Outwit. Outplay. Outlast. Even if you’ve never seen ‘Survivor’, you probably know what that phrase is, and where it’s from.
As of now, there are 40 seasons of ‘Survivor.’ So if you want to start watching it, you have a lot of places you could start, and it would take a lot of time to complete the whole series.
If you want to start watching ‘Survivor’, here are the ten seasons that you should start with, and might be available on at least one of the various streaming platforms.
10. Survivor: Blood vs. Water
This season of ‘Survivor’ should not have worked. On paper, it should have been terrible. It was the third season in a row to have a mixed class of returning players and new players. It was also the second season in a row to have one tribe of new players and one tribe of returning players. It brought back the much despised “Redemption Island” twist. And on top of that, the main twist was having loved ones compete against each other, which seemed like such a gimmick. This should have been a dumpster fire, however, we got one of the best seasons of all time. We got the first rock draw since season 4. One of the worst twists ever, Redemption Island, actually worked.
9. Survivor: Philippines
From late 2010 to early 2012, ‘Survivor’ went through a bit of a rough period. They were playing around with the format and struggling to live up to a season that will appear on this list later. ‘Survivor: Philippines’, which aired in late 2012, brought hope back to the fans. This season was amazing. It brought back the three starting tribes format, which would become a staple in recent seasons, and which hasn’t been back in sixteen years. This is also the best example of bringing back one returning player on each tribe. They decided to bring back three people who were medically evacuated in previous seasons, which was well-received by fans. It also helps that these players weren’t so much more experienced than the new players, like in ‘Redemption Island.’ The new players were also amazing, they even included some somewhat famous people, MLB player Jeff Kent, and actress Lisa Welchel. And finally, the gameplay was exciting and fluid. All in all, a great season.
8. Survivor: David vs. Goliath
‘Survivor’ has also gone through another rough period in recent years, but ‘David vs. Goliath’ is universally considered the bright spot. While the theme is kind of stupid, and is one of the bigger stretches for the franchise, the season is great. The gameplay is really interesting and exciting, albeit hard to follow at times. However, the cast is chock full of amazing and likable characters. Even if you don’t know what’s going on, you’ll enjoy watching this season.
7. Survivor: The Amazon
This season is a classic. If you want an entertaining “old-school” season of ‘Survivor’, with a lot of exciting gameplay, ‘The Amazon’ is a great example. This is the first season to employ a major twist with tribe divisions, which has become a standard in the series today. In this case, it was men vs. women. This season also introduced the concept of alliance-switching, with Rob Cesternino, who now hosts a really famous podcast.
6. Survivor: The Australian Outback
It’s the most popular ‘Survivor’ season for a reason. And not just because the premiere aired after the Super Bowl. Or that it aired in 2001, when the show was a phenomenon. It’s a pretty great season with a lot of iconic moments. Who could forget the argument between Alicia and Kimmi over chickens? Many of these contestants have returned for future seasons, so if you want to watch returnee seasons, this is a good season to start with.
5. Survivor: Pearl Islands
This season is another classic, full of great characters, interesting gameplay, and iconic moments. We get the infamous “dead grandma lie” from Jonny Fairplay, we get the “Outcasts” twist, and this is Sandra Diaz-Twine’s first season. Plus, the season is all about pirates. What’s not to love?
4. Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance
This is the season that really pushes the ‘Survivor’ gameplay to the way it is now. Take that what you will. It’s the season of voting blocks, advantages, power shifts, and fluid gameplay. This season brought back a bunch of one-time players for their “second chance.” Even better, fans got to choose which one-time players were brought back. So we got to see a lot of our favorite players again, some of whom were unexpected choices, like Kimmi Kappenberg. We also got a lot of interesting gameplay, and a great winner.
3. Survivor: Cagayan
After multiple seasons involving mixing new players with returning players, with the last three all being in a row, ‘Survivor: Cagayan’ returned to a season of all new players. And it was well-worth it. We got one of the best modern seasons of ‘Survivor.’ We got a lot of fun and iconic characters, crazy gameplay, and a lot of fun and hilarious moments. ‘Survivor: Cagayan’ was a rollercoaster ride, in the best possible way.
2. Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites
This season is incredible. It’s full of blindsides, great characters, and has an amazing winner. This season pits a tribe of fan-favorite returning players against a tribe of ‘Survivor’ super-fans, hence the name. The show has returned to this format ten seasons later, and let’s just say, they weren’t able to repeat the magic of this season. We had amazing gameplay, a successful all-female alliance, also known as the iconic “Black Widow Brigade”, and some of the most memorable moments in ‘Survivor’ history. What’s not to love?
Before we get to our number one ‘Survivor’ season, let’s have a few honorable mentions.
Survivor: Guatemala, Survivor: Panama – Exile Island, Survivor: China, Survivor: Tocantins, Survivor: San Juan Del Sur, and Survivor: Koah Rong.
1. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians
‘Survivor’s’ magnum opus. For their 20th season, ‘Survivor’ kept it simple. 20 of the most iconic returning players, 10 of them heroes, the other 10 villains. And it was amazing. It’s no wonder Netflix decided to make this season one of the first ‘Survivor’ seasons available to watch. We get some of the most infamous moves, both good, and stupid. We get to see a lot of our favorite characters again. And there was a lot of hilarious moments, and amazing immunity challenges. Ten years later, ‘Heroes vs. Villains’ is still an amazing season of ‘Survivor’, and that’s why it’s number one on this list.