Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Reasons San Juan Del Sur Was Better Than Worlds Apart

Top10ReasonsSJDSIsBetterThanWA

The big landmark season 30 is now in the books for Survivor, and Worlds Apart has left a somewhat strange taste in the mouth. Billed by Jeff and others at CBS as one of the best seasons ever, it was an unusual season, with some great moments, a cast with massive potential, and a very popular winner. Yet it was a strangely personal season, and downright uncomfortable to watch at times. Contrast that with San Juan del Sur - a season seemingly unloved by production and downplayed right from the start. The cast was widely panned and the seasons written off by many. However, in retrospect, it was a season that built to a great ending and had solid amounts of strategy throughout. Some of the characters were a bit forgettable, but there were a surprising amount of game players as well. It may be a big call but I’m calling San Juan del Sur as the better season of the two, and here are ten reasons why.

10. Better Challenges

SJDS challenges

Not normally something I am overly worried about, but the challenges are becoming a bigger and bigger part of the show so its noticeable when they are good, and maybe not so good. Both seasons had some good challenges and some not so good challenges. Worlds Apart started well with a challenge that offered options on how to finish it, but petered out into barrel rolling and giant slide challenges. An epic build doesn’t necessarily make for a good challenge.

Although part of the reason may be that most of the challenges in Worlds Apart were not that close, either in the pre or post merge game. Whereas there was real tension in San Juan del Sur, and a variety of different skills were required to win. There were some great come from behind wins (Jaclyn’s last win was a highlight), as well as Natalie’s win to keep Jon away from the immunity necklace. San Juan del Sur also seemed to have more original ideas for challenges, and even managed to break Missy’s leg with one of them. As challenges can get pretty boring if they are repeated too often, I always like to see innovative new ideas to keep things fresh. No, they won’t always work out but it’s good to see new ideas being used.

9. A Point of Difference

SJDS hero arena

Whilst many felt that the blood vs. water theme didn’t work so well with all new players, you have to applaud the producers for giving it a go and San Juan del Sur is memorable in that it at least tried something different. They also got rid of Redemption Island, which is good because even if it “works better in blood vs. water season”, Redemption Island is a massive problem and goes against everything Survivor is meant to be.

The loved ones duels that replaced it were a bit hit and miss – the duels themselves were actually pretty good but the return of Exile Island didn’t really work. Again, you have to praise producers for trying different things instead of playing it safe. Which is exactly what they did with Worlds Apart – really taking no risks, and re-running the “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” theme, just with different names. The result was a pretty straightforward season and one that doesn’t really stand out as being good or bad. So even if you don’t really like SJDS, you have to admire it as a season with a point of difference and one that wasn’t afraid to play with the format a bit. World Apart played it safe and therefore got a pretty bland season.

8. Better Editing

Mike Idol

I understand that editing a show like Survivor must be one hell of a tough job, so I give them a lot of credit, but I do feel the ball was dropped somewhat with Worlds Apart. Specifically, Mike’s win was signalled through the editing weeks, if not months in advance and the efforts to throw viewers off by showing scenes of him being bad or clumsy were offset against much more meaningful scenes of him finding idols (complete with scenes of him in tears and emotional music in the background), so it was hard to miss that his win was being set up in the same obvious way that Tyson, Cochran and Kim were before him. This just doesn’t make for a satisfying viewing experience.

To be fair, there have been times when it is very hard not to show the winner in this way because their game was so dominant – think Boston Rob in Redemption Island. However, editors could have really played up the chances of Carolyn or even Rodney winning in order to give viewers options on who would win. In fact, this is exactly what happened on San Juan del Sur, where Natalie’s win was hidden behind the downfall stories of major alpha males like Josh, Jeremy and Jon. Natalie’s win was not a massive surprise, but it never felt like the season was playing out as a coronation to her win. And the story is better for it – you get to see the possibilities of other people winning for extended periods of the season, and it keeps viewers guessing. Surely it isn’t hard to do more of this and less of the “Mike wins” story.

