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Ike Baron
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Watched (and Ranked):
1. #17 Gabon
A very unique season with interesting characters and gameplay. Just the right amount of drama and twists with a neat series of blindsides, backstabbings and unpredictability. Also brought in one of my favourite players, Sugar. A worthy winner (but not the most strategic) and cool underdog stories in Ken, Crystal and Susie.
A veritable encyclopedia of the different Survivor strategems, including: a) a player who voted tactifully and constantly lied, b) a player who voted emotionally and felt that "the good guys should win in the end", and c) a "paragon" player, good at challenges, who tricked voters with fake immunity idols.

- the location, which made for great new challenges
- first season filmed in HD
- Randy and Sugar bitchfest with Corrinne trying to join in but failing
- Crystal sucking at all challenges despite being an Olympic gold medalist

2. #16 Micronesia
Blindsides made for great TV. One of the few seasons where pre-merge was interesting as well as post-merge. The women's alliance held strong over the incredibly stupid men. Strategy was in full form by this season, and everyone (except 2 or 3) stepped up to be a player. However, this is not my top spot because there was not much to the characters, storylines and root-worthy players other than the awesome tribal councils.

- beautiful location
- cirie getting screwed by the final 2 twist
- ozzy's blindside
- erik giving up the immunity necklace
- tracy and natalie as great schemers for fans

3. #7 Pearl Islands
If you are looking for characters and drama, this would be the season. We had great heroes and villains and everyone else had a personality. I knew everyone's names by episode 2 because that was how they stood out. It had good plot twists and strategy as well as pretty solid gameplay. I love it for the Pirate theme that this season strictly adhered to: tribes going shopping at a fishing village, treasure maps, rupert being the fisherman, the pirate music. I also pretty liked the outcast twist if not for the fact that one of the outcasts got so damn far in the game which wasn't fun any more. It would have been great if the outcasts were all gone by the final 4. The fact that people who got voted out once came back and went all the way to the finals was simply damning. Nevertheless, it was a good season.

- Morgan nearly becoming the first Ulong, before Ulong
- Savage getting screwed by the outcasts
- Rupert owning camp life and challenges before being betrayed by his close allies (including the damned outcasts which he made friends with)
- Fairplay just being a douche and avoiding early votes, then grinning
- Sandra getting loud
- It was a character-driven season while not deviating from good old strategy

4. #20 Heroes vs Villains
The strategy was getting old but the drama held. Mostly, my favourite players Stephenie, Sugar, Cirie and Tom went early. There were really great moments but I didn't really like this season.

- Boston Rob rebounding from his physical collapse, and pretty much carrying the Villains tribe on his shoulders.
- "Plan Voodoo" backfiring on Cirie when she went up against another top player, Tom
- Russell feuding with Boston Rob, including such highlights as Russell unapologetically looking for the hidden immunity idol despite the taboo against it, Russell thwarting Rob's "Plan Voodoo" by tricking his top ally Tyson into eliminating himself, Russell casually suggesting to Rob that they vote out the two people sitting with them, and a final showdown wherein Russell successfully corrupted Jerri and Coach against Rob.
- Sanda standing up to Russell and plotting against him; poisoning him against Coach and trying to stage a coup.
- J.T. tragically smuggling a hidden immunity idol (packaged in a written letter) to the last person he should ever entrust an idol to, Russell, based on the Heroes' misconception of an all-female Villains alliance! That was good.
- Parvati giving away two idols to Sandra and Jerri to keep the Villains intact and blindsiding J.T.
- Amanda and Danielle catfighting for possession of a game-changing clue to the next hidden immunity idol while Colby ignored them. Colby later gave Danielle (a villain) the clue on a silver platter, claiming heroically that she found it so she had the right to keep it. Colby killed his tribe there and then.
- Rupert faking a hidden immunity idol by hiding a rock in his pants. Brilliant way to save himself, and I'm surprised that no one ever thought of that before.

5. #21 Nicaragua
A very weak season. There was pathetic strategy, and no one was in it to win it. The few decent players were either underedited or voted off early (Yve, Marty, Brenda). I lamented how alliances were badly formed, immunity idols were inconsequential, and the medallion twist was lame.

The winner bumbled his way to the final six and went on an immunity streak. Boring. Rationale for winning? "It would be pretty cool to have a million dollars. I could do lots of cool stuff. That's cool." The season reminded me of Fiji, where one or two people stood out (Yau-man!) and the rest were just forgettable. Naonka's nonsense and Purple Kelly's anonymity, finally resulting in them quitting - at the same tribal council! That just disrespected the game and they were the worst survivors ever.

- Yve looking gorgeous at 40.
- Young vs Old tribes, which I thought was a good idea but the old tribe was falling apart and not strategising. Sadly they probably won't do young vs old again.
- Brenda and Sash who were the only ones forming a decent alliance and strategy thinking that they are king and queen of the show. Just because no one else is playing the game doesn't make you the best player. What's that saying? In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
- Marty being a good player then getting cocky and screwing up.
- Anonymous useless people making it far. Record too many this season! Chase, Dan, Naonka, Kelly S, Benry.
- A water wheel spit-gulp challenge (most creative challenge by far)

Would like to watch
#1 Borneo
#2 Outback
#6 Amazon
#8 All-Stars
#10 Palau
#11 Guatemala
#13 Cook Islands
#15 China
#19 Samoa

Ike yiked at 2:30 pm