'"Big Brother" is a summer reality TV mainstay that for the past 16 years has become TV's ultimate guilty pleasure. At its best, it's a fascinating game of strategy, psychology and social interaction. At its worst, it's a vile display of terrible behavior from 20 and 30 somethings who forget that they are being filmed 24/7, coupled with obnoxious editing and rehearsed confessional interviews.
17. Season 9:This season slapped together by CBS in the wake of the 2008 writers' strike, and it showed. It featured an unlikable cast, a forgettable game, and a winner (Adam Jasinski) who later got arrested for using his winnings to fund a drug dealing scheme.
16. Season 15: The season that earned "Big Brother" mainstream headlines for all the wrong reasons. The majority of the cast engaged in disgusting, often racist bullying that led CBS to start each episode with a disclaimer. The rock bottom hit when the show's two black contestants sat in the corner of the house talking about how they were at a loss with how to deal with the abuse.
15. Season 1:A boring season no one will admit to watching. The show's rules were completely different, allowing for viewers to decide who got eliminated each week. None of the strategy that made the show so appealing later on was there, leaving only a milquetoast cast sitting around doing nothing.
14. Season 8:How much you enjoyed this intensely polarizing season depends on how much you enjoyed watching Dick Donato harass and torment his equally detestable competitors en route to a victory. Some fans see him as one of the best winners ever, while others believe the season's "America's Player" twist allowed viewers to bail out Dick from getting the boot.
13. Season 16:
Undercover cop Derrick Levasseur completely dominated this season, using his intelligence and charm to become the first winner to never get nominated for eviction. Of course, it didn't hurt that he was in a house with complete nitwits, along with a "Battle of the Block" twist that allowed for Derrick's alliance to steamroll over rivals with barely any challenge to their reign. This season is also infamous for featuring Ariana Grande
's obnoxious brother, Frankie.
12. Season 12:A largely dull season in which frat-bro alliance "The Brigade" coasted to a victory while the rest of the house was occupied trying to get rid of Brendon and Rachel, the showmance alliance fans loved to hate. On the other hand, there was Britney Haynes, a hilarious contestant whose natural charisma in the Diary Room stood out as the show began asking its contestants to ham up it with dumb jokes.
11. Season 13:The 2011 season pitted eight new houseguests against six returning players. The newbies were too starstruck to make any kind of meaningful stand against the veterans, but even if they did, the producers' blatant rigging in the veterans' favor through convenient twists killed any chance of strategy being built organically.
10. Season 11:
A season known for having constant fights and a contestant who was kicked off the show after she tossed a microphone into the pool. Its most notable contestants were Jeff Schroeder
and Jordan Lloyd, who became a popular showmance. Jordan went on to win, while the show brought Jeff back to interview evicted contestants in future seasons.
9. Season 5:
Here's where the show starts to get good. BB5 introduced a twist where a pair of twins had to regularly swap places in the house and pretend they were one person, while another pair of contestants discovered on the show they were half-siblings. There was plenty of great strategy to be found, including the invention of the "backdoor" strategy
, but the season ended with a final two that largely coasted off the work done by smarter players.
8. Season 4: This season had a twist where most of the contestants had an ex in the house with them, resulting in plenty of awkward moments but lots of excellent strategy and social maneuvering. Some exes became enemies, while other became allies. In the end, the season was conquered by the ruthless alliance of Jun, Erika and Allison, a trio of mean but brilliant women who were able to work together to manipulate others despite hating each other.
7. Season 14:The first half of BB14 was garbage, punctuated by a twist that allowed past players to enter as "coaches" for the newbies before allowing them to compete for themselves three weeks in. The second half however, was a battle of wits featuring competition ace Frank Eudy, returning winner Dan Gheesling at his most cutthroat, and eventual winner Ian Terry, a "Big Brother" superfan who won key competitions to beat out two former winners and claim victory.
In 2006, "Big Brother" brought back the best and most entertaining players from its first six seasons to play the game
again. And by "play the game
again," we mean get made to look like fools by Dr. Will Kirby and Mike "Boogie" Malin, a.k.a. Chill Town. Mike Boogie won the season after spending the summer making "Chill Town Phone Calls" with Will in the Diary Room making fun of the other players' obliviousness to their schemes.
5. Season 2:This is the season that made "Big Brother" a hit series, and it is nothing like the "Big Brother" of today. Players sound like normal human beings in the diary room and the show isn't edited to within an inch of its life. It was here that Dr. Will became the standard by which all other "Big Brother" players are held to, proving he could be a sneaky manipulator while being charming and entertaining.
4. Season 17:Last year's game was an absolute madhouse. The entire cast came ready to play hard, with deals and strategy sessions continuing until 4 a.m. Alliances were made and broken in a matter of hours. Players fell in and out of power on a regular basis, and it was near-impossible to predict what would happen next. When the smoke cleared, the victory went to Steve Moses, an unassuming band geek who survived the chaos by hiding behind bigger threats before winning competitions to get to the end.
3. Season 6:2005's season was a war between some of the most beloved and hated contestants ever. The most popular of them all was Janelle Pierzina, a sassy blonde who dominated competitions and eliminated her enemies with a wink and a grin. Unfortunately, she ended up losing to Maggie Ausburn, a humorless scold who commanded her infamous Friendship alliance to the end by rallying them together over their shared hatred of Janelle.
2. Season 10: "Big Brother" is a show where the biggest players are often prone to flying off the chain. But season 10 proved that cooler heads can prevail. While the rest of the cast squabbled, the Renegades alliance of Dan Gheesling and Memphis Garrett used psychology and some well-timed deals to weave through the social minefield. Dan won by a unanimous vote at the end, securing his status as one of all-time great "Big Brother" masterminds.
1. Season 3:
Though Lisa Donahue was a disappointing winner, season 3 is still the perfect mix of ingredients for entertaining reality TV that other "Big Brother" seasons haven't matched. The cast was a mix of likable oddballs, intelligent gamers, and love-to-hate villains, all of whom weren't afraid to play the game
. The best of the bunch were Danielle Reyes and Jason Guy, a duo that kept their alliance secret all the way through and almost pulled out the big win. Also in the cast was Marcellas Reynolds, who infamously chose not to use the Power of Veto to save himself from eviction, only to walk out the door minutes later.