- Kyle Jason (Kaoh Rong)
Along with Scot, Jason is one of the biggest villains in recent seasons. He is a bully to Alecia on Totang, and even pushes her out of the way to get the idol. Also like Scot, once his alliance loses control, he starts creating as much trouble as he can in camp.
However, there’s a lot more to Jason than just being the ‘bad guy’. Jason loves his daughters, and is willing to do anything he can to win for them. A lot of his confessionals center on how he wants to win so he can help his daughter that has autism. On top of that, Jason has some nice scenes with his tribemates. When Cydney has heatstroke, he’s the member of Totang to take care of her, and he also tries to make sure she doesn’t flip during the merge. Hell, even in his confessionals, he’s pretty charismatic, so it’s hard to completely hate him.
I never really cheered for Jason, but I understood his point of view the entire season. For that reason, Jason is a great character, and one of the best villains in modern Survivor.
- Natalie Bolton (Micronesia)
The last Fan standing in Micronesia. Natalie has an interesting edit. Throughout the pre-merge and some of the post-merge, she is mostly invisible. However, by the end of the season, she is a member of the Black Widow Brigade, and loves being able to backstab the men. She is a part of 2 main blindsides. She manages to convince Jason that he is safe and not to play his idol, and she helps get Erik to give up his Immunity necklace for her.
While these are 2 huge gameplay moves, she doesn’t get too many scenes to show off her personality, so a lot of her scenes talking about how she loves being a villain just fall a bit flat.
Still, while I don’t remember a lot of Natalie’s personality, She is more memorable than a lot of contestants. It would be cool if she returned as a villain.
- Danni Boatwright (Guatemala)
Danni plays a brilliant under-the radar game, where we don’t really get to see her gameplay. Because of this there is not much to say about her. Fortunately, Danni still has some fun stuff. First, she uses her knowledge as a sports fan to identify Gary Hogeboom as an NFL quarterback, and not Gary Hawkins the contractor. Then, on her birthday, she invites the Nakum tribe over to the Yaxha camp so that they can swim on her birthday. But, what she will always be known for is coming back from a 5-1 disadvantage to win the game. Even though she hid a lot of her strategy, Danni still manages to win while being a likeable character.
- Wes Nale (San Juan Del Sur)
Wes is just plain fun! Maybe not as fun as his father; but still a pretty fun character. He immediately recognizes MLB player John Rocker, and bugs him about who he is. Wes also has an underrated bromance with Jeff Probst. I love the scene where Wes keeps asking Jeff about different projects he’s worked on.
But some of the better moments about Wes are his relationship with his dad. All Wes wants is for his dad to respect him. And by the end of the game, he does. Wes earns his father’s respect by beating him in a challenge, and Keith has to accept that his son is grown up. Unfortunately, Wes also gets eliminated after his own dad idols him out. Look, not all plot lines on this series wrap up nicely.
Still, when Wes is on screen, he’s a ton of fun to watch. What else could you expect from the chicken nugget-eating champion.
- Julia Sokolowski (Kaoh Rong)
Julia was the youngest player ever at the time of her season. In the beginning she is the young girl that is out of her element. She has some solid scenes in the pre-merge.
One of the more memorable moments of the season was when Julia had to live on the To Tang beach alone after the tribe swap. It shows just how hard it is to survive by yourself in the game.
After the swap, Julia positions herself right in the middle of the tribe by either going with the all girl alliance, or the villains Scot & Jason. In the end, Julia ends up as a ‘villain’ after deciding to team up with Scot & Jason.
Julia left the game as a solid player, and a good character. I’d love to see her return on another season.
- Jaime Dugan (China)
Jaime starts off as a sweet character in the pre-merge. She stands up to ‘Crazy’ Dave in the pre-merge. However, she takes a turn at the tribe swap to become a villain.
She starts throwing challenges to get rid of the stronger players, and giggles the whole time doing this. At the merge she plays a fake idol.
Still, Jaime deserves some recognition as one of the more fun villains.
- Michelle Schubert (Millennials vs. Gen X)
Most of Michelle’s content comes in the first few episodes of the season. She is loosely aligned with the Triforce Alliance, and plays a huge role in the Mari elimination.
Sadly, Michelle doesn’t get too much content during the tribe swap. This is a shame, because Michelle had a natural presence during her confessionals. Also, she was a weirder contestant that made her a fun character. Wish we saw more of her, and hope she returns.
