Yesterday, we chose to highlight where “Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X” winner Adam Klein was on our semi-annual winner rankings, which we publish within the days following the season. Today, it only seems right to do the same thing with the season as a whole given that we have for every other season to date. We first made up the list around “Survivor: One World,” but have updated it ever since.
So how are we ranking these? Before we dive in any further, we should make that clear. While having a good winner is important, the endgame is not the only factor. We also look at the memorability of the entire cast, the quality of the gameplay, the season’s overall tone, and also whether or not there is a lot of enjoyment that could be found on a re-watch. We’re not sure about strategy, which is probably made clear by the notion that “Survivor: Gabon” is to us a top-ten season. (We probably shouldn’t go into that too much here given that it may want you to stop reading altogether out of rage.)
Memorability – “Millennials vs. Gen X” has an outstanding cast from top to bottom. You’ve got great characters like Jay Starrett, Michaela Bradshaw, Zeke Smith, David Wright, Bret LaBelle, and Hannah Shapiro. The Figgy – Taylor romance was ripe with unintentional comedy, and especially after the merge it’s hard to look at anyone in the cast and say that they’re not reasonably likable. Maybe Taylor was a little bit of a heel, but he was like a puppy who peed on the carpet.
On the down side, we’re not sure some of the early Gen X boots are going to be thought of as great pre-jury exits years down the road.
Gameplay – Also outstanding. David’s fake immunity idol should be considered a classic move already, and the vote-off of Mari early was another amazing Tribal Council. While some moves were controversial (Will flipping on Zeke, Jay voting out Michaela), at least they were moves and people weren’t playing it safe. The first few episodes other than the Mari vote were slow, but after that things really started to get going.
Overall Tone – Positive when it needed to be. Most players harbored no ill will after being voted out, and the ones who did (see Bret) were at least funny about it. This was an emotional season because of Adam’s story, but other than with maybe Taylor and Figgy, was there any awkwardness with this cast at all?
Re-watch potential – High. Like we said, the time before the tribe swap is a little ho-hum, but once we get past that there’s a lot of great content. Also, the editors did a very good job masking Adam’s win, so with that in mind it’s probably fun to go back and see some of the specific moves he made along the way.
Overall – We’ve got “Millennials vs. Gen X” ranked at #7 out of 33 seasons, better than “Survivor: Philippines” but worse than “Survivor: China.” “Philippines” was hurt slightly by its tone at times (which it suffers from even more in retrospect), but was a great season in terms of strategy and unpredictability. Meanwhile, “Millennials vs. Gen X” has a pre-merge that suffers a little bit as opposed to “China,” and that season was equally robust with great characters. Ironically, we do think there are some similarities gameplay-wise between Adam and Todd Herzog, who both carefully timed when to get rid of some threats in the game.
This was a tremendous season of “Survivor,” and if every one of them is like this, we’re going to be super-happy in the end.
Where do you think “Millennials vs. Gen X” stands on your own winner ranking? Let us know in the comments! Also, click here to get some other news on the show. (Photo: CBS.)