Another season of Big Brother is shortly upon us as 14 (as of now, there might be more) houseguests compete to be the last person standing in the BB House and win the grand prize of $500,000 dollars. The show, which started in the year 2000, has captivated audiences nationwide and has grown in size each year with it being a great summer staple for audiences to tune in on. The backstabbing, strategizing, twists and so much more have made Big Brother one of the best reality shows in the history of television and that is why it has stood the test of time in a myriad of shows that have fallen below its wayside.
With sixteen seasons now under its belt, and millions of fans who have watched from the beginning or just came on board last summer, the show has driven in tons of comments and opinions on who played the best and what seasons were the best. Manhattan Digest answered the former part of that question last year with our Top 10 Players Of All Time (boy the responses to that were colorful) and now we are following up with a ranking of the worst to best seasons of Big Brother in our own eyes. What seasons did we think sucked major balls and which ones kept us glued to our television screens all summer long? Take a look at our rankings and let us know what you think.
16. Big Brother 9
The season that really only existed because of the writers strike that was going on that particular year. And boy, do I wish it didn’t. This season looked like a bunch of rejects from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette who were all just deplorable human beings and not one of them developed a cohesive strategy to win the title. Let’s not forget about the actual winner, Adam, who used part of his winnings to fund a drug ring and went to jail for it, and Joshuah who made a disgusting and cruel joke to a fellow houseguest about her father’s suicide. There is a way to enjoy the villains in this game but more on a “love to hate” level. This group was just plain disgusting and was a joke to what this show really is about.
15. Big Brother 1
Yes, it started it all, however the concept of Big Brother 1 is completely different from what the show is now, or even what it became after its first year. The first BB was completely controlled by the American audience who voted out the houseguests each week. Here is the problem- they kept all the nice and sweet people and got rid of all the troublemakers which really doesn’t do well for a show like this. It is precisely the reason why the format was completely changed the next season to avoid this happening again. Not saying it didn’t have a satisfying winner in Eddie and memorable houseguests like Chicken George, but it lacked a lot of the pizzazz that the show later on became so known for.
14. Big Brother 15
Yes, this season was entertaining however it was entertaining for all the wrong reasons. It made national headlines for its blatant racism from houseguests Aaryn and GinaMarie and despicable language from Spencer as well. A lot of people were tuning in not to really root for anyone but to see the hot mess that this season became. Lets not forget how insane Amanda got in the house and her amazing edit throughout the season that finally came to a head right before she was evicted. Andy was not really the best of winners as he sort of just got himself there by going from alliance to alliance, however this season kind of became like a car crash- you didn’t want to watch however you couldn’t take your eyes away. Highlight of the season- Aaryn’s eviction. Julie Chen’s professional reading. Audience reaction. Everything.
13. Big Brother 12
This season’s twist was over in week one as the “Sabateur” was figured out and evicted quickly. Wow. Yes this season did introduce us to the world famous Brenchel, and the hysterical Brittany, however once the former was evicted out of the house the power pretty much remained with “The Brigade” (Lane, Hayden, Enzo, Matt) and never switched out of it. That made for a boring end of the season and a predictable but likable winner in Hayden. Meh.
12. Big Brother 5
This season had quite a unique twist in the game of “DNA: Do Not Assume” where it was revealed that two of the houseguests were actually related (Cowboy, Nakomis) and that a pair of twins were playing the game all along as one person until their part of the twist was revealed (Adria, Natalie). Those dried out pretty quickly though and even though the show had a great final four, it would’ve been a much more satisfying final two if it had been the two ladies (Diane, Nakomis) rather than the two men (Cowboy, Drew). Drew won the title that season and perfected that floater strategy while never really being a huge threat to be evicted. Once again, meh.
11. Big Brother 13
I mimic this season to be like when Survivor did Fans vs. Favorites, in that six favorites (Jeff/Jordan, Brendan/Rachel, Dick/Danielle) came back to compete with eight newbies. The problem with this season is that it became just like the Survivor season called “Redemption Island” where they pretty much handed Boston Rob the check after playing three times before that. This season was tailor made to have BB12’s Rachel win, and the audience was quite aware of that throughout. Granted, it was the first time where a good portion of the viewing audience warmed up to Rachel as she played the latter part of the game without Brendan for the first time, which made her a much better gamer, however it just seemed a bit obvious what was going on and therefore gets this a low ranking.
10. Big Brother 11
This season really had some awesome standout moments, such as Jeff using the Coup’d’etat to get rid of Jessie, Chima’s insane meltdown which led to her expulsion, and the great lie set up by Kevin and Natalie to get them further into the game. What really made this season shine though was seeing someone truly likable in Jordan make it past two strong competitors in Natalie and Kevin and win in the end. It really was the first time in the game you saw good (Jordan) triumph over evil (Natalie) and it left you feeling very satisfied for the first time in a long time on that show.
9. Big Brother 7- All Stars
Big Brother All Stars was quite the anticipated season in the summer of 2006 as many fans couldn’t wait to see the best of the best compete one more time for the half million dollar prize. The show eventually became Season 6 vs. Chilltown vs. everyone else which resulted in one of each making it to the final 3. Will proved for a second time around what a genius he is in this game, and Janelle proved once again what a force she is when it comes to the competitions. Had those two been swapped in as the final two over Mike and Erika, I would’ve put this higher on my list. Because that would’ve been one hell of a finale to see who would win between two of the best competitors to ever exist on this on this show. Instead, we had Mike Boogie win, which isn’t so bad based on the game that he played but at the same time wasn’t as satisfying as the other two.
