Six Essential “Amazing Race” Seasons to Watch While in Quarantine and Waiting for Season 32

Essential Amazing Race

A few weeks ago, CBS surprisingly announced The Amazing Race 32 would premiere at the end of May.

Surprising because the dearth of content on the broadcast networks’ shelves due to COVID-19 throwing production cycles into disarray pointed to TAR32 getting called up from the reserves to fill a vacant slot in the Fall. Especially as Survivor‘s production doesn’t look anywhere close to getting started anytime soon.

So, CBS reversed course and yanked TAR32 off their summer schedule for a premiere date to be determined.

Surely, plugging in The Amazing Race 32 into Survivor‘s Wednesday 8pm slot in the Fall is the obvious move. Particularly as networks prepare to present their Fall line-ups to advertisers so they can get their precious moneys secured.

A fully produced Amazing Race season (an established title) ready to go is certainly much more attractive to advertisers than saying “We might have Show X ready to go in the Fall… or not.”

But distressed Amazing Race fans need not whine and wail about the delay of a season that was filmed more than a year and a half ago. Now is certainly a good time to binge on the most classic Amazing Race seasons of all time. After all, there’s 31 other seasons to choose from. (But, let’s be real, probably only half are worthy of a rewatch.)

For new fans that may not have seen earlier seasons or for any person or family looking for something to fill their quarantine days and nights with, I present the SIX essential Amazing Race seasons to watch or rewatch while waiting for the 11 new teams of season 32.

Listed in the order you should watch them:

The Amazing Race 3

Essential Amazing Race

If you only had to watch ONE season of The Amazing Race, this is the season. THE season that absolutely has everything that makes The Amazing Race such an incredible and iconic series. For longtime fans, every hilarious, frustrating and dramatic moment is just as affecting now as it was when you first watched it. For new fans or anyone seeing it for the first time, this is the perfect season to serve as your introduction to the series.

An excellent cast of personalities, season-long rivalries, romance, hilarious hijinks, iconic tasks and locations. There’s a reason this was the season that launched The Amazing Race‘s Emmy dominance.

This is the perfect season for the uninitiated to get a feel for what The Amazing Race is all about. And for longtime fans, it’s a reminder of how truly amazing the Race used to be.

The Amazing Race 5

Essential Amazing Race

Perhaps just as equally essential is Season 5. And for many of the same reasons as Season 3.

This is a truly classic season of big personalities and fierce competition. Each Leg more competitive and fiery than the last. With some stunning locations and memorable tasks, The Amazing Race 5 is another season that would serve as a great introduction for new viewers.

This is The Amazing Race at its prime. When all the elements and qualities that make for an entertaining hour of television every week came together. If you can only watch two seasons of The Amazing Race, it should be Seasons 3 and 5.

The Amazing Race 25

Essential Amazing Race

It’s 2020. So the standard definition realness of Seasons 3 and 5 may be so foreign to contemporary viewers. But for any Amazing Race fan, the huge contrast between a Season 3 or 5 and this high definition 25th season should be a fascinating experience.

The Amazing Race finally shifted to high definition cameras during Season 18. But the only HD season on my Essential Six is Season 25. It is unfortunate to admit that The Amazing Race slowly became less amazing as the years went by. And that was definitely true when the series entered its HD Era.

The things that made seasons like TAR3 and TAR5 into timeless classics disappeared for many years. Production, logistic and budgetary concerns also simplified the Race and poor casting decisions failed to carry the rest of the load.

It’s certainly interesting to compare Seasons 3 and 5 to most of the HD seasons which are so vastly different. But Season 25, against all odds, managed to capture the magic of The Amazing Race‘s prime. Despite having less resources at its disposal, Season 25 featured the best casting in years paired with a more interesting route and creative, fresh tasks and challenges. Most of which were not present in seasons prior and seasons to come after.

The comparison between Seasons 3 and 5 and Season 25 would be reason enough to watch this next. But Season 25 showed that even today’s contemporary Amazing Race could still be magical when done right.

