It’s time to get into the big 4 categories of our first ever Survivor Oz poll, starting with ranking the seasons from worst to best!
With these rankings, we compiled the total number of votes from the public, combines with the total number of votes from the Survivor guests. We then asked each of the Survivor Oz teams to rank the seasons from 1 to 24 (1 being the best, 24 being the worst) and gave each season points based on their ranking (1st ranked season with 24 points, 2nd ranked season with 23 points and so on). Seasons would then lose points based on the percentage of votes they received in the ‘worst season’ poll, as well as the seasons voted as the ‘worst’ by the Survivor guests.
24. Redemption Island – Total Score 0
Survivor Rank: 15th (15% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 24th
Poll Rank: 12th (33% negative)
Never really in doubt, Redemption Island may be fairly fresh on people’s minds but it still is often regarded as the worst season in the history of the show. It may have ranked 12th when it came to positive votes from our listeners, but with 33% negative votes against it and a further 15% negative votes from Survivor’s themselves, there was no way it was ever going to not finish on the bottom. A score of 0 may be generous (considering it was languishing with a minus score for a long time) but it still is at the bottom of the pile. Boston Rob seemingly had a cake walk to victory in this season, and even his large fan base couldn’t save it.
23. Nicaragua – Total Score 25
Survivor Rank: 23rd (7% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 22nd
Poll Rank: 20th (9% negative)
Another one that isn’t really a surprise, and given that every season after Heroes vs Villains is ranked in the bottom 6, then Nicaragua easily gets this spot. Considering the age twist and several memorable characters, on paper Nicaragua should’ve been a good season. Maybe it’s the fact the winner was such a surprise; the big players went out early or even the fact that it had 2 people quit in one episode. The fact remains that despite the fact it is less than 2 years old, Nicaragua isn’t a fan favourite.
22. Thailand – Total Score 29
Survivor Rank: 22nd (4% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 23rd
Poll Rank: 17th (13% negative)
Ranked by Jeff Probst as his least favourite season on more than one occasion, Thailand is a season that is always ranked near the bottom. It appears the Survivor’s agree as well the crew here at Survivor Oz (with maybe the exception of Ben), although the listeners were slightly more generous on the poll. With one of the most dominant games in the history of the show by the winner Brian, it still isn’t enough to save Thailand with what is considered an unlikeable cast and an unlikeable ending.
21. Fiji – Total Score 35
Survivor Rank: 18th (4% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 21st
Poll Rank: 23rd (9% negative)
A season that perhaps is fairly underrated, the big negative for Fiji has always been the rich/poor twist at the start of the game. Giving one tribe everything and another tribe nothing to this day doesn’t sit well with people, and it sits just outside the top 20 in terms of seasons on this poll. All the negativity aside, it still produced one of the greatest players of all time in Yau Man and perhaps one of the most underrated winners of all time in Earl. It to this day also remains the only season to have an uneven amount of contestants at the start due to one of the contestants quitting before the game even began.
20. One World – Total Score 39
Survivor Rank: 15th (12% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 20th
Poll Rank: 15th (8% negative)
The most recent season of One World just scrapes into the top 20, surprisingly perhaps behind the season it followed of South Pacific. Similar to Thailand in that it had one of the most dominant winners of all time, it turned out to be fairly predictable as well as very bitchy and somewhat controversial (the C word). Amongst Survivor contestants there is a 50/50 split, and our listeners too are also a bit divided. For a season so fresh in the minds, it is perhaps surprising not to see it higher.
19. South Pacific – Total Score 41
Survivor Rank: 12th (6% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 19th
Poll Rank: 24th (6% negative)
Was South Pacific better than One World? Well according to our listeners it wasn’t. In fact if we were to rank this based purely on the poll that our listeners answered, it would be the worst season of all time. But factoring in the Survivor guests on this show who think of it fairly highly, as well as the Survivor Oz crew, South Pacific becomes the highest ranked season after Heroes vs Villains. Was it the Coach factor? The Ozzy factor? Or the fact that Sophie won seemingly out of nowhere? All of them perhaps combine to give it 19th spot.
