I'd never watched Survivor before, and I didn't really know what it was. When commercials for Survivor: One World started airing, I decided to give it a try, and I fell in love with it, especially when Michael Jefferson, my first favorite castaway, stole supplies from the women. I haven't missed an episode since.

My favorite contestant, for a long time, was close between Malcolm Freberg and Jonathan Penner, but I've watched a lot more seasons since Philippines; old-school characters are definitely now in contention as well, like Colleen Haskell, Sean Rector, and Heidi Strobel, and I also love gems like Terry Deitz and Natalie White.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Caramoan: The season started off pretty slow, and there were few people I was actually rooting for. But there was evolution. With an impressive string of amazing Tribal Councils, Eddie and Reynold becoming more likable as the season went on, literally everything that Malcolm did, and some great strategy that Cochran pulled off, it all managed to pull together. Brenda and Erik, my screen-time-lacking-players, made this season all the more enjoyable. While I still favor Philippines more, Caramoan can never be overlooked.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Blood vs. Water: Man, I had my doubts about this one when the premise and twists were revealed. I honestly thought it would kill the great season streak, but boy was I wrong. This season was a roller-coaster ride from the beginning, with Rupert's swap, Colton's quit, Candice's curses, Caleb's upset, Vytas' speeches, Laura M.'s dominance, Aras' ouster, Ciera's flip, Ciera's double-flip, Hayden's fire, drawing rocks, Tina's unforeseen return and ultimately a predictable but enjoyable finale that produced a very well-deserved winner in Tyson. This season was insane and I loved it. When Survivor returns in February, damn, it's got a lot to live up to.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Cagayan: The hot streak continues, and it's as hot as ever. Survivor lately has just continued to get better, and better, and better, and the four Philippines season will go down as a legendary run. From the very first episode, I knew that it was going to be a crazy ride, and I'll be damned if people say it wasn't. There was nothing predictable about this season at all, and for a change the editing was spot-on and you got to know all of the characters and enjoy all of them. No season is perfect, but I'll remember Cagayan as satisfying everything that I, as a viewer, was hoping for, and will rank this season in my Top 10 - if not Top 5 - for a long time to come.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: San Juan del Sur: Where to begin. This season, in my opinion, was a bit of a dud. Maybe it's because it was following such a hot streak; maybe because it actually was a bit of a dud; maybe I need to rewatch it in the future to fully appreciate it, but whatever the reason, I didn't totally dig it. I loved Jaclyn and Jon, and really liked Keith, and when Reed finally started to show up I dug him too, but the character building and the editing overall was so random and spotty that it was hard to fully invest myself in it. A lot of the enjoyment I found while watching was more meta - AKA appreciating Drew Christy primarily from watching how he was edited instead of watching the edit - but I appreciate everything that the season did offer, including the total surprise of the Jeremy boot, Natalie blindsiding Baylor at the final five, and a satisfying winner to cap off an average season. I'm still disappointed that Kelley got a poor edit, I'm still disappointed that my pick-to-win Julie ended up quitting and the behind-the-scenes behind it, I'm still disappointed that we were robbed of a world where Keith Nale had to make a speech as to why he deserves one million dollars, but despite being a low-tier season, it could've been worse. It killed the hot streak, but hey, we need to slow the pace down every now and again to truly appreciate Survivor when it's good, and to remind us that even when it's bad, it's still good.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Worlds Apart: This started off as a season that I would like and then it fizzled out so hard. From episode one I had this gut feeling Mike was going to pull it off, but because I'm a loser and can't resist rooting for the Malcolm Freberg prototype that will never win this game, I picked Joe instead. And honestly, paying attention to those two made the season all the better. In the opening episodes, it was more or less their story, and I enjoyed it. Mike was someone everyone could tell was going to win despite the odds against it, and it was so exciting watching him pull off save, after save, after save - such a satisfying end for me. And Joe, he was in the same boat as Mike - he wins if he gets to the end - but he just couldn't. Amidst paying attention to those two storylines, I fell in love with Hali Ford, had a love/hate relationship with Jennifer Brown, enjoyed Joaquin and watched Sierra become my favorite Blue Collar, all while moments like Nina's storyline, the incredible Vince Sly, Kelly's blindside(, and... that's it, actually) happen. But it got ugly. I don't love this season at the end of the day because so many characters for a significant part of their run were turned purple (Will, Carolyn, Tyler, Sierra). And the season just got so ugly, and became so dominated by ugliness and unlikable characters (Dan, Rodney, Will, Shirin, Lindsey despite her not lasting long). There were times when I appreciated Rodney, and there was even a few weeks when I tricked myself into liking Shirin, but at the end of the day once Jenn Brown was out of this game, I officially no longer cared about who won because it was impossible to root for anybody left as a character. Sure, I was invested in Mike's storyline - but not his character at all. The editors did a good job of showing us complex, layered characters - if you were one of the lucky ones to be graced with screen time - but it got to a point where those layered characters were flat unlikable and the ones surrounding them were plain boring or just out in the open unlikable. And god, all the Will drama, the Dan drama, the Rodney drama. I can't with all of it. The season started off with some promise but I found myself disliking such a huge portion of the cast and watching the select few I enjoyed get voted off early. I don't like this season because the characters I liked went home soon, I don't like this season because the characters who did stick around were unrootable, unlikable, or nonexistent. This is a real low-tier season for me, and I don't see it moving around anywhere any time soon.