- Bob Crowley (Gabon)
A lot of people’s least favorite winner. Bob has no business winning, he does not understand strategy, nor can he figure out how to best form an alliance.
However, Bob makes up for it by being fun. Even though he was pushing 60 in Gabon, he goes on to beast his way through the immunity challenges over men half his age to get to the end. This ends up being good enough for him to win, and it was nice to see an older winner for once.
- Dr. Mike Zahalsky (Heroes v Healers v Hustlers)
Dr. Mike is a pretty solid comedic character. He keeps doing crazy plans that never really work. Whether it’s putting a target on his own back to get votes, or throwing half of Lauren’s idol in the fire at Tribal.
His best moments are when he’s a part of ‘The Coco-Nutz” with Joe Mena. He knows he’s on the bottom, so he’s just having fun because he’s going to get voted out anyway. Dr. Mike is a fun character that all seasons need.
- Jenn Brown (Worlds Apart)
Jenn was one of the better characters on Worlds Apart. She’s outspoken and snarky, which leads to some great confessionals. She has a great idol play that is fun to watch. Also, she’s one of the few members of this cast that isn’t a complete monster to Shirin
Unfortunately, I’m taking points off because she wants to quit once Hali gets voted off.
- Jeff Kent (Philippines)
I’m not a baseball fan, so my first experience with Jeff Kent was from the Philippines. He starts off wanting to get rid of Penner, but eventually comes around to working with him. Jeff becomes a leader of the Kalabaw tribe and handles a lot of the strategy for the tribe. Once the merge happens, he becomes an early target. Still, I think Jeff is a solid early-merge villain. Also, some of the saltiest final words ever
- Frank Garrison (Africa)
Frank is an interesting guy in Africa. He is really good when it comes to survival, but has no skill when it comes to human interaction. For example when the entire tribe is playing ‘’Never have I ever’ the whole tribe is using fun things they’ve done. Then Frank says “Never have I ever broken the honor of a handshake”. It’s just an unusual thing to say. Also, there’s the scene where he impersonates an elephant. Yeah, it’s strange, but it’s also how this guy is trying to connect with nature.
I guess if I can say anything bad about Frank it’s that he sounds like a prototype of Tea Party arguments, and was probably a huge dick to Brandon off screen. But from what we saw, Frank was an entertaining character.
- R.C. Saint Amour (Philippines)
R.C. was the athletic woman on the Tandang tribe. She’s friends with Abi, but then gets blamed for stealing an idol clue.
She becomes an outsider on her tribe and gets booted early in the merge. Honestly, I felt bad for RC. I liked her a lot and wouldn’t mind seeing her return.
- Troyzan Robertson (One World, Game Changers)
Troyzan was one of the castaways that I preferred in One World. He was a solid narrator, and pretty good at challenges. More importantly, he was the most likeable guy on the Manono tribe, not exactly an impressive accomplishment, but still. Troyzan was also the last obstacle Kim had to get over before dominating One World. This led to a pretty cringeworthy moment where Troyzan shouts “THIS IS MY ISLAND!!” when winning immunity. Still, he was one of my favorites from One World.
When he returns for Game Changers, man does he get screwed. He gets some decent content in the beginning by finding the Immunity Idol, but then he disappears. Seriously, this guy makes it to the Final 3, and has almost no content to show for it. At one point, Cirie implies that Troyzan could be a huge jury threat, but we’re never given any footage of Troyzan bonding with people! This is just a terrible editing/storytelling decision. At the very least, he’s given a solid ending at Final Tribal Council, where he thanks the jury for letting him achieve his dream and competing hard. Personally, I was so disinterested in a Brad or Sarah win that I was hoping the jury would vote for him after his concession speech.
Still, I like Troyzan, even though he’s given mixed content.
- Paschal English (Marquesas)
Out of all contestants, Paschal may have played the role of ‘Father Figure’ the best. He even got the nickname ‘Pappy’ because he was seen as the father to the castaways of Marquesas. In fact most of Paschal’s moments involve him bonding with another tribe member.
One of his earlier scenes comes after the tribe swap, where he cries when the Rotu 4 turn on their own tribe member, Gabe. Paschal takes this harder than anyone, because he viewed Gabe as the son he never had and cries as he reads a poem that Gabe wrote for him by the fire.
After the merge, Paschal goes on probably my favorite reward ever with Sean. They are these 2 men from opposite worlds, but they are able to form a real connection as they go on this one of a kind experience.
