The Amazing Race Season Rankings
After each time I finish blogging all of the episodes for a season in the TAR timeline, I rank the season as a whole in comparison to the other seasons that I have blogged to date. I have been doing this ever since I finished blogging The Amazing Race 2.
Because I have blogged so many seasons, this truly deserves its own page.
As of December 2017, I have blogged twenty-three seasons of TAR over the past six years. Expect my ranking of TAR 19 to be added by the end of February (hopefully).
1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
“After a year off the air, and TAR comes back with its most epic race course ever. Producers put all of their chips on the table like UFC owners did with The Ultimate Fighter 1, and the payoff was enormous.
We had TAR 6 and 7 green-lighted, produced, and aired less than ten months after TAR 5 did. Everyone and their mother was talking about what was going on in TAR 5 throughout the summer.
The two teams you wanted out the most were gone in the first two episodes. The second team did so by repeating Amanda & Chris’ feat from TAR 4.
The most format changes until TAR 12 would take place for this season as producers wanted to give viewers a new feel to the series. Not the least of which was the beginning of the Yield which began the tradition of allowing one team to flip off another team and shove them into the dirt for a pre-determined amount of time. What was even better is that the Yield was offered -every- round. Unlike today where U-Turns only appear twice or thrice per season.
Colin & Christie, Chip & Kim, and Charla & Mirna are three of the ten biggest characters in TAR history. We were amazed to see them all be cast for the same freakin’ season. Because they all made it at least halfway through the game, there was never a dull moment.
Include a supporting cast of Marshall & Lance, Bob & Joyce, Jim & Marsha, Bowling Moms, and the antics of twins Kamkar made for a top of the line cast.
It is a crime that neither Colin & Christie nor Chip & Kim have been brought back. Colin & Christie did not compete in TAR 11 because Christie was pregnant.
So was she pregnant during TAR 18 and TAR 24 too? Where was Charla & Mirna’s invite for TAR 24? Where are Chip & Kim’s invites, too?
These three teams made headlines all season long to the point that Charla & Mirna were incorporated into numerous TV sketch parodies for the following year. They were the face of TAR for season five, and returned to be the faces for TAR 11. Again, how did the Globetrotters, Cowboys, and Margie & Luke play three times instead of them?
Oh, the route? Incredible. It holds a permanent record of being the best route of any TAR season. Argentina to Russia to Egypt to Tanzania to Dubai to India to New Zealand sends chills down my spine.
I mean, they went to freakin Egypt. Can we just give it a nine for that alone?
So why is it not a ten? They eliminated my favourite twist known as the weekly Fast Forward starting with this season, Brandon & Nicole survived for nine rounds too long, Colin didn’t actually get thrown in jail for the night in Tanzania, and Kamkar didn’t fall off the map for their stupidity.
Caviar, chocolate, and eggs also makes for too many Roadblocks involving local delicacies.
P.S. A TAR book was named after a Colin quote from this season. How is this not number one?
EDIT: My Ox is Broken returned in the tenth round of TAR 25.
2. The Amazing Race 12 – 9.0/10
You want to fix the worst problems with TAR, but have your first new cast after All Stars be a bunch of people from California? This season could have gone down as a failure.
But it worked against all pre-game logic. Cutting down on non-eliminations, experimentation with U-Turns and Speed Bumps, new players, fewer rounds of play, shorter rounds, and eccentric old people made for a really fun season of television. This was the most popular season of TAR in terms of US ratings.
Annoying and useless teams went home first, but the villains rightfully went home in the penultimate round.
Sprinkle in a couple of stars along the way, and you have a very feel-good season. Feel-good television typically does not apply to fierce competitions like TAR and Survivor. But really, it is very relaxing. It is the ideal season for a re-watch.
The final Roadblock task is considered the best final task ever done in TAR history. A difficult brain teaser combined with remembering what happened on the race is all that is needed to satisfy viewers.
Sure, you may find the winners likeable but boring, but look at the winners we have on the horizon until TAR 16’s amazing upset.
I love that players approaching seventy years old can find success in TAR, and not be super entitled about it. I love that some racers have their personalities change throughout the course of the season. I love that a sibling team you thought would win every round would instead get eliminated halfway through in a big upset.
Along with TAR 5 and TAR 9, it was responsible for helping the series recover and gain its primetime hold. There may not be any -huge- moments, but just a fun race course that will make you laugh, smile, and sit back along the way.”
3. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
Wedged between TAR 6 and TAR 8: Family Edition, TAR 7 really needed to deliver.
The stakes of the non-elimination penalties were raised, and production intentionally set up intense foot races to avoid being last at the mat.
Villains were known even before the game began as Rob & Amber came off their boring stint on Survivor: All Stars to potentially corrupt TAR.
They annoyed most of us with exploiting Danny & Oswald’s Fern strategy by combining it with their temporary celebrity status. They were essentially the precursor to the Harlem Globetrotters Strategy except Romber were a bit better when working on their own compared to the Globetrotters.
