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The Reality Show that Started it All
Survivor is the originator of all reality television shows. Patterned on the European television show Expedition Robinson, Survivor took the world by storm when it debuted on CBS in the summer of 2000. Although I didn't watch the original Survivor during its original run, I have been a big fan of the series since Survivor Outback, and have seen every single episode since. I hope that this lens helps you find the information that you need on the show.
The Series that Started it All
The original season of Survivor debuted on CBS on May 30th, 2000. It played through the summer, and had the more people watching the finale than any other season. What is great about this season is that the Survivor cast members had no idea what they had in store for them. Richard Hatch had an incredible impact on the way that all future seasons would be played, when he put together the concept of an alliance. His forward thinking helped him win the game. Unfortunately, he wasn't forward thinking enough to pay his income tax, and he landed himself in jail. He was recently released from prison and a stay at a halfway house. Because of his income tax problems, he wasn't allowed to leave the country to take part in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
Survivor: The Australian Outback
Survivor: The Australian Outback is probably one of my favorite seasons. It launched the career of Elisabeth Hasselback (then Filarski), and had plenty of drama. Who could forget the episode when Michael Skupin fell into the fire? It was the first time that you actually saw a crew member other than Jeff on the show. Jerri created plenty of drama and was a villain that you love to hate, and we were also introduced to Amber Brkich, who took advantage of her 15 minutes of fame with several reality show gigs, including All-Stars and two seasons of The Amazing Race. In the end, Tina Wesson, the friendly mom from Tennessee, ended up winning, partially because she was so friendly and made others feel like she cared about them.
Survivor Africa is the only season other than the first season that I didn't see as it came out. It came out in October 2001 and played until January 2002, and was set in Kenya. Survivor Africa was the first season to come up with a twist, as some of the players were forced to swap tribes prior to the merge. This season also had the first tiebreaker challenge, when Lindsey and Carl both came into tribal council with the same number of votes against them.
The winner of Survivor Africa was Ethan Zohn, who was later diagnosed with cancer.
You can now finally get a legal copy of Survivor Africa for yourself. The DVD release is on October 5.
Survivor Africa Can Now Be Purchased!
It took nine years for them to finally release it, but Survivor Africa is out. You can pre-order it now and get it on October 5th. You won't find it in the stores because it will be a print-on-demand product.
Ethan Zohn of Survivor Africa Fights Cancer
Can this Survivor Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast his Greatest Challenge Yet?
Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor Africa, and co-founder of the Grassroot Soccer charity, has recently been diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgekin's disease. Fortunately, this form of cancer has a 90% success rate, but please keep him in your prayers.
Things weren't looking so good for Zohn, whose doctor told him that he his cancer was "worse" at one point after chemotherapy. After that outlook, he underwent radiation treatment, which seemed to "vaporize" his cancer. Hopefully his cancer will not make a resurgence.
Survivor Marquesas came out in the spring of 2002. This was the season where we were first introduced to "Boston Rob" Mariano, and Paschal English was booted from the show after the infamous "purple rock" incident. The winner ended up being Vecepia Towery, known to most of her fellow tribemates as "Vee".
This season is finally available for purchase as a print-on-demand product through Amazon.com. It's release date is October 5th, but you can pre-order it now.
Survivor Marquesas is Available
If you've been waiting for the past eight years to see the purple rock fiasco, Boston Rob, and Kathy, your wait is finally over. These DVDs won't be available in the stores, as they are part of Amazon's print-on-demand program.
Survivor Thailand debuted in the fall of 2002. One of the main highlights of this show was the "fake merge" when all the tribemates were place on the beach together and Shii Ann used the "merge" as an opportunity to cozy up to the other tribe. This backfired on her, when she was voted out at the next possible opportunity. In the end, Brian Heidik won.
Thailand is another Survivor season that is not available for purchase on DVD.
I think that Survivor: Amazon is one of my favorite seasons. It aired during the spring of 2003. Survivor Amazon introduced a twist from the very beginning. The girls were placed on one tribe, while the guys were put on the other. At first, the guys were cocky, thinking that they could beat them easily, but that was not to be the case. The guys, in fact, lost the first immunity challenge.
One of the characters that I liked the most in this season was Christy Smith, who was deaf, but read lips. She surprised me in the end, however, when she voted for Jenna Morasco, who won the game, but had not been very nice to Christy during the game. Christy's brother was in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.
Amazon is another season that you can't purchase yet, unfortunately.
Survivor: Pearl Islands
Survivor: Pearl Islands is another great season. The popular Rupert Boneham made his debut in this season, taking on the characteristics of a pirate from day one. I especially like how in the first episode, he sold all of the other team's shoes. Johnny Fairplay also tells the infamous "grandmother lie," when his friend gave him the false news that his grandmother had died during the family challenge. Another controversial element of this season was the "Outcast Tribe" twist, which was not a very popular twist among viewers. In the end, Sandra Diaz-Twine won the season.
