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The Best, Yet Most Underrated Reality Show on TV

Maybe I am a little biased by nostalgia, but Survivor is the best reality competition TV show and it does not get the attention it deserves. I consider myself to be a reality TV show connoisseur, so I think that I am qualified enough to proclaim that. I have seen (to name a few) The Bachelor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother, and most recently, Love Island. But, by far, Survivor is the show that I just can't get enough of. 

The show premiered in 2000 and I have been watching since I was old enough to comprehend what was going on. My parents started watching from the first season and it slowly became a show that we, as a family, watched together every week. Season 40 premiered on February 12 and this season is considered to be the Super Bowl for Survivor fans as it brings back 20 winners to play for the title of the ultimate winner. 

To briefly explain the concept, Survivor is an American reality competition show that sends sixteen or more strangers of different backgrounds to an island where they have to survive with little supplies for 39 days. Initially, the players are divided into two tribes located on opposite ends of the island. Some tribes are simply a random draw and others are purposely divided by a certain aspect of their background (e.g. Millennials vs. Gen X or Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers). Every couple of days the tribes compete in physical and mental competitions for rewards or immunity. The losing tribe goes to the tribal council where they must vote out one of their own. 

Clear Blue Sea Pixabay / Pexels

About halfway through the show, the tribes merge and live together as one. From this point forward, they compete for individual immunity which will prevent them from being voted out at tribal council. Following the merge, each person voted out from there on out will become a member of the jury. When there are three players left in the game, they attend the final tribal council where they plead their case to the jury on how they outwitted, outlasted and outplayed everyone else. The jury then votes which player should be awarded the title of  “Sole Survivor” and win the grand prize of one million dollars. This show is considered one of the greatest social experiments on TV. As host of Survivor, Jeff Probst asks “how far will you go for one million dollars?”  

Often, Survivor is not won by the most physically fit or the person with the most survival experience. It is won by someone who was able to master the social psychological aspects of the show. This game was not designed for a specific personality to win. It was designed for anyone to win it. When put into high pressure situations, people behave in ways they would not otherwise. In Survivor, you must lie and betray your allies as that is what is necessary to win, even though you might not necessarily do that in the real world. Therefore, whoever adapts the best to the changing environment has the best outcome. 

My favorite part of the show is the strategy. Immediately when people step foot on the island, the game is on. People are quick to make alliances and go on a hunt for hidden immunity idols, which are pocket sized talismans that prevent users from being voted out at Tribal Council. Just as quickly as the game begins, it can shift as quickly. One minute one person might be calling the shots on who is going to be voted out and the next minute they are the target. There are so many new twists being introduced and people are constantly taking risks. Everybody is there to play and there to win. 

Kayla Bacon-Tug O War Outdoors 3 Kayla Bacon / Her Campus

Season 40 will likely be one of the greatest seasons to date. Everybody playing has won Survivor previously. Not only does that make everybody a target, but some people have prior relationships or connections outside the game due to being apart of the Survivor community, thus making them even bigger targets. The competition will be unlike anything fans have seen before and the game will be played until Probst reads out the final votes. 

Survivor is on Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS. 

Recommended Seasons to Watch: Season 37 - David vs. Goliath, Season 34 - Game Changers, Season 28 - Cagayan, Season 25 - Philippines, Season 20 - Heroes vs. Villains.