Ray’s rivalry with the elderly, the Mendoza Meat Roadblock, The Legend of Brian & Greg, the car crash, head shaving and other over-the-top India adventures, and old people falling in underground caves contributed to a memorable season.
But it was all topped by the season finale. Uchenna & Joyce had nothing in the middle of a third world country after coming last in the shortest leg in TAR’s seven season history. They begged and begged and begged for resources until they had enough to get out of the country. Somehow they make up a 200 hour time deficit and get on the same flight as Romber to Miami.
Uchenna & Joyce miraculously build up one of their rare leads when it mattered most-the final destination city before realizing they could not pay their cab at the finish line. What ensued was one of the craziest scrambles ever as viewers were ready to torch CBS Studios if Romber would casually stroll by a frantic Uchenna & Joyce to win the game.
A great finish truly makes a worldly difference in competitions. TAR 7 is no exception.”
4. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
“Ah, the beginning of my obsession with Survivor, TAR, and The Mole. Survivor Thailand, The Mole 2, and here we have TAR 3 all airing close to simultaneously.
It has been close to three years since I last watched this season, but before that I watched it at least once per year. The only reason why it is not number one is because it had too many equalizers, and I have yet to decide whether I love or hated that the ending to the season trolled me.
Epic Flat Tires.
Tramel & Talicia’s lone celebration.
The fall of Heather & Eve.
The fall of Gerard on a punt.
A cop is placed under arrest.
Michael “213” & Kathy.
The heroics of John Vito & Jill.
The emotional and racing turnaround of Ian & Teri.
Just two of these elements in any season would be great. But here in TAR 3 we were spoiled as all of these went down in the span of thirteen rounds.
I will forever remember being in the sixth grade and having my classmates and teacher watch Heather & Eve’s humiliation for all of us to re-watch. I still have a copy of the tape I specifically brought to class that day.”
5. The Amazing Race 17 – 8.65/10
If producers of ageing competitive reality shows need to know what it takes to make a strong season after being on the air for a decade and having done so many seasons before, this is the quality you are still capable of reaching.
When I was in high school, a mark of 86% or higher was considered an ‘A’. I think TAR 17 is worthy of this grade.
The only reason I put this above TAR 9 is because while Eric & Jeremy vs. BJ & Tyler may be one of my favourite rivalries with an overall fantastic conclusion as the hippies take the prize, TAR 17 had a bit more depth to its cast.
Brook & Claire, Nat & Kat, Nick & Vicki, Chad & Stephanie, and Gary & Mallory with a couple of other teams in the supporting role makes for an insane cast to have squished into one season.
With only one team going on record to return to play again, this makes TAR 17 an overall hidden gem of the series. There is so much more to it than just being “the first time an American all-female team won”.
Visits to Ghana, the Arctic Circle, Bangladesh, and a hilarious round in Hong Kong made for the best route designed since TAR 12. Seriously, TAR 14-16 had the least inspired race courses, and TAR 17 decided not to fall into a rut.
Watermelons to the face, car slices to the eye, apples being bitten, shoes being smelled, testicles being crushed, butts falling on ice, and YouTubers having dreams crushed all made for a hilarious season.
There was also a high level of penalties this season which is unusual for TAR US. Heck, it is in that mid-range of penalties with TAR Canada 3.
So why does this season not get ranked any higher regardless of a great cast, worthy all-female teams, and a wonderful route?
Well, there is a couple of mistakes producers make.
a) The start of the modern day Express Pass. It was irrelevant in TAR 17, and am happy people like Hamilton & Michaelia are saying it is also irrelevant now.
b) The first leg in St. Petersburg was such a mess for producers to the point they intentionally equalized everybody in the following round, and erased Nick & Vicki’s Speed Bump. That is sloppy for TAR standards.
c) The last couple of legs were not exciting, and Los Angeles is a lousy place to finish a season.
Overall, this is the last truly great season TAR US will produce for a long time, and thank god we had something to break the awful trend of seasons between TAR 14-16. Ratings were at its lowest point after TAR 16, and TAR 17 is exactly what was needed for the series to be recognized as a mainstream hit. The praise for TAR 17 will be so strong that the audience will continue to follow the series until producers lose their trust with TAR 24.
It is amazing to think out of all twenty-six US seasons that this is the season I followed the least during its original airing. Oh well. That’s what happens when TAR 14 and the premiere of TAR 15 temporarily killed my spirit.
6. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
“Perhaps the most unexpected pre-All Star season to do well. Coming off of Family Edition which pushed the show to 10:00pm timeslot and inevitable death, TAR was close to being written off.
Much like TAR 5 and TAR 12, TAR 9 is right up there for saving the series. Greece, Sicily, Moscow, Oman, and Tokyo all delivered with their respective debuts. This season was really the story of two teams having one epic season long showdown. Sure, Fran & Barry, Lake & Michelle, and Ray & Janet Jackson were decent supporting characters, but Eric & Doug Roobaker versus BJ & Tyler is what we all remember.
