Survivor- The Flagbearer of Great Reality TV


Alexzander (AJ) Braaten, Reporter

Reality Television is… let’s just say a mixed bag. Sometimes you’ll get entertainment, other times drama, or maybe it just completely falls flat due to whoever is on screen. There are so many shows that fit under the umbrella of Reality TV, as long as the people in front of the camera are not paid actors reading off a script. Everybody has their favorites, but in my opinion they all pale in comparison to Survivor, the godfather of reality TV game shows.

Survivor host, Jeff Probst

American Survivor as we know it came out May 31st 2000, modelled after a Swedish TV show titled “Expedition Robinson” from 1997. The show has kept the same Executive Producers and Host over the past 20 years and 40 seasons. The first season was filmed on the beach of Pulau Tiga, Sabah, Malaysia to an average audience of 28 million viewers, and a whopping 51 million by the time of the season finale. The season one winner, Richard Hatch, was given $1,000,000 and the title of sole survivor, a reward that was given to every winner up until season 40, where the reward was up to $2,000,000. That season, titled “Winners at War” was a milestone event for the show where they brought back 20 winners of previous seasons to duke it out and find out who truly is the “Sole Survivor”


Cast of survivor season 40, “Winners at War”



Ever since that first season the show has dipped a bit in popularity but has kept around 10 million viewers up until this day. The show has been all around the world with seasons in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Central America, and South America. The most prominent location and the location for the past 8 seasons now has been the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji. These beautiful locations act as the backdrop for one of the most hard fought, cutthroat and intense games on television. That intense competitive nature is what keeps millions glued to their tv’s as the cast tries to “Outwit, Outplay and Outlast” each other. Another reason for the show’s success over 20 long years is that the show’s host, Jeff Probst, has been there since the beginning and his mix of snark, sass, care and compassion make for one of the most interesting dynamics of the show. The way the show is edited and the way they cast (most) seasons leave a unique blend of heartfelt moments and comedy that is hard to beat.

The next season has already been cast, and the location is set, they’ll be going back to Fiji with a cast of entirely new players. The expected release date is still months away, so here are a few seasons I’d recommend to Survivor buffs and new viewers alike. In my opinion, the best seasons are the ones with the most interesting competitors and storylines. Season 7, Pearl Islands is a classic season with iconic characters, the pirate theme that season was done to perfection. Season 13, Cook Islands, also has a great cast, but it’s remembered for having one of the best storylines throughout any season. Season 15, 17 Survivor China and Gabon, I put together because of their excellent casts that carry their seasons way more than the strategy and gameplay. Season 28, Cagayan is considered by a lot of Survivor fans to be the best season, with possibly the best winner in the show’s history, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Season 37, David Vs Goliath is my personal favorite season to watch because I find the story, the players, and the strategy that season very captivating. I would also recommend all the returning cast seasons (8, 20, 31, 34 and 40). So if you’ve ever wanted to watch the show and didn’t know where to start or you have watched and it’s just been a while, binge these seasons and you’ll be hooked for season 41 and beyond.