Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Unfairly Hated Seasons


It's another top 10 Wednesday and your host Ben Waterworth is chiming in with his thoughts to get you through hump day! With Survivor in its 30th season right now, there are plenty of seasons over the years that aren't all that well liked by the fans. But as Ben tells you today, this hate isn't necessary justified and perhaps it's time you sat down and watched these seasons again to have your opinion changed. Sit back and have your eyes cast upon ten seasons that are unfairly hated! Click for more!

There is a saying said on this show by a former player relating to pizza and seasons, and for sure that is true. But in all the seasons of Survivor there are always seasons that the fans never seem to like. Like ever. Today I give you ten seasons that often are hated by fans but I feel really need some love, because they really aren’t that bad, and I would even argue are better than a lot of seasons that are universally loved. Read on…

10. Panama

Panama Cast

Panama generally isn’t ‘hated’ as such but often considered a ‘middle’ season by many fans. It’s often been regarded as having mediocre gameplay, a fairly stale format and a winner who many weren’t satisfied with. In fact Jeff Probst named Aras as ‘the most boring winner ever’ in the lead up to his second time on Blood vs Water. However Panama has an amazing cast of characters, several of which are constantly forgotten through all the big names we’ve had from it. The Casaya alliance and their constant fighting was gold to watch, and given then Terry and Shane are often the two most ‘near miss’ players to have never returned, it goes to show there is a lot from this cast and season that needs love.

 9. Africa

Africa Cast

When I first watched Africa, I thought it was loved. However I was 15, and young, and well, wasn’t exactly in touch with the majority of the Survivor fan base. Over the years it has come to my attention that Africa is often derided by fans due to its location and ‘boring’ gameplay because of it. But overall I think that the cast is amazing, the location is super memorable and several moments set the groundwork for how the game is played. The switch folks? I mean without that, how would we ever have the game we have today? And Big Tom, Lex and Ethan all together are almost as iconic as Jeff snuffing a torch. And then there is Kim Johnson in a thong…oh yes, I went there.

8. Guatemala

Guatemala Cast

The good news about Guatemala is that it seems to slowly get more appreciated every single year it passes which is fantastic. It still however has many critics which is hard to stomach given the amazing cast, location and in my eyes one of the most unique and amazing wins in the history of the show by Danni. How no original cast member from a season featuring memorable contestants like Jamie, Amy and Danni has ever returned baffles me, and it’s something that hopefully CBS will rectify one day. If not, it will be a travesty on all Survivor fans.

7. Vanuatu

Vanuatu Cast

Similar to Guatemala, I feel that Vanuatu is now appreciated in its own right enough that I nearly didn’t put it on this list. However I think that there are still enough doubters out there for it that it needs to be on here. One of the most amazing and unique wins ever by Chris mixed with an incredible cast of characters and some stunning cultural scenes make this a season that should be close to every fans heart. It has some of the nicest people outside of the game too and the most fan friendly as well, making Vanuatu a season hard to dislike if you are a super fan of the show.

6. Nicaragua

Nicaragua Cast

I feel Nicaragua is now slowly coming in to it’s own as a season that is respected by fans, but it was difficult given the season followed what is usually considered the greatest season of all time. I will admit as a fan watching it first time around it was a bit hard to stomach some points live after Heroes vs Villains, but the cast and the pure unpredictability of the season really makes it come into its own. Be honest, did anyone think Fabio would win they saw the cast? That’s what makes Nicaragua so great and unique: the unpredictability. Possibly the most unpredictable season of all time with one of the most underrated casts of all time.

5. Fiji

Fiji Cast

I get it. Haves vs haves not. Not a great twist in the overall scheme of Survivor. It made it very very one sided. But watch it again and put that aside. Look what you have in the cast. Dreamz. Yau-Man. Rocky. Anthony. Alex. Sylvia. Earl. Boo. Lisi. Need I go on? This is a cast that had that twist not been in place could very well have been applauded as one of the best in terms of characters. And the gameplay is stunning. Earl is a Survivor god and his win to me is probably on par with Danni as the most underrated and overlooked win in the history of the show. This is a season you must watch again sooner rather than later.

