The Challenge

Throwback: Was The Island a Flop?

If you’re an old school fan of The Challenge, you likely have some favorite missions from prior seasons. However, it’s unlikely that these favorites are from The Island. This season didn’t have real missions because the entire objective was to build a boat, sail it to an island, and unlock a treasure chest containing the $300,000 prize.


To unlock this chest you needed a key. To earn a key, you competed in a 3 person face-off. For the first half of the season the winner of the face-off received a key while the other two pleaded with the non-participants to survive in the game. The non-participants voted one person off The Island, while the other stayed and received a key. Later in the winner of the face-off stole a key from someone who already had one.

These face-offs were similar to elimination rounds such as Gauntlets, Duels or Ruins. The elaborate missions and the fancy houses we’re used to seeing on a Challenge were replaced with the struggle to survive and a bare-bones-bungalow. While this was difficult for the cast, it certainly caused drama.

Many old-school Challenge fans dislike this season because of the lack of real missions and the ability to coast to the final by having a strong alliance. Others love this season for its focus on strategy, constant fights, and unique concept. Now that 6 years have past since the airing of The Island it seems that the concept was not the huge success production hoped it would be. We have yet to see a sequel to this season and many cast members have stated that they’d never do a Challenge similar to The Island.

What do you think? Is the Island a franchise flop, or a hidden gem in the series?


  1. No way….The Island seems to get a lot of flak but as a fan of Bananas and Kenny I loved this season…this was the first season where the true villians inside those 2 finally came to light and the drama back and forth between Ev and Johnny was great to watch…and Ev’s decision at the end is one of the most memorable Challenge finale twists in history

    1. Agreed that it was a good season and Bananas really came into his own on The Island. It could have used a better cast as a whole though. Nobody really had a chance from the start with the exception of Abram & Rachel who both bowed out early. It could have been a little more exciting if they had competition, but otherwise I totally agree with you.

      1. Loved the season! It wasn’t what I would consider to be a challenge, but it DID have the backstabbing and craziness to stand its own. People like Johnny and Kenny were vindictive, conniving, and ruthless as ever, but it did make for great entertainment. And people went somewhat psycho and it was fun to see people like Jenn, Collie, Evan, and Robin roughing it! And while the climax finally being a treasure chest was less bold and extreme than what we’re used to, the build up of knowing that people were fighting for a chance to be on that boat the entire season was great.

  2. I just wish Abe stayed and Johnny would of been voted off. As soon as Abe left I really did not have much interest for The Island.

  3. It may not have been the most successful, but certainly set up a lot of moments that were felt for seasons to come – Kenny/Johanna on the beach, Paula’s “betrayal” by her alliance at the end, etc. It was kind of heartbreaking to see all those people who ‘coasted’ to the end stand on the beach and see the others go for the prize. They made it to the end, lived off rice and fish, in terrible living conditions… for nothing.

    Also, there’s a great podcast out there somewhere with Johnny talking about how terrible it was. He lost a ton of weight, there was never enough food, but always enough alcohol. I’ll bet that MTV hasn’t done another season because the cast members wouldn’t do it.

  4. Completely a flop. Were there memorable moments? Sure, but every season has those. I understand that it was more of a mental/political game, but the game as a whole had some serious flaws. Kenny made it to the end because he won a popular vote over Tanya. It was maybe the easiest win anyone has ever had in these challenges. And I’m just not too sure on just how bad the conditions were. I mean they were still given plenty of alcohol to work with. There’s a reason why this format was never experimented with again, because it flopped hard core.

  5. Instead of the Island they should’ve created something called BattleGrounds and have old school vs new school to celebrate ten years of the challenge in 2008

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