Monday, May 14, 2012

Ranking the Survivor Seasons (updated May 2012)

Here's my rankings of Survivor Seasons.

Much like last year, my goal is to rewatch each season during the summer and possibly revamp these ratings. In some cases it's been 9 years since I last saw them, so it's worth the review.

(At the suggestion of a reader of a previous post, the format of this post is to put a non-spoiler summary at the beginning, with no details as to what happened in each season. Then I will have a detailed listing that will have spoilers in it.)

Ranking summary:

1. Survivor: Borneo (Season 1)
2. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (Season 20)
3. Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites (Season 16)
4. Survivor: Pearl Islands (Season 7)
5. Survivor: Samoa (Season 19)
6. Survivor: Amazon (Season 6)
7. Survivor: Palau (Season 10)
8. Survivor: China (Season 15)
9. Survivor: Australian Outback (Season 2)
10. Survivor: Cook Islands (Season 13)
11. Survivor: Tocantins (Season 18)
12. Survivor: Africa (Season 3)
13. Survivor: Redemption Island (Season 22)
14. Survivor: One World (Season 24)
15. Survivor: Panama (Season 12)16. Survivor: Fiji (Season 14)
17. Survivor: Guatemala (Season 11)
18. Survivor: Vanuatu (Season 9)
19. Survivor: South Pacific (Season 23)20. Survivor: All-Stars (Season 8)
21. Survivor: Marquesas (Season 4)
22. Survivor: Gabon (Seaon 17)
23. Survivor: Nicaragua (Season 21)
24. Survivor: Thailand (Season 5)


1. Survivor: Borneo (Winner: Richard Hatch)

The original can never be duplicated.

2. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)

In this case, familiarity helps. Knowing each of the players going in and how they were likely to play set some expectations. The season lived up to it and more. The casting of players and characters was fantastic. The winner was a bit disappointing, but the lead to the final tribal was great.

3. Survivor: Micronesia — Fans Vs. Favorites (Winner: Parvati Shallow)

A lot of blind sides, the single stupidest move in Survivor history and some interesting characters introdued. Awesome season. Though I'm a bit frightened at the similiarities between this and the Ruins III.

4. Survivor: Pearl Islands (Winner: Sandra Diaz-Twine)

Rupert. Johnny Fairplay. The season that Survivor became fun to watch for reasons beyond the actual game.

5. Survivor: Samoa (Winner: Natalie White)

Putting aside the jury vote, this season was a win simply because of Russell. His play reinvigorated the show and the game.

6. Survivor: Amazon (Winner: Jenna Morasca)

The first season where alliances were fluid. The game was played in a much different manner than before, with votes moving continually.

Oh, and chocolate and peanut butter.

7. Survivor: Palau (Winner: Tom Westman)

The first season where we saw a true dominant tribe. Then came Stephanie's survival for 2 weeks, then Tom's bold move to threaten to tie a vote to get people on side with him. Very underrated year.

8. Survivor: China (Winner: Todd Herzog)

It has James' stupid non-play of a hidden immunity idol, Todd wearing his bad deeds, and Amanda's first final tribal council failure. A pretty good year.

9. Survivor: Australian Outback (Winner: Tina Wesson)

The beginning of the Jeff Probst/Colby Donaldson bromance. Also the first ever major strategic blunder, though it was at least done out of some sense of loyalty. What ever happened to Elisabeth anyway?

10. Survivor: Cook Islands (Winner: Yul Kwon)

Two of the most likable players in Yul and Ozzie. It also had the funniest Survivor moment, when Sundra and Becky "battled" to build fire. Taking 90 minutes to do so. After being given matches 30 minutes in.

11. Survivor: Tocantins (Winner: J.T. Thomas)

The year of Coach! Also, a great blindside of Tyson and a domination of challenges by J.T.

12. Survivor: Africa (Winner: Ethan Zohn)

Oh Kelly. If only Brandon hadn't have gone into business for himself, we would have had the first momentum swing post-merge ever, and you might have stuck around longer. Also notable for Lex getting eliminated in the Fallen Comrades competition even though he answered a question correctly. That earned him (and Big Tom) 2nd place money.