4. San Juan Del Sur

San Juan Del Sur Cast

At the time of writing this we are approaching the half way point of Worlds Apart and I have to say that personally I think this season is struggling to even closely match San Juan Del Sur to the same point. SJDS was labelled as boring and uninteresting by many and the lack of perceived gameplay by some made it hard for some fans to take. But I feel it’s similar to Nicaragua in that it came off the back of a universally loved season and it was always going to be hard to follow up. The Blood vs Water twist with new players made it interesting, and we had a cast that had some of the most individually unique characters we have ever seen. Keith. Jon. Drew. Rocker. What a bunch. And the editing. Wow. In a season that was setting it up to be a Josh or Jeremy win, to have both taken out by the mid point and the eventual winner Natalie and runner-up Jaclyn barely being seen in the first half of the season made it a hard season to predict. But so many moments are worth mentioning that I just can’t fit it in. I’ve already re-watched it, and to me it gets better the more you do.

3. All Stars

All Stars Cast

If this was my list on best seasons of all time, then I still put All-Stars at number one. And I for one know that opinion is laughed at. But let’s go back to 2004 and think of the excitement levels that surrounded these great players all coming together to battle it out for the title of ultimate All-Star. The excitement was huge. And each week that grows and grows seeing these iconic players battle it out.

Yes, so many greats were taken out early, but it was always going to happen and we got a chance to see a new breed of player come to the forefront and set the bar for how Survivor was played in the future. Without All-Stars, we wouldn’t have villains. We wouldn’t have ‘evil’ play. We wouldn’t have the Survivor we have today. There is no way. And while many people hate the negativity of how the season went, it’s a season that created the path for the new breed of Survivor and has so many character moments that are overlooked because the season is hated. Stop reading this and go and watch it now. You won’t regret it.

2. Thailand

Thailand Cast

You knew I was going to put this on here didn’t you, but I bet you were expecting me to put it at number one right? Well you thought wrong! Thailand has always been that season that is universally hated by fans and was the first true season to be labelled as ‘the worst’ and even to this day Jeff Probst publicly shames it. It’s classified as ‘boring’ or ‘predictable’ and the negativity with the Ghandia vs Ted at the start is often a big player in why it’s hated. But just stop and see the wonder in it, as it has possibly the most complete gameplay by a male contestant in the history of the show. Yes that’s right, the king Brian Heidik and his win. I had to bring him up right? Well his dominance of the game and how he manages to articulate and control every aspect of it is a wonder to watch.

Outside of his master class of Survivor gameplay there are so many other great moments to behold. It’s funny! Like, really funny! Think about the Jan moments, the Helen confessionals, Brian and his memory lapses, Shi Ann and Robb, so many moments! The players outside of Brian too are ones that need to be remembered. Helen and Jake are incredible. Ted has his moments and Clay is extremely underrated. So so good. It’s making me want to watch it right now. And hopefully you will too! All hail the king!

1. One World

One World Cast

I just re-watched One World for about the fourth time and to me it’s the biggest mystery in Survivor fandom as to why this season isn’t liked. It is just so so so so so so good! The cast, wow. Probably the most complete cast since China in terms of characters and memorable people, even the perceived ‘duds’ have their qualities you remember them for. The twist on living on the beach together created an amazing opening with so much animosity towards each other which was great to watch. We had the characters that stood out: Colton and well…everything he did (and his amazingly underrated gameplay too), Troyzan, Tarzan, Alicia, Kat, Leif, Jonas…amazing. And then there is Kim. One word that should strike fear into any Survivor fan or player as she played quite possibly the most perfect game in the history of the show. Can anyone actually say anything she did wrong? At all? That’s the beauty of her and this season. It’s just got so many moments that draw you in. The challenges. The interactions. Even Samoa somehow looks different and unique in it! Take my word for it, One World is a gem. A classic. And the most unfairly hated season in the history of Survivor.

What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there seasons that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!



