Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Reasons Heroes vs. Villains is Overrated


Heroes vs. Villains is often regarded as the best season of Survivor, or at least in the top 5. But despite the acclaim, there are more than a few reasons why it might not hold up as much as you might believe on a re-watch. This week our Ozlet from the Empire State, Jordan Rose takes on the historic twentieth season, sharing his top 10 reasons why despite being a very enjoyable season, it may just be a little bit overrated. Do you agree with his assessment? Let us know with a comment! 

10. No Major Twists


Other than returning players divided into Heroes and Villains, there really weren’t any major twists this season, unless you count the double-Tribal Council in Episode Six. Although a tribe switch clearly wasn’t planned (as evidenced by naming the tribes “Heroes” and “Villains”), the classic pre-merge format set the stage for a rather straightforward post-merge. A more fitting twist would have been a mutiny (become a hero by joining the Heroes, or become a villain by joining the Villains), so it’s a shame we didn’t get to see that offered.

9. Russell Sees a Flaw In The Game


There were many high points and low points of Russell’s Survivor career, but to me this is probably the worst he has ever looked. It is the point in the reunion show where he complains that the game of Survivor is flawed, in essence because he didn’t win. “America should get a percentage of the vote”, he says. It is this point in the show (along with the Samoa reunion), that really makes him come across as a sore loser.

8. Not Enough “Old School” Players


Of the 20 players in Heroes vs. Villains, only 5 of them had played in the first 9 seasons (Jerri, Colby, Rob, Rupert and Sandra), and a whopping 10 of them had played in the previous four seasons. Although it was great to see some interaction between old-schoolers and newer players, I feel the season could have been made better by including some more of the older characters. There were also just too many relationships that we saw (such as the Micronesia connections) that we already knew about and had seen develop just a couple of years earlier.

7. Boring Heroes


While many of the characters on the Heroes side were some of the most dynamic in the show’s history, for some reason they just didn’t seem to be a fun tribe to watch. There were a few fun moments, such as the killing of the chicken in the first episode, Banana Etiquette, and J.T.’s letter. But, other than that there were merely idol hunting, injuries, James being mean to people, and routine strategy talk. And then the post-merge game developed, where just nothing happened that either went right for the Heroes or was interesting to watch.

6. Little Character Development


It’s no surprise that Heroes vs. Villains had a lot of strategy talk. But when I say it had a lot of strategy talk, it was to the point where there was very little time for anything other than strategy talk. Previous seasons had much more time for character development, and after the first episode only the major characters (Coach, Russell, Parvati, Rupert) got any scenes where we could enjoy them for the personas they created. Maybe there wasn’t just much there, but major players Sandra and Danielle were largely invisible for the first half of the game, and previously fantastic characters like Courtney and Jerri had basically no character scenes. And not all of the strategy was that sound (see below).

5. A Mini-Pagonging


As I said earlier, the twist-less pre-merge portion of the game made for a fairly predictable post-merge, even though the editors tried to conceal it. Tribal alliances were strong for the most part, and after the vote-off of J.T., it was all downhill for the Heroes as they were picked off one by one (interrupted briefly by the Danielle vote). As we have seen with many Pagonings, the losing tribe after the merge has very little to no chance to advance to the end and this season was no exception.

4. Tarnished Legacies


Many all-star seasons leave us with a different image of the returning players than we had going in, and Heroes vs. Villains had several of these players. Most of the Heroes did far worse than they did in their original season(s), and several Villains had bad games as well. Former winners Tom and J.T. came away looking much worse than they did coming in, and in the case of J.T., it was shown that strategy was certainly not his strongpoint. James came off looking like a bully, Colby came off as lazy, and Tyson’s demise was embarrassing for him. Some came away looking better than the first time around (mainly Jerri), but the legacies that were tarnished outweigh them for me. Also, I wonder what Rob’s legacy would look like had he not come back in Redemption Island.

3. Imbalanced Editing


This one annoys me, because editing can really make or break a great season. To me the editing in Heroes vs. Villains was too much strategy-based (as I have already said), and worse, only focused on some players’ strategies. I get it, since Russell’s game was easily the most impactful on the season, but it seemed like Jerri’s and Danielle’s impacts on the game were not shown nearly enough and the reasons for Sandra’s win were not explained very well. The pre-merge edit was probably better than the post-merge edit, but again, after Episode 1, there were very few character scenes and there was basically nothing on the Heroes’ side.