7. Lower Expectations and not Overshadowed by the Next Season

Survivor Cambodia

They say the secret to happiness in life is low expectations and San Juan del Sur is a great example of this. Jeff really played down the season, and therefore most of us didn’t think we would get much. And to be fair, the season is a slow burn – the best drama and gameplay comes at the end as it should, and its a slow build to this endgame. It’s great because we never really expected too much. Compare that to Worlds Apart – the promotion of which took up considerable time in the SJDS reunion show. Jeff and others talked of this being the best season ever, the best cast ever, the best premiere episode ever….it wasn’t and the expectation probably killed a lot of enjoyment we would have got if Jeff had just shut up and let the season speak for itself.

But the Worlds Apart did have one major problem, and that was that its final few episodes were completely overshadowed by the Second Chance vote. I have no complaints – it’s a great idea and this was probably the best way to create the most amount of hype, but Worlds Apart was completely lost under it. So the 10 minute sequence of World Apart in the SJDS reunion? Nothing compared to the two week long hype machine of what could be one of the best seasons for a while in Second Chances. All this didn’t help Worlds Apart stand as its own season.

6. More Comedy

SJDS Alec

San Juan del Sur is unquestionably a funnier season than Worlds Apart. This may not be a major selling point to many people but a totally serious season is never that much fun. And comedy is always a great tool to fall back on when the strategic action isn’t very interesting. Seasons like Fiji, Exile Island and Vanuatu used a lot of humour and all these seasons were better because of it. What is funny is all down to personal taste, but SJDS offers a little of everything. Particular favourites for me include the Drew Christy downfall arc, where he throws a challenge to get rid of one of the girls, then gets voted out himself. Brother Alec (aka the “meat collector”) was also funny with his open mouth, slack jawed expressions from the jury.

There were some other great characters when it came to humour, with the Nale men being front and centre. Keith was often doing or saying something funny, and Wes’ whole subplot of overeating was actually his major storyline. In terms of loveable dummies, we also had Jon who was great at putting his foot in his mouth and I had to like how Natalie made fun of him basically all season. Contrast this to Worlds Apart, where Rodney was really the only source of comedy but giving (admittedly fantastic) impressions of his other tribe mates. Jenn certainly had her moments but this was a dour season for the most part and really didn’t have many lighter moments at all.

5. San Juan Del Sur Will Improve on a Re-watch

SJDS rewatch

It is still early days, but most obsessive Survivor fans like to re-watch a season, to see how the story plays out with the hindsight of knowing the end result. You can also pick up on other things you may have missed in the first viewing.

I haven’t had time to fully re-watch these seasons yet, but I feel pretty confident that San Juan del Sur will only improve on a re-watch. Knowing Natalie wins, you can see her game in retrospect and how well she plays. You can also go back and look at the downfall of Missy and Baylor, and the faults in Josh, Reed and Jeremy’s game. The pre-merge is also more fun than you probably remembered, especially prior to the swap. The Drew downfall episode and the fall of Nadiya and Val, along with John Rocker make for an explosive start to the season that is great to watch back.

However, the issue with re-watching Worlds Apart is that there really isn’t much to re-analyse with Mike’s game. He basically won through challenges, and there isn’t really much to watch in terms of strategy. In fact the strategy seems completely meaningless when you know the season is just won by a challenge beast. As much as people will say ideas like the return of Exile Island didn’t work, neither did the second vote that Dan had, and it just really wasn’t that interesting the first time around. The nastiness and personal attacks in Worlds Apart will not be any more light or interesting on a second viewing.

4. Bigger, Better Blindsides

SJDS blindsides

If big tribal councils and blindsides are your thing, you will find much more to enjoy in San Juan del Sur. This goes back a little bit to my concerns with editing of the seasons. Worlds Apart had plenty of votes that surprised the players, but as viewers, we were rarely in doubt of the outcome. I would say that only the eliminations of Vince, Joaquin and Tyler were really massive surprises in Worlds Apart. Compare that to SJDS, where several votes, especially late in the game came as a massive surprise. With idol plays and hidden plans aplenty, the game really came alive and things got shaken up several times. Natalie urging Jon to play his idol, “Stick to the Plan” and Jon’s blindside were massive moments.

Jeremy’s blindside took many viewers by complete surprise and even Julie’s quit changed the direction of the game, with Jon and Jaclyn seemingly ready to get rid of Jeremy before switching to Josh following her departure. Even the finale has the idol play and blindside of Baylor. SJDS is a great season in that it gets better almost every week, unlike Worlds Apart which pretty much flat lines after Kelly gets idoled out of the game. For all the talk of how many big players there were in season 30, it’s actually the game play of season 29 contestants that is the most intriguing.

