Instead, I'm going to present my five nominees for Fancast's upcoming Survivor Hall of Fame.
I'm ambivalent about these Hall of Fame shenanigans. For one thing, an enormous amount of luck goes into Survivor. Sometimes an amazing player will simply be at the mercy of events [Guatemala's Brian Corridan comes to mind].
For another, lots of players only come into their own on a second go-around, after having watched their mistakes play out on television. Nobody would remember Parvati if she hadn't been given a second shot on Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites.
Most importantly, I probably won't be included in this round of inductees, so how can I support that? Fancast should be releasing a list of best Survivor: Tocantins runner-ups. I think I'd have a decent shot.
With that in mind, I've decided to make my list based not on a player's "skill," but instead on their lasting impact on the franchise. Below are my nominees:
Richard Hatch: The original winner is the only non-debatable entry. While Greg Buis was capering about with his coconut phone, and Sean Kenniff practiced his A-B-Cs, Hatch invented the alliance, threw challenges, and ultimately won. Hatch is almost as responsible for inventing Survivor as is Mark Burnett.
'Boston Rob' Mariano: Jeff Probst has said: "If I had to put money down on one player every single time, it would be Boston Rob." With a 0-3 record, that is one of the statistically worst bets he could make [the others being Cirie, James, Rupert, Stephenie, Amanda, Jerri and Colby]. But there's no question that Boston Rob's no-holds-barred attitude during All-Stars changed the game. Rob tossed out the bonds of friendship and questions of who "deserved" to be in the game in his drive to win.
Russell Hantz: Is Russell the greatest player not to win, or is he the perfect jury goat? On whichever side you come down, Survivor: Nicaragua is a testament to Russell's lasting impact – and it's not for his strategic savvy. As I wrote before, Survivor has become so self-aware that nothing is out of bounds. Destroy clothes, steal food, act as reprehensible as you can – it's the surest way to get to the end. Like Boston Rob before him, Russell's made Survivor a more aggressive game. And for the viewers at home, that's a good thing.
Brian Heidik: "I think one of the most important skills, especially out here, is just listening. Taking it all in. Not saying much. Even when you're hungry as heck, hot as heck, emotions are high, you've gotta remember to keep that character cool." So saith Brian Heidik, aka Mr. Freeze, possibly the coolest cat in Survivor history. Gamer masterminds from Cirie to Fairplay to Stephen have known that the best thing you can do is shut up and let people talk. Heidik was one of the first to understand that you don't have to be the one driving to actually be in control.
Sandra Diaz-Twine: It's hard to argue with results. Probst really should be putting his money on Sassy Sandra, the game's only double winner. Take a memo, Russell: all the big moves and high drama don't matter if you can't win a jury vote.
TELL US: Who do you think should be in the Hall of Fame?