13. Survivor: Redemption Island (Winner: Rob Mariano)

The Boston Rob show gets up her because of Boston Rob's hilarious confessionals, his running of the show from start to finish and Phillip's wackiness. In an unrelated note, if Rob didn't win I would have rated it lower.

14. Survivor: One World (Winner: Kim Spradlin )

The removal of Colton stopped us from seeing him get his comeuppance that we so richly needed. But at the same time, we had great characters in Tarzan and Kat, an amazing situation where a tribe won immunity then decided to give it away so that they could vote somebody out and possibly the greatest game ever played on Survivor by Kim. I think this could move up when given more time to reflect on it (and other seasons.)

15. Survivor: Panama (Winner: Aras Baskauskas)

The Terry year, where his loss of the final immunity challenge (under questionable means) ended up giving us Aras as a winner. Awesome for Terry's dominance, not so awesome for everything else.

16. Survivor: Fiji (Winner: Earl Cole)

Yau Man and Earl were the stars of the season. The have/have not twist and the inevitability of Earl winning once Dreamz refused to hand over immunity to Yau Man were the downfalls.

17. Survivor: Guatemala (Winner: Danni Boatwright)

Stephanie gets a second chance and turns into a mean person. Still an attractive person, but a mean person nonetheless. And then she loses to Danni.

18. Survivor: Vanuatu (Winner: Chris Daugherty)

Probably the most difficult to place. Chris's victory when outnumbered 5-1 and with not winning immunity was impressive, but the show was horrible before that.

19. Survivor: South Pacific (Winner: Sophie Clarke)

The editing ended up hurting this season, as they built it up to show why Coach lost, instead of why Sophie won. Maybe that happened because they had very little to use to show Sophie as a great player, but that's an even bigger damning of the season.

(Also, the first half of the year with Brandon acting very creepy towards Mikayla was uncomfortable at the best of times.)

20. Survivor: All-Stars (Winner: Amber Brkich)

It gave us Boston Rob and Amber as a power couple, but it also gave us the biggest farce of a final council before Samoa. And the overriding theme of the previous winners didn't deserve to stay around becaue they had already won was annoying and uncomfortable.

21. Survivor: Marquesas (Winner: Vecepia Towery)

This should rank higher. It gave us Boston Rob, whatshername being carried to the island like Cleopatra, and the first shakeup of the status quo. But it was the most frustrating final two ever, with both not really deerving of being there.

22. Survivor: Gabon (Winner: Bob Crowley)

The biggest drop from my previous rankings (where I had it ranked at 14.) I think my memory was clouded by the fact that Bob Crowley was just a likable person. When the most memorable things to have happened was an amusing fake hidden immunity idol and Bob making his buff into a bow tie, you know you have a terrible season.

23. Survivor: Nicaragua (Winner: Judson "Fabio" Birza)

It was a tedious season until Fabio went on his immunity streak. By breaking up the boot order, Fabio rode to victory, and gave us a likeable winner, which puts this ahead of...

24. Survivor: Thailand (Winner: Brian Heidik)

Easily the most unlikable cast in Survivor history. No tribal swap, no merge until the jury and we were left with waiting for the Pagong-ing to finish so Brian Heidik could win. Cool final challenge though.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Survivor: One World Finale Semi-Live Blog

Welcome to this semi-live blog of the Survivor: One World finale. I'm starting about 20 minutes behind, but I'm sure I will catch up as I watch via the magic of the PVR.

Key thing to watch for: Will anybody be positioned as being an actual threat to Kim?

So I don't know about anyboy else, but the opening is rolling wihtout a voicetrack for a while, but with the underlying musical track.  It was actually kinda awesome.

Chelsea has a "close bond" with the men, making her a "serious jury threat"? My spider-sense is tingling!

You know, that's not that much celebrating for making it all girls at the end. I was thinking there would be more.