Its easy to write off SJDS as being full of “dumb” or naive players like Keith, Alec or Jon, but in reality there are some big gamers like Josh, Reed, Jeremy, Natalie and Missy but also players like Jaclyn and Baylor that grow into becoming pretty savvy strategists as well. If strategy is your thing, you won’t find as much of it as you have probably been led to believe in World Apart. Look to season 29 for more complex and interesting strategy.

3. Better Heroes and Villains

SJDS heroes and villains

Any great season of Survivor has both a collection of players to love and hate. Some who you want to see win, others you can’t wait to see get their due. It may be simplistic to set up players as either good or bad, but to be honest, it works and there is a reason that Survivor is often set up as being about Heroes or Villains. Because it is more fresh in the memory, it’s easy to think that Worlds Apart has better heroes, namely Mike and Shirin, and better villains in Dan and Will but overall these players never really had much depth. Fans may not want to admit it, but Missy was in fact one of the best villains the show has had in a while. She was really disliked, to the point that when she sustained her injury near the end of the season, there was a decent chunk of fans who were outraged that she wasn’t medically evacuated.

This was largely because Missy was developed as a character with varying sides – as a mother, she felt the need to protect her daughter in the game but also make big moves. She was accused of covering for Baylor to allow her to not do work, but she also created strong bonds when she needed to (and knew how to break them). She was a villain with many sides to her personality – but they all led to her being someone audiences loved to hate.

On the other side were a variety of heroes – regardless of what you liked in the game, you had someone to support and want to win – be it Natalie, with her very good strategic play and revenge narrative, Keith who was a loveable idiot who won challenges and accidently ruined the plans of many around him, or Jaclyn who would put Jon in his place and was feisty enough to not just be cast as a token good looking girl. World Apart had arguably a much better cast on paper, but they just never really worked in the game. Characters like Carolyn could have been much bigger heroes, but they just never got the edit to support it. Shirin’s edit turned her into someone to pity, which I’m sure is the last thing she wanted. Joe won challenges but was never built as being someone worth supporting.

And Will and Dan, the supposed “villains” were actually given a one note bully edit which didn’t build any depth. All over, Worlds Apart was frustrating in this way – the cast seemed to have so much potential, but just never really “popped”. SJDS looked ordinary on paper, but grew into something pretty great.

2. More Fun

SJDS keith

There really is no way around the fact that Worlds Apart is a dour season. It’s too personal, too serious and just lacking in any kind of fun. I don’t for one moment think producers should paint over the Shirin, Dan and Will episodes – I like that they show big issues and don’t shy from them. But it doesn’t change the fact that it makes for an awkward, uncomfortable and pretty miserable viewing experience. Whilst some would argue that Dan and Will are villains, I see them more as buzzkills, who provide no entertainment and are just terrible to watch. This isn’t a personal comment, but more the way they were edited into one dimensional “evil” people. The more fun characters on the season like Jenn and Joe leave too early, or Rodney, who is great fun but doesn’t get nearly the camera time he deserves. There’s no hiding from the fact that the dirty thirty are just not much fun to watch. I think it also hurts that so many of them are game focussed that actually having fun character moments is something we don’t get. Again, a lack of expectations helps the San Juan del Sur cast, who are all sorts of entertaining. They are just the right amount of game savvy and unbelievably goofy and dumb to make for fantastic TV.

The “stick to the plan” moment is so much fun, as well as Natalie giving Jon a hard time for being a wine snob. Even minor charters like Dale bring some fun, with fake hidden immunity idols, as well as Drew in his one episode downfall. Nadiya and Val also keep things interesting in their short stays. Yes, there are some down moments, and the three-episode run from Kelley’s boot to Julie’s quit is pretty slow (Dale and his fake idol aside), but it quickly picks up and never really slows again. San Juan del Sur is again going to deliver so much more on a second or third viewing, with lots of fun character moments that make the season more than the sum of its parts.

1. More Satisfying Winner and Ending

SJDS natalie

Let me be quite clear – winners deserve to win and this point is not a hit on Mike as a winner at all. My point is that purely from a viewer’s perspective, the story of Natalie’s win is just so much more entertaining. Her story is about overcoming the vote off of her sister, then her closest ally to ensure she eventually won the game. Natalie’s win had a little of everything – great strategy, subtle yet smart social play, challenge wins and idol finds. Natalie understood to make a couple of showy moves in front of the jury (the idol play that led to Baylor’s blindside), as well as laying low and letting the bigger more egocentric players knock each other out.

