- Stacy Kimball (Fiji)
She starts off as a bit of a bully in the pre-merge. But once the merge hits, she teams up with Earl & Yau Man. She also has the groundbreaking strategy of, vote for the one that least likely has the idol. Pretty underrated all around.
- Alexis Jones (Micronesia)
She is one of the fans that is a part of the Black Widow Brigade. She gets a lot more content than Natalie throughout the season, and is shown to be a decent strategist and gives solid confessionals. She flirts a little bit with Ozzy, and becomes a jury threat late in the game. She ends up being the victim of an underrated blindside.
Solid character, but not memorable enough for me to rank her higher.
- Jenn Lyon (Palau)
Jenn is an under-edited character in Palau. She is a part of the Koror tribe, so she doesn’t get as much screen time. During the pre-merge, she has a rivalry with Stephenie, and tries to get rid of Tom.
At the merge, she has a showmance with Gregg, and tries to take out Tom & Ian. She even manages to get Tom to turn against Ian.
Jenn was a solid castaway. Sadly, Jenn tragically passed away in 2010. My condolences to her friends and family.
- Shane Powers (Panama)
I know that Shane is seen by a lot of fans as an all time great character; however, I’m not one of them. Look, at the beginning of the season Shane explains that he quit smoking the day before the season started, so while everyone is stressed out from lack of food and paranoia, Shane is taking it a little bit harder. Because of this, a lot of the ‘comedy’ scenes I find more uncomfortable than anything else. For example, him yelling at his tribe because he wants to have a rock to sit on is really uncomfortable to sit through. Also, some of the scenes where he yells at Courtney don’t come off as funny to me, but rather just a crazy guy almost bullying someone for no real reason.
Still, Shane does manage to get a few laughs out of me. The scene where Bruce needs to be evacuated, and Shane has a look of horror on his face because he’s naked and on camera will always be funny to me. Or when Shane is out of the loop because he is so focused on this rock he found that looked like his Blackberry, is also kind of funny…
While I don’t find Shane to be all that great as a comedic character, I really like the scenes with him and his son. You see how important his son is to him in a lot of his confessionals. So by the time Shane’s son comes for the loved ones visit, you understand why Shane breaks down. Honestly, it’s one of the better moments from the series. It’s these moments where Shane as a character works for me, and I think the edit found a solid balance of these moments with Shane’s crazier side.
- Lillian Morris (Pearl Islands)
Scoutmaster Lil starts off as the older woman that cries a lot. She comes back as a part of the Outcast Twist, and is still an emotional wreck.
That being said, Lil has some badass moments. Like when she gets back in the game and Andrew Savage asks her to tell him if he’s being voted out, Lil just says, “You mean like you told me?” Oooh, nice burn Lil.
She also is great during the Final Immunity Challenge where she just toys with Jonny FairPlay and refuses to give into his game. “I do aerobics Jon!”
Still just a mixed bag for me.
- Jamie Newton (Guatemala)
Jamie deserves the award for most inconsistent edit ever. He starts the season as a seemingly normal farm guy. However, as the game goes on, he starts to lose his cool. For example, he forces his tribe to finish a challenge after they get blown out
But what Jamie is probably best remembered for is his rivalry with Bobby Jon. It starts with Jamie going absolutely crazy on Bobby Jon in the middle of a challenge. The rivalry picks up during the merge. Jamie is so arrogant about his tribe having the numbers, and how Bobby Jon won’t win. He’s so cocky that even his own alliance wants to vote him out after that.
You’d think Jamie would be the villain with that description. But what’s crazy is, he only kind of is. The following episode Jamie tries to make up for his attitude by taking the worst reward. So, Jamie’s supposed to be the hero? It’s like the edit doesn’t know what to do with Jamie, so he swings from being the villain the entire tribe can’t stand, to the guy that is just trying to improve his life. Oh, and his rivalry with Bobby Jon? The two become best friends while they’re on the jury. Not necessarily my favorite character, but definitely one of the most interesting edits in the series.
- Donathon Hurley (Ghost Island)
At the start of the season Donathon gets the ‘over –the-top growth’ edit. For the first half of the season every little thing he does is presented as a huge growth moment.
However, I prefer Donathon towards the end of the season. He’s the only one that can tell that Wendell & Dommenick are going to have a cakewalk to the Final 3, and the only one that wants to stop it. Because no one wants to work with him, Donathon has to use the only weapon he has left; his mouth. The end of Ghost Island is so boring that watching Donathon try and stir up trouble is one of the few entertaining aspects of it. Decent character on a sub-par season.
- Ken Stafford (Thailand)
Ken is set up as the good guy of the season. After all, he is an NYPD Cop. There’s a lot of good stuff with Ken, like when he acts like a an older brother to Robb (Pre-merge).
