39. Gabon (Season 17)
Admittedly, Survivor: Gabon has several things working in its favor. First is that many of the challenges are some of the best and most creative in the show’s history, highlighted in the “Super Golf” video above. Secondly, it’s impossible not to be at least a tad charmed by the eventual winner, Bob Crowley, and his bow-tie. What’s more, there were other memorable characters involved with “Sugar” Kiper, Randy Bailey, Crystal Cox and Corinne Kaplan.
More importantly, the season is responsible for the greatest Survivor GIF known to man, featuring smiling Matty Whitmore. After Marcus Lehman was voted out of Kota following the second tribe switch of the season, the Fang tribe awaited at the next challenge to see who was booted. Upon seeing the results, this was the incredible result:
While all of that is true, Gabon suffered from something that’s simply out of the control of the show-runners. The 17th season of Survivor had many players who were quite strong and/or entertaining. But the issue was that the majority of them were taken out relatively early, leaving the middle of the season to be quite a slog to watch through. Sometimes that happens as producers can’t control alliances or free-will of the players, but the season hurts because of it.