18. Gabon – Total Score 63
Survivor Rank: 20th (2% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 18th
Poll Rank: 15th (2% negative)
Similar perhaps to Nicaragua in that on paper Gabon should’ve been a better season. The oldest winner in the history of the show, an Olympic Gold Medallist (at the time of filming at least), a video game champion and all set in the middle of ‘Earth’s last Eden’. But with 2 tribal swaps, pre made shelters and contestants going missing amongst the elephants, there is just something about Gabon that doesn’t sit right with viewers. We know at this show we owe a lot to Gabon, with our very good friend Gillian Larson competing on this season. But unfortunately for Gillian, that wasn’t enough for it to rank higher on our list.
17. Guatemala – Total Score 71
Survivor Rank: 19th (5% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 16th
Poll Rank: 13th (2% negative)
Why Guatemala is so low on everyone’s lists, that is what amazes a lot of people. There were so many memorable contestants on the show, from Rafe, Judd, Jamie & Amy to people like Danni, Stephenie, Bobby Jon and even people like Brian and Brandon. Maybe it’s the location, with so much heat, so little water and so little strategy that was aired that perhaps let Guatemala down. It came a respectable 13th on the poll from our listeners, and us here at Survivor Oz ranked it one place higher than this list in 16th. But once again, it appears towards the end of a ranking article.
16. Marquesas – Total Score 79
Survivor Rank: 10th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 17th
Poll Rank: 11th (2% negative)
Marquesas saw the return to a tropical setting after two seasons away from it, but unfortunately it wasn’t the best season people were hoping for. Still, it had memorable contestants, memorable moments, and of course was the birth of one of the greatest Survivor players of all time in Boston Rob. But an unlikeable and somewhat unthinkable final 2 listed by many of you and perhaps other factors see it ranked in only 16th place. Oh, did we mention Rosie O’Donnell at the finale? That’s why it’s so low surely.
15. Tocantins – Total Score 81
Survivor Rank: 17th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 13th
Poll Rank: 22nd (1% negative)
Tocantins saw the birth of the ever popular/unpopular Coach, but that wasn’t enough for it to rank higher than 15th. Tocantins saw the only ‘perfect game’ in the history of the show, with J.T winning with not ever getting a vote against him, getting every vote at the final tribal council and walking away with the fan favourite award. Other such players as Stephen, Erinn and Taj all made for a memorable season again on paper, but not enough for Tocantins to crack the top 10.
14. Africa – Total Score 83
Survivor Rank: 6th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 15th
Poll Rank: 14th (1% negative)
For whatever reason, Africa is always ranked in the middle to bottom of Survivor seasons. Perhaps it was the location, the lack of water, or maybe it was just too ‘nice’. Amongst Survivor contestants it gets ranked high, but for the rest of the voters it’s a middle ranked season. We can’t say enough for the amazing characters we saw on the show and it was right at the beginning when Survivor was it’s dominant self. However it was also the first season to air since 9/11, which many people say is a factor in it being ranked so low.
13. Panama – Total Score 85
Survivor Rank: 23rd (2% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 10th
Poll Rank: 21st (1% negative)
Panama, like Africa, is always ranked in the middle and not much of a standout. According to our listeners as well as our poll, it should be way lower than 13th, but the lack of negative votes against it as well as being put just inside the top 10 by the Survivor Oz team sees it just outside this top 10. In fact it missed out on a top 10 by only 8 points, so that’s possibly saying how close some of these seasons were. Great characters such as Cirie, Terry, Aras and Danielle as well as people we would love to see play again like Shane and Bruce all hailed from Panama, and it of course saw the introduction of the short lived Exile Island from the middle period of Survivor.