The Amazing Race 1

Essential Amazing Race

From the best HD Era season, let’s go back to how it all began. The very first season of The Amazing Race is definitely essential viewing as a fan of the series, but also in a unique historical perspective.

As the first season, there’s obviously a bit of trial and error. The series was still finding its footing and figuring out the right formula both on the race course and in its episodes. The difference in terms of production and format between Season 1 and any other season, frankly, is stark.

But Season 1 was filmed before September 11th. This was a time where travel and the world were vastly different from travel and the world we know today. For that reason alone, Season 1 is a fascinating watch.

The Amazing Race 17 and 12

Six Essential Amazing Race Seasons to Watch While in Quarantine and Waiting for Season 32

Season 17, in particular, features perhaps the most viral moment of the entire franchise:

But that’s definitely not the only reason to watch the season.

When judging a season of The Amazing Race, you want to look for a season that has all the ingredients needed for a fun, enjoyable experience: A great and engaging cast, exciting and memorable tasks, beautiful and surprising locations.

Essential Amazing Race

Both Seasons 17 and 12 (in that order) have all those qualities.

They both show that even if a season doesn’t reach the gold standard heights of a Season 3 or 5, The Amazing Race can still be the most exciting, fun, family-friendly show on television.

If you need more, may I suggest (in random order): Season 8, Season 11, Season 2, Season 4, Season 10, Season 6. And for anyone preferring the HD seasons: Season 19, Season 27, Season 21 or Season 20.

But I definitely recommend finishing up all the standard definition (Seasons 1-17) seasons before attempting the rest of the HD seasons.

Where to Watch The Amazing Race? (as of November 15, 2022)

ALL Seasons are now available to stream on PARAMOUNT+

Amazon: ALL Seasons (available for purchase)

Amazon DVDs: Seasons 1-32

Hulu: Seasons 1, 2, 5, 7, 23-32 (included with subscription)

Google Play: ALL Seasons (for purchase)

iTunes: Seasons 13-31 (for purchase)

Vudu: Seasons 13-31 (for purchase)

YouTube: Seasons 11-34 (for purchase)

31 thoughts on “Six Essential “Amazing Race” Seasons to Watch While in Quarantine and Waiting for Season 32

  1. Omg I love ALL of your recommended seasons!!!! Even though I started being a TAR fan in 2014, the classical seasons, along with Season 25, really captures the magic and wonder of it all for me, I still love maybe almost all the seasons though, but definitely NOT the hideous mess of a season that was *trigger warning* 24… Lol anyways, here’s to high hopes that Season 32 would be another awesome season and that the pandemic would be over as soon as possible!

    1. Thank you!
      Absolutely agree about TAR24! lol It would probably be last on my list if I ever went through the entire series again. And even then, I’d rather rewatch another season I had just watched than do TAR24, to be honest lol

      Looking forward to seeing what TAR32 will be like since it’s supposed to be a “back to basics” season. Hope it will be!

  2. I posted my season rankings way back in your TAR31 season wrap up. I decided to make some few changes and here it is:

    1. TAR3
    2. TAR5
    3. TAR11
    4. TAR8
    5. TAR4
    6. TAR6
    7. TAR17
    8. TAR12
    9. TAR25
    10. TAR10
    10. TAR2
    10. TAR1
    13. TAR9
    14. TAR14
    15. TAR18
    16. TAR20
    17. TAR13
    18. TAR15
    19. TAR27
    20. TAR19
    21. TAR16
    22. TAR21
    23. TAR30
    24. TAR22
    25. TAR23
    26. TAR29
    27. TAR7
    28. TAR31
    29. TAR26
    30. TAR28
    31. TAR24

    What do you think of my rankings? Do u plan on rearranging your rankings?

    1. Those are great rankings. Very close to mine I think.

      I probably won’t redo my rankings anytime soon though. Unless I actually do rewatch some seasons, but I’m not sure.

  3. I’m currently watching American Idol 8. What are your thoughts on the season and the Top 13 finalists?

    1. The Top 13 was okay. But was definitely so happy to have Kris Allen win. Was rooting for him all season and definitely my 2nd favorite winner after Kelly.

