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Every Season Of Alone Ranked From Worst To Best

For fans of adventure and the great outdoors, it's hard to find a more thrilling and engaging show than History's reality survival series "Alone." Premiering in 2015, the show spans nine seasons, each one following ten contestants who elect to live alone in the wilderness with nothing but their savvy and ingenuity to keep them going.

As soon as they get to the season's location, the participants have to be totally self-sufficient, and are tasked with doing everything, including catching their own food, starting their own fires, and even building their own shelters. The contestant who survives for the longest out in the wild receives a prize of a whopping half a million dollars. But the road to wealth, of course, isn't easy: In order to get there, participants have to weather a number of treacherous variables, such as unpredictable and violent climates, hungry wildlife, and more. Because of these dangerous conditions, many either quit or are pulled out due to starvation, illness, injury, or plain old mental exhaustion.

Each season takes place in a different arena — from the vast, jagged mountains of Patagonia to a mysterious, largely unexplored valley in Mongolia — so viewers never really know what they're going to get until they dive headfirst into the season. And because of the variation of each season, some are naturally better than others. So without further ado, here is a ranking of each season of "Alone" from worst to best.

Season 4

Season 4 of "Alone" is widely regarded by fans as a weak point in the show. This mostly comes down to its execution. 

The season, which came out on June 8, 2017, boldly tried out a new format. Instead of focusing on singular contestants vying for the $500,000 prize, Season 4 introduces seven pairs that each consist of two family members. This is an undeniably promising premise: it gives the episodes an extra emotional edge, because contestants are in the wild with someone close to them. Not only this, but it also ups the stakes, as the pairs have to split sparse resources amongst themselves.

Despite its high-concept premise, though, the show admittedly loses its true edge when it stops being about one single person being truly alone in the wild. On top of this, the season is just kind of slow, and doesn't include a lot of instances of high-stakes survival, which, let's face it, is what "Alone" viewers truly crave.

Season 5

Seasons 5 of "Alone," titled "Alone: Redemption," was also met with a lackluster response from fans. While there was a general consensus that the location, a valley called Khonin Nuga near the Khentii Mountains of Northern Mongolia, was a very beautiful and unique choice, that didn't outweigh the issues people had with contestants themselves, who were all non-winners from seasons 1 to 4 of the show.

In particular, a lot of people took issue with one successful contestant, Sam Larson, complaining that his survival technique wasn't to go out and forage for food, but to simply ration his portions and wait it out. One of the biggest problems people had with Sam is that he doesn't catch a single fish during the entire season, which to some viewers is nothing short of an "Alone" cardinal sin. And while this method undeniably works for him, it admittedly takes some of the drama out of his corner of the series and makes it a bit tedious to watch.

Season 8

Season 8 of "Alone" was popular when it came out in June 2021, and a lot of that likely had to do with the fact that it had ditched the slightly unpopular team format and gone back to the original model, where the last man (or woman) standing receives $500,000. The season is set on the beautiful, remote shores of Chilko Lake in British Columbia, and is undoubtedly enticing to watch because of both the format return, and the challenging location.

But the season also had a pretty notable handicap: it introduced a new set of rules for the contestants that were very restrictive, and took a lot of the fun out of the viewing experience. One of the rules said that participants weren't allowed to use bait to catch fish, only lures on barbless hooks. This was a source of aggravation for some viewers, because fishing is such a vital part of "Alone." 

Another rule prohibited contestants from hunting certain animals, such as moose, squirrels, bears, and marten. Regardless of whether or not these new rules are actually more humane, they do partially remove a sense of freedom from a show that's all about using your imagination in the wild.

Season 9

The latest season of "Alone" (Season 9) premiered in May of 2022, and features what might be the show's most perilous setting yet. The contestants must survive in the heart of the Nunatsiavut region of northern Labrador, which is nothing short of windy, wet, and full of snowy tundras. And if that wasn't tough enough, the area is also replete with black bears.

The season was mostly a success, though there are moments throughout where the producers lean too heavily on characters' sentimental backstories, when just watching them survive would have been enough on its own. Following its release, some fans also complained that the show had stopped being simply about good ol' traditional survival, and had become about gaming the reality TV "system." The prime example of this is one of the contestants, Juan Pablo, gaining sixty pounds prior to shooting so that he could ration his food and survive off of his body fat. But hey — don't hate the player, hate the game.