He also has an interesting jury speech, where he tries to get Brian to confess to something, but we’re not sure what (Probably being a bigot). Likeable character, wish he had more screentime.
- Jaison Robinson (Samoa)
Jaison is a part of the Foa Foa 4, and one of the better challenge competitors on his tribe. He is calm throughout most of the season, which makes him a great contrast for the craziness of Russell.
Jaison is one of the more likeable people in Samoa, and he actually gets a decent amount of screen time. That would place him decently high on this list. However, what I remember most about Jaison was that he put racist Ben Browning (pre-merge) in his place. That alone moves him up at least 20 spots.
- Bret LaBelle (Millennials vs. Gen X)
Bret is a fun background character. He always gives solid confessionals, and has a fun moment where he tries to hide the fact that he’s not a cop but a funeral director. Even though Hannah and Jay see right through him.
His big scene comes during a reward where he reveals to Zeke that he’s gay. It’s a really nice scene where two people realize that they have more in common than they thought. Sometimes Bret takes his jokes a little too far, like making fun of David’s anxiety, but I never found him to cross any line. Bret stands out as a fun character on a really likeable season.
Side Note: Bret is great on The Amazing Race.
- Vytas Baskauskas (Blood vs. Water, Cambodia)
Vytas is the older brother to Aras. While Aras was the ‘Golden Boy’, Vytas was presented as the wayward son. He had some fun moments, like when Aras gave him a second to catch his breath, so he tried to take a cheap shot at him.
He gets placed on a tribe with all women, and manages to survive until the merge.
He comes back for Cambodia, but he gets voted out because his yoga lessons get on the women’s nerves.
Decent villain, but I think I’ve had enough Vytas.
- Butch Lockley (Amazon)
When it comes to the ‘Nice Older Man’ archetype, Butch is one of the nicest. He has a giant flag that says “Believe in yourself” because he wants his students to believe in themselves. When Heidi and Jenna strip for food, he makes sure to cover his eyes..
I also really like the scene where Butch tells Christy she doesn’t have a disability, it’s a really touching moment.
Sadly, Butch is also very concerned with firewood. He collects so much firewood that he accidentally burns down the entire camp. His explanation is “It got hot, then it ignited, then the wood right beside it, why wouldn’t it burn too?”. Destroying an entire campsite does knock you down on this ranking.
Still, Butch is a really likeable character, so I’ll put him here.
- Josh Canfield (San Juan Del Sur)
He plays a big role as the strategic mastermind of the Coyopa tribe, but I don’t really get a feel for his personality. During the merge he has a rivalry with Jeremy that is pretty entertaining. But he gets voted out for being too big of a threat.
He’s at his best when he is with Reed after the tribe swap, because then we get a feel for his personality and how important his relationship is to him.
Overall, he’s a little too much of a gamebot for me to really appreciate.
- Reynold Toepfer (Caramoan)
Reynold starts on the outs of the ‘Fans’ tribe because he’s part of the minority ‘Cool Kids Alliance’. Reynold manages to survive by being really good at challenges, and finding idols. Even though he never has any power, Reynold manages to be a positive guy throughout the whole season
- Erik Cardona (Samoa)
Erik is seen as a leader on the Galu tribe, due to being one of the more strategic players. He also had a decent social game, as he was the only one in his tribe to try and get along with Shambo.
But to be honest, the only reason to remember Erik is for his jury speech, because it is probably the best jury speech of all time. “Perception isn’t reality. Reality is Reality.” He manages to call out both Mick and Russell for their behavior, and also highlight that in her own right, Natalie is a great player. He essentially goes up this high for a brilliant speech.
- Clay Jordan (Thailand)
Okay, I get it. Clay’s sense of humor definitely wouldn’t fly in 2019. That said I found him to be one of the more enjoyable parts of Thailand.
Lines like “My two-year-old acted like that once, and I whooped it’s ass and put it back to bed” or “No shit Sherlock!”, probably don’t appeal to everyone, but I found him to be solid comedic relief. Personally, I preferred watching Clay’s antics to the unemotional Brian or bland as hell Jan and Ted.
- LJ McKansas (Cagayan)
LJ starts off as the leader of the Beauty tribe and has some fun lines, especially about Morgan. He manages to get himself into the majority alliance by flirting with Trish, and becomes allies with Tony. Early into the merge, he is blindsided by his alliance.
LJ is a strong competitor and a decent character. I’d love to see him on the next Second Chance ballot.
