Two seasons of CBS’s groundbreaking reality competition Survivor are on Netflix, the first time they’ve been available on the streaming platform.
Also today, Netflix added two other seasons of a ViacomCBS-owned reality show: America’s Next Top Model seasons 19 and 20.
Survivor has already been available to stream lots of places:
- all 40 seasons are on CBS All Access
- Amazon has seasons 1, 3, and 12 to 28 for Prime members
- Hulu has 34 seasons, though some episodes are missing, weirdly
- In September, the ViacomCBS-owned free streaming service Pluto TV added dedicated channels for Survivor and Amazing Race, but just cycles through a few seasons on each channel.
But Netflix is still the biggest streaming service, so it’s a big deal for the iconic reality competition to show up there. As of today, there are now two—and only two—seasons of Survivor on Netflix:
- Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, season 20, which I’d argue is the last truly great season of Survivor, and perhaps the best use of returning players ever.
- Survivor: Cagayan, season 28, also known as “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty, a really strong season that introduced us to Tony Vlachos, who we got even more of earlier this year.
Both seasons are available just to Netflix subscribers in the United States, not in Canada, alas.
Both seasons will ask if you want to “Skip Intro,” because Netflix’s design doesn’t understand what an absolute gift it is to hear Survivor’s incredible theme song and see all the players in slow motion at the beginning of every episode.
Why just those two seasons—and just two seasons? Neither season is exclusive to Netflix: Amazon has the same two, and so, of course, does CBS’s own streaming service.
Netflix doesn’t make its mysterious ways public, but I’d bet it’s essentially a test, to see how well the shows do. If people watch them, they might license more.
Netflix does have to pay to license the seasons, and while it does license a lot of reality shows, like Alone and Forged in Fire, Netflix has generally been moving away from this model: producing their own original content instead of licensing it from other people. It hasn’t had a massive amount of success with competition reality TV, though they have had some strong hits, like The Circle, Nailed It!, and Floor is Lava. And now, they have the show that kicked off this two-decade wave of reality TV.
Recommended for you: Survivor Cagayan recaps and behind-the-scenes stories