What makes a good season?
For me, the main factors are the characters. Just like Jeff said that he wanted the applicants to show their essence while filming their presentation videos, I want the editors to show us the essence of the people they chose to cast.
I firmly believe that the people cast to be on the show are ALL interesting, at least on some levels. I've never been to a survivor event but I've read from many people that met the players and they all say that they have great personalities. Most of the time, a character is a dud because he or she doesn't fit in the story.
The next factor has to be the location and how the local culture comes into play during the show. You watch any episode of Season 16 and you soon KNOW that you are in China. Tell me how would anyone have known that season 21 was played in Nicaragua?
Then and only then comes the game itself and I want to see lots of interesting strategy. The winner's game does come into play but it's very difficult to know exactly what happened out there because so much is cut to keep it simple for the average viewer and because of time constraints. So I put only a little weight on the actual winner's game.
I'm not ready yet to list my favorite seasons even if I believe the first 12 would all rank in the top 15 with maybe only China, Tocantins and Fans versus Favorites matching up with those early seasons. So, before I post my list, I'd love to read your feedback, either by presenting your own list if you have one or telling me what you look for in a good season.
Ils sont fous, ces Romains!