Long-term Challenge fans have seen all of these seasons. Even some of the newer fans have seen them all. Now that Free Agents if rapidly approaching, it seemed like a good idea to rank the past ten seasons. Starting with The Gauntlet 3, these are the seasons that have had hour-long episodes. Also, it was really around this time that the dynamic of The Challenge started to change. The show became more political then ever, and alliances within the houses started to determine the outcome of the show.
Remember, this ranking is merely my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me, and I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.
Let’s start with the worst:
10. The Island
If you watch The Challenge solely for drama, this season may have had something for you. Otherwise, this season was a major disappointment. The fact that Johanna lasted 7 episodes without setting foot in a challenge or the fact that Kenny made it to the final without doing anything more than losing a challenge proves that The Island had little to offer. The whole season played off of the Johnny vs. Evelyn drama, and in the end they united and won…disappointing fans of both sides.
9. Fresh Meat 2
Fresh Meat 2 was a Challenge built around the Wes & Kenny drama. This could have been interesting, except for the fact that middle-man Landon won the entire show and all of the drama between the two enemies amounted to nothing. Like the first season of Fresh Meat, the newbies did nothing but follow around their alumni partners and contributed very little to the season. The actual challenges weren’t too bad, but there was very little variation between Exiles and very little evolution in Exiles from the first Fresh Meat season.
8. The Duel 2
The Duel is loved by both Challenge competitors and Challenge fans for one reason: it’s an individual Challenge. The Duel 2 did everything it possibly could to be a partner Challenge but still call itself an “individual” Challenge. Most of the challenges on the season were designed to be partner challenges, and the same people dominated the entire season. The worst moment of all was the final challenge, where the men had to wait for a female partner to get to a checkpoint before continuing. This process ensured that Mark had no chance of winning because he had to wait 3 hours for Aneesa to splash in the water and walk up a hill.Though in the end, the winners (Rachel and Evan) were deserving of their title.
7. The Ruins
If you ask me, The Ruins people has the best Challenge cast ever. There were newbies and oldies, mortal enemies, exes, new lovers, and a whole lot of crazies. Then they took the cast and assigned them to the most predictable format ever: Challengers vs. Champions. The Challengers were a bunch of proven losers and individuals who have never competed before and The Champions were previous Challenge winners. Guess what: The Champions kept winning and The Challengers kept losing. However, this season does get point for a stellar cast and some great drama.
6. The Gauntlet 3
The cast on this Challenge was pretty strong, and the Challenges weren’t complete shit (not the best though). There were only two problems with the season. Firstly, the editing sucked. Most of the fights felt rushed and choppy, plus it was clear that this season was designed to be half-hour episodes delivered to us in half as many hour-long episodes. Then there was the final. Eric collapsed and caused the Veterans to lose. Though the Rookies won, it was the worst and least deserved win ever… even members of the Rookies team agree with that.
5. Rivals 2
There’s a lot of good things to say about Rivals 2: the cast was pretty good, the Challenges weren’t bad, there was a good amount of fights, CT finally won. The reality of this season was that it was good, but nothing exceptional. It reused the popular format of Rivals 1 and produced a pretty good sequel.
4. Battle of the Seasons
This Challenge is pretty hit-or-miss, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a strong effort to try something different with The Challenge, and this Challenge was a breathe of fresh air. There were lots of newbies and not too many veterans, which allowed for new people to take the steering wheel. There definitely was a shortage of fan favorites on this season, but this allowed other people to be the stars of the season. Overall, I was not disappointed with the format of this Challenge and loved the fact that the newbies got to shine.
Cutthroat was a good Challenge season because it gave the cast a lot of control. There were no prescribed team, voting was anonymous, and there was a new format that was unfamiliar to the veterans. It was very interesting to see the different dynamics on the three teams, and who became the unofficial leaders of the teams. This season had some very strong challenges, some of which were reminiscent of older seasons, as well as some interesting elimination rounds. These aspects were also aided by a strong cast that was a good mixture of veterans and rookies.
2. Battle of the Exes
Battle of the Exes may have been a nightmare for some of the cast, but the concept did provide for interesting television. This format really tapped into Real World & Challenge history to bring back couples from older seasons. I found the challenges on this season to be fairly creative, and the required a variety of skills to win. However, the strongest aspect of this season was the casting. The fact that fan favorite couples such as CT & Diem, Mark & Robin, Dustin & Heather and Abe & Cara Maria were represented made this season appeal to all Challenge fans.
For me, Rivals 1 was one of the best Challenges ever. At the time, we had never seen a concept for a Challenge that relied on past social interactions. And when you compare this season to Rivals 2, the rivalries are MUCH stronger. The new format provided for some of the crazies fights I’ve ever seen on The Challenge, and this was one of the first Challenges that really had twists that shocked viewers and the cast (changing countries, an over-night final). This was also the first season where last-place was guaranteed to go into elimination, which makes for a fairer game while still allowing for a political aspect to the game. Overall, this Challenge produced some exciting improvements across the board and really proved that the series still had life in it.
What seasons did you love or hate, and what season was your favorite?