Outwit, outplay, outlast. The basic formula for competing on “Survivor” hasn’t changed since the reality series made its debut on May 31, 2000. Contestants continue to be divided into tribes and forced to form a new society as they adapt to their physical and social surroundings. Players still have to compete in challenges, build their social game and face the elements and hear host Jeff Probst yell his signature phrases like “You gotta dig deep!” and “Wanna know what you’re playing for?” — and they still have to look into his eyes while he utters the dreaded phrase “The tribe has spoken.”
While the essential gameplay of “Survivor” hasn’t changed throughout 44 seasons played over 23 years, the game certainly has evolved. A myriad of new twists and advantages, the 39-day format shortened to 26 days, and the evolution of the contestants themselves have led to the long-running series having a distinctive tone from season to season.
But what makes for a great season of “Survivor?” The formula is simple. All you need are some unforgettable players and memorable moments. With that in mind, here are the 14 best seasons of “Survivor,” ranked.