Fortunately, this season can be purchased on DVD.
Survivor: All Stars
Survivor All Stars debuted right after the Superbowl in 2004. In it, we were reintroduced to some of our favorite Survivors ever, including Rupert, who hadn't fully recovered from Pearl Islands when he shipped off to All-Stars. This was the first season that we ever saw two Survivors quit the game. Jenna Morasco quit after the first episode, because her mother was ill with cancer. It was probably a good move on her part, since her mother died 8 days later. Susan Hawk from season 1 also quit, after a challenge ended up putting her in close contact with the naked Richard Hatch. In this season, Rob and Amber became a couple and were often referred to by viewers as Romber. Their friendship was also an alliance that helped them make it to the final 2. In the end, Amber won over Rob... but don't feel bad for him, he proposed during the reunion show and she said yes.
At the time, Survivor All Stars was one of the toughest Survivors yet.
Survivor All Stars is available for purchase off Amazon.com.
Survivor Vanuatu was shown in the fall of 2004. Like Survivor Amazon, this season also was initially divided by gender. On day 11, the tribes were mixed up a little, to keep it interesting. This season was won by Chris Daugherty, who almost got voted out after he screwed up the first immunity challenge. After he managed to scramble and keep himself in after nearly getting voted out, I was sure he'd go far. Sure enough, he went all the way. This season also had its first amputee, Chad Crittenden.
This season is also available to purchase on DVD.
Purchase some of these Seasons at Amazon.com!
You can purchase some seasons of Survivor. In my book, they are well worth the purchase. I usually watch a season in between the new seasons.
Pulau was the location of the tenth season of Survivor, and it had a military theme to it, as the US had fought on this island. I later found out that my grandfather was one of the individuals that fought here.
This was the only season where one tribe completely decimated the other. Koror won every immunity challenge, until eventually, Stephenie LaGrossa was left in a tribe of 1, and was moved over to Ulong. This was also the season where two tribemates, Wanda and Jonathan, were voted off the island before they were even divided up into tribes. In the end, Tom Westman won, after dominating in the individual immunity challenges.
This is the last season that is currently available for purchase on DVD.
Jennifer Lyon of Palau dies
Fourth Place Contestant Dies at 37
I was very surprised to see that Jennifer Lyon, who placed fourth in Survivor Palau, died at age 37 of breast cancer. As far as I know, she's the first Survivor Contestant that has died.
Survivor: Guatamala - The Mayan Empire
In this season, Survivors were given an 11 mile hike through the jungle right off the bat. When they arrive at their destination, they find that Stephenie LaGrossa and Bobby Jon, the last two survivors from Ulong in Survivor Pulau, were waiting for them. Bobby Jon made it to the jury, while Stephenie made it to the final 2. In the end, Danni Boatwright, a model, ended up winning.
You can purchase this movie off iTunes, but if you want it on DVD, you're out of luck. They're not selling it on DVD yet.
Survivor: Panama - Exile Island
During Survivor Exile Island, CBS introduced the concept of Exile Island. Every episode, one castaway was sent to Exile Island for the time period between the reward challenge and the immunity challenge. They had to survive on their own for that time, without the chance to scheme and get to know their fellow tribemates. The advantage to going to Exile Island was that they were given the chance to look for a hidden immunity idol.
This season was initially divided up into four different tribes: older men, younger men, older women, and younger women. Cirie Fields, initially one of the older women, didn't look like she would make it far (she remarked that she was scared of bugs in the first episode), but she ended up making it to the final four. Aras Baskauskas ended up winning.
You can purchase Survivor Panama - Exile Island off of iTunes, but if DVD is your thing, too bad.
Survivor: Cook Islands
Survivor: Cook Islands started off with some controversy, as it began with four tribes divided by race. The four tribes were mixed up and merged into two tribes in the third episode. Exile Island returned, and the contestants were offered the chance to mutiny in the eighth episode. Two of the survivors took the offer, which affected the course of the game. This season was also the first season where there was a jury of nine and a final three, instead of a final two. In the end, Yul Kwon ended up winning.
This season is available for purchase off iTunes, but not on DVD.
Survivor Fiji was the season where the "haves" competed against the "have nots." One tribe was given nice luxuries, while the other tribe was given a machete and a water pot. This did not play out very well, as the haves ended up dominating. One way they could have made this more equitable would have been to send the winning tribe to the "have not" camp, while the losing tribe went to the "have" camp, but they had to vote out a member. But they didn't do it that way.
This was also the season where Yau-Man decided to give Dreamz a truck in exchange for immunity in the final four. While Yau-Man kept his end of the deal, Dreamz did not, and Yau-Man, my favorite contestant from this season, was voted out. Earl Cole ended up winning with the first unanimous vote in Survivor history.