Alicia is giving one of those premature victory speeches that ends up foretelling their demise.

And yet, Kim is aware that Chelsea is the only person who can beat her, so Kim is looking to cut her out.

Then Sabrina takes that to mean that Kim might get rid of Sabrina if Chelsea wins immunity.

And here's Alicia piling on with the "Chelsea is the threat to win" stuff. Normally, that means that Chelsea wins immunity. But this time? I don't know. The story might be that Kim betrays her one true friend.

I have to give the challenge producers credit - these challenges are very difficult. With that said, they aren't that great visually. (Especially with the lack of visual of the right path for the balance beam maze.)

Alicia unties puzzle pieces for the wrong person (ie Chelsea) is kinda funny.

Jeff says that Alicia is making progress on her puzzle as Alcia gets stuck.  Then Sabrina gets mocked by Jeff and Sabrina says that Jeff is killing her.  This is fantastic.

Chelsea actually had the right numbers first, but couldn't put them in the right order. So Kim adds to her resume.

Now the question is whether Kim lets Sabrina/Alicia/Christina vote out Chelsea, while they attempt to vote out somebody else unsuccessfully?  That'd be a heck of a play for Kim to end up playing both sides.

(Also, does Kim give up the hidden immunity idol to Chelsea? That would be kinda ballsy and a statement that she is true to, well, somebody. I don't know how good of an idea it is unless Kim is confident that she will in final immunity.)

Chelsea is laying this on thick.

Whoops, Chelsea is asking for the idol. And Kim doesn't want to give it up.

Then Alicia adds on to the "Don't bring Chelsea along" stuff. This is interesting.

Kim really feels like she has to make her choice now, instead of just getting rid of Christina and then choosing between Sabrina/Chelsea/Alicia.

Jeff just threw a softball at Kim about whether all the choices have been made. Her "there's another immunity so the decision for tomorrow hasn't been made yet" line was brilliant.

I like that Jeff has just assumed that Kim is running the show and everybody must plead to her.

Chelsea just made a great plea, saying that this decision will speak to the jury and possibly gain her respect with them.

And Alicia is gone. Since Kim wasn't just going to vote out Christina, this was the right choice. Alicia was less likely to be bitter than Chelsea (which is a shocking statement on its own.)

Kat is dumb. "She backstabbed me and Alicia". Well, if she voted for Chelsea, she would have backstabbed you and Chelsea. Somebody was getting backstabbed at this point. That's where the game is. Maybe if you understood this, you would still be in the game.

Alicia isn't a sore loser, so she doesn't attack Chelsea. But hey, Christina is right there to be bad mouthed.  It is funny to note that Alicia realized that she shouldn't have voted out Tarzan. Good thought, but way too late.

Kim immediately apologized to Christina for lying to her. Christina took it well though, which is a good sign for Kim. Less bitter jury = Kim win.

Chelsea just admitted that it probably should have been her going home in that last vote, which means I might have been wrong about how bitter she would have been if she did get voted out.

Chelsea's awareness of Christina's inability to explain herself well is a hint that she might make final three.


Matt's lack of awareness and claims that he played the best game out there, even though he was the first person voted out of his tribe is fantastic.

Kim being the one to take the torch and burn the tribute - another sign that she wins?

Is final immunity really going to be won by the stupid marble down a maze catch game?

No it's actually a kinda intersting dexterity and stacking test, where you have to bring a bowl through a maze then stack it.

Shouldn't the first one be simple enough to just breeze through then stack?

Chelsea took her time because she knows it is important to get the most stable stack you can.

Sabrina's inability to do anything in a challenge will end up making her a non-factor at final tribal. She can speak great and everything, but what can she say? "Hey guys, I was nice and just followed these big meanies?"

Kim wins, and it's going to take the absolute worst jury decision ever to keep her from winning this game.

(Yeah, it would be absolutely worse than Natalie White winning Survivor: Samoa.)

