Survivor seasons to (re)watch in preparation for Edge of Extinction


We’re weeks away from the start of Survivor: Edge of Extinction, so make sure you’re caught up on the right seasons to prepare for what’s to come.

For the past few weeks, my colleague has been looking back at some of the past Survivor seasons to discuss how they’ve changed the game going forward. While these are prime examples of what you should be watching at some point in your life if you’re a Survivor fan, I’m here to bring things full circle and discuss what you need to watch ahead of the premiere of Edge of Extinction.

From what we know from the previews, there will be 18 castaways competing for a million dollars and four of them will be returning players. Aubry Bracco, David Wright, Joe Anglim and Kelley Wentworth are giving this Survivor business one more shot, and all the competitors will be facing a new twist that will rock the foundation of the game.

There are two tribes to start out the season, which is a bit unusual for 18 players considering the gender imbalance. Of course, with a name like Edge of Extinction, there can only be so many things to expect, so make sure you watch these seasons ahead of time!

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Aubry Bracco Survivor Game Changers
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Survivor seasons 29 through 34

When casting for season 38, CBS sought out four “captains” from recent seasons. The player whose origin is the “oldest” among them is Kelley Wentworth, who first debuted in San Juan del Sur alongside her father. Following that, Joe Anglim premiered in the following season, Worlds Apart, before both competing together in Cambodia.

Despite filming her first season before Cambodia was filmed, edited and aired, Kaoh Rong introduced us all to Aubry Bracco in season 32. The next cycle began the run of Fiji seasons that continue to this day, with David Wright producing the ultimate underdog story in Millennials vs. Gen X before Aubry returned for a deep run in Game Changers.

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Knowing the story of the returnees helps deepen the appreciation for Edge of Extinction, especially in the storytelling beats. Considering there are four returnees this season, having to catch up on six seasons is a pretty light rewatch batch.

Survivor Redemption Island Final 3
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Isolated island seasons

Survivor has drastically changed the dynamics of its gameplay on a few occasions, with the first being Panama – Exile Island. That saw certain players from one tribe picked from the other tribe (or sometimes part of an auction reward) and placed on their own miniature island or location for a night, only to return for the next Immunity Challenge (or, sometimes, after an Immunity Challenge).

The strategy and social dynamics involved will harken to what Edge of Extinction can be, as the preview suggests that players will be on their own at some point. That’s why I suggest watching Panama and Cook Islands, with the latter relying on more advantages that are likelier to be present in season 38.

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Finally, I suggest watching Redemption Island and Blood vs. Water because considering certain quotes in the preview video indicate some sort of redemption-like twist. “I keep telling myself, ‘Don’t quit'”, and “I don’t know if I can do this” suggest players might leave the game and have the opportunity to come back, and familiarizing yourself with the “be nice on the way out” social play might be critical.