Survivor Fiji's "Boo" Allegedly Beat a Lady Inside the Bathroom
Fiji's Boo was arrested in late April for going inside a ladies' restroom in Lafayette, Louisiana, grabbing a lady by the arm, and forcibly moving her. Perhaps he needs to stay away from Russell Hantz. The two are business partners. Hantz was also arrested shortly before Boo was, for battery, when he pushed a lady to the sidewalk.
Survivor China was the first American television show to be filmed entirely in China. The show began with the Survivors visiting a Buddhist temple. Leslie, a Christian radio host, felt that she had to leave, because the ceremony violated her religious beliefs. She was my favorite character out of this season, but unfortunately, she ended up being voted out third. The winner of Survivor China was Todd Herzog.
This season did not have an Exile Island, but tribes could kidnap another tribe member during this season. There were two immunity idols available at the camp. Although neither of the immunity idols were ever used, Jaime tried to play a fake immunity idol, producing one of the funniest scenes of the season, where Jeff pronounced that she didn't have a real immunity idol and threw her fake idol into the fire.
This season is available on iTunes, but not on DVD.
Survivor: Micronesia - Fans Vs. Favorites
It had been a while since Survivor had an All-Star game, so Survivor threw one in, with a twist. In this season, one tribe was made up of favorite Survivors, the other tribe was made up of Survivor fans. Johnny Fairplay made a return in this season, but instead of being the villain that people love to hate, he ended up asking to be voted out, and left the tribe first. His heart was with his wife and new baby son, instead of with the game. In this season, Survivor returned to the two person final vote. Parvati Shallow, originally from Cook Islands, ended up winning.
This season can be purchased from iTunes, but not on DVD.
In Survivor Gabon, Survivor returns to Africa for the first time since season 3. However, in this season, the conditions did not seem to be as harsh as they were in Africa, where watches had to be set up to keep the lions out. Survivor returned to the three-person final vote, and Bob Crowley won. Although she didn't win, Sugar ended up making it to the final three, and she proved herself to be more than just a dumb model, finding the hidden immunity idol at Exile Island.
Survivor Gabon can be purchased from iTunes, but not on DVD. Survivor Gabon was filmed in High Definition, so it would be nice if some time in the future they release this season on Blu-Ray. The photography would be stunning.
Survivor Tocantins just finished airing on May 17, 2009. In this season, Survivor returns to Brazil for the first time since Amazon. One of the most interesting Survivors, Coach, told some amazing stories about adventures that he had had, but he came off as arrogant. In this season, there was an attempt to build a secret survivor alliance, but that failed when Brendan and Sierra failed to reaffirm the secret alliance after the merge. In the end, J.T. won the top prize. My Squidoo page on Survivor Tocantins contains complete episode recaps and other information about the season.
The 19th season of Survivor (as well as its follow up, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains) took place on Samoa. Russell Hantz turned out to be one of the biggest villains of the season, or for that matter, of any Survivor Season. He used techniques like burning socks and making his tribe mate's lives miserable in an attempt to win the $1 million. Although he made it to the final three and thought he deserved to win (he was visibly disappointed during the reunion show), his sweeter opponent, Natalie White, ended up taking the title and prize.
Other memorable moments were when Russell Swan ended up collapsing during a challenge (as far as I know, it was the only challenge ever canceled in the middle due to injury); Russell actually had a near death experience during the challenge. Ben was the first contestant ever to get kicked out of a challenge. Shambo turned on her own tribe, while dominating Galu lost their lead and ended up getting picked off by the underdog, Foa Foa.
For more information about this season, visit my lens about Survivor Samoa.
Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains
The 20th season of Survivor was filmed back-to-back on Samoa, right after Survivor Samoa. This season is titled Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains has so far been an interesting season. Russell Hantz, one of the most dastardly Survivors ever, from Survivor 19 is making a comeback. Between the last day of filming Survivor Samoa and the first day of filming Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, Russell only had 12 days to recover! While other starts like Rupert and Stephenie did back-to-back seasons, they all had more than a month to recover. So far, Russell and Rob have not been getting along, and Russell found yet another immunity idol (which he used brilliantly).
CBS has finally started releasing their old Survivor seasons with Amazon's new print on demand program. Now, you don't have to wait 8 years for this season to be released (like we did with Africa).
The twenty-first season of Survivor was filmed in Nicaragua, and is currently airing. This was the first season when two players quit in the same episode. It originally pitted the old against the young. After the merge, some of the older people, like Jane and Holly, are actually doing quite well.
Survivor: Redemption Island
Survivor will be filming back-to-back seasons to save money, and they are filming in Nicaragua for season 22. Call sheets that have been leaked from the show confirm that there is a "Redemption Island" on the show, and that the merged tribe name will be called "Merlonia". There is a rumor that both Boston Rob and Russell Hantz are returning for this season.
According to this article, Survivor 23 will be filmed in Caramoan in the Phillippines.
Since Survivor is filming back-to-back, Survivor 24 will be filmed in Caramoan in the Philippines as well. Although the exact names of the Survivor seasons are unknown, we do expect filming to be in these locations.