Christina wanting to be frontsided instead of blindsided is nice. And I respect that she wants to make it as peaceful as possible is great. BUT THIS IS FOR A MILLION DOLLARS! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

(OMG please make a Sabrina/Christina fire challenge. It might be even better than Sondra/Becky!)

And now here comes the Jeff Probst fighting for somebody else

Kat is blatantly trying to curry vote for Sabrina on the jury, which is interesting.

And then Kim says that "things aren't always as they seem", and we get a huge change in music. Vote switch, or just a blatant attempt to cause drama?

Blatant attempt to cause drama.

Christina's problem was that she was unable to articulate the best reason to bring her to the final - because she was less likely to win than the other three. Why? I think it strikes at something simple - she wasn't able to own her awfulness in part because that's not how she played the game. She was awful, no doubt. But I don't think she was able to articulate this to everybody else in a way that wasn't her just putting herself down.  Kim seemed to want a reason to keep her, but she knew that Chrisitina's refusal to fight to make the final tribal council would end up reflecting bad on Kim if she chose to keep Christina.

If this isn't a Kim 9-0 victory (or at worst, an 8-1 victory) it will be a travesty.

Oh no, we're getting the Sabrina tearful realization that is supposed to garner sympathy for her. If Sabrina wins, they have done a horrendous job of showing her as a potential winner.

"I know I lied to you all and voted you out, but I have no boobs left so have some mercy." Fantastic Kim, fantastic.

And now Chelsea gives the "adventure" speech, so she ain't wining.

Seriously, if Sabrina wins...

Ah, Kim gives the why you should feel happy for her winning speech. Thank goodness.

Chelsea's going to Amanda Kimmel this final tribal, isn't she?

"Is it okay if I stand?" Chelsea is fantastic sometimes.

She isn't Kimmel-ing this so far. She only complimented Jonas...

"I really don't feel like I had that emotional connection with you." I spoke too soon.

And then Kim tries to play the "no emotional attachment card." What the heck?

Sabrina claims that it was her strategy not to be good at challenges, and that she chose not to step up to say what was going on? I mean, saying that your strategy was to not do anything is a novel concept and is something that Sandra used in Heroes vs. Villains successfully, but I wouldn't want to run it against Kim.

Ah, Sabrina plays the "I got laid off" card. If that's what wins her the million dollars, I'll be pissed.

Jonas with the first question. He tells Sabrina that she sucked at challenges but she was most popular, Chelsea is cute but that's not what he's basing his vote on. What was the hugest move she instigated?

Chelsea takes credit for the Kat boot, which can only help Kim with Kat.

Kim gets told that she was playing a flawless game until the Christina vote. Why did she do it? Because if people hated her for what she did, Christina would have kicked her ass (which is, well, a possibility.) If they were going to vote for who played the best game, Kim felt confident that she could sit next to Chelsea and Sabrina and win. Great answer.

Speaking of Christina, it's her question. If Kim took Christina to the end, who would she take out? Kim tries to flip the question to ask "who would I bring with me of the two?" but Christina makes sure to make it a negative question by saying "who would you take out?"  Kim calls it hard, but gives a somewhat quick and honest answer by saying that she felt that she would stand a better chance of beating Sabrina so she would get rid of Chelsea.

Next question for Chelsea: why do you hate people? Chelsea says she doesn't then says that there were times that she had difficulty taking her heart out of the game, but Kim was the one to remind her to think with her heart. (Which helps to further Kim's argument as much as it does Chelsea's.)

Jay is up next. I wonder who he's going to favour.

No hard feelings on Jay's part. He questions Sabrina's saying it was strategy to take it easy in challenges, since she seemed to do it also at camp. Sabrina attempts to counter by saying that she can be overbearing, so she instead turned it to be her time to sit back and observe. Plus she just learned to swim, so deep sea diving wasn't a well advised plan for her.