She managed to keep Keith quiet on her plan to get rid of Jon, and even recover from Jaclyn’s anger at this. And although she did win a couple of critical challenges, she never really needed them to keep going in the game. She was able to navigate a game full of loved ones paired up after her loved one went first, and survive. And she did all of this without really being an avid fan or viewer of Survivor before playing. Not since Earl Cole has someone known so little of the game yet played it so well. I truly believe that in the fullness of time, her game will come to be viewed as one of the best ever.

Mike on the other hand did one thing very well, and that was win challenges. And ultimately, that’s all he needed. Full credit to him, but it just doesn’t make for a very satisfying or entertaining season. Ultimately all the strategy that happens from about Joe’s exit onwards doesn’t matter because Mike will be safe either though immunity or the idol all the way to the end. Some will say that this is just as good as playing a great strategy; others will say a good strategist never needs immunity to be safe in the first place. Wherever you draw your line, no re-watch of Worlds Apart will make you understand Mike’s eventual win better – he played one aspect of the game amazingly, and he won’t care how that million dollars got into his bank account. But from a purely viewer’s perspective, it’s just not that interesting. I had always wondered what it would have been like if Terry, Brett or Ozzy won the last challenge in seasons where they played pretty poor strategic and social games – and now I know. And it just doesn’t make for good TV.

What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones 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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58 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Reasons San Juan Del Sur Was Better Than Worlds Apart

  1. LISTEN UP. THIS ARTICLE WAS BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. ONE OF THE BEST OZ HAS EVER HAD. BUT! YOU KILLED MY WHOLE ENTIRE VIBE BY SAYING BRETT WAS A BAD SOCIAL AND STRATEGIC PLAYER. HE WAS AN AMAZING SOCIAL PLAYER JUST LISTEN TO ANY INTERVIEW FROM HIS TRIBEMATES. HE WAS AMAZING AND WOULDVE BEEN PORTRAYED 9000% DIFFERENTLY IF HE WOULDVE WON OR IF RUSSELL WASNT TAKING AWAY THE CAMERA FOR POINTLESS IDOL TALK

  2. I completely agree about Natalie being a great winner and possibly one of the best.

    Really, I agree with pretty much everything in this article. Really, SJDS may not have been an over-the-top amazing season the way Cagayan and HvV are, but it really is a very good one and, in my opinion, deserves more love than it gets.

  3. Rewatching SJDS at the moment, and I have to agree. Still not a great season, but definitely needs to be held in higher regards than WA.

  4. Pretty good list that I can agree with. I don’t think the challenges were good on either season, but SJDS was definitely better over all. Is another Ozlet going to do a counter list?

  5. I’m glad to have the Top Ten back. I love these. I agreed that SJDS is more watchable than Worlds Aparts.

  6. I agree in 100 %. SJDR is much better than WA. I really can’t understand all negative comments about SJDR.

  7. SJDS was seriously underrated.

  8. THANK GOD SOMEONE MADE THIS ARTICLE.

    Seriously, SJDS is the most unfairly hated on season ever, and this is a universe where Thailand and Nicaragua exists. I seriously think that once Josh leaves, the Final 10 are all All-Stars, with the Final 6 being the most enjoyable in years. I’m a typical fan, where I usually only have old school players as my “favorite players ever,” (Ethan Zohn and Courtney Yates for me, lol) but Natalie Anderson is already in my Top 5. That’s how amazing it is.

  9. Anonymous // July 1, 2015 at 1:16 pm // Reply

    HELLLLLLLL NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The winner was not satisfying. How is a wannabe loud mouthed Sandra who was invisible during the first half of the season better than the die hard blue collar underdog MIKE!!!! No way. The editing sucked at San juan del Sur, at least people can remember something from each cast of Worlds apart.

