The Challenge What Season Should You Watch (WSSYW), crowd-sourced

From Jan 26 to Feb 9, 2022, I ran a WSSYW thread on reddit, to gather fans’ opinions on which are the best seasons (and spin-offs) of The Challenge for a new viewer to watch. It’s a combination of if the season is enjoyable and whether it’d be a good entry-point into the series. Users upvoted, downvoted, or left unvoted based on whether they’d recommend this season/spin-off to someone who just started watching.

  • Some of people’s favourite seasons — like Rivals 1 or Exes 2 — are even better if you know the history and relationships that develop in prior seasons — so they might not be the best first season for a new viewer.
  • Conversely, seasons that are not the absolute best but introduce multiple legendary competitors — such as Fresh Meat 1 or War of the Worlds 1 — might rank higher because of the significance of their rookie class.
  • Similarly, the start of seasons-long storylines and relationships also factor in to this ranking. While The Island is perennially bottom-barrel, it sets up several story arcs that are impactful and relevant for the next swath of seasons, like Kenny vs Wes, Johanna vs Wes, and Evelyn vs Paula. So it is important to watch, even if it’s not the most fun.

The original thread is here — which also includes links to each of the WSSYW Countdown posts, which serve as discussion threads for the seasons — but on this article, it has the same information (and then some) in a nicer format. The rankings and points were taken as at 11:24 am EST on Feb 10, 2022.

Enjoy 😉

What Season Should You Watch?

Top Tier

  1. Free Agents — 160 points based on upvotes/downvotes

2) Fresh Meat II — 149 points

3) Rivals (1) — 136 points

4) War of the Worlds (1) — 129 points

5) Cutthroat — 128 points

6) Fresh Meat (1) — 123 points

7) Rivals II — 117 points

8) The Duel (1) — 100 points

High Tier

9) War of the Worlds 2 — 95 points

10) Battle of the Exes II — 91 points

11) The Duel II — 74 points

12) The Inferno II — 70 points

13) XXX Dirty 30 — 67 points

14) Battle of the Exes (1) — 66 points

15) Invasion of the Champions — 65 points

16) All Stars (1) — 62 points

17) The Gauntlet 2 — 59 points

Mid Tier

18) The Inferno (1) — 57 points

19) All Stars (2) — 45 points

20) The Gauntlet III — 41 points

21) The Gauntlet (1) — 39 points

22) The Ruins — 37 points

23) Battle of the Sexes (1) — 35 points

24) Vendettas — 32 points

25) Rivals III — 31 points

26) Battle of the Seasons (1) — 24 points

Low Tier

27) Battle of the Seasons (2) — 23 points

28) The Inferno 3 — 21 points

29) Final Reckoning — 18 points

30) Real World/Road Rules Challenge — 16 points

31) Battle of the Sexes 2 — 13 points

32) The Island — 11 points

33) Champs vs Stars (1) — 10 points

34) Champs vs Stars (2) — 8 points

35) Double Agents — 8 points

Bottom Tier

36) Challenge 2000 — 8 points

37) Champs vs Pros — 6 points

38) Extreme Challenge — 5 points

39) Road Rules All Stars — 3 points

40) Battle of the Bloodlines — minus 1 point

41) Total Madness — minus 3 points

42) Spring Break Challenge — minus 6 points

43) Spies, Lies & Allies — minus 11 points

.

A Superfan’s Perspective

SLA as the worst ever is TOTAL recency bias. Same with Total Madness as third worst. Like them or not, the TM rookies have made a big impact on the game — Fessy and Kaycee foremost, but also Jay and Bayleigh. SLA introduced a surfeit of exciting and strong new players that will likely cause some damage in the future — such as Kelz, Emy, Ed, Michaela, Corey L, and Michele. Double Agents is also too low here.

Also, these seasons are MUCH more indicative of how The Challenge is in 2022, and therefore have no business being below the first four seasons (which didn’t have any eliminations) or poorly received spin-offs (CvS1 and SBC). In fact, the worst of the Champs vs spin-offs somehow rated the highest here — confusing.

The Top Tier is pretty spot-on, though. Both Fresh Meats and WotW1 are excellent entry-points into the show, since more than half of their cast are on their first appearance. Free Agents, Cutthroat, and The Duel are straightforward formats that are still wild and unpredictable. And then everyone loves (the first two) Rivals seasons — even if they are better once you understand why these people are paired together.

Finally, Inferno 1 and Battle of the Sexes 1 are too low, and Duel 2 and Exes 1 too high, because two of those are chalky and unexciting whereas the other two are total livewires.

🖤

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NovaRogue

I write about MTV’s The Challenge, with a queer / social justice / critical analysis bent. #UnspoiledGang