12. Vanuatu – Total Score 86
Survivor Rank: 24th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 11th
Poll Rank: 19th (2% negative)
Amazingly enough, our Survivor guests picked Vanuatu as their worst season, yet given it was saved by Survivor Oz as well as not receiving many negative votes, it ties with Samoa for an overall score of 86, just falling short due to it’s lower placing. Considered by many to have one of the ‘sexiest’ casts in the history of the show, it also saw numerous contestants that will always be remembered such as Eliza, Ami, Chris & Twila. Who too can forget the emotional final tribal council and the underdog story of Chris and his win? So close to a top 10 finish.
11. Samoa – Total Score 86
Survivor Rank: 13th (3% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 14th
Poll Rank: 10th (2% negative)
The birth of Russell, Samoa can surely be seen for a whole lot more than the creation of Mr.Hantz. Sure, we ain’t going to deny the impact he had on Samoa, and the fact that a whole new breed of Survivor fans were created along with him (even the haters can’t deny that), but with such a diverse cast including Shambo, Jaison, Russell Swan and even some earlier boots such as Ben Browning and Marisa, you have a season that should be remembered for a whole lot more than one man.
10. Palau – Total Score 93
Survivor Rank: 11th (2% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 9th
Poll Rank: 18th (1% negative)
The 10th season also lands in 10th spot, beating out a tight field before it. Known of course for the dominance of Koror and the failure of Ulong, it was also the birth of Stephenie, the birth of Bobby Jon and the creation of one of the most dominant and well liked winners in Tom Westman. Let’s not forget people like Ian, Caryn and even our good friend Coby as well. And sadly it is also the only season to have a cast member pass away, with the beautiful Jenn Lyon losing her fight with cancer in 2010 and is still sorely missed. Often ranked as one of the best, but only cracked the top 10 by the Survivor Oz crew.
9. Amazon – Total Score 108
Survivor Rank: 16th (3% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 12th
Poll Rank: 5th (0% negative)
The first season to bring in a battle of sexes by dividing the tribes along gender lines, Amazon returned to a rural setting in the middle of the jungle and is somewhat of an underrated season. We saw the emergence of ‘the smartest player never to have won’ in Rob Cesternino who of course is hugely popular with his podcast show, as well as the stunning Jenna Morasca who has gone on to big things since her time on the show. Then there are the others you love like Matt, Christy & Heidi, and who can ever forget what peanut butter and chocolate will make girls do? Apparently it also helps land them Playboy spreads as well. Nobody was complaining there.
8. Cook Islands – Total Score 113
Survivor Rank: 8th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 8th
Poll Rank: 8th (2% negative)
When a season is voted 8th by the Survivor’s, 8th by us and 8th by our listeners, you would expect it to finish in 8th right? Well of course! Cook Islands is well known for the controversial twist involving dividing the tribes by race, but it also saw the birth of such contestants like Ozzy and Parvati as well as the soon to be seen again Jonathan Penner. It saw a mutiny, a love confession (hello Billy) as well as the first win by an Asian-American. Some claim the final few episodes to be boring, but enough of you put it high enough for it to be as high as 8th.
7. All-Stars – Total Score 115
Survivor Rank: 9th (5% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 7th
Poll Rank: 9th (1% negative)
All-Stars gets a lot of negativity amongst a lot of the fans, while it can also get a lot of positivity at the same time. 9th from the Survivor’s, 9th from the listeners but a rank of 7th amongst us give it a score just ahead of Cook Islands but a fair way off 6th place. The first ever time we saw returning players, with many of the fan favourites going home early and many of the surprise packets making it far. It was the birth of Romber, the birth of deception and many say the birth of the ‘evil’ Survivor that we may be used to today. So many positives, yet so many negatives. And what about the fact that 2 people quit? Why isn’t that ever brought up more so than maybe it should be?
6. China – Total Score 141
Survivor Rank: 7th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 4th
Poll Rank: 7th (1% negative)
For a season that followed what is considered one of the worst seasons and preceded what is considered one of the best, China holds it’s own fairly well and narrowly misses out on a top 5 placing. Ranked as high as 4th by Survivor Oz, China has a strong cast, memorable moments and one of the best wins by anyone the game has ever seen. It saw the birth of James and Amanda, and who can ever forget people like Jean Robert and Courtney? And let’s not forget Denise and THAT mullet.
