Alone has become quite a staple in popular culture as we know it. Originally released on The History Channel, Alone is not your run-of-the-mill survival show. It stands out in one major way — the contestants are actually alone. For the most part, the clips are self-documented, and the 10 contestants truly have to brave it out in the wild for the prize of $500,000.
With nine seasons locked and loaded and one currently airing, it’s safe to say that some were hits and misses in the mix. As interesting as the show is, audiences certainly preferred some over others. With that in mind, here’s a ranking of the best seasons of Alone (from worst to best).
1. Season 4
If there ever was a time when viewers questioned their loyalty to the show, it was when Season 4 was released. It definitely was not one of the best seasons of Alone. What was the main issue? It was all copped down to poor execution. In the spirit of mixing things up, the show decided to experiment with a new format altogether.
Rather than going the usual route of following the efforts of solo contestants, they introduced seven pairs. The pairs themselves comprised two family members. This probably seemed like a great way to spruce things up on paper. However, the reality was quite different. The first issue here is that the show is called Alone. So, the concept took away something vital from the show’s overarching premise. Second, it took away the thrill and lowered the stakes in the process.
2. Season 8
Before going into the reasons this isn’t one of the best seasons of Alone, let’s get one thing straight. One of the best parts of the show is watching the contestants fish… or try to. So, when that segment of the show is tampered with, it’s disheartening for fans.
One of the few things the show got right here was reverting to the old format of “every man/woman for themselves.” However, they threw in more twists. Contestants were no longer allowed to use bait to catch fish. Instead, they were given lures on barbless hooks. Needless to say, that took the intrigue out of watching the contestants fish.
3. Season 5
While Alone Season 5 wasn’t generally lackluster, it featured one lackluster contestant — Sam Larson. A lot of viewers took offense at the fact that he emerged as the winner. His strategy was to work smart and not hard. But, let’s face it, most people watch the show to see the people combat against the elements. In contrast, Larson sort of “half-assed” his way through.
Rather than going out to catch or forage for food, he managed his rations till the very end. Even more, he committed the horrendous offense of not catching even one fish throughout his time on the show. He may have been the youngest contestant to win, but he was certainly not the most exciting.
4. Season 9
While this season of Alone wasn’t that bad, one glaring element made it stick out negatively. Rather than leaning on adventure, and the quest for survival, among other things, the producers were too dependent on exposition. Sure, there has to be an emotional element that makes the viewers relate to the contestants. But when it’s just one tear-jerking backstory after another, that’s not what people tuned in for.
5. Season 2
Now this is where things definitely take a turn for the better. Riding off a successful first season, it’s clear that Alone Season 2 leans into the things that made it a hit. It’s the big leagues in this season, as it features characters that were truly ready to rough it up in the wild. From charismatic characters to some of the most innovative survival skills, it’s safe to say that it’s one of the best seasons of Alone.
6. Season 1
It’s always nice to look back at where things started, and the maiden season of Alone did not disappoint. Looking back at it now, the image quality, among other things, may come off as a bit low-budget. But the season, no doubt, is a raw representation of what the show was meant to be. Everything was so rudimentary that it genuinely forced contestants to bring their A-game. In fact, Alan Kay lost a whopping 60 pounds while on the show. If that’s not a testament to how tasking the season was, then nothing else is.
7. Season 7
Now here’s a season that knew how to flip the script without changing the essence of the show. Instead of seeing who could slum it out the longest, the aim here was to last 100 days. In other words, there could be more than one winner… or no winner at all. Needless to say, that drove the stakes through the roof. This season had it all — severe frostbite, starvation, and even a deadly disease.
8. Season 3
This season excelled on the back of the diverse characters it brought to the screen. In short, there were more than a handful of fan favorites in Alone Season 3. It had everything from strategists to nature lovers and everything in between. Additionally, the level of genuineness these characters brought to the forefront was enough to keep viewers engaged.
9. Season 6
The consensus is out, and without a doubt, Alone Season 6 stands tall above the rest. This season welcomed contestants that came prepared. In other words, they actually knew what they were doing. They had to brave against the harsh elements in the freezing Great Slave Lake of Canada. The season had viewers on the edges of their seats between the dangerous animals and the temperature.