubt it). But no thank you. I passed on this one as well. Because it looked boring as all get out. Worse than Thailand? Ha, no.

  • First Thoughts: Well, this is no all-stars season, Jeff. That’s for sure. Actually these people suck.
  • My Pick for the Season: –
  • Most OMG Moment: –
  • Favorite Contestant: –
  • The Winner: Chris Daugherty. I looked this up too. He was boring. But I guess he won.
  • The Villain: –
  • The Cutest: –
  • Last Thoughts: I’m giving you a pass on this, Survivor. Because of season 8. Now on to the next. It has to get better than this

10

palau

Season 10: Palau – I’m 100% certain that this is the only time in Survivor history that one tribe has completely eliminated the other tribe. Ulong lost 7 immunity challenges in a row. How does that even happen? But it certainly kept things entertaining.

  • First Thoughts: This is new and different. School yard pick, eh? 20 people? Let the game begin, Jeff!
  • My Pick for the Season: Bobby Jon Drinkard. He seemed like a winner. And he didn’t even make it to the merge. Which was sad! (Finished 10th)
  • Most OMG Moment: Ian gave up 2nd place. No you read that right. He gave up second place so that Tom and Katie would still be his friends. WHO DOES THAT?! I get that he felt guilty and it seemed like a good idea. But he lost out on $100,000 guaranteed and a chance at the million. Oh Ian.
  • Favorite Contestant: Stephenie LaGrossa. How could you not cheer for her?! She was the last one of her tribe. I teared up at the opening with her alone at the Ulong camp. She didn’t have a chance of winning once HER ENTIRE TRIBE WAS GONE. But I rooted for her tirelessly. Because she was a fighter. And she deserved better. (Finished 7th)
  • The Winner: Tom Westman. The firefighter from New York. He had a big heart. And I think he deserved to win. Plus, I liked him.
  • The Villain: Was there a villain? A lot of the castaways didn’t seem to like Coby, near the end. But I always enjoyed his frankness and sense of humor. (Finished 9th)
  • The Cutest: Gregg Carey. Those curls and that smile. Gregg was the All-American cutie this season. (Finished 6th)
  • Last Thoughts: Okay. The game is back on, Survivor. The ending was a little WTF. But I’m definitely ready for the next season!

That’s the first half of the seasons! What a ride it’s been so far! Between the tribe merges, the tribe swaps, the purple rock tie breaker, and ALL THE DRAMA, it’s been pretty intense. Below are my superlative nominations from these first 10 seasons!

  • Favorite Season: Season 1: Boreno, Season 2: Australian Outback & Season 8: All-Stars
  • Least Favorite Season: Season 5: Thailand
  • Favorite Contestant: Boston Rob & Stephenie LaGrossa
  • Favorite Winner: Richard Hatch & Sandra Diaz-Twine
  • Cutest Male Contestant: Colby Donaldson & Rob Mariano
  • Cutest Female Contestant: Amber Brkich & Elisabeth Filarski,
  • Best Villain: Johnny Fairplay, Lex van den Berghe, & Lillian Morris
  • Best OMG Moment: Mike and the fire
  • Best Quote: “Let is be, in the end, the way Mother Nature intended it to be…for the snake to eat the rat.”

I’ll be back with a review post of the next ten seasons when I finish those! And THEN the rankings of every season along with my Survivor series superlative winners! For now, let me know what you think in the comments!

-Any thoughts on Seasons 1-10?

-What was your favorite and least favorite of these seasons?

-Most memorable players?

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3 comments

  1. Oh man, you somehow avoided the seductive call of Survivor for all of these years. Meanwhile I have obsessed over since day 1. It’s like we lived in alternate dimensions!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading through your new found love of Survivor. Your opinions mirrored pretty close to the general consensus of most Survivor fans. You loved Seasons 1,2,6, and 7. Were bored by 4,5 and 9. And you were in the middle for 3 and 10. The only one you went against popular opinion was All-Stars. While I personally found enough enjoyment out of it the general consensus is it was a complete shit show. Mostly because the unpopular contestants (Jenna Lewis, Amber) made it deep into the game. While other great Survivor legends damaged their reputation a bit. Personally I thought it was fascinating watching these secondary players get more of the attention this time. But I was upset Rob C went out early.

    Personally my favorite season of the first 10 is between Australia, Amazon and Pearl Islands. It would easily be Pearl Islands if they didn’t have the Outcasts twists. Amazon would be the top if Rob C had won. I still liked Jenna I just really liked Rob. So I guess my favorite is Australia because the cast was solid all the way around.

    As for Colby. He would have definitely won season 2 had he taken Keith. Lots of people think he made a bone headed decision but back in season 2, Survivor was the biggest TV show on air. Colby wasn’t only playing for the million, he was also playing to jumpstart his acting career. He knew if he betrayed Tina America might turn against him. And it worked! Sort of. He went on to be a fan favorite, he came back to play and he ended up hosting his own reality show among other things. Pretty fascinating.

    I look forward to you finishing your binge through Survivor. Don’t worry many of your favorite contestants come back again soon! And there are many more new players you’ll fall in love with. Just have patience when you go through 11-14. You will be rewarded with a great run of 15-20. It gets rough again in 21-24 but they get really good starting with 25.

    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no idea how I managed to avoid Survivor all these years! It’s really fun though to be able to catch up all at once! The biggest obstacle, of course, is avoiding internet spoilers for things that happened 10+ years ago.

      Season 8 seemed to be a let down for a lot of people, according to the reviews I saw online. But I really liked having returning players. I bet I liked it so much because it had only been a few weeks since I’d seen them! Binge watching really gives a whole new perspective on a show.

      Starting Season 14 this week! So far, I haven’t skipped any of the middle seasons (but you are right in that they weren’t my favorite). I’m pretty excited to get to 15-20. You’ve given me high hopes!!

      I’d be glad to have you here as I watch my way through years of Survivor! And to see other opinions on the matter. And now, it’s onward through Survivor history! Perhaps I’ll find a new favorite contestant or new favorite season!! 🙂

      And thanks for reading my super long post and commenting!

      Like

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