Not John & Scott, and MoJo, surprisingly.
BJ & Tyler are pretty much the Tom Westman of TAR. Ninety percent of all viewers absolutely loved them, and everyone always says ‘my favourite season? That one with the hippies’.
Editors embraced the 10:00pm timeslot as this season had some of the most mature content ever released, but also happened to be a season long comedy show. Fran & Barry’s missed clues, Lake’s yelling, 24th greatest team of all-time Lisa & Joni’s run (with full bladders nonetheless), Dani & Danielle not knowing they were terrible, Dave & Lori’s adorable nerdiness, and locals enjoying their interactions with teams.
Shockingly, Mugged for Elimination would end with this season despite it being the most entertaining Mugged for Eliminations ever where BJ truly had no clothes. It is parallel to Exile Island ending immediately after Coach went there in Survivor: Tocantins. Exile Island could not top Coach’s presence just like how Mugged for Elimination could not be topped by BJ just trying to find some freakin’ pants.
EDIT: San Juan Del Sur brought back Exile Island a few months ago. Sorry Coach.
This features the second most exciting finish in TAR history. Eric & Jeremy are ahead at the final task. All you have to do is match up several flags in the order you visited them. In a Rovilson-like fashion, Eric chokes as BJ passes him with the finish line in plain sight.
It was easily the most exciting moment that the state of Colorado had ever seen.
Lastly, Doug Roobaker may be my favourite moment in TAR history.”
7. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
“Sadly this is the season I have seen the least, but that does not stop it from getting a high rating.
Sure, the route was lame considering how much overlap it had with the original, but we saw a ton of new and neat locations. TAR was not quite out of the documentary stage yet as we saw raw travel footage. This is reality TV nostalgia right here along with TAR 3.
Shola & Doyin were the original tragic characters as nothing would go their way, Tara & Wil may be the biggest jackasses to ever dominate the race, and the beginning of Metrosexual Loners Danny & Oswald. Remember Fern?
A ton of crazy things happen despite it being only the second season. The Africa drunken pit stop fight between Pastor Russell, Wil the Jackass, and Alex the Slightly Less of a Jackass? Gutsy Grannies being the original players to sleep through their pit start but somehow surviving two eliminations as well as being the only team to enter Europe all season (not wise to connect through a city in a continent that producers are not visiting in your season), the Blake & Paige/Hope & Norm car controversy, and lastly. . .it deserves its own paragraphs.
The most talked about final twenty minutes in perhaps any reality TV season. The love triangle of Tara, Wil, and Alex finally facing off for a million bucks. Chris & Alex have done terrible most of the season. They had been saved by non-elimination twice because Wil screwed them over. Tara & Wil meanwhile showed nice guys can GTFO as they had few problems staying ahead of the competition, and Tara manipulating Chris & Alex for a good chunk of the race.
Then everything leading up to Baker’s Circle, and concluding with the most iconic foot race to end a worldwide marathon. You have undoubtedly seen the footage 20, 000 times as TAR bashes you over the head with it. Chris & Alex were disliked for 95% of the season, but their reputation turned around in a matter of ten minutes of exciting television.”
8. The Amazing Race 11: Real All Stars – 7.2/10
“The best all-star format of any season seen in Survivor, Big Brother, and TAR history. Phil submitted a list of fifteen teams that he would love to see again. They were either really popular and/or really skilled. Production picked ten of these teams, and added the hybrid team of Eric & Danielle because Eric & Jeremy would have had a 1.10 race average if they competed.
Would we love to see a winning team from each season, and two Linz teams to have an eleven-team all winners edition? Absolutely. Would we have loved to see each season represented including Lance Bass? Absolutely. But for what reputation Survivor and Big Brother had with their all-star seasons, what TAR gave us was very fair and above average.
The route, the tasks, the travel, the stories, and the characters all collided for a season that for some odd reason was not well liked by the audience. Perhaps the LGBTQ community was pissed a Frat boy managed to whip an all-male gay team and two all-female teams at Final Four. Also, this Frat boy had a partner who was viewed as spoiled and worthless (she did get 500k for her “efforts”).
Compared to casting for TAR 18 and 24, this all-star had the only true all-star cast of the entire series. None of the choices evoked a “Mary Who?” response, and catching up with our original stars along with new frontrunners made for an interesting clash.
It truly marks the end of an era as many familiar format rituals will be disregarded almost immediately after the season is over (Yields, Intersection, four NELs, 13 rounds, Marked for Elimination, multiple final cities in final leg, non-memory final tasks, etc.).
This is what makes TAR 11: Real All Stars such a great season. It effectively wraps up the core of the TAR franchise, and closes the chapter on some of the most important reality TV characters who can pat themselves on the shoulders for preventing TAR’s cancellation.
