As a member of the exclusive Executive Voting Committee, Dave Burris (along with Jeff Probst and other ‘Survivor’ luminaries) have an awesome responsibility. Their votes will make up 50% of the final tally for entry into the prestigious ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame. The other 50% will come from ‘Survivor’ fans like you.
David Burris has spent the last seven years working on the Emmy Award-winning reality series “Survivor.” From his early beginnings as supervising producer, to his current role as executive producer, Burris has put his stamp on the series that redefined a genre. In his current role as executive producer, Burris serves as the show runner, overseeing all aspects of developing, producing, and delivering the show.
Okay, I’ll start off by saying that after 20 seasons you immediately have 20 different ways you can win this game (though Sandra Diaz-Twine’s strategy was admittedly pretty consistent). Beyond that, some of the absolute best players have not won due to the vagaries of luck. So trying to choose a top five is a Herculean task. My top five will include three non-winners, but three AMAZING non-winners. That’s one reason why this game is damn great – there are literally hundreds of ways to play it well and so far only 20 ways to win. So, here are the five ways to play the game that I think have been the most impressive…
5. Ozzy Lusth – This guy was genetically bred to play the game. NOBODY has hit the beach with stronger athletic skills and survival skills. He is the best athlete (half dolphin!), one of the best puzzle solvers, and easily the best fisherman in the history of the game. He is simply an amazing competitor whose brain remained calm and sharp in the most stressful of situations. Ozzy came within one vote of winning his first season – and only lost because he was up against another guy who appears on this list.
4. “Boston” Rob Mariano – A brilliant strategist, a charmer, the best puzzle solver, and a brutal competitor. Boston Rob is a guy who time and again has proven himself to have a shockingly acute understanding of every aspect of the game. Three seasons and three different strategies show his adaptability, which I consider to be one of the key elements to success in the game. All this and he’s fun to listen to because he’s eloquent and hilarious.
3. Russell Hantz – The Lord of Chaos, The God of Mischief, The King of Confusion. Russell Hantz instinctively and intellectually understood that if he exploited the natural stress of the game on his competitors he could run up through them. He kept them confused and off-balance, using this to move forward time and time again. He has an unbelievable ability to read his opponents (theories abound that he used swamp magic to pursue his nefarious purposes in the game!), identify their weak spot, and tear them apart. His fatal flaw was not fooling the people he destroyed into liking him.
2. Yul Kwon – Yul is the master strategist, the best brain, and the most diplomatic player to ever play this game. If he had not been on a season with Ozzy he would have also been remembered as one of the best athletes. He played a game similar to Russell’s – kept a weak confidante devoted to him, exploited other people’s weaknesses, skillfully used the hidden immunity idol, and manipulated everyone into doing what he wanted them to do from start to finish…. BUT THEN HE WON – largely due to his skills of communication and diplomacy. He respectfully and clearly explained to people why he was cutting their throats so at the end they had no choice but to respect his play and give him the vote for the mil. Brilliant.
1. Parvati Shallow – The best all-around player ever. She was brilliant at most every aspect of the game and most every strategy. She used her skills as a physical competitor, a brilliant strategist, and a manipulative flirt to put together the most impressive C.V. in “Survivor” history. She holds the record for most days played, got to the final three twice and won the million bucks. All this and she was never even remotely fazed by the difficulties of surviving on the island. I think this may have been the key to her success – no matter how hungry, thirsty, wet, cold, injured, hot, or exhausted she became she never lost focus and always functioned at an astonishingly high level both physically and mentally. Amazing…
Your Turn: Agree with Dave? Disagree? Cast your vote now for the ‘Survivor’ Hall of Fame.