- Mike Chiesl (Redemption Island)
Redemption Island is a terrible season, with a terrible cast, and a terrible theme. But one of the few decent things to come out of this season was Mike. He’s the leader on the Zapatera tribe that helps get rid of Russell. During the pre-merge, he manages to be a good leader, charming, and gives some solid confessionals. Sadly, he goes out early in the merge for being too big of a threat, so we don’t get to see too much out of him. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t mind if he returned.
- Jake Billingsley (Thailand)
Jake was the oldest guy on Thailand making him the leader of the younger Sook Jai tribe. Jake tries to keep his tribe together even though their personalities are always clashing. He’s the only one to like Shii Ann, because she is a hard worker.
At the merge, he fights the hardest to break up the Chuay Ghan alliance, but fails. He is the last Sook Jai standing, and ends up getting eliminated.
Jake falls into the ‘Nice older man’ role that is in a lot of the early seasons. What I like about Jake is that he wasn’t just the nice guy, he had a competitive edge that made him fight hard to stay in the game. This makes Jake stand out from the early seasons, and be one of the most likeable castaways from Thailand.
- Dawn Meehan (South Pacific, Caramoan)
Not a lot to Dawn in her first appearance. She’s the nice older woman on the Savaii tribe, she’s on the outs socially, but also tries to look out for Cochran. In the end, she’s doomed to get Pagonged after Cochran flips on the Savaii tribe. Dawn has a great moment where she wins a challenge for her tribe by being able to hold onto the sandbags longer than anyone.
Dawn gets a lot more screen time in her second appearance. She plays a cutthroat style, and teams up with Cochran to take control of the game. Dawn manages to bond with everyone, before cutting them loose. In the end, the jury doesn’t respect her gameplay, and trash her at FTC. Dawn is definitely a ‘nice’ character, but not the most fun to watch.
- Chelsea Meissner (One World)
She’s one of the more interesting contestants in One World. She’s young, but she has the best survival skills of the women. So she ends up killing the chickens for the women early on. Also, she doesn’t let any of the men have any supplies.
Chelsea is kind of snarky in confessionals, which is cool because she isn’t mean like Alicia or Colton. Also, she is good at challenges, and would be a huge threat to win the game if Kim wasn’t on her season.
Overall, Chelsea is one of the more likeable characters of a bad season. Much like the new show she stars on Southern Charm
- Scot Pollard (Kaoh Rong)
Scot is one of the best villains of recent years. He takes complete control of the Brawn tribe and harasses poor Alecia during the pre-merge.
Once the merge happens he goes into full villain mode. He destroys the fire and makes camp life miserable when he’s in the minority to get revenge. He becomes so unlikeable that Tai refuses to make a super-idol with Scot, and he goes home.
I think Scot works because he has no depth to him. He’s just an unlikeable bully that you hope loses, and when he does it’s exciting. It gives Kaoh Rong higher stakes than most seasons.
- Scout Cloud Lee (Vanuatu)
Scout tries to play the ‘sweet woman’ role, but is also incredibly snarky. Like how she calls Eliza little one. She does a good job of filling this role.
Scout also has an interesting dynamic because as an older woman, she knows she could’ve won every challenge if she was a little bit younger. Solid character, and entertaining.
- Heidi Strobel (Amazon)
Heidi is a great comedy character. She is really smart, but always manages to come across as the dumb blonde of the season. She makes comments that people are jealous of her and Jenna for being younger and better looking. For me, Amazon has a lot better characters that I enjoy more than Heidi.
- Sarah Lacina (Cagayan, Game Changers)
Believe it or not, I actually like Sarah. On Cagayan, she shows signs of being a good player. She’s one of the nicer members of the season and is able to tell that Tony is lying and is actually a cop. Her only problem is that she flaunts her status as the swing vote a little too much. This leads her to get voted out in one of the best blindsides of all time.
She returns for Game Changers and learns from her mistake. Once again, she is the swing vote, only this time she is able to hide it well enough and gets to keep that position the entire season. She even gets a few badass moments like getting rid of Sierra so she can get her advantage, or stealing an advantage right from Michaela and then voting her out with it.
Unfortunately, Sarah isn’t exactly the most charismatic contestant, and her confessionals range from meh, to annoying. We get it Sarah, you’re a cop, only this time you are going to play like a criminal! To make things worse, Sarah’s gameplay dominates most of the merge. The shame is, the edit wants you to really like Sarah, so they trim away all her personality to make her ‘likeable.’ I’m going to break my rule, but please check out this deleted scene. Is Sarah being sincere with Troy, or is she just manipulating him? Either way, this is way more engaging and personal in this scene than he bulk of Game Changers. Instead, she’s less of a character, and more of a laundry list of strategic moves.
This makes her annoying to some fans, but I still like her. She played a great game and is a terrific winner. Would love for her to return again.