I urge the many people who view this as a bad season to re-watch and think about everything TAR accomplished because of the people playing, and enjoy the insane Africa rounds. Also, please appreciate Eric a bit more. Otherwise, there is no hope for you.”
9. The Amazing Race Asia 2 – 7.19/10
The golden season for the Asia series. Producers went all out for this season, and boy oh boy, they were rewarded for it. Adrian may be the most badass contestant we have had to race with a disability (Luke could learn from Adrian), and go on to win.
Until David O’ Leary suffered from Crybabyitis, that is.
Producers learned from their mistakes in TAR Asia 1 except for the part where they once again were stuffing the race with five non-eliminations.
Perhaps a case could be made that Marc & Rovilson were too rich/well-travelled/athletic/good at everything except flags for them to be allowed onto the race.
Put that aside and you have a base for what separates good seasons from great seasons. Anything above a 7.0 is a -great- season to me.
Seeing Marc & Rovilson dominate, er, I mean SLAUGHTER everyone for 80% of the race until Adrian & Collin began to rally, and top it all off with Adrian passing Marc & Rovilson at the final task had an incredible payoff. Oh, and Pamela & Vanessa passing Marc & Rovilson at the final task too equated to the biggest choke in TAR history.
Later on we would see Czech Republic make its debut even before TAR 15 could get there, and certain places in South Africa we had never seen before.
We also were exposed to the only team in TAR history to truly finish in dead last in back-to-back legs at the beginning of the season. Somehow those two were not named Henry & Terri, who were a different team that were saved by three non-eliminations as Terri may be one of the most uncooperative racers ever.
Paula & Natasha were a rare combination of being young, all-female, nerds, and doing well in the race.
We also had two mothers from Malaysia (Ann & Diane) become the villains in the eyes of the other racers as them, Pamela & Vanessa, and Paula & Natasha made it very possible for an all-female team to win yet again in TAR Asia. In fact, they are three of the strongest all-female teams in the entire TAR franchise.
Lastly, the first four rounds were single-handedly carried by French Born Aurelia as we ventured through familiar New Zealand and Philippines. Seriously. Watch the season just for French Born Aurelia alone. I cannot even come up with the French word for why she is amazing.
10. The Amazing Race Australia 1 – 7.1/10
We also saw multiple Intersections in the same season. The first and only proven use of the Express Pass that saved a team. A season where only one U-Turn was available. The revival of having multiple destinations in the final leg. Unique penalties.
Those were the unique aspects of TAR Aussie’s debut.
This season’s biggest strengths were visiting Israel, lots of self-drive legs, and excellent casting.
In contrast to TAR US casting minor celebrities and pro athletes in recent years, TAR Australia went with everyday people.
Anne-Marie & Tracy work in a freakin’ supermarket, Renae is a model who fixes cars, Alana & Mel were sisters who hadn’t seen each other in a very long time and have polar opposite personalities, Mo & Mos were a Muslim team that lasted more than one leg, and we had a middle-aged motorcycling couple that were perceived as devious.
Oh, and cowboys who weren’t total douchebags and who also had no idea what a bagel was.
We also had one of the best early boots of all time in the form of FOCUS! BELIEVE! ACHIEVE! I can’t believe supermarket ladies kicked their asses most of the time.
It’s tough to pick between French Born Aurelia & Singaporean Sophie as my favourite early boots against Richard & Joey.
Chris & Anastasia’s fight during the Guns n’ Roses Detour becomes one of the most absurd TAR fights in history.
The only weak team in the cast happened to go home first. Everyone else brought something to the table. Yes, even Jeff & Luke. A few pieces of unintentional comedy were in play every single leg.
Tyler & Nathan were worthy winners. They had some goofy moments, some heartbreaking moments, a compelling social game, and a great rally from having all of their money stolen in a season where you needed to hang onto whatever cash you could until the very end. This isn’t TAR Canada where they hand you thousands of dollars.
This season was strong overall, but it suffers in my eyes from too much overlap with activeTV’s other TAR production of TAR Asia (locations and/or tasks from the first four seasons), and a few instances of disappointing leg design and a luck-based finale along the way.
If you don’t care about the TAR Asia overlap, this season would go up a couple of spots in this ranking. I just wish a bit more creativity was involved.
Overall, it is above the Mendoza line of TAR 1. All seasons ranked above TAR 1 are considered strong seasons in my books. TAR Australia 1 definitely belongs in this category in my books.
12. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
“The adventure and experiment of a lifetime begins as Bertram Van Munster and Phil Keoghan are apart of the first season. It is tough to rank it because it is edited more as a travel documentary rather than a competition.
For those of you who only know the Guidos and Kevin & Drew from their laughable performances in All Stars, watch this season. Your opinion of them will change for the better.
Note that this season featured so few equalizers that the top two teams managed to build a lead of well over 24 hours on the trailing two teams by the end of the season. This will never happen again.”