But Paschal’s closest connection has to be Neleh. He calls her ‘Sweet Pea’, and treats her as one of his own daughters, by always looking out for her and taking her on rewards. However, Neleh also looks out for Paschal in the game, as she has to convince him to flip on the Rotu 4. The two share the closest father-daughter bond in the game. In the end, Paschal gets eliminated. Not because he does anything wrong, but because he refuses to turn on Neleh, and ends up drawing the first ever Purple Rock, sending him home without a single vote against him. Paschal goes out as one of the nicest players ever.
- Rafe Judkins (Guatemala)
Rafe was a really good player. He teams up with Stephenie and the two control the majority alliance throughout most of the merge. He’s great at challenges, and tries to be respectful to other people. He gets upset when Jamie gets too cocky during challenges. What’s great is that he eventually has the revelation that he and Stephenie may actually be the bad guys of the season.
His big mistake comes after the Final Immunity Challenge, where he releases Danni from their Final 2 deal, and is promptly voted out.
Still Rafe is a great combination of player and character.
- Michele Fitzgerald (Kaoh Rong)
*Sighs* Okay, so Michele gets a lot of flack for being an ‘undeserving winner’, but I disagree. Michele is usually sweet in a lot of her confessionals, and usually doesn’t have anything bad to say. On top of that, Michele was great at forming bonds with the Beauty Tribe, and most of the Dara Tribe. This leads her to have some nice moments, like how upset she is to vote off her friend Julia. In the end, Michele doesn’t win for her strategy, but instead for her physical game, and the friendships she built over the season.
Is she a more entertaining player than Aubry, Cydney, or Tai? No, but Michele is still a likeable player that gives great confessionals. Part of me wants her to return for an All Winners Season, and watch her kick ass, just to shut up some the Michele haters
- Kelly Wigglesworth (Borneo, Cambodia)
Kelly is the person that helped coin the phrase, “I’m not here to make friends”. In Borneo, she was the youngest member of the Tagi alliance, and initially votes with them. This is because she wants to win, and being in the alliance is the best thing for her to do.
However, midway through the merge, she feels much closer to the Pagong tribe members, and wants to break away from the Tagi tribe. “I’m voting strategically. So are they, and they still think I’m in the stupid alliance because if I told them I didn’t want to be, they’d vote me off, so I’m trying to save my own ass.” Kelly’s story centers on whether or not she’s going to flip on the Tagi tribe. This makes her a target, and Richard wants to get rid of her. She goes on an Immunity run late in the game, which prevents her from being voted out. In the end, Kelly goes to the end with the ‘villain’ Rich, but loses in a 4-3 vote. This is also when Sue famously calls Kelly a rat.
Kelly is an obvious choice to return for Cambodia. Unfortunately, she is given an invisible edit.
Still, after all these years, Kelly is still memorable as one of the first castaway’s ever.
- Cindy Hall (Guatemala)
Okay, Cindy is pretty damn great. She is an asset in challenges, helps out her tribe members after they are injured during the hike to camp, and she gives great confessionals throughout the season.
However, what makes Cindy stand out is her love of animals. Cindy loves the locations, and highlights all of the wildlife that surrounds the castaway. It’s a great way to show off why Guatemala is a unique location, and what sets it apart from other seasons.
With only positive content, Cindy is truly a gem of a character that deserves a return.
- ‘Big’ Tom Buchanan (Africa, All Stars)
In Africa, Big Tom is easily one of the best comedic relief characters ever. Between how he prepares for the signal challenge, to his celebration at the auction, he is just plain funny. We also get to see this farmer have these one of a kind experiences in Africa.
Unfortunately, Big Tom’s appearance in All Stars drops him significantly. He has one of the ugliest moments from the season, when he dances during Sue’s quit. Also, he blindly follows Rob and Amber, but then is furious when they cut him. His jury speech is one of the more unpleasant ones to sit through.
Like most castaways on All Stars, Big Tom’s reputation was tarnished for me. Still, he is a key part of why Africa is a good season, so I’ll put him here.
- David Wright (Millennials vs. Gen X, Edge of Extinction)
David starts out the game as the guy that is afraid of everything. But then, after a conversation with his buddy Ken, he decides to start standing up for himself. He’s able to find a few Immunity Idols, and uses them to save his friends Jessica and Ken. He finds himself in the position of master strategist, after being the weakest guy in the cast. In the end he gets voted off for being too big of a threat.
David does have a few issues. I find that he gets on my nerves sometimes. (Seriously dude, suck it up and compete in the reward challenge.) But still is an overall great character. He grows as a person and gains more confidence, while still protecting his friends, David makes a great hero, and a great story arc for the series.
