The 50 Best Survivor Episodes – Introduction

For 31 seasons and 468 episodes, Survivor has delivered countless hours of entertainment and thrilling television. Trendsetting concepts, water-cooler moments, unforgettable characters, shocking twists and gripping drama. Survivor is the granddaddy of reality television. There are many individual moments we could point to as highlights of the show’s impressive 15-year run but what episodes stand out as the best of all time?

Starting tomorrow, Inside Survivor will be counting down the 50 Best Survivor Episodes as chosen by myself and new contributor Ian Walker. Ian and I both compiled our separate Top 50 lists and then compared and contrasted notes. We argued and debated our favorites until we eventually settled on a definitive Top 50. The list spans episodes from all the way back in Borneo to the most recent season in Cambodia.

The countdown will commence January 1, 2016, and will end in time for the premiere of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng on February 17. We will post at least one entry per day and we welcome discussion of our choices in the comment section and on social media.

For now, Happy New Year from the team here at Inside Survivor!

Martin is a 28-year-old writer from Hull, England represented by Berlin Associates. He graduated from the University of Hull in English and Creative Writing. But if you have found yourself on this website you probably know him better as “Redmond” – the Survivor spoiler.

  • Monae

    The Marooning will be in the top ten! Calling it now! 🙂

  • José Zepeda


    I’m gonna be commenting in every single one!


  • Trintex

    One of my favorites was the Worlds Apart finale. It had amazing editing and Mike finally winning made the whole season worth while. It had so many great moments such as Mike’s mother guiding Mike at the stunning compass-like challenge, and Will placing the idol around Mike’s neck after the final challenge, not to mention the fire tie-breaker and Shirin’s revenge on the “dead fish”, which was then wrapped up with the live reveal of the Second Chance cast. What more could a Survivor fan ask for?

  • Anon

    I hope Borneo, Marquesas, Pearl Islands, San Juan del Sur and Panama have lots of representatives. And Guatemala.

  • shihomt

    Ozzy blind side in Micronesia
    Finale of Micronesia
    Purple Kelly and NaOnka quit episode in Nicaragua
    Kelley Wentworth playing her first idol in Second Chances
    Three Amigos 2 idol play in Caramoan (one of the best)
    Ciera renegading from Tyson-Monica-Gervase alliance in BvsW
    finale of Second Chances
    2-hour episode of Second Chance (one of the best I have seen)
    Start of Marooning in Borneo
    Natalie and Jon browl in San Juan Del Sur
    Stick to the plan in San Juan Del Sur
    Alicia heard Christina strategy in One World
    Finale of San Juan Del Sur
    Merge in Philippines
    Merge in Cagayan
    Pearl Islands first episode

  • Wagner

    I don’t give much tought about ranking episodes individually, but I usually grade them on a tv show tracker so I’ll try to give a list:

    Tier 1 (Perfect 10 for me or almost there, all episodes are in order of exhibition)
    Trial By Fire
    The Twist
    Girls Gone Wilder
    Me and My Snake
    What the….? (Part 1)
    Shark Attack
    I’ve Been Bamboozled!
    Surprise! And…. Surprise Again!
    You’re a Rat
    It’s a Turtle!?
    A Slippery Little Sucker
    I Promise…
    I’m Ruthless… and Have a Smile on my Face
    If It Smells Like a Rat Give It Cheese
    Stir the Pot!
    The Biggest Fraud in the Game
    It’s Funny When People Cry
    The Martyr Approach
    I Trust You But I Trust Me More
    Going Down in Flames
    Jumping Ship
    A Sinking Ship
    Go Out With a Bang
    Perception is Not Always Reality
    Dead Man Walking
    Little Miss Perfect
    Hell Hath Frozen Over
    Zipping Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    Big Bad Wolf
    Head of the Snake
    It’s Do or Die
    Line Will Be Drawn Tonight
    Second Chance
    Bunking With the Devil
    You Call, We’ll Haul
    My Wheels are Spinning
    Lie, Cheat and Steal

    Tier 2 (9.5 or almost there)
    Mutiny (Cook Islands)
    Love is in the Air
    He’s a Ball of Goo
    Lost Puppy Dog
    I’m Such a Hot Pickle
    I’m Gonna Fix Her!
    That Girls is Like a Virus
    Tonight, We Make Our Move
    Survivor History
    Anything Could Happen
    Whiners Are Wieners
    Shot Into Smithereens
    Persona Non Grata
    Cut Off the Head of the Snake
    This is Where We Build Trust
    Witches Coven
    Like Selling Your Soul to the Devil

  • Max

    I think the second episode of Survior Cambodia was especially good. Not many people talk about it though… I think the combination of Abi’s breakdown and Varner’s quick gameplay made for an electric episode. Also, the moment when Shirin realized she’s going home is soooo fun to watch, and I’m a Shirin fan.

  • destin

    Amazing job with this list – I’m watching each episode as I go along. I appreciate the effort you put into it!