11. The Amazing Race Asia 4: “The Race of a Lifetime” – 6.81/10
“The final season of TAR Asia is a relatively good season. I think this is the perfect season to be positioned in the middle of my rankings. Nothing great happened to take it to the next level, but nothing infuriating that would make this a bad season.
Along with TAR 19, TAR Asia 4 is the season I have heard people talk about the least since its airing. You know TAR 19 was lacklustre when it shares a record with an obscure foreign edition.
It is tragic that this is the final edition of the Asian franchise, but an overall natural conclusion to the series. There is not much more they could have done with the series given the limited options for producers.
Casting was equally strong to TAR Asia 3. Scratch that, this cast was stronger than TAR Asia 3 since nobody was as much of a dud as Isaac & William. No real weak links in this cast.
Furthermore, nobody in casting was repeatedly irritating me. Hating on a certain father-daughter team or Dominatrix’s logic was more fun rather than being a strike against the season. Only downside is that producers failed to avoid mactors and mactresses yet again. Oh well.
The tasks and locations faired reasonably well. This aspect of the race was successful in the long run that American seasons, and Asian producers for the Australia series, would recycle these tasks and locations. Trendsetters in their own right.
However, many of the tasks were poorly explained. A rare problem I have encountered in TAR. How do you drop the ball after twenty English-speaking seasons?
Allan kept bringing the puns. I enjoyed that.
Perhaps the biggest reasons why this season has fallen into obscurity is because of the following:
a) No significant rivalries or conflicts. Besides docks, an EVIL EVIL man, the early U-Turn and Yield, not much happened.
b) No characters that are over-the-top to an extreme.
c) Winners are likeable, and won in an acceptable fashion.
On the flipside, these are the exact reasons why I like this season. It was a breath of fresh air. Nearly everyone was a source of comedy. Manas threw sticks, Hilda being carried away without breakfast, Hussein falling off of things, Jess & Lani wasting the money they begged for on clothes, Yani petting a snake, Dominatrix eating chicken balls and making funny faces, Richards with their comedic errors, Ethan with his polar bear outfit as well as his sheep herding, Sunaina & Dimple attempting to ski, and Alan feuding in broken English.
Experimenting with another Intersection as well as record-breaking early NELs was welcome to the series.
TAR Asia 4 could burn through all three NELs by top six for two reasons:
1) They have only ten teams to begin the season.
2) Episodes run four to ten minutes longer than US episodes.
Therefore characters have enough time to be developed from day one, and thus editors do not need to worry about giving a team an invisible edit because too many teams are left after seven rounds of play. This was the perfect format to have all six teams be alive with zero NELs left in the race.
In short, TAR Asia 4 is the epitome of a good season. Every series needs seasons like these. Unfortunately easy-going seasons are tough to rank near the top of the chain.”
13. The Amazing Race 13 – 6.8/10
“This season has a very unique combination of being funky and good. This marked the final season in TAR’s transition era. No U-Turns were used and much of the format including the shortened eleven round format was copied from TAR 12.
The route was great for the first half of the season, but spending four of the last six rounds in Delhi and Moscow really hampered the season. A mixture of jaw-dropping blunders never before seen on TAR through no fault of the teams being terrible, watching a team prove that you can indeed virtually win every leg as well as the season, and decent casting made for an entertaining season.
Not only did we see the first ever super duper dominant brother-sister team take the first sibling crown, but a mother-son team proved that you can do well on the race as long as you hang onto your passport. Frowny McFrownerson was simultaneously a buzzkill but fun to irritate, the bra gate incident which led to teams forever being sequestered at pit stops, the great tale of Dandrew, the whiniest male contestant since Adam from TAR 6, Cabbie on the Street, and Mark & Bill all contributed to a fun adventure.
Tina tried to exchange this for a bigger rating, but it failed. Seeing Cambodia and Bolivia debut is the only reason why I have this above TAR Asia 3. Yes, again, seeing a team lose their passport at the most painful point possible gives this a boost as well.”
14. The Amazing Race Asia 3: Toughest Race Ever – 6.7/10
“This season was definitely a step down from TAR Asia 2’s amazing route and cast, but it provided a surprisingly solid season.
Hyped as #toughestracever , what it really meant is that vomit-inducing cuisines, physical activity in really high temperatures, super extended rounds, late night tasks, and needle in a haystack tasks that made unrolling Swedish hay bales look like a cake walk, covered the first six rounds of the game.
The second half saw a drop in overall difficulty but a favourable route for quitters Sam & Vince. Tragically, Sam & Vince would go on to win the game just one day after taking a four hour penalty when Sam could not pull himself twenty more feet across a gorge.
Why is the rating for this season nearly as high as seven out of ten despite bad winners, needle in haystacks, and a bad route?
Well, because the casting was “really really goooood” in the words of Audrey from TAR Canada 2.
Ida & Tania were simultaneously dominant and underdogs throughout the season as their late season run pointed towards a victory in the final leg, but was sadly not meant to be.