2. Strategic Blunders


Say what you want about Parvati’s double-idol play and Russell’s takeover of the Villains tribe, but to me there were far too many bad strategic moves in Heroes vs. Villains. I know people will argue that J.T.’s move of giving the idol to Russell could have worked, but the fact that 5 All-Star Survivors would come to a consensus of giving away their post-merge weapon to an enemy tribe they knew nothing about baffles me to this day. Tyson’s move of straying from the split-vote plan was possibly even worse, directly leading to his own vote-off and starting the plunge of Rob’s alliance. And those two moves were just the tip of the iceberg. There was also Candice flipping to the Villains, effectively ending her game, Amanda giving the idol clue back to Danielle (and Colby’s reaction to it), and Russell’s burning of most of the jury members.

Honestly, I could write a top ten of bad strategic moves in Heroes vs. Villains. And it would probably be valid.

1. Russell is a Bulldozer… Again


…Yeah. Russell’s way of playing Survivor may make for good television, but it leaves very little room for other players to play strategically. Which is what he wants, of course, but his M.O. of trying to control every aspect of the game, bullying people, and throwing them under the bus makes them disrespect his gameplay. And, his way of playing will never earn a victory no matter how much he tries, because the players he burns will never want to give him the million dollars.

What makes his game in Heroes vs. Villains especially hard for anti-Russell fans (like me) to watch is that it is being played for a second consecutive time – immediately after Samoa. His game in Heroes vs. Villains basically mirrored his Samoa game, where it was shoved down the viewers’ throats. And then we had to watch it again.

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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30 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Reasons Heroes vs. Villains is Overrated

  1. Finally! A list I’ve been waiting for. I began the season by loving it. The problem was all of my favorites got voted out one by one. Seeing Stephenie, Randy, Cirie, Tom, Tyson, James, Rob, Coach & Courtney all voted out systematically was truly tragic. Thank god there was Jerri, Parvati and Queen Sandra to save the season. (Also I disagree on the points about Jerri. I came away from this season a little upset because Jerri didn’t win. Although, I must admit I wasn’t too upset to see it was Sandra.

    • Also I think there was one entertaining hero post-merge. My favorite hero this season, Candice. A surprise considering she was a minnow among sharks. She still managed to be my favorite hero by a significant margin.

    • Jerri hype! Wooo!

  2. Jordan, my friend, you are setting the world on fire!! Is there anything you haven’t done since joining the Ozlets?? Kudos dude keep it up I enjoy your stuff

  3. I don’t think the major twists was bad, But I agree with 1-9 though

  4. Still one of my favorite seasons, but you bring up a lot of good points (though I don’t really see strategic blunders as bad for a season; it can be more boring to watch if everybody is playing really well and makes no mistakes). The editing in particular was a bit of a shame, though it is hard with 20 castaways. I do think Sandra should have been more visible, at least to get an idea of why she won over Parvati.

    The lack of twists, though, didn’t hurt it in my opinion. I really liked seeing two tribes stay the same for that long, and it really amped up the competitiveness, which I enjoyed seeing. A mutiny would have been interesting though. And at least this Pagonging was pretty interesting and not so predictable, unlike some *cough* RI and SP *cough*

    As for Russell….yeah. Probably good for me that I watched HvV before seeing Samoa, so it wasn’t so bad for me.

  5. Pretty much everything is wrong.
    10. Who cares reality shows are at its best with strong competitors and no twists to interfere.
    9. Russell is Russell… Nobody cares after his Redmeption Island failure.
    8. Tom and Stephenie should be lumped in there with old school so that makes 7. Chris and Brian are hated by Jeff so wouldn’t be high on that list. Coleen and Elisabeth would never do it again so that leaves Rob C and Richard Hatch as possible inclusions.
    7. Other than Sugar everyone brought something to the table.
    6. Did u really want them to focus on the fall of Colby episode by episode as he continue to suck.
    5. I don’t see how that is that bad. I liked some of them but it was all strategy.
    4. Happens every all star deal with it.
    3. I can meet u half way. I thought Parvati had it in the bag. Still don’t knownwhat Sandra did.
    2. Made for the most entertaining tv of all of survivor.
    1. He played a good game. Except for the social aspect. All together it made the season really entertaining. Although I would have loved to see Shane on the season….

    • Giovanni Orellana // October 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm // Reply

      Chris is hated? Why?