5. Borneo – Total Score 145
Survivor Rank: 2nd (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 6th
Poll Rank: 6th (1% negative)
The first ever season making the top 5 surely is a no brainer, but only 5th? Considering it’s been 12 years since we saw it, and how different it is when you watch it compared to the show today, it has to be said that making the top 5 is a big achievement for Borneo. There really isn’t a single cast member that you don’t remember, and to this day its finale holds the record for highest rating episode of Survivor. In fact it was the second highest rating episode of the decade between 2000 & 2009, only behind the finale of Friends. Amazing for a summer replacement show that etched regular Americans into the public’s memory forever. The star of course had to be Richard, the first ever winner and some say still the best. Naked, gay and smart, although paying his taxes obviously became a slight issue.
4. Pearl Islands – Total Score 167
Survivor Rank: 4th (1% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 5th
Poll Rank: 3rd (1% negative)
Just when the ratings of Survivor seemed to be on the decline, along comes a pearler (see what we did there) such as Pearl Islands. From shoe stealing, to the outcasts, to the whole pirate theme, there is very little about Pearl Islands to dislike. It was where we saw Sandra take her first ever win, one of the biggest villains of all time in Jonny Fairplay and of course that R word that people either love or hate in Rupert. Pearl Islands is a classic season and thoroughly deserving of a top 5 placing.
3. Australian Outback – Total Score 172
Survivor Rank: 1st (0% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 3rd
Poll Rank: 4th (0% negative)
What Borneo may have lacked, Australian Outback brought it in droves. The highest rated show of 2001, it once again created household names with every contestant on the show. Set in the very country this show is from too, it obviously holds a high ranking in our hearts, but there is so much to this season to like. Jerri, Colby, Tina, Amber, Rodger and even Keith! Let’s not forget of course probably the most successful post Survivor career maker too in Elisabeth (Ben forced us to say her name) and Mike Skupin’s horrific injury in the fire. It’s very hard to say anything bad about season 2, and so much so that it did not receive a single negative vote amongst our Survivor guests and only one amongst the listeners. Incredible for a season that is over a decade old.
2. Micronesia – Total Score 201
Survivor Rank: 5th (4% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 2nd
Poll Rank: 2nd (1% negative)
When a season gets ranked by Jeff Probst as the greatest, then generally you know the fans too will love it. The first ever ‘half All Stars’ season originally started out as the second All Stars, but Mark Burnett thought mixing returning players with an even amount of fans would work out well. And boy was he right. While every single returning player really was a favourite (no wtf returnees at all), the fans themselves were all so memorable in their own right. Added to this was one key word that sums up season 16: blindsides. They came one after another after another, and we even got to see what is considered to this day as the dumbest move in the history of the show, with Erik giving up immunity to Natalie. In fact it is also the second highest season in terms of guests on this show, only falling behind One World. An instant classic and more than likely will remain this way for a long time.
1. Heroes vs Villains – Total Score 248
Survivor Rank: 3rd (7% negative)
S-Oz Rank: 1st
Poll Rank: 1st (1% negative)
While we have proven that seasons in the twenties are generally considered amongst the worst, season 20 takes the cake as the greatest season of all time according to our poll. We here at Survivor Oz agreed, so did you the listener, and the Survivor’s ranked it 3rd. Is there really anything not to like about Heroes vs Villains? The emergence of Sandra as the only 2 time winner in the history of the show, Parvati getting so close to claiming her second title, Russell once again failing miserably when it matters the most, the redemption and emergence of Jerri Manthey as a great player, the fall of Colby, James turning into a Villain, Stephenie being bullied out of the game so early We can go on and on and on. But it’s a season that really would struggle to find many people against it. And for a fairly recent season, it’s an amazing feat.
Tomorrow we bring you the top 25 Survivor players who have never won, as voted by you, the Survivor’s and the Survivor Oz team!