8- Big Brother 4
I think this was the first season where you really saw ruthless players shown in the frontline and not just chatting in the diary room. Big Brother 4 gave us what might be their best twist to date, when five of the original eight houseguests had to spend the summer with an ex of theirs. Some used it to their advantage, whereas others crumbled early on. This was the first season where you saw a true floater Jun perfect that strategy and really ride it to the end and win. You also saw, for the first time, a dominant female competitor in Alison who was hated by most of the jury but was unable to get evicted due to her amount of competitive wins and sticking by Jun until the end. I still think Jun is very underrated in terms of how she played this game, but for me this season was satisfying in its win and its strategy from day one.
7. Big Brother 16
I only ranked this season high due to it having one of the best winners in Big Brother history- Derrick. Although the show had quite the oddball characters in Frankie, Zach and Caleb to keep you entertained throughout the summer, it was Derrick’s gameplay that really kept you glued to your screen. He made it 3 months in the house never being nominated ONCE, and this was a season where you could’ve been nominated each week in many different facets. One of the most satisfying winners the show has ever seen, Derrick ranks up there with the likes of Dan and Will as one of the most savviest players to ever play the game. Well done bud.
6- Big Brother 8
It is hard to follow up an All Stars season with something of the same caliber, but it seems CBS did that in the form of “Evil Dick” Donato. Dick made the show that summer with his insane antics on the other houseguests and made their lives a living hell throughout the entire summer yet still winning in the end against his own daughter Danielle, who many didn’t vote for on the account that that felt she rode her father’s coattails throughout. Love him or hate him, he made for good TV, as well as other houseguests such as Whamber aka Amber and Erik, the all around good guy who had the advantage and disadvantage of being “America’s Player” AKA America controlled what he did in the house. Such a great and memorable season for the records.
5- Big Brother 14
Big Brother 14 saw four houseguests return in the form of coaches (Brittany from BB12, Janelle from BB6 and 7, Mike Boogie from BB2 and 7 and Dan from BB10) who eventually turned in their coaches uniforms and played with the rest of the group as contestants. There were two people who really made this season as great as it was and that was the lightning bolt in Dan and the little engine that could in Ian. Dan manipulated the shit out of everyone in that game, the same way he did in his original season, and made it to the end with so much blood on his hands that it made it impossible for him to win with such a bitter jury to deal with. Normally this would annoy me as then the person who wins is the one who just got there and didn’t make any enemies, however Ian played a phenomenal game by masterminding getting Mike Boogie out of the game as well as his compadre in Frank, then zooming towards the end of the game and taking down Dan for the win. Also, Dan’s funeral in the game goes down as one of the best moments this show has ever seen. Sheer brilliance.
4. Big Brother 6
Big Brother 6 introduced us to Janelle Pierzina, who in one short summer became one of the most memorable houseguests to ever play the game. This summer had a twist where everyone came into the game with a loved one or someone they knew outside of the house. When Janelle lost her partner in week one, and being an outsider from the most hated alliance in Big Brother History (The Friendship), the odds were truly against her. However, Janelle blasted through the game with competition wins, turning the other side against each other and making it all the way to the final three only to be stopped by Ivette’s stupidity. Other great houseguests that season were Veto king James, hilarious goofball Howie, and the beloved Kaysar. This is truly the best season when it comes to good vs. evil and set the stage for how badass the show got in its later years.
3. Big Brother 10
Big Brother 10 started off really like any other season did. A little saddening in the beginning of it with not so memorable players being evicted each week. Something that was forming week to week was Dan’s incredible strategy and his way of playing each houseguest to never view him as the aggressor and watching them take each other out while he still looked like the good guy in the end. He won the game with every vote going towards him over his Robin in Memphis, and played a brilliant strategy throughout which puts him up there as the best player of all time with Will Kirby. Other memorable houseguests was the conniving Jerry, who originally looked like the friendly old guy who later turned into Mr. Grinch in many different ways, and Renny who exemplified similar traits with a southern twang to it. Such an amazing season.
2- Big Brother 3
To understand why the sequester/jury house exists you have to go all the way back to 2002 and see why it happened in the first place. Big Brother 3 was truly an incredible season with a great and diverse cast that made it one of their most watched seasons to date. What made this season great though was the duo of Jason and Danielle, who took down every single alliance in the game and made it all the way to the final three never being nominated once. The only problem that they dealt with was the eventual winner in Lisa, who won against Danielle due to the other houseguests seeing what she said about all of them in her diary room confessions throughout the summer. BB2 and BB3 had all the houseguests go home when they were evicted, so they were privy to all the information going on in the game which made Danielle winning that much harder for herself. She really played a perfect game and to this day is considered to be the best player to never win Big Brother. Also, you have the best moment in Big Brother history when Marcellas doesn’t take himself off the block after winning veto only to be evicted minutes later. Incredible.
1- Big Brother 2
This is a no brainer for me. This season started this whole thing off with a bang. In this particular season, there was no power of veto. Once you were on the block, that was it. You had Justin getting himself expelled for his knife usage on fellow houseguest Krista that made him the first houseguest to ever be ejected from the game. You had the incredible toothbrush incident that Shannon did to Hardy that was just fun and creepy to watch. You had Nicole go from being public enemy number one in week one to working her way all the way to the final 2. And then you have Will Kirby, who absolutely perfected the strategy of “take me to the end because everyone hates me and I won’t get vote.” Except he did, and he won. Will to this day is still viewed as the best to has ever played, and that is arguably so. If there is one season to watch, regardless of how dated it is, this is the one to do so.
What are your thoughts on this list? What would you change, and what would you keep the same? Did you also know about the Big Brother 17 premiere party happening in Hoboken and Jersey City this week? Check out this link to learn more on how you can attend. Best of luck to the BB17 players and another great summer!