Season 1

Regardless of what you think of this season, it's always going to be fun to go back to where it all began. Premiering in 2015, Season 1 of "Alone" is a joy to watch in 2022, because it is an excellent showcase of just how far the series has some. Season 1 has a delightfully lo-fi, low-budget, DIY feeling which adds an undeniable sense of danger to it all. The shelters that the contestants build themselves are extremely bare-bones, and the whole premise feels like totally new, perilous territory. There was even a rumor floating around at the time that one of the contestants disappeared, never to be found, and that this was covered up by the producers.

Of course, this was never confirmed, and likely isn't true. Still, it's a testament to how risky "Alone" felt back then. Heck, one of the contestants, fan-favorite Alan Kay, lost a whopping total of sixty pounds in his time on the show. I'm no expert, but that doesn't sound like it's too good for you!

Season 2

What makes Season 2 of "Alone" so effective is that the contestants really feel like the best of the best when it comes to surviving in the wild. Contestant Mike Lowe, for example, who quickly became a fan favorite, had an impressive sense of ingenuity and resourcefulness, which he used to create a boat, a sink, and even a football game!

The season was lauded for its diverse mix of fascinating, charismatic characters. One contestant, David McIntyre, impressed viewers by being an elite outdoorsman who managed to gain weight near the end of the season — which is basically unheard of in "Alone" — and is especially impressive in this case, since McIntyre lost around 20 pounds during his first few weeks in the wilderness. Another character, Nicole Apelian, was another quick fan favorite because of her inspiring backstory, which includes being diagnosed with scoliosis in 2000 — an event that obviously didn't stop her from being a total badass.

Season 7

Season 7 of "Alone," titled "Alone: Million Dollar Challenge," comes to the table with a unique challenge. While the other seasons saw contestants seeing who could survive out in the wild for the longest, Season 7 gives participants one simple goal: survive for 100 days. This opened up the possibility for there to be multiple winners, or none at all.

Unsurprisingly, living out in the wild for 100 days is no easy feat, and that is one of the things that makes Season 7 a particularly thrilling fan favorite. Taking place on the shores of the Great Slave Lake in Northern Canada, contestants ran up against a number of unexpected and scary problems over the course of the season. One fell victim to severe frostbite. Another came down with a case of trichinosis, a parasitic disease that comes from consuming raw meat. Many others succumbed to severe starvation. The season also comes with gripping commentary from the contestants, in case you wanted to know all about what it's like to almost lose your toes.

Season 3

Season 3 of "Alone" remains a big hit among fans, and one of the main reasons for this is its beautiful and treacherous location: Argentina's mountainous Patagonia. The season sees the contestants being scattered across multiple lakes and mountains, where they are confronted with torrential rain, snowstorms, wild boar, pumas, and more.

Season 3 also has characters that are so complex and wonderful that it is sometimes easy to forget that the show is unscripted. Greg Ovens, for example, is such a natural in the woods, and seems like he's lived there his whole life and is one with nature. But on top of this, he is also goofy, clumsy, and effortlessly loveable (for those who have missed him since the show aired back in 2016, Greg now has his own hilarious and educational YouTube channel). Megan Hanacek, on the other hand, is at the opposite end of the survival coin: she is smart, calculated, and wildly resourceful. It's hard to watch the season and not root for a majority of the characters to snag the cash prize.

Season 6

As far as seasons of "Alone" go, this one is probably the most juicy. It has everything a viewer could ask for: pulse-raising encounters with big game, creative shelters, and high-quality footage. Audiences lauded the season for having a cast of characters that were fully prepared for what they were going to be faced with, and it's always a blast to watch people who are actually good at what they do.

The season is subtitled "The Arctic," though it isn't actually filmed in the Arctic, but rather the Great Slave Lake of Canada. Still, it might as well be set in the Arctic, as the Lake is a cold, barren wasteland, and the producers don't spare showing just how difficult it is to survive there. The cast looks hungry and afraid, and grueling events like animal attacks and dangerous, turbulent weather come so quickly that, at times, it feels like a high-budget survival blockbuster, not a reality TV show.