Mike asks Kim to define a blindside. She gives the right definition. He then asks if Kim perfected the art of the blindside, and she goes into a dissertation as to why Mike got voted out when he did (main reason: because Mike was the only guy left who Troy was willing to vote out over a girl.) She didn't want to vote him out, but he was the only option so that's why he went. Michael then points out that she missed one key actor, which was Blame. She took all the heat for what she did and the jury has to decide whether that was incredibly smart or stupid of her to do so.


He starts by thanking God for the opportunity for something (it was a big word). He then thanks the ladies for keeping him through all of the con-cat-en-ations (his syllables) of the game, and letting his wife set foot on the island. His third point is about his wife's visit, which wouldn't have happened with the women didn't keep him. He'll keep that memory until they are dust in the sand, or God brings congizance to their atoms again. And that's it.  Then Chelsea has something to say to Tarzan. (This is the anti-Kimmel Kimmel-ing right here)

Chelsea thanks Tarzan for opening her eyes to what she wants in a partner. She didn't know what Tarzan and his wife has was possible, and she will not settle for less.  Tarzan thanks Chelsea.

(That was the anti-Kimmel Kimmel-ing. I believe Chelsea was sincere in what she said. I also believe that the jury will view it as sucking up.)

OTOH, Sabrina's "One of a kind, one of a kind" was just blatant knee-sucking and terrible.

Leif. He takes his hat off to the ladies for showing the rest what it takes to be in the final three. Chelsea responds with a "How sweet" which is just as bad as Sabrina's "One of a kind" seconds earlier.

(I wonder if Sabrina and Chelsea already know they are playing for second place?)

Leif is trying to sort out his sore feelings about getting voted out,  and he wants to know how it went down. Um, really? Unless this is an attempt to either make Kim look even more like the mastermind, or to get somebody else to look like they had some strategy in the game. Kim steps up and tells the truth - she didn't feel that she could trust him. Who he voted for and who he said he was going to vote for didn't line up at times, and he had voted for her before, and was going to vote for him again, so she didn't feel bad about telling him to vote for Christina.

Sabrina continues to refer to Kim as just a messenger, not a mastermind. Sabrina, stop trying to make fetch happen. She says that she couldn't tell Leif that he was going to be voted out, so she punked out.

Alicia is up next, starting our ramp up to Troy then Kat to maybe get the bitter votes.

Kim gets addressed, and Alicia says she played this game similiar to Kim. Alicia had her pawns: Christina and Tarzan. I guess she's going to try to bait Kim into calling Chelsea and Sabrina pawns.

Yep there's the reference.  Though Alicia then says that if she was sitting next to Kim, Kim would be [blank]ing bricks, because Alicia would have had more chances of winning the money than "any of youse." (Note: Kim as a bemused look on her face, while Sabrina can't believe what she is hearing.)  Alicia claims to be super flattered because "Miss Puerto Rico over here could be a potential threat." (Chelsea and Christina join in on the WTF look contest that Sabrina is still winning.) She says that Kim played a hell of a game, that she could strangle Kim, and that she loves Kim.

(So that's a Chelsea vote, right?)

Troyzan is up next, and Kim does not look happy about it.

He's going to start by saying congratulations. His real beef is with Kim. He's going to ask one question and if she answers correctly, she will get his vote. At what point did she decide to destroy Troy's game? Kim confidently answers "When I decided to vote out Jonas." Jeff asks if Troy will reveal if she got it right, and Troy says no.

And here comes Kat. She claims to be hurt very, very badly. Kim destroyed her the most. She's revealing a secret: she had open heart surgery at 10, and in order to have kids, she's has to have another one in 12 years, which means 22, next year, she'll be having it again. She had to hide it from the others because she couldn't show that weakness, but that's why she doesn't have time to be angry with them, so she's going to make her decision based on who she feels played the best game. And then she addresses the jury: take the time to enjoy yourself, and don't base your decision on being angry. She was so angry because she wanted to be there, but it takes more energy to be angry, so she forgives them and that's all she has to say.

This drove Chelsea to tears. Quite honestly that was an amazing speech by Kat, and it flipped my viewpoint on her. That might be my favourite speech in a long, long, time.