Mai & Oliver, Henry & Bunn-eh, Niroo & Kapil, Geoff 26 & Tisha 31, and all-male team A.D. & Fuzzie set up for an incredible cast.
It would have been 6.8 if not for Isaac & William. What the hell were producers thinking when casting them?
Perhaps the biggest improvement upon previous TAR Asia instalments is that the number of non-eliminations was dropped from five to three. Although with this cast it was always sad to see anyone go.”
15. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
“Its two biggest faults: An opening round twist which eliminated one team halfway through the premiere, and perhaps a contender for the dullest winners to date in a horribly designed finale leg.
In between that you have a strong season. Mongolia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Ukraine, and Kuwait all appear for the first and only time this season. The Six Pack versus Rob & Kim and Tyler & James lasts all the way to the end, Rob breaking down cars, an out-of-shape all-women’s team is the first all-female team to be in the Final Three, brother-sister team David & Mary, Social Outcasts/Chipmunks Dustin & Kandice, Condescending Quitter Peter/Prequel to Rex Harrington & One-Legged Sarah make up for the beginning and ending.
This marks the first of three Intersections and the first of two seasons with the Marked for Elimination penalty.
It is perhaps the most creative production and the most epic route that TAR has ever done. Again, a jump to an eight or higher is very possible if not for its start and conclusion.”
16. The Amazing Race 18: Unfinished Business 6.4/10
“This season was expected to be the worst season of all time, and had a best case scenario of being an average season. Thank God the absolute best case scenario happened, and the season was ultimately saved from being utter shit.
I don’t know what producers were thinking prior to the start of the season. Very few of their decisions made any sense.
Pick FIVE teams from the worst season ever? Check.
Plan a route which heavily favours these five teams, and insert only one new country for a third of a round? Check.
Plan a terrible twist at the beginning, and do absolutely nothing interesting for the remainder of the season? Check.
This was the season I was originally going to come out of my TAR hiatus to watch live five years ago, but all of these factors made me delay watching this season until this TARstorian project.
I see why now it is not a despised season: Producers really lucked out by having their bad decisions not play out the way they wanted it. Hallelujah.
Unlike TAR 11: Real All Stars, this season was full of snubs with teams they could clearly replace in this cast. Sorry, TAR 13.
We saw a revamped version of the Eliminate Somebody at the Starting Line for No Apparent Reason twist from TAR 15 where Amanda & Kris were doomed after the opening minutes of the race (they will be automatically U-Turned during the first elimination round and essentially screwed–brilliant!). Thankfully, Amanda & Kris are the biggest head-scratcher of a team to be chosen to return in TAR history, and took the well-deserved bullet for everyone else.
Things got better. Nearly everyone else from TAR 14 fell in a row at the start of the season, and allowed teams like Gary & Mallory, Zev & Justin, Kent & Vyxsin, and Ron & Christina dominate the airtime for nearly the whole season. Because of this, there were a ton of hilarious moments. Kent & Vyxsin’s insane blunders and meltdowns alone kept us going for weeks.
Luke’s epic fail at the tea Roadblock in India was perfect dark comedy. Some, for odd reasons, state it was one of the saddest reasons in TAR history–I view it as the exact opposite. There are few times where more unintentional comedy has been provided for a viewer in The Amazing Race.
Ron eating, Christina falling out of cars, Kent & Vyxsin losing their passport or driving twenty hours in the opposite direction and pointlessly betraying other teams, Zev making inappropriate jokes, Justin providing great commentary, and Mallory being a 24/7 cartoon character kept us going from week to week. Oh, and who can forget Jet & Cord’s delicious elimination in the ninth round?
Kisha & Jen’s victory provided a minimal reaction for the audience. It is not bad, but not super compelling either. Everyone can accept their victory, but not have a strong opinion about it.
TAR 18 was a strange way to wrap up another era of TAR. It was all over the place, a lot of it never really made any sense, there were a couple of good seasons here and there, but somehow the series continued to survive.
Perhaps the biggest fault for this season is it never addressed any of the long-term complaints that the audience had about the show for the past decade. This failure to address the viewers is why TAR 18 will mark the end of the program’s grip in American pop culture, and fade more and more into a niche market until. . .well, until today where TAR 29 has already been filmed, but no word on when it will air beyond it being a “mid-season replacement”. And perhaps the other major fault is that this season does not have any major highlights or anything significant to keep it alive outside of Kent & Vyxsin’s humongous blunder in Japan where they couldn’t even make the required flight. The following season, TAR 19, will also suffer from being unmemorable, but without the strong characters to save it.
Lastly, any season involving returnees needs to have challenges which are a step above a “regular season”. TAR 11 accomplished this, but sadly TAR 18 did not. None of the tasks felt like the teams were playing for keeps.
If anything, this season should have been a lesson for producers to start listening to the experts who support the series.
P.S. This season is the first one to not even have a planned Fast Forward.
17. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
“TAR 4 offered very few new things. An overall likeable cast, a route that spent too much time in Europe while going virtually nowhere new despite it being only the fourth season, and is the only season other than TAR 8 and 24 which pushed TAR closest to cancellation. The show goes away for a full year after this season.
There are a few highlights, though. For instance, Kelly & Jon are odd figures to become villains at the end of the season. The initial dominant alliance gets slaughtered very quickly which hadn’t really been seen before. Monica & Sheree talked about luxuries of being married to NFL players, and the most important figures on reality TV for the gay community (even as much as Richard Hatch arguably) appear this season.
Oh, and remember Jon & Al who had a 96% popularity rating? Even more popular than Jessie Camacho from Survivor: Africa? They help carry this season. The creepy and gropey Mumbai local did not have a 96% popularity rating, sadly.
It will be the last season to have a Fast Forward offered each round, and was the most fascinating part about the series. Sadly it will never return.”
18. The Amazing Race 19 – 6.2/10
I feel like I am splitting hairs when it comes to TAR 4 and TAR 19. Both seasons have an identical perception in the TAR community: Seasons that run smoothly and are unmemorable.
It became clear that TAR 19 is slightly inferior to TAR 4.
TAR 19’s highlights:
Kaylani losing her passport.
Double Elimination Leg.
Andy & Tommy’s elimination.
TAR 4’s highlights:
Mumbai train culture shock.
Millie’s asthma, Millie Mole, punching DK’s face, and Malaysian meltdown with Chuck.
Millie & Chuck vs. Kelly & Jon
Reichen & DK’s victory entering mainstream pop culture loosely and their late game showdown with Kelly & Jon
David & Jeff and Jon & Al within miles of freakin’ North Korea and start getting scared.
Overall, TAR 4 is the clear winner here. Even if TAR 19 had more new countries than TAR 4 somehow.
Perhaps the cultural aspect is what was missing from TAR 19. Or rather, teams being worn down by the cultural aspect and it becoming a storyline. We had too many teams who behaved calmly and didn’t do anything offensive or dumb in some of the sketchy situations in Indonesia, Thailand, and elsewhere.
The one bit of praise I will give TAR 19 regarding its unique twists is that they knew it didn’t work. Double Elimination Leg and the Hazard are never to be seen again. It fell completely flat.
Production didn’t seem too keen on Ernie & Cindy’s victory. The audience didn’t like them from day one, and it showed as there was great disinterest heading into the final episode of the season.
Furthermore, not a single team was invited back for TAR 24. Ernie & Cindy make a cameo during the TAR 29 finale, but thas been it for this season being acknowledged.
If you want to watch a season that won’t make you emotionally invested out of love or hatred, this is definitely the one to watch. You also get the neat Denmark-Germany-Belgium leg, and a few little quirks along the way like the subtle absence of clue boxes and random costumes from a comic strip. You also get the goofy antics of Liz & Marie which I had completely forgotten about.
There’s also a bunny obstacle course. It’s so adorable!
I don’t have too much else to say about TAR 19 given this season’s reputation. It’s a safe season in what has now become a massive TAR timeline. There are funny moments and bits and pieces of narrative here and there. You just have to look a bit harder. This is ideal to watch if you just finished a season that you absolutely hated.
19. The Amazing Race 16 – 5.8/10
“Well, it did not have terrible winners, a horrible impromptu elimination twist, and five non-elimination rounds. I will give it credit for that and why it is not much lower.
But yeah, a rating of 5.8 indicates that this season is not very good. That is a ‘C’ or ‘C-‘ in the eyes of most people.
Adrian & Dana, Monique & Shawne, and Steve & Allie received invisible edits. Heck, we did not know who Steve & Allie were until the seventh round. Even the winners Dan & Jordan were not acknowledged by producers until the end of the game was drawing near.
Instead the narrative of the season revolved around irrelevant Jeff & Jordan, over-the-top Jet & Cord, and the rivalry between Brent & Caite and Carol & Brandy. These are not exactly people who can bear the responsibility of a season on their shoulders. U-Turning Joe & Heidi early on did not help matters much either.
Only one new country being added to the catalogue was beginning to hurt the series. Is there any reason to keep watching if the show is going nowhere new?
The Intersection twist made teams work cooperatively on a Roadblock rather than a Detour, but is now more of an answer to a trivia question rather than reviving a twist in an interesting manner. I would say the Intersection is a very interesting twist in concept that producers put zero effort into running with it.
The biggest and most talked about moment is when Dan & Jordan cut in line in the final leg. It led to the audience blasting a ton of hate in Dan & Jordan’s direction because everybody was desperate to see Jet & Cord (the team to receive the most biased edit ever) to win the season. Thankfully that desperation was not appeased, but it created an outcome where Dan & Jordan were made to feel guilty while everyone else was bitter.
Even the third place team was threatened into guilt because of what they did three rounds earlier to Carol & Brandy leading to the first ever finish line fight.