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32 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Unfairly Hated Seasons

  1. Yay, San Juan Del Sur is getting some love!

  2. My list

    10. Fiji- for the reasons said
    9. Gabon- often forgot about
    8. South Pacific- underrated cast
    7. Guatemala- for the reasons said
    6. Vanuatu- for the reasons said
    5. Tocantins- not enough love
    4. Panama- for the reasons said
    3. One World- for the reasons said
    2. Caramoan- great post-merge
    1. All-Stars- BEST SEASON EVER!!!!!!

  3. I will have to force myself to watch One World again but found it excruciating. I thought some of the cast were horrible, annoying and racist. I actually think Redemption Island should have made the list. Yes, Boston Rob romped to victory but it was quite masterful to watch. The season also had a handful of memorable and lively characters.

  4. And a special shout out to Gabon too! Such a random season with some great characters and conflict! Eat yo rice!

    • Very nearly put Gabon on the list but I feel as though it gets quite a good wrap amongst the fans compared to the ones on this list. But it was my defacto ‘number 11’ so to speak – Ben

  5. Rb Liljestrom // April 8, 2015 at 10:45 am // Reply

    You had me until you threw massive smelly bowel movement known as SJDS into the pot. Maybe it’s just me but if Natalie had not won I believe it would have gone down as the worst season ever. Time will tell if even Natalie can save it from dwelling in the cellar. Your other picks were spot on. I just watched Nicaragua for the second time and was surprised it’s considered by many as the worst season. My expectations were so low that I actually enjoyed it and gained a little more respect for Fabio. I think Vanautu is on the cusp of being regarded as a top ten season and probably could have been replaced on this list. However you are right that it needs to be rewatched to gain a full appreciation of how the game unfolded. As good of an interviewer as you are the Chris interview on Survivor Historians is epic and a must listen if you’re a fan of Vanautu like me.

    • If Jaclyn or Missy won, it would not be the worst season ever. SWDS was one of the most unpredictable seasons ever and it’s too bad most survivor fans today don’t understand the challenge it faced and quit watching. SWDS us an underrated gem.

  6. You covered why SWDS is hated perfectly. The casual watchers hate it because of Cagayan. In my opinion it waa more unpredictable than Cagayan. The casual fans are just spoiled whiners and are not true fans of Survivor. The casuals are just full of BS!!!

  7. Keeping in mind I have not watched Panama, Africa, Guatemala, Thailand, or All Stars — I completely agree with Vanuatu, Nicaragua, Fiji, and certainly One World being on this list, but — SJDS?! Are you kidding me, Ben? By the merge in SJDS I watched only because I am a huge Survivor fan, and not because I was loving it. By the merge in Worlds Apart, I just ranked it 7th on my personal list of Top 15 pre-merge seasons! How you even compare these two seasons, let alone say that SJDS is better, is beyond me. For the pre-merge — WA way better!

    Anyway, other than the SJDS mention, this is a darn good list. OW totally deserves top spot as do Vanuatu, Nicaragua, Fiji, and One World in the places you put them (though I must say I am not a Fiji fan, but there are a share of worse seasons).

    The only other flaw here is that South Pacific is not mentioned. I recently re-watched it, and seriously how awesome is it?! It was a breath of fresh air after Redemption Island and had some gem players. Coach. OZZY. Sophie (one of the most underrated winners ever). Brandon Hantz. Keith. Cochran. The cast was awesome, and truth be told, the post-merge pagonging was definitely a little boring but the pre-merge was awesome, especially when Ozzy sent himself to Redemption in a totally strategic move! And I don’t know if it is just me, but I think that if Ozzy had won one more immunity challenge and then the season it would be held in much higher regard.

