20. Survivor: Worlds Apart
(Winner: Mike Holloway)
I said if Mike won that it would leapfrog Panama, and I am a man of my word. The main problem, of course, was that there were not enough people to root for. Worlds Apart got somewhat hijacked by an assault of offensive comments to and about women by some of the male characters. It’s too bad because there was actually some interesting gameplay — mostly thanks to Mike. And there were some big moments at the last few Tribal Councils as well. This season has moved around a bunch for me. It started off middle-of-the-pack, went WAY down during all that Dan and Will ugliness, but slowly crept back up after that.
21. Survivor: Panama — Exile Island
(Winner: Aras Baskauskas)
Ah, just writing the word Panama gets me daydreaming about Survivor Sally and her intoxicating knee socks. Terry was robbed on a final challenge that may or may not have been completely fair. Another unmemorable final two. Shane Powers should have been brought back for Heroes vs. Villains. And the current Second Chance season, for that matter.
22. Survivor: Gabon
(Winner: Bob Crowley)
It got better near the end, but it was still a case of too little, too late. The fact that so many unworthy players went so far is simply too damning.
23. Survivor: Redemption Island
(Winner: Boston Rob Mariano)
The first three episodes were dynamite, but then the fuse blew out. It certainly was entertaining at times watching Rob strategize (the most dominant showing ever) and Phillip philosophize (the craziest showing ever), just not very dramatic. Most of the vote-offs were clearly telegraphed and the Redemption Island twist sucked the life out of Survivor’s signature moment — the vote-off.
24. Survivor: Africa
(Winner: Ethan Zohn)
Some great challenges. Not that much else was great.
25. Survivor: Guatemala
(Winner: Danni Boatwright)
One of the more unlikable casts so far. (Remember Judd? Jamie? Stephenie’s evil twin?) Rafe was good for a few laughs, though. Especially on rope obstacles.
26. Survivor: Vanuatu
(Winner: Chris Daugherty)
I don’t blame producers: The battle of the sexes worked well the first time around.
27. Survivor: San Juan del Sur
(Winner: Natalie Anderson)
The cast was for the most part boring if not boorish, and when you look back on this season, does any one big moment even stand out? Anything? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? I will say there were a few strong post-merge episodes, and it definitely got better over the last few weeks thanks to Natalie’s strong play. That counts for something. This is not a season that inspires anger or rage, just apathy, which is maybe the worst indictment of all.
28. Survivor: One World
(Winner: Kim Spradlin)
Look, I have total respect for Kim’s game. Like Tom in Palau and Rob in Redemption Island, she excelled strategically, socially, and physically. Unfortunately, that is really the only good thing I can say about this season. And that’s too bad, because I do think the “One World” concept was a solid one. But, man, what a thoroughly uninspiring cast. Colton was more a horrible human being than a classic villain, and the rest of the players were mostly either completely forgettable or people you wish you could forget. I worry I am being generous by putting it even this high, but out of respect for Kim, it goes here.
29. Survivor: Thailand
(Winner: Brian Heidik)
The fake merge and brutal last challenge — where the final three had to hold coins between their fingers in a crazy painful pose — keep this dud out of the bottom spot. Barely.
30. Survivor: Fiji
(Winner: Earl Cole)
With the exception of Yau-Man and Earl, a true bummer of a cast, and the “Haves Vs. Have-Nots” twist was one of the worst creative decisions in Survivor history. Speaking of awful creative decisions…
31. Survivor: Nicaragua
(Winner: Jud “Fabio” Birza)
It’s at the bottom for a few reasons. 1) Splitting the tribes up by age and the Medallion of Power were both enormous flops. 2.) Like One World, Thailand, and Fiji, Nicaragua had just too many unlikable players. 3) Two people quitting with only 11 days left. 4) No big memorable moments. Even Thailand had the fake merge and Fiji had the big Yau-Man/Dreamz free car deal gone bad, but what was Nicaragua’s signature moment? Unfortunately, it was people quitting, and that was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Well, there you have it. But before you can tell me how terrible my rankings are, make sure to check out the exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode in the video player below along with our pre-game interview with Abi and recent episodes of Survivor Talk. You’ll also want to read this week’s Q&A with Hostmaster General Jeff Probst as he previews the finale, and for more Survivor scoop you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
But now it’s your turn. Where does this season of Survivor rank for you? Who do you think should win and will win this season? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and don’t forget to tweet me with your bid and the hashtag #SurvivorAuction to win the complete original set of Survivor Thank You Notes as written by the entire cast. And I’ll be back next week with a special finale/reunion scoop of the crispy. See ya then!