      • Cam Jackson // October 15, 2015 at 6:12 am //

        Because Chris was on Vanuatu and he stabbed Julie Berry in the back who Jeff became romantically involved in. There’s a whole redit thread of Jeff’s most hated list.

      • Giovanni Orellana // October 15, 2015 at 6:37 am //

        Do you have a link to that redit page?

      • Actually, Julie and Chris are really good friends. They’ve even done interviews together. Also, that happened before Jeff and Julie dated and Jeff is married now to someone that’s NOT Julie, so I highly doubt Jeff holds bad blood against Chris.

      • Cam Jackson // October 18, 2015 at 8:01 am //

        They still aren’t on the best terms though. Like he would hav been perfect for the heroes tribe, but he was never even mentioned as a possibility like Yau-Man who had work. So it has to be Jeff not letting him on(since Jeff controls most of it) because of production overrides Jeff than Chris would be back in a heartbeat

  6. Giovanni Orellana // October 14, 2015 at 1:31 pm // Reply

    I think premerge, Russell did fine, at final 7, that’s when he lost it again

  7. there is one glaring omission from this list: Heroes vs Villains gave birth to Survivor Redemption Island, easily the WORST season in Survivor history.

    Other than that, I agree with this entire list + other commenters. The All-Star seasons are my second-least favorite seasons after those pitting returning players against newbies.

    The current season’s concept is perfect in my opinion. I wish they would do it more often.

  8. ok you really suck at life cause none these reasons make sence

    1. wow theirs no twist and….. so what it just meant no one was screwed over by dumb tribe swaps, like what twist did u want exile island, yeah cause we know what an affect that has on the game. honestly not a lot of twst actually work welllike the only ones that have are tribe swap and hidden immunity idols.

    2. yeah he said that in the reunion show…………….. but how does that mean the season is bad like honestly you suck at life

    8. ummm old school back than would have been season 10 and bellow soo… why u excluding season 10, I don’t know maybe its because it would inlucde another two people meaning 7 which is actually quite a lot.

    7. plz. plz. plz rewtch the season particulary the episode 2 tribel council. these heroes were not boring, their was heaps of flipping, an idol play and little predictability ok.

    6. Sandra was invisible for the first part of the game but she got devolpement 2nd half… so she still got a heapof devolpment. To say that jerri didn’t get any devolpement as a character is sickening, she got the most redemption out of anyone their. in the words of Christina from one world ” shut up cause ur wrong!”

    5.not really a pagoning because their was flipping by Candice, double agenting by Sandra, betrayel and threats by russle. no pagoning here

    4. yes their were some tarnished legacies but how does that reduce the season cause yes their were some tarnished legacies but their were heaps of legacies that got upgraded

    3 I honestly don’t even think you’ve watched heroes vs villians tbh what thing about the editing was unbalanced, sure they included a lot of stratergy but their were also a lot of character moments. And that’s what people love about this seasons its stratergy

    2. The stratigical blunders were due to strategical gold think about. tysons move was due to a lot of good stratergy on russle behalf so focusing on the dumb side of tyson rather than the smartness of russle tells a lot on how much you want to hate this season

    1. ummm. not really, sure we got a lot of russle but we got a lot of everyone so I don’t really know what to say about that one cause what reall surprises me is that u hate russle, like me but this season is a dream for russle haters not a nightmere. ruslle played his heart out but lost cause he got out wited and outplay by Sandra. this seaso n is actuslly really anti russle

  9. How can you hate Russell when he revolutionized the game. Here is a list of his great changes he made to survivor.
    1. He showed people that you don’t need to wait to get a clue you can look for and find the idol with out it.

    2. He showed people that you can use the idol to make offensive moves and that they don’t just have to be defensive.

    3. He proved that you don’t need to be in the numbers advantage to get to the end.

    4. He showed people to just go out and make alliances with everyone and that it does not matter if you keep your word or not.

    This is why he is so great.

    • Giovanni Orellana // October 15, 2015 at 2:42 am // Reply

      He’s great, if only he won Samoa

    • People Hate Russell because he an screenhog who is competed in 2 consecutive seasons and an third only after one season without out him. People also hate him because he caused the term Bitter Jury to degrade from what ever it’s original term was to not voting for person who the audience thinks had the best game.