Overall, this did indeed play out like a season, albeit a bland one, and it concluded with much needed underdog winners.
There are comedic subtle moments in every round. You just have to look a bit harder.
In short, I find this to be an inoffensive season. It reinforced the idea for the sixteenth time that two women cannot win TAR together as all-male teams once again filled three of the top four spots, and was our youngest Final 3 ever.”
20. The Amazing Race 15 – 4.9/10
“The season premiere, the return to the hay bales task, and the finale are three rounds that should never happen in TAR. Eliminating a team at the starting line and having nothing to do in Japan before a non-elimination; making teams roll hay bales AGAIN; and a dealer who screwed Brian & Ericka out of what could have been the most unexpected victory of all time.
Flight Time & Big Easy were the first team to be cast without using their real names, and also the first to be representing a brand. This is a horrible direction that the series would go into over these next five years, and probably until it gets cancelled by the time TAR 25 wraps up in the Friday Night Death Slot.
There were also recruit casting choices who quit too such as Maria & Tiffany and Mika who were truly incapable of reaching the finish line, Yes, Maria & Tiffany had one good round, but they could not have reached the end. It is no surprise that Meghan & Cheyne essentially raped the competition once they put more effort into winning each round.
It may be billed as a season full of blunders by players with visits to Czech Republic and Estonia for the first time, but the above errors by producers when it came to casting and twists were outrageous that it ultimately makes it a failure.”
21. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10
“The first expansion outside of America. It featured the first all-female victory ever, albeit one of the winners indirectly worked for the TV network which produced the season.
Again, five non-eliminations really held up the momentum of the season. Andy & Laura can only do so much, Mardy & Marsio could only eat so much like they were Brad Pitt or Sally & Tyson, Sahran’s constant fear of heights, and Sahil & Prashant’s rage attack after their receiving the penalty that eliminated them.
The locations were repeated from the US TAR for the most part. Their inexperience was noticeable when they had things like the Bali beach task where producers had to change the rules on the spot, and a huge number of penalties for the first half of the season that left everyone confused. Remember the formula of being penalized the following round for two minutes per kilometre driving over the speed limit?
Luckily TAR Asia improves greatly for seasons two, three, and four. You can partially forgive its failing debut. It does not have the same excuse as TAR 6 or 14 where American producers should have a full grasp on how to make a good season regardless of the circumstances.”
22. The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition – 4.0/10
“This is what the audience wanted. Production earns points for having a unique theme and giving it a try to please the audience.
Unfortunately, the restrictions of travel, and a glaring drop in difficulty of tasks turned off the audience. In fact, it is what pushed the series to the brink of cancellation again as the show finds itself airing at 10:00pm on Wednesdays until it recovers during TAR 10.
As soon as teams exit Costa Rica and enter Arizona, the Midwest theme along with teams putting up with an unprecedented FIVE non-eliminations in the second half of the season bored everyone.
The crazy antics of the Weavers being isolated, being the first to be yielded twice, and asking producers to help them behind the scenes kept up the raw entertainment along with Linzes and Christine Godlewski. And did you know it is just over a year before Billy and Carissa could sign up as a duo for TAR? Scary.
Why is it not the absolute worst? Because producers tried something new and fresh to comply with the wishes of the audience. And some of the teams do not disappoint.”
23. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10
“When three seasons are filmed in less than a year, one season is bound to be forgetful and be shorthanded when it comes to finding compelling teams to cast.
The route is surprisingly unique for its time. Making every team complete their fair share of Roadblocks for the first time in history would become a staple for the series until TAR 24.
However, the horrible decision to think the hay bales task, too many flight equalizers, the dullness of Scandinavian locations, and Freddy & Kendra’s victory over a popular but really dull team dropped the reputation of the season.
Oh, and remember Jonathan shoving Victoria? An incident that was so controversial that it led to them being invited onto an episode of Dr. Phil, and followed even later by Joe Rogan kicking Jonathan Baker’s ass.
Lastly, the final leg was virtually the only one without a flight equalizer as Freddy & Kendra managed to get a time advantage over Kris & Jon in Chicago.
Due to TAR 5 and 7 airing in the same year and both being incredible seasons, you will see TAR 6 fade within a year in the eyes of the audience and the eyes of the producers.
It is no wonder why none of these teams have been invited back.”
24. The Amazing Race 14 – 2.5/10
“A mediocre route, but introduced us to Jodi Wincheski who would become not only the worst casting director for TAR in subsequent seasons, but also would be guilty of corrupting future casting choices.
An unlikeable Final Four, combined with five rounds being set in areas that Tammy & Victor were more than familiar with, led to the most suspicious victory in TAR history. Anyone who believes Tammy & Victor were awarded the title rather than earning it have a solid case.
Mix in boggling casting choices like Amanda & Kris, Enabler Margie who would be rewarded with two additional appearances, and you have a contender for the worst season of TAR ever played.
The imbalanced editing is another big contributor to its awfully low ranking.”