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Cambodia: Honestly, this was a phenomenal season and I enjoyed it tremendously. I loved seeing people I rooted for like Ciera, Kelley, and Kass get their second chances, and it was honestly tremendous to see people like Savage, Wiglesworth, and Varner get to come back after all this time. Even people like Jeremy, Kimmi, Abi-Maria, and Woo, who I didn't vote for, ended up converting me into a huge fan of them. I just really loved the cast, with the exception of Shirin, and so losing her so early on and not having to worry about someone I didn't like make it far let me enjoy the season so much. There was a lot of fun to it, there was a lot of character building moments atypical of most modern seasons, there was a clear and coherent narrative, there were some really entertaining moments like the tuk tuk, and there were some full-on adrenaline-pumping moments like Savage's blindside. I definitely see this season moving up a lot in my rankings after time, and Jeremy is such a fantastic winner. Especially coming after Worlds Apart and San Juan del Sur, two seasons I didn't exactly love, it was great to have just a wonderful, fun experience watching Survivor. I need to mention as well that Andrew Savage during his run is probably one of the greatest characters modern Survivor has seen in quite some time. It was phenomenal watching the cast this season. Truly just a great experience.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng: Whenever a season starts and after an episode or two people are already citing it as a "top-five season", I get a little pissy. I felt the same way at the top of this season - people were boarding the hype train so fucking fast that I just grounded my feet at the station and didn't want to bulge. Now that the season is over, though, and so many people have fled from the hype train, I find myself riding it full-steam. As the season went on it really grew on me; there were a lot of fascinating, complex characters, and a lot of cool things were happening week after week - there was the unique, dramatic triple-medical-situation episode that, quite simply, was kind of haunting in the way it broke down the illusion of the show and presented real, genuine danger in a raw way that we, as viewers, were unfamiliar with; Tribal Council discussions were alive and game-changing, something I particularly noticed as I finished my Africa watch; and the editing was fantastic, allowing for huge shockers like the Debbie boot to come off as exciting, and for there to be multiple leads to the eventual winner. What really sold me on this season, though, is looking back on it post-finale. Let me say here and now that Natalie White is one of my all-time favorite winners, and her standing as such has less to do with her gameplay or her character, and more in the way she was edited - she was an under-the-radar winner people weren't expecting watching it live, but on a rewatch, there were so many little hints to pick up on that an ending with Natalie winning was obvious. That parlays into my feelings on Michele, and why I was such a fan of this ending: the winner was not beaten over our heads, it still came as a surprise, and there is still a consistent narrative pointing to an eventual Michele win that die-hard casuals who adored Aubry ignored. I love Michele's win because of how it was presented to us; I love under-the-radar winners and looking at how, retrospectively, their win was staring us right in the face; and the more I argued with people about how Michele is not only a very deserving winner and she rightfully so bested Aubry, Michele's story was also presented tastefully and effectively to her standing as a character on a TV show. I love Michele as a winner and I love the way her win was presented to us; for me, it was the icing on the cake of what quickly became a wild, unpredictable season of Survivor, and one that I am very, very excited to see again on a rewatch. It may not currently be in my Top Five, and it may have just been edged out of my Top Ten by Africa, but I will still laud Kaôh Rōng as a fantastic season. Michele's win, too, was fantastic.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X: Early on, I was not a fan. The early episodes, in my opinion, were pretty lackluster and below average; while the Mari boot episode in my opinion was tremendously entertaining, the premiere was one of the most dull and uninteresting first episodes and episodes overall I'd seen in a while, and the rest of the pre-merge really didn't change much. I also was not a fan of David, so his early over-saturated presence wore thin on me particularly as multiple characters were left in the dust. The challenges were fun, though! Since the swap, I think the quality of the episodes went up, culminating in the Michaela boot episode, which will probably be one of my favorites after a rewatch, and then the merge came. And that's what changed the season for me - the merge was exciting, unpredictable, and always left me on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next. But while I was excited by the season, I wasn't really invested in it, as most characters still were comparatively ignored by the edit and I wasn't as connected to any of them as I had been in the previous season. I thoroughly enjoyed the merge, though, with all of its huge moments - the rock draw! Adam's crotch Idol! TAYLOR!!!! - and was really satisfied with Adam's win, which helps me remember this season fondly. It's a weird balance between satisfaction and excitement, and the lack of narrative conflict to actively engage interest, that will make this season hard to rank for me, but I am very happy to see how it turned out after that dreadful premiere. Overall, there were some really great episodes, some huge moments, and some really wonderful characters, but they were in a sea of lackluster peers - the season was good but uneven, but like any bumpy ride, you're happy to have it go out on a high note.