  10. Anonymous // July 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm // Reply

    HELLLLLL NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!! FIRST OF ALL, how is a wannabe loud mouthed Sandra who didn’t do anything until the final 7 a better winner than the die hard underdog Mike?!?!?!?!?!? Second, the editing was terrible. At least something can be said about everyone in Worlds apart. SJDS sucked pre merge and didn’t have much worthy players. Worlds apart had Mike, Carolyn, Rodney, Tyler, Shirin, Jenn, Joe, Kelly, Joaquin, Max, Lindsey, and So who were all capable of winning. The only ones SJDS had was Jaclyn, Missy, Keith, Baylor, Jon, Reed, and, Josh. (No Natalie and Jeremy are not part of it).

    • Natalie Anderson is not a Sandra and she did stuff well before voting out Alec. It was just downplayed.

    • Not having Screentime does not equate to doing Nothing. Having a loudmouth does not make Natalie a Sandra

      • Anonymous // July 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm //

        Well maybe but when people start giving her all that credit and saying she one of the best and see her as better than certain people, that’s when it’s too far.

      • Natalie played a subtle but smart game. Plus one thing that makes her win so much more better than mikes is that yeah she wasn’t an underdog, but she didn’t rely on an immunity necklace to win the game. Mike only won because he won those challenges to get him to the end. And natalie did NOT ride Jeremy’s coat tails. In the drew vote off it was her and missy who came up with the idea of getting rid of drew when jeremy wanted keith gone. Jeremy did what nat wanted. Her and jeremy were equal if you watch carefully, and if anyone ride coat tails it was Jeremy. He was just a much bigger target than her. And pulling off three consecutive and awesome blindsides is much more impressive than winning challenges.

  11. Pretty decent list. But I still think Worlds Apart is better than San Juan del Sur.

  12. How is ‘Jaclyn’ not number one???
    Beautifully written, Nick. SJDS is an amazing season – on a re-watch – and on the other hand, I haven’t yet found the strength to watch WA again..

  13. RB Liljestrom // July 1, 2015 at 2:10 pm // Reply

    Get the fuck out of here with this shit. Clarence fucking Darrow couldn’t plead the case for SJDShit being better than any season. It’s my least favorite season. Reasons it sucked ass. Val’s 2 idol bluff. Players getting voted off because they knew too much about the game. Losing the flint, bartering for a new one, finding the old one. Eating all of their rice. Before the fucking merge. Pussy Jeff letting them barter for more.Jon calling Missy “Mommy” and her treating him like her little baby. Everyone making Jon and Jacklyn the power couple and allowing them to run the game. Drew throwing a challenge only to get himself voted out. Even worse was throwing a challenge to get rid of one of his own. Josh aligning with Baylor, voting for her and then telling her. Julie quitting. Keith freaking out at Tribal Council blurting out “stick to the plan”. Thus alarming Jon to play his idol. Jon and Jacklyns sucking face all game. Jon and Jacklyn having that stupid fight dooming Reed to Jury Duty. Jon falling for Natalie’s supposed voting blunder. Jon taking an idol home to place on his mantel. Everything Christie Brothers. Everything Baylor. Great job on the article Nick. Thanks for the effort but not even Shakespeare could polish this turd of a season.

    • I thought you said to look beyond the edit.

      • RB Liljestrom // July 3, 2015 at 7:19 am //

        You didn’t read the fine print. Only look past the edit when it enhances my argument. ;)~

    • A lot of the stuff you listed caused entertainment though I mean stock to the plan and the fall of jon club was fantastic… And the baylor blindside was epic and since you hate her you were probably happy from that

      • RB Liljestrom // July 3, 2015 at 7:26 am //

        One man’s entertainment is another man’s agony. I’m sure there’s people out there who enjoyed ISIS throwing gays off of buildings. Bad analogy. You know what I mean.

    • RB Liljestrom // July 2, 2015 at 4:13 am // Reply

      I left out anything Missy. Also anything Missy AND Baylor together. “She’s not a girl. She’s a mom”. Baylor bawling at FTC because of Reeds speech. Missy getting carted around after spraining her ankle. I could go on all day. Put all the characters side by side from SJDS vs WA and do a comparative of who you’d rather see play again and it’s a no brainer.

      • I think Baylor’s reaction to Reed verbally attacking her mom was understandable, why you hate the young woman crying.

