The 5 Worst Seasons, Ranked
CBS has released 44 seasons of survivor Since 2000, and with that many iterations of the reality competition series, some are bound to be flops. The producers are constantly trying new things, leading to massive success (re: hidden immunity idols), and others have been complete hits and misses (re: Edge of Extinction). But bad twists and themes aren’t the only contributors to the criteria of the show’s worst seasons; Sometimes, a cast can lead to a season’s downfall. Read on for our five least favorite survivor competitions.
5. ‘Survivor 43’ was one of the most disappointing seasons
Survivor 43 had the potential to be one of the best seasons of the “new era.” Unfortunately, poor editing, unclear storytelling, a heartbreaking exit due to a frustrating fire-making twist, and a baffling winner made it one of the worst seasons ever.
Of course, recency bias has played a big part in our views on Survivor 43. But looking back on the season as a whole, we just feel massive waves of disappointment. It contained a great cast with passionate players (including one we regard as one of the best castaways in the show’s history). However, instead of highlighting camp dynamics and strategic plans, episodes were full of challenges and backstories.
while Survivor 43 should be remembered for Jesse Lopez’s impressive blindside of his closest ally, we can’t get the poor taste of Mike Gabler winning over Cassidy Clark out of our mouths. And for that reason, among many others, Survivor 43 is on our worst seasons list.
4. ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’
survivor winners play a significant role in how we perceive the seasons. And unfortunately for Nicaragua, its Sole Survivor was a major letdown due to his lack of strategic gameplay. But Jud “Fabio” Birza’s win wasn’t the only thing wrong with season 21 — the tribe divisions and a twist called the “Medallion of Power” were also duds.
survivor producers divided the tribes by age—Espada contained castaways who were 40 years old or older, and La Flor featured contestants younger than 30. And the two tribes constantly vied for possession of the Medallion, which would give them an advantage at challenges.
Unfortunately for producers, both of these twists flopped hard. The Medallion of Power was never seen again following Survivor: Nicaragua. And the only other season to feature an age division was the far superior Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. So, just like producers, we would very much like to leave season 21 in the past.
3. ‘Survivor: Edge of Extinction’
survivor Season 38 featured a twist called the Edge of Extinction, which was basically a tweaked version of Redemption Island. Voted-out players would live on a separate island until they could compete for a chance to reenter the game. But they could “raise the sail” anytime and forfeit their shot to return.
Although the Edge of Extinction saved the best player in season 38 — Rick Devens (who is on our list of survivor castaways who need to return in an All-Stars season)—it also produced one of the most underwhelming winners in the show’s history.
Chris Underwood spent the majority of his time on the Edge of Extinction. So he only won because he created bonds with the jury while on the Edge and beat Rick in fire. And do not get us started on how Chris began a trend where the final four Immunity Challenge winner is only deemed worthy of becoming the Sole Survivor if they give up immunity to make fire and take out the season’s best player.
Survivor: Edge of Extinction taught us two things; Producers need to abolish the final four fire-making challenge ASAP, and eleven castaways are voted out, they shouldn’t be able to return.
2. ‘Survivor: Island of the Idols’
The most unforgettable moment of Survivor: Island of the Idols was when Kellee Kim and other female castaways accused Dan Spilo of sexual assault. And that factor alone pretty much sums up why it’s near the top of our worst survivor seasons list.
The situation surrounding Dan somehow got even worse when Missy Byrd and Elizabeth Beisel lied and said that Dan made them uncomfortable, too. They agreed to side with Kellee and Janet Carbin to vote him out at the merge. But Missy and Elizabeth changed their minds and joined the majority in writing Kellee’s name down.
On Day 36, production finally removed Dan from the game following an off-camera incident that didn’t involve a player. Multiple viewers expressed concern with how long it took CBS to deal with Dan’s behavior of him, and his presence of him undoubtedly tainted the season. And the situation forced survivor producers to rethink their protocols for future seasons.
Survivor: Island of the Idols has a dark cloud hanging over it. And we’re glad that it inspired change, but we would also be happy never to think about it again.
1. ‘Survivor: Thailand’ is the worst out of all of the seasons
Survivor: Thailand is the perfect example of how a cast can ruin a season. Similar to Island of the Idols, season 5 contained sexual assault allegations. But unlike season 39, producers and castaways brushed it under the rug. In fact, the victim of the assault was treated like garbage, and all the blame was shifted onto her.
On Day 7, Ghandia Johnson accused Ted Rogers, Jr. of assaulting her the night before. Ted apologized, but when word got out to their tribe members, he fervently denied that anything had happened. The men of the tribe sided with Ted, while the women sided with Ghandia. Unfortunately, Helen Glover didn’t want to go to rocks, so she joined the men in voting out Ghandia at their next Tribal Council.
Aside from the sexual assault allegations, season 5 was mind-numbing to watch due to its frustrating cast, confusing fake merge, and unlikable winner.
Survivor: Thailand is a dark corner of the CBS reality show’s history, making it the worst season of all time.
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