      Also, I don’t agree with your 3rd and 4th points. Number 3 has been done in Marquesas by the Outsiders Alliance, Vanuatu by Chris, Guatemala by Danni, Cook Islands by The Aitu Four, Gabon by Bob & Tocantins by the Jalapao alliance. Russell wasn’t the first to do this and many of the above did it better. The 4th point can make betrayed and upset jurors who don’t respect you.

      • The 1st 3 seasons of survivor don’t count for the 3rd one season 4 does not count because it was just the majority realizing they could vote out the minority in power. In season 13 they had an over powered idol. Russell was in massive 2-1 odds both seasons he got to the end in.

        As for the 4th reason people do that all the time now and the juries do not care.

        Bitter jury term does not mean not voting for fan fav. It means a jury that does not reward the best player out for spite or revenge. That happens to Russell in 2 seasons.

        Russell lost to the jury because at the time his strategy was new and extreme. People saw it as unethical and unfair. If he got to the end in a 4th season he would win.

      • Sackeshi, The general Russel fan like you is another reason by people dislike Russell. They like to blame Russell’s failure to win on the jury rather than accept his flaws. The jury votes for whoever they want to. Russell is terrible with people and he doesn’t care about the jury’s opinions. Why would they award someone like that?

      • I agree with some of the things you said. I actually think Russell is one of the greatest strategic players of all time, but his social game is terrible!

    • Pros of Russell’s game:
      1.Changed the perspective of how useful/overpowered idols could be.
      2. Made it easier for people to finds idols, making it possible for people on the bottom to be able to turn the game around.
      3. Dismantled the “big alliance” strategy single-handedly in back-to-back seasons, showing it was much easier to find a crack than what had been previously shown (before it required someone to be obviously on the bottom or an overpowered idol).
      4. Made the game more expedient early and the first few days more crucial in determining the length of one’s game
      5. He forces players to overthink and make risky plays so that it increases his chances of moving forward.

      Cons of Russell’s game:
      1. The dude had a very poor social game. Specializing in one area strategically does not guarantee a win at all, and usually costs you the game. Many finalists have found this to be true, particularly players like Missy, Sash, Monica, Ozzy (in reference to season 13), Sabrina, or Woo, who did well in either challenges, strategy, or sociability, but failed to do anything substantial in the other two categories.
      2. He was never able to adapt to a new season. He started on the bottom in season 20 and 22, and only managed to take power because someone wanted a damn hot dog sooner rather than later, and failed to make any progress in RI.
      3. His ego blocks him from being aware. Strategically, Russell is a very paranoid person, and is very conscious of times when his name is being brought up. However, he is so confident that no one in his alliance is able to put two thoughts together that he can’t envision anyone outsmarting him.
      4. It’s hard for Russell to deal with safe play unless he has an idol. Colby confused the hell out of him in HvV, and no one on Zapatera in RI was willing to take the risk and let him stay in the game.

  10. Been waiting for this one! Honestly the biggest problem of this season was bringing in Russell. While I love Russell and think he is great TV it ruined the season that no one had seen him play before. I guarantee you that Russell goes in Randy’s place if people had seen his vote. Tyson would have stayed because Russell wouldn’t have been there to save Parvati. I think the villains would have massacred the heroes to the point where only two or three of them remained. I think the heroes would have then been the pawns for the villains to use to get rid of each other. I think there is a good chance of an alliance emerging of Tyson, Coach, Courtney, JT, Amanda, and whoever is on the outs. It would have been a far more interesting post merge as opposed to Russell Bulldozing everybody and losing again. I still like this season, but people don’t understand of what they were robbed of. Can you imagine if Fairplay or Shane Powers came to play instead?

  11. amnotacrybaby // November 21, 2015 at 9:07 am // Reply

    No major twists? No problem with that.

    But they really ought to have ended with #20.

  12. I feel like JT gets too much hate for giving his idol to Russell. They had no idea what was going on with the other tribe. Yes, it was a bad move, but if JT had been right in thinking that Russell was in trouble everyone would be praising him for being a genius.

    • But the fact of the matter was that JT was wrong, VERY wrong. You just said it yourself: the Heroes had no clue what was REALLY happening on the Villains tribe. That idol was relinquished on nothing but an assumption (and I think we all know the saying about what happens when you assume).

      That being said, I think that many do forget that although it was JT’s idea initially, the ENTIRE Heroes tribe agreed to the plan. The plan could have worked (if they were right); the idiocy for me comes from the fact that (according to the editing) nobody on that tribe even considered the repercussions if it turned out they were wrong.

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