        1. Kris Allen: (Pretty hard since I love the entire album) From The Ashes, Before We Come Undone, Can’t Stay Away, The Truth, Written All Over My Face, Bring It Back
          Thank You Camellia: Better With You, The Vision of Love, Monster, Rooftops
          Horizons: Parachute, Everybody Just Wants to Dance
          Letting You In: Love Will Find You, Waves

    1. Thankful: Just Missed the Train, Low
      Breakaway: Walk Away, Since U Been Gone
      My December: Never Again, Be Still, Don’t Waste Your Time
      All I Ever Wanted: Already Gone
      Stronger: What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)
      Piece by Piece: Invincible
      Meaning of Life: Love So Soft

    1. It’s a different Race, but definitely a great watch for being the first. Fascinating to see them just trying to figure out how to even produce the show.

      For teams, I’m not really remembering some of the teams any more. But I guess:
      1. Dave & Margaretta
      2. Nancy & Emily
      3. Rob & Brennan
      4. Everyone else equally. I didn’t like Joe & Bill after the season, but have since appreciated what they brought the show. Lenny & Karyn set the standard for bickering couples. Paul & Amie too. Frank & Margarita were a strong team who also brought the drama. Kevin & Drew are the original Frat brothers of course. Matt & Ana could’ve been a really fun, explosive team too. Pat & Brenda and Kim & Leslie were just nice people I think.

    1. I have forgotten most of these teams.

      1. Dave & Margaretta
      2. Britney & Janelle
      3. Don & Mary Jean
      3. Amanda & Kris
      5. Michael & Kathy
      5. Bob & Joyce
      5. Kerri & Stacy
      8. Margie & Luke (TAR18/24)
      8. Joey & Tim
      8. Sara (not Shamir)
      8. Shola & Doyin
      8. Lorena & Jason
      8. Joe & Heidi
      14. Danielle & Dani
      14. Tom & Terry
      14. Aiellos
      14. Steve & Dave
      14. Erin & Joslyn
      14. Marisa & Brooke
      14. Katie & Rachel
      14. Liz & Marie
      14. Jazmine & Danielle
      14. Keith & Whitney
      14. Gary & Will
      14. Lance & Keri
      14. Brandon & Adam
      14. Bergen & Kurt
      14. Susan & Patrick
      29. Shamir (not Sara)
      30. Rob & Amber
      31. Dave & Connor

      1. I do think Steve & Dave should be a lot higher. I remember they were awesome and hilarious in TAR4.

  4. With BB All-Stars 2 about to start, let’s rate each season of BB you have watched. Rate them with either great, good, meh or awful.

    1. Hmm… it’s hard since I hardly remember most of the seasons. But I’ll go with:

      Great: 10
      Good: 2,3,4,5,13 (for Rachel’s win)
      Good/Meh: 1,8,20
      Meh: 6,7,11,12,15,21 plus beginning of 9
      Awful: 9
      Didn’t watch/don’t remember at all: 14, 16-19

    1. I guess…
      1. TAR3
      2. TAR5
      3. TAR17
      3. TAR8
      5. TAR11:AS
      5. TAR12
      7. TAR2
      7. TAR4
      7. TAR10
      7. TAR1
      7. TAR6
      12. TAR9
      12. TAR14
      14. TAR13
      15. TAR15
      16. TAR16
      17. TAR7

      1. TAR25
      2. TAR18:UB
      3. TAR19
      4. TAR27
      5. TAR21
      5. TAR20
      7. TAR30
      7. TAR29
      7. TAR22
      10. TAR23
      11. TAR31
      12. TAR28
      13. TAR26
      14. TAR24:AS

  5. How about the international versions of TAR? How would you rank the seasons from TAR Australia & Canada?

    1. Hmm… I can’t even remember most of the TARC seasons, tbh. I do know for sure I like all TARAu seasons over TARC.

      1. TARAu2
      2. TARAu1
      3. TARAu3
      4. TARAu4
      5. TARC1/2
      7. TARC5/6
      9. TARC7
      10. TARC3/4

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