This questioning was light on the crazy, but it was still really fun. It might have been one of the best in terms of revealing some things that went on during the game.

Now let's get on with Kim's coronation as winner.

Troyzan votes for Sabrina. Really?
Kat votes for Kim, even though she's upset with her. Not voting for Kim means that she didn't learn a damn thing out there.
Leif looks pained by his choice (which looks like it ends up being Kim.)

Was that Blossom in the crowd?

Kim (Kat's vote)
Sabrina (already this is ridiculous)
Kim (Thank god)


Shocking, Leif was the other person who voted for Sabrina.

Jeff Probst messes up and asks Matt about the choice to forgo immunity to go to tribal council, and Matt has to tell him 'Uh, I wasn't that stupid.' Of course, Jeff covers that up like the professional he is, but an interesting slip.

Jeff goes to Jonas to get him to say that you need to make big moves, then throw to commercial. After that it's Colton and Alicia and bullying and I think I'lll bow out now.

An updated season rankings will come tomorrow, and a winner's ranking will be later in the week.

Thanks for reading!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Survivor: One World 5/9 Power Rankings and Final Thoughts

I have never been so conflicted going into a final episode of Survivor. It seems like this should be a slam dunk Kim victory, and yet the editors threw in a lot of hints that the jury was not pleased with the remaining players. That would indicate that this is going to backfire on Kim, and somebody else is going to win. But then again, it was a bitter jury on Redemption Island, and Boston Rob ended up benefiting from the bitterness.

What follows are my final power rankings for the year. It reflects who I feel has the best chance of being voted Sole Survivor and winning this season.

5. Christina

Why She Will Win:  Christina's best chance to win is to be brought along to the end and then absorb all of the votes from jurors who do not wish to reward those who actively ended their game. Since Christina hasn't actively done anything to anybody's games, she gets the vote by default.
Why She Won't Win:  Christina has been the weakest player this year; always at the bottom of the pack, acting like a pawn for Alicia, who was actively attempting to get rid of her earlier in the game. For whatever reason, nobody seems to care for her. She was never able to improve her lot in the game at all; she chose to take a Big Brother-esque floater role. That strategy works for Big Brother, but in Survivor it's the kiss of death to win the game.
Verdict: If she wins, she will be the worst winner of all tie and the Survivor franchise will be harmed severely.
4. Alicia

Why She Will Win:  She stands a good chance to make it to the final as the person nobody likes, and from there she can argue that she had her block of people who voted her way.
Why She Won't Win: People truly dislike her. She's delusional about running the game, and everybody sees this.
Verdict: She's probably going to make the final three and then will be either ignored or destroyed at final tribal.

3. Sabrina

Why She Will Win: She's a great speaker who really hasn't upset too many people.
Why She Won't Win: She is too much of a threat to win at final tribal due to her speaking skills, and she is too little of a threat to win immunity.
Verdict: She will get voted out at the final four, with an outside chance that it is due to losing a firemaking challenge to Chelsea.

2. Chelsea

Why She Will Win: She was Kim's right hand woman, and was competent at the challenges. For the most part, she was a straight shooter who kept her word.
Why She Won't Win: She was Kim's right hand woman, but wasn't making any decisions of her own. She was combative at times with  the members of the jury, and seemed to interject her own moral judgments of who was deserved to be in the game and not.
Verdict: She makes it to final tribal by challenge wins of some sort, along with having a majority alliance with Kim and Sabrina at final five. She then gets beaten at final tribal by Kim.

1. Kim

Why She Will Win: Kim was a slightly sloppier version of Boston Rob from Redemption Island. Good at challenges and basically ran the game from start to finish. She has a way to convince people to do what she wants them to do.
Why She Won't Win: Because she ran the show, people will hold her responsible for ruining their game. She played both sides and had to deceive people; this will be their chance to hold her to that.
Verdict: She still seems like she's going to win, edit be damned. She definitely deserves to win. And I hope that she does.

Labels: ,