    • But Redemption Island, One World and Caramoan are worse and San Juan del Sur

  14. Ozlet Nick // July 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm // Reply

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, keep it coming! I believe a rebuttal is coming in the next couple of weeks…

  15. Disagree with the better winner and ending. I still can’t stand Natalie and it was a very anti climactic win.

    • Oh yea and Ozzy did make the final 3 in a season where he played a poor social and strategic game and lost because of it. Mike actually had a decent strategic game early on Rodney was just more appealing for people to align with because he was perceived as an idiot and and an annoyance while Mike was likable and strong. Plus if he had such a weak social game why did almost everyone vote for him to win?

    • Yeah but Mike did nearly destroy his game with that auction blunder. Mike’s win also kind of Anticlimatic because Mike was almost guarenteed winning if he won the final immunity challenge.

      • I thought that too until final tribal council where MIke got a lot of hate. I was actually convinced mama C. won for a little bit. It seemed like Mike wasn’t getting Hali, Rodney, Sierra, Shriin, or even Tyler’s vote based on the edit. The only person I could say for certain he was getting was Jenn and Joe. Dan I was 50-50 on. I actually could imagine Mike losing unlike Natalie where it was so freaking obvious she won before final tribal council or even the last episode started.

      • How was Natalie’s win obvious? She wasn’t really given screentime until the end

      • Natalie winning was obvious cuz look at the final 6. Jon was doing good, but had shown to be clueless and oblivious to Natalie plotting to get rid of him for a long time. His downfall had been set up for a couple episodes. Baylor and Missy couldn’t win they were unlikable. Keith wasn’t going to win because even if by some miracle he made it he played a lacking social game. Jaclyn had a positive edit, but didn’t strategize enough to considered the winner. By default Natalie was the clear winner. 4 of the 6 wanted to go to the end with her and she had an idol. Yea she was invisible the first half of the game, but the last 3 or 4 episodes it was obvious Natalie had the game won.

      • I like to be open minded and The Baker’s Dozen said to ignore the edit, Also, Keith may not had been actively working the Social Game but he was still liked and popular and he still and a good shot at winning had he made it to FTC, especially with the mostly male jury

  16. Never understood the San Juan del Sur hate

    • I think it’s most coming off of Cagayan.
      The same happened to many seasons, with Nicaraga coming off of HvV as the best example.

  17. Zach Chong // July 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm // Reply

    100% argeed with this top 10

  18. Cooper Gordy // July 2, 2015 at 2:56 am // Reply

    This is a great article! You hit the nail on the head! Could you do a Top Ten about TAO? That is my favorite season ever! Also, when are sign ups for new ozlets

  19. LOL
    nick you’re dumb as fuck

    • Ozlet Nick // July 2, 2015 at 8:31 am // Reply

      Best.Rebuttal.Ever.

      • Listen Nick, if you honestly think the editing was better than WA, than you seriously need to get your status as an Ozlet, or even a fan checked. How can it be a better season whenever we come out the season without a personality shown from 6 out of 18 players? Not to mention out of the 12 that showed personality 4 of them were invisible until the second half, including the winner. How can it be a more satisfying ending when the winner only played hard for less than half of the game? How can it be better after so many setups without any payoffs? The reason that production and Jeff were unhappy with the season was because when it came to the finished product, they struggled to find a coherent storyline with what happened during the game. Yes, it did start picking up speed, but only after a whopping 10 episodes, before that it was an absolute snoozefest that lacked any triumph or balance. Another thing to, when I left that comment, I was very disappointed with this article and your skills as a writer, you and many other contributers on this website let their personal feelings get in the way of any journalistic integrity. Absolutely.Terrible.Writing.

      • RJ in defence of Nick and any writer on this site, it is a blog, not a website filled with ‘journalistic opinions’. People are hired as Ozlets to bring in varying opinions from across the board, allowing for debate and discussion amongst fans and Ozlets alike. They are also hired for their varying degrees of writing ability, some have journalism and writing backgrounds and others have none allowing for a varying writing style across the board. While it is your right to disagree with Nick’s opinions, to claim writing on this site needs to have ‘journalistic integrity’ is way off the mark. Nick has written an opinion piece, in much the same light as all top 10s are. Each Ozlet is able to write a top 10 in whatever manner they like, be it a personal opinion or something based on facts. Just because you disagree with an opinion, doesn’t make it a ‘terrible piece of writing’

      • To Nick, and the other Ozlets.