    Keeping in mind that I have not watched seasons 3-5 and 10-12 this is my Top 10:

    1st) One World. Awesome choice, Ben!
    2nd) South Pacific
    3rd) Nicaragua
    4th) Vanuatu
    5th) Cook Islands — this is a top 10 season IMHO and doesn’t get enough love, probably because of race division. But remember–they split up the tribes after TWO vote offs and the race division was a small part of the season. So many great players (Parvati, Penner, Yul, Ozzy, Candice, and even though he was an early boot–the all so remembered Billy) and lots of funny moments (Billy thinking he was in love with Candice!)
    6th) Fiji
    7th) Tocantins — Often forgotten about and deserves a little more recognition, I think.
    8th) Gabon — Often forgotten about and deserves a little more recognition, I think.
    9th) The Amazon — I realize this is a fairly respected season but I think that it deserves even more love. It. Is. Awesome.
    10th) China — Often forgotten about and deserves a little more recognition, I think.

    • China is universally loved. It isn’t often forgotten about, so I don’t know what world you’ve been liven it, it’s well respected. Cook Islands is considered a good season I think.

  8. I agree with other commenters that Gabon is totally underrated. If you had told me in episode one that the nerdy old guy with the bowtie would end up winning, I would have said you were nuts. I would replace Gabon on the list with One World. Its not that One World was bad, its just that as soon as Kim and the women had the numbers over the men, it just became too predictable. I was also relieved you didn’t put Redemption Island on the list. That whole season was merely an excuse for Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst to gift Boston Rob a million dollars through his own tribe of adoring sycophants.

  9. I personally thought that SJDS was a nice “refresher” to the game. It’s rare that we see anyone who goes into the game without knowing how to really play and still do well (which was the majority of the final 6, if not all). It was very entertaining to see new strategies pop up and new ways to play the game, albeit a couple of them were bad (Rocker and the “two idols” anyone?), but, all the same it made it interesting and it allowed newer strategies to pop up or really make specific strategies that have been around for a few seasons have a huge impact. I mean, recently we’ve been seeing duos pop up like crazy and do crazily well, and only is it this current season that “power couples” are being targeted as soon as they form.
    Basically, it’s like comparing NBA to college basketball. In the NBA you see professionals, and rarely do they make a mistake or try something risky, versus college basketball, where you see a lot more risks and a lot more mistakes being made (adding entertainment and excitement). I would say that SJDS is more of a college basketball-style season while Worlds Apart is more of a NBA season (while you could argue that, yes, we have had 5 or 6 blindsides- So, Vince, Lindsey (maybe), Max, Joaquin, and Kelly- you could only really say one of them was risky, that being Vince’s blindside). While WA’s players are more game-savvy, they are playing like returning players- they know how to play, and they have a committed play style.

  10. @RobsFactChecker // April 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm // Reply

    I agree that few would have predicted a Fabio win but Nicole Cesternino correctly predicted it before the season.

    I couldn’t agree more with your placement of Thailand and ASS. Both have their faults but I have them ranked in my top ten. I think these two seasons struggle because the premerge game outshined the postmerge. People point out Ambers win or the Pagongings forgetting how amazing both seasons started.

  11. Brennen Parker // April 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm // Reply

    I passionately hate everyone from one world minus the final three and jonas. Something with the oddities and the craziness of all the characters didnt click with me and i found myself rooting hard against Leif and Christina when i knew i shouldnt be. I though troyzan was way too arrogant and doesnt deserve to return. I wanted tarzan and kat gone on day one for being crazy and annoying. The four attractivr guys were all boring and flops. Colton was good but was so mean that it was the season intolerable. Alicia was just a stupid bitch that felt deserving of everything. Everyone else has been forgotten because they suck. The gameplay was boring to watch because Kim was so good. If you are a fan of watching one person pummle the competition watch one world. Also not a fan of sjds because of the cast and how the editors portrayed some of them. Natalie jaclyn keith and jeremy are the only people on the season that will ever matter in survivor.

  12. People usually hate seasons because of certain cast members. SJDS was annoying because of people like Alec, One World wasn’t good until Colton left, and Fiji us hated because almost everyone on the season was recruited. Opinions may very, but a cast can usually make or break a good season.

  13. Thailand, SJDS, Fiji and One World all sucked big time. Not a surprise you liked them Ben. Panama, & All Stars are in my top 10. Vanuatu was good also.