Closing thoughts on Survivor: Game Changers: The editing was horrendous, characters were either insignificant or ignored, there were some really ugly moments, the #bigmovez and #zomgtwists!! movements were forced down our throats, and I ultimately think all those facets combined to make for the most dissatisfied I have ever been watching a season live. They really got this one wrong. That's all I've got.

My favorite Survivor characters

Season Character
1. One World

Chelsea Meissner

Troyzan Robertson

Michael Jefferson

2. Philippines

Malcolm Freberg

Jonathan Penner

Jeff Kent

3. Caramoan

Erik Reichenbach

Brenda Lowe

Andrea Boehlke

Reynold Toepfer

Malcolm Freberg

Corinne Kaplan

4. Micronesia

Cirie Fields

James Clement

Eliza Orlins

5. China

Todd Herzog

Erik Huffman

James Clement

6. Cook Islands

Parvati Shallow

Jonathan Penner

7. Blood vs. Water

Tyson Apostol

Ciera Eastin

Hayden Moss

Caleb Bankston

Vytas Baskauskas

Aras Baskauskas

8. Palau

Ian Rosenberger

Gregg Carey

Stephenie LaGrossa

9. The Amazon

Rob Cesternino

Heidi Strobel

Alex Bell

10. Borneo

Richard Hatch

Colleen Haskell

Greg Buis

11. Vanuatu

Chris Daugherty

Eliza Orlins

Julie Berry

12. Pearl Islands

Jon Dalton

Burton Roberts

13. Cagayan

Kass McQuillen

Spencer Bledsoe

Trish Hegarty

LJ McKanas

14. San Juan del Sur

Jaclyn Schultz

Keith Nale

Jon Misch

15. The Australian Outback

Colby Donaldson

Elisabeth Filarski

Jeff Varner

16. Worlds Apart

Joe Anglim

Hali Ford

17. Cambodia

Keith Nale

Kimmi Kappenberg

Ciera Eastin

Andrew Savage

Kass McQuillen

Terry Deitz

18. Panama

Terry Deitz

Cirie Fields

Shane Powers

19. Samoa

Natalie White

Dave Ball

Erik Cardona

20. Kaôh Rōng

Michele Fitzgerald

Cydney Gillon

21. Africa

Tom Buchanan

Teresa Cooper

Frank Garrison

Kelly Goldsmith

Clarence Black

22. Guatemala

Danni Boatwright

Gary Hogeboom

Bobby Jon Drinkard

Brandon Bellinger

23. Tocantins

Coach Wade

Sierra Reed

Tyson Apostol

24. Millennials vs. Gen X

Jay Starrett

Taylor Stocker

Michelle Schubert

25. Marquesas

Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien

Sean Rector

Rob Mariano

26. Gabon

Bob Crowley

Matty Whitmore

Randy Bailey

27. Thailand

Clay Jordan

Helen Glover

Jake Billingsley

28. All-Stars

Shii Ann Huang

29. Game Changers

Andrea Boehlke

Ozzy Lusth

Hali Ford

30. Fiji

Earl Cole

Dreamz Herd

Yau-Man Chan

Michelle Yi

31. Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers

Devon Pinto

Lauren Rimmer

32. Heroes vs. Villains

Sandra Diaz-Twine

Courtney Yates

Coach Wade

33. Nicaragua

Fabio Birza

Holly Hoffman

34. Redemption Island

um... nobody

35. South Pacific

Sophie Clarke

Ozzy Lusth

My Episode 1 Picks to win

My Favorite Seasons

1. Philippines

2. Heroes vs. Villains

3. The Australian Outback

4. Borneo

5. Marquesas

6. Guatemala

7. Palau

8. Panama

9. Tocantins

10. The Amazon

11. David vs. Goliath

12. Africa

13. Kaôh Rōng

14. Cagayan

15. Gabon

16. Pearl Islands

17. Cambodia

18. South Pacific

19. Micronesia

20. Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers

21. Vanuatu

22. Nicaragua

23. Blood vs. Water

24. China

25. Millennials vs. Gen X

26. Fiji

27. Samoa

28. San Juan del Sur

29. Caramoan

30. Game Changers

31. Thailand

32. All-Stars

33. Ghost Island

34. Worlds Apart

35. Redemption Island

36. One World

37. Cook Islands

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