[EDIT: Here is the update on David after his latest appearance.]
MvGX David walked, so EOE David could run! Out of all the veterans, David was the one I was least interested in seeing, but probably the one I most enjoyed. I love how his character picks up right where he left off. David’s incredibly confident, and knows exactly what decisions he wants to make. I like his friendship with Rick Devens. But I absolutely love his relationship with Kelley Wentworth. The two of them both know they have to target each other, but still respect another to work together. The scene where Wentworth tells David the plan was to vote him off, and he just shrugs it off is one of the best of the season. If you want a more accurate representation of this list, just imagine David is 10-15 spots higher.
- Bobby Jon Drinkard (Palau, Guatemala)
Bobby Jon is one of the leaders of Ulong, because he’s the best at challenges. However, he ends up going crazy during challenges to try and win. Unfortunately, as Ulong gets decimated by the Koror tribe; losing starts to take it’s toll on Bobby Jon. He starts becoming more withdrawn as time goes on. As it gets down to himself and Steph, he loses to her in a fire making challenge.
He comes back the following season as a captain of the Nakum tribe. Once again, Bobby Jon is in full work mode the entire season, and gets really aggressive during challenges. He has a strange relationship with Jamie, where the two get in heated arguments during challenges, but then become friends later on. Bobby Jon’s story is cut short at the merge, where he is down in numbers. He manages to convince Stephenie to let him make the jury.
Overall, Bobby Jon is an enjoyable character for two seasons.
- Sue Hawk (Borneo, All Stars)
The entire Borneo cast is iconic, but Sue definitely stands out as one of the best characters from that season. Everyone’s first impression of Sue is that she is just some sort of redneck. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sue is actually incredibly smart, and emerges as a leader for Tagi early on. She’s a great foil for Richard, as a blue collar vs. white collar.
However, Sue’s relationship with Kelly is the more interesting story of Borneo. In a confessional, Sue reveals that Kelly is her first female friend in 20 years. Unfortunately, Kelly does not feel the same way, and at the Final 4 eliminates Sue.
Sue manages to get her revenge, by delivering the most iconic jury speech, and quite possibly the most iconic moment in the series’ run, with her “Snakes vs. rats” speech.
When Sue returns for All Stars, they really play up her ‘dumb redneck’ bit and completely ignore everything that made Sue compelling. Up until a challenge where Richard rubs up against her naked. The speech where she quits is really sad, and tough to watch. Her appearance this season brings down her ranking.
Still, Sue deserves to be remembered for helping to put the series on the map, and being an all around entertaining character.
- Gervase Peterson (Borneo, Blood vs. Water)
Like most of the Borneo cast, Gervase is a huge personality. He’s one of the lazier members of the Pagong tribe, but he’s also one of the most fun. He is very expressive when he has to eat a grub during a challenge. Also, he gets a huge victory when he beats rafting guide Kelly in racing a canoe, when he can’t even swim!
As the season progresses, the audience learns a little bit more about Gervase. For example, his girlfriend has given birth to their child while he’s on the island.
Gervase eventually returns for Blood vs. Water with his niece. He’s still the same big personality that he was originally. He gets his niece voted out because the other tribe hates seeing him celebrate. He forms the ‘Coconut Bandits’ with Tyson, which is one of the funniest bromances ever. But in the end, he’s just seen as a goat that Tyson drags to the end.
Still, Gervase deserves credit for being an all time great comedic character. In honor of him, let’s remember his greatest quote, “If you want to be seen, stand up. If you want to be heard, speak up. And if you want to be appreciated, then shut up!”
- Aras Bauskauskas (Panama, Blood vs. Water)
Aras becomes the leader of the dysfunctional Casaya tribe. But, he manages to be the least crazy member of the tribe, making him the leader of the tribe. He then goes into the merge, and has a great rivalry with Terry. Unfortunately, Aras is not defined by who he is, but rather by who he isn’t. He’s not Terry the underdog, he’s not Shane the crazy guy or he’s not Cirie the fish-out-of-water.
For me, Aras works a lot better in Blood vs. Water. His relationship with his brother is so raw and real. He wants to try and reconnect with his brother, and even gives him a chance to compose himself during the duel challenge. He also is the only member of the Galang tribe to try and give Colton a second chance.
In his second appearance, Aras is revealed to be a really good guy that wants to help others, no matter how crazy.
Would like for him to return, especially for an all-winners season.
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