        Sorry if I offended any of the writers on this blog. It was not meant as a personal attack to share my legitimate concerns with the opinion piece and this site But something doesn’t make any sense to me. How could you say that “to claim writing on this site needs to have ‘journalistic integrity’ is way off the mark”? Don’t you want to have validity in what you are writing?

        As to the earlier post, yes it may have been a bit brash, but I did not think that it would be seen by any of the writers, so I thought no harm no foul, but NIck and the editors seem to be deeply angered by it, as I was after reading this post. So I apologize for calling you dumb. I dont think that.

        I love this game, and as a video editor and writer myself, this article in particular struck a chord with me, and as a super fan, there was no way i could go without sharing my concerns.

      • RJ let me reiterate: we are a blog, not the New York Times. Opinions of writers on this site are exactly that: opinions. Of course we want validity but at the end of the day this is a fan blog/show run for the fans by a bunch of fans that all have a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints. Just like you, or any other person who follows us does. You’re not right in your opinions or wrong, we’re not right or wrong either. It’s about the debate and the conversation it brings. My point is by claiming to have “journalistic integrity” you’re putting us up on a pedestal that I feel is a little too high for what we actually are.

  20. I have to say on a rewatch I enjoyed Worlds Apart more. It definitely helps to know that Mike won because he was one of the four greatest challenge competitors ever along with Terry, Ozzy and Colby, and his strategic game was the best of the four proven by the fact he is the only one of the four that won. Natalie is a great winner but there wasn’t the same underdog story there was with Mike. I also think that Worlds Apart had better heroes and villains. While I agree that Will was a buzzkill, I think Dan was a great villain. Him calling himself a hero and Mike a villain at his Ponderosa video was pure comedy showing his delusion. I definitely loved to hate him. I also think that Rodney was a brilliant villain. As a fellow Bostonian he is one of my favorite characters of all times, but during some parts of the season I couldn’t stand him. Also, I think Hali, Joe, Jenn, Shirin and Mike were phenomenal heroes and when Mike defied the odds and won I loved it. I think Worlds Apart was a much better season (and it being #28 on the Ozcars is a joke). I found San Juan del Sur to have a great ending but at that point it was too little too late, I also just don’t like the concept of Blood be Water, but I think there is great reasoning in this article but I just have to disagree.

    • How can you be a Bostonian and not list Boston Rob as one of the greatest challenge performers? 😉

    • Well said. To quote Dan Foley,”I could not agree more”. Nick did a great job of pissing off WA fans. He can’t believe all of that shit he wrote. He’s smarter than that. Or maybe RJ has a point.

    • I don’t think Dan counts as a villain, just really annoying and delusional

  21. Solid article, but I can’t say I agree. SJDS is probably the least memorable season of all time. Not the worst (that’s probably Nicaragua), but bottom ten for sure. Worlds Apart wasn’t great either, and Mike was a less satisfying winner than Natalie, but at least I can remember the contestants. SJDS has a pretty unmemorable batch of contestants.

  22. Very good article with some good points, but I disagree. Worlds Apart is Season #10 out of 30 in my personal Best Seasons list whereas SJDS is Down at 18th. I completely disagree regarding editing. Mike’s win was a Little predictible just based off of editing, but given that he was such an underdog, it wasn’t like ´´Mike is definitely going to win´´ and I felt Carolyn and Rodney had at least as good of editing as Natalie last season and Mike no better of an edit than Spencer in Cagayan WHO didn´t Win.

    I would even argue that Worlds Apart had better editing because ever character was more memorable. Vince, Nina, Lindsey, Max, Joaquin, and nearly everybody post merge were more memorable than a lot of the SJDS cast, thanks to more balanced editing. I hardly remeber Val, Alec, and Wes and that was because of bad editing. There will be no one I forget for a long time from Worlds Apart thanks to balanced editing, other than maybe Kelly.

    Again you had some good points but for me Worlds Apart is decidedly better. Also I hope NeXT week some other Ozlet argues that Worlds Apart is the better of the two seasons! Also for the Worlds Apart haters I think it would also improve on a re Watch.

  23. This is definitely a good article. I just definitely disagree. WA is a great season, it was just overshadowed by Cambodia and the negativity.

    • How was Worlds Apart overshadowed by Cambodia? Worlds Apart started to suck before it was even announced.

  24. Why are there so many rabid SJDS haters commenting this article. Civil commentators who disagree are okay but the ones who ranted on who they think this article is crap.

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