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6 Shows like Survivor: Island Survival

Adam Pothitos itcherPitting people against each other is a great TV formula which worked great for TV shows like ‘Survivor’. Of course, there are plenty of other shows like ‘Pirate Master’, ‘The Big Adventure’ and even ‘Redneck Island’ that follow a very similar premise but add their own twists to keep things entertaining. ~ Adam Pothitos

Hoping for Survival

When ‘Survivor’ was at the height of its popularity, everyone talked about the show. It provided a great mix of reality, drama, and comedy while the diversity of its cast meant that every person found a contestant to love and hate.

To this day, TV series like ‘Survivor’ remain some of television’s most entertaining offerings, even though some are better than others.


Shows Similar to ‘Survivor’…

‘Expedition Robinson’ (Various, 1997- )

Though most people have associated ‘Survivor’ as the first island-based reality show, ‘Expedition Robinson’ was actually the first of its kind.

Back in 1997, the very idea of this program was exciting and new as we witnessed an unscripted reality show that placed contestants in a survival scenario. The suicide of the first contestant to be voted off the island led to a controversy over the morality of such shows, though their popularity obviously grew.

By today’s standards, ‘Expedition Robison’ is a pretty tame program. Even the contestants were tamer as there were fewer backstabs and in-group fights. As for the challenges, they were physically demanding but not as creative or weird as the ones you’ll see in modern shows.

Of course, the show is still worth a look because it’s the very first ‘Survivor’ ever made.

Similarity Match: 95%
‘Expedition Robinson’ will let you take a peek into a more innocent era of reality television with contestants who’d probably be eaten alive in modern iterations.

‘Pirate Master’ (CBS, 2007)

Despite the fact that ‘Pirate Master’ failed to find an audience, it was still a memorable show that added a unique element to ‘Survivor’ look-alikes. Everything about this show was pirate-themed, from the ship where the contestants lived to the very clothes they wore.

Aside from the unique theme, ‘Pirate Master’ also featured some compelling challenges and game twists. For instance, the contestants were ruled by a Captain who could be replaced either by losing in the next game or through a mutiny.

Still, not everyone enjoyed the show’s format, as you can probably tell by its limited run.

Similarity Match: 90%
‘Pirate Master’ is basically ‘Survivor’ on a boat as it includes everything from backstabbing contestants to insane game challenges.

‘The Big Adventure’ (Seven Network, 2014)

‘The Big Adventure’ may have been a very entertaining show, but it’s probably best known for its crazy prize of $1 million, particularly because no one seemed to watch it at the time.

The show pitted twelve people against each other, who would complete challenges in order to gain keys. Those keys could, in turn, be used to unlock chests, one of which contained the grand prize.

The reasons why this show failed have little to do with its quality. The setting was fantastic, the challenges were innovative, and all of the contestants were lovely in their own right. It was also a very exciting adventure right to the very end, something that not a lot of shows can say.

Similarity Match: 85%
Whether ‘The Big Adventure’ lives up to its name or not is up for debate, yet the show was an undeniably ambitious project that shouldn’t be missed.

‘Redneck Island’ (CMT, 2012- )

There are so many ways that this show could have failed that I’m honestly surprised it’s stayed on air for so long. As its title subtly suggests, ‘Redneck Island’ is a ‘Survivor’-like show where stereotypical “rednecks” compete with each other for money and glory. Though the show takes place on a lake house from the fourth season onwards, the first few seasons do take place on an island.

‘Redneck Island’ is like a rollercoaster of emotions. Over the course of a single episode you’ll probably laugh your heart out, get deeply offended, and cry tears of sadness and joy.

Aside from the fact that this show features some very entertaining contestants, the challenges are also a joy to behold.

Similarity Match: 80%
If ‘Survivor’ was entirely populated by alcohol-loving Americans who love to party, it’d probably look a lot like ‘Redneck Island’.

‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ (Channel 4, 2014- )

Unlike every single other show on this list, ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ is not really about competition as there are no grand prizes to win here. Instead, this show aimed to see whether or not men (and later, women) of today’s world can survive without the luxuries of modern life.

The show’s participants were dropped with some basic supplies on an island that contained everything they needed. Some basic lessons were also given by Grylls but mostly so that the participants wouldn’t disrupt the local ecosystem.

Because of its unique status as a survival-reality hybrid, the show is incredibly exciting.

Similarity Match: 75%
‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ is like ‘Survivor’ without the prize, but with an equal amount of drama and far harsher challenges.


If You Like ‘Survivor’, You Will Like…

Throughout its run, we’ve seen a lot of different people, places, and challenges in ‘Survivor’. After all, it’s that diversity that keep things interesting.

Bringing people of various backgrounds together results in pure entertainment and, more often than not, a whole lot of drama.

‘Total Drama Island’ (Teletoon, 2007-2008)

The first season of the standalone ‘Total Drama’ series was basically a 28-episode satire of ‘Survivor’. With conventions like the “Dock of Shame” and “Boat of Losers”, fans of the reality series will laugh their hearts out.

Though ‘Total Drama Island’ stands fine on its own, it gets even better after watching a few episodes of ‘Survivor’.

‘Total Drama Island’ says all the things you were too embarrassed to say about ‘Survivor’ in a highly entertaining cartoon form.


Prizes and Glory

Though each of the contestants in ‘Survivor’ went on the show for their own reasons, the ultimate goal was the sweet smell of success. After all, who wouldn’t want to win after spending so much time and effort in an island away from civilization?

Watched any other series similar to ‘Survivor’ lately?

Then share them with us in the comments!

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