  14. Sorry but anything made after HvV and before Blood vs Water, with exception of Philppines, is a crap season and is best forgotten. This especially holds true for One World as well as any season involving Cochran. (Particularly the one Probst basically rigged for him) As for Thailand, I’m sorry but it’s an awful season. I watched again last year for the first time in a decade. I REALLY wanted to like it for the culture and surroundings and the fact that it was something different, but by episode 6 I basically hated everyone. And don’t even get me started on Fiji. I will say that Vanauatu and Guatemala are better seasons than they get credit for and that Panama, at least for me, has nostalgia as it feels more like the last of the old seasons (I know post all stars but they still had the same feel for awhile).

  15. Dan Heaton // April 9, 2015 at 12:52 am // Reply

    I agree with you on Fiji, Guatemala, and Vanuatu. The one would I have to say no is One World. There are some fireworks early on, but it’s no fun because there are either unlikable (Alicia, Troyzan, Colton) or forgettable (Leif, Jay, Mike, Christina, etc.) players. Kim was amazing, but a strong winner doesn’t always lead to a great season. There are few seasons that I’m less interested in revisiting than One World.

  16. I think one world was rightfully hated when it aired because the majority of the cast was annoying and unlikable. Also there had been a pagonging the previous 2 seasons so watching it happen the third time in a row was maddening. However, watching it now it was a good season(not great, but good). Kim was a fantastic winner and watching the everyone else fall on their face was entertaining.

  17. smilingldsgirl // April 9, 2015 at 6:37 am // Reply

    I like all the seasons but SJDS is my least favorite. CBS just did a crappy job in the storytelling. You had nobody to root for or against. And then at the end the Wicked Stepmother speech came totally out of left field and left a bad taste in my mouth. If they had a good villain why didn’t they show us it? Exile island was boring and all the swapping for rice got old. But that said I still enjoyed it because it’s Survivor and I love the show.

    • it had a completely unpredicatable post merge what are you talking about. And missy and baylor were hated by most of the cast and reed hated missy so it was expected.

      • smilingldsgirl // April 13, 2015 at 11:34 am //

        Missy wasnt shown as that bad to my eyes. There was one spat about Baylor being a brat and that’s it. To me Reed’s speech came out of left field.
        There wasn’t anyone I could root for and I’d rather have that than unpredictability. Even so I thought Cagayan was more unpredictable but I like seeing characters I can root for and watching their journey. To me they did a crummy job with the storytelling and even when “exciting” events happened I didnt care. But each their own

  18. Nicaragua has got to be the worst season. I could not make it through a rewatch.

    I am a huge fan of Africa and I think other than Heroes Vs. Villains it is my favorite season to watch.

  19. apparently a Guatemala contestant was in the running for the “pool of returnees” in season 31 but was cut (yet again!) for some reason.

  20. Gabon is my second favorite season. I’m currently rewatching it. I’m going to do a post an why I love Gabon, and two people from there are on my top ten players of all time list.

  21. Applesauce // August 1, 2015 at 5:34 pm // Reply

    I’ll watch one world again one day. First time watching it however I can say with reasonable confidence it is the worst survivor season I have seen. Who is the second best player after Kim? Troyzan? No one knew what they were doing. It was like someone watched 22 and thought. Let’s do a season like that but with all new players. Terrible. SJDS almost ruined survivor as a competition, but it looks like HvsV compared to one world.

  22. I hated One World. Probably the most annoying cast. The only good part was the Touchy Subjects challenge.

  23. Basically, you’ve put the most awfull seasons (with 1-2 exceptions) and rated the worst most highly. I absolutely hate Thailand and One World for different reasons. They are both boring and full of cast member that are hateful and stupid.

  24. For me Redemption Island is number 1 it may have been predictable but it had what i believe to be the best cast in the history of the show and is my 2nd favorite season

  25. My List:
    10. Panama
    09. Palau
    08. San Juan Del Sur
    07. Marquesas
    06. Vanuatu
    05. Africa
    04. Guatemala
    03. Thailand
    02. Fiji
    01. South Pacific

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