Category: TV & Film

For Survivor fans, this bi-weekly podcast covers CBS’ biggest reality show, Survivor. In Never Draw Rocks, host Khendall provides commentary, rants, what-ifs, updates, thoughts, lists, analysis, game history and more as he shares his love of the game with the only people that love it like he does: you. Join the best podcasting community in Survivor as we experience every blindside, idol, and challenge together as our favorite players, past and future, play their way to the title of Sole Survivor.

September 19, 2021

The Central Importance of Narrative in Survivor: A Case Study

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall does a case study on this question: can new Survivors ascend to that renowned position of Survivor legend? Khendall considers this question in some depth, arriving at a final answering following discussion of gamifying Survivor, personality and style, old school versus new school, the Survivor fandom, and much more. He considers the question in great depth, expanding upon the final result of New School gameplay before finally arriving at these ideas of narrative in Survivor. Survivors can be either heroes or villains, but they can also be side characters, and it is upon this idea that the whole question hinges.

Disclaimer: Spoilers

August 17, 2021

What Makes a Survivor Legend: Examining the Characteristics of the Game’s Best

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall examines the traits that make a Survivor a legend. Not all Survivor winners are legends, a fact which should make everybody question what exactly is it that makes a typical Survivor different from a fan favorite. Khendall discusses the intangibles of the legends of Survivors, considering how this changes the game, who people are drawn to, and who we want to see return. There are more intangibles to this game than mere ruthlessness and strategy, but what is it that makes those legends particularly memorable to Survivor fans? Khendall discusses this and more, considering in depth the idea of what turns a Survivor into a legend.

July 28, 2021

The 15 Essential Survivor Seasons

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall discusses his personal list of the most essential seasons for Survivor fans both new and old. For those looking for where to start, this list will provide fans with all the seasons they need to gain a comprehensive understanding of the game, its most iconic moments, and its biggest players in a spoiler-free manner. For those who want a more in depth discussion on why each season was selected, the second half of the discussion contains spoiler commentary on why each of these seasons separates itself from the rest. Who makes these seasons great? Why are they special? Who are the important players in Survivor lore? Khendall discusses this and more!

EDIT: Apologies for the reverb in the recording, as it couldn't be removed in post-processing.

List of Essential Seasons:

Season 1 – Borneo, Season 7 – Pearl Islands, Season 8 – All-Stars, Season 10 – Palau, Season 13 – Cook Islands, Season 16 – Micronesia, Season 18 – Tocantins, Season 19 – Samoa, Season 20 – Heroes vs. Villains, Season 22 – Redemption Island, Season 26 – Caramoan, Season 28 – Cagayan, Season 31 – Cambodia, Season 34 – Game Changers, Season 40 – Winners at War

July 13, 2021

Survivor 2.0: What Does This Mean for the Game?

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall talks about the latest video by Jeff Probst, touting Survivor 41 as the most dangerous Survivor ever while even going so far as to calling it Survivor 2.0. What does this mean for Survivor? Is this good for the game, or bad? Will this be the change necessary to recapture some of Survivor's greatest moments? What can we expect from Survivor 41 and what are the possibilities that this change will be permanent? Khendall discusses these questions and more as he ponders the upcoming and highly anticipated seasons of Survivor.

April 7, 2021

The Legend of Kelley Wentworth

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall talks about perhaps the game's most talked-about female player that hasn't attained the title of Sole Survivor. She is Kelley Wentworth. Known for her daring strategic play and strong usage of the hidden immunity idol, Kelley has occupied the conversations of Survivor fans for years. Whether that was of disdain regarding her character and those within her famed alliances, or of admiration of the sheer skill and audacity of playing while the underdog, Wentworth is among the game's most talked about Survivors. Khendall discusses who Wentworth is, her biggest mistakes, why she never won, what makes her a legend among Survivor fans, and more as we take a deep dive into one of the games most proud Survivors.

March 20, 2021

The Tragedy of Russell Hantz: A Lesson in Social Politics

In this episode, Host Khendall talks about one of his personal favorite players and a living legend in the game of Survivor, for good or ill: Russell Hantz. Russell is infamous for his strategy, paranoia, underhanded tactics, and ability to control the game. He came into most games as a dominant and controlling force, and in spite of making it to Final Tribal twice, he never attained the title of Sole Survivor. Why was this? Why does the name, Russell Hantz, synonymous with "villain", lack the title of Sole Survivor? In this deep dive into Russell, Khendall discusses why Russell lost, what his game was missing, why other players won in spite of themselves, and how this can inform our understanding of the how the game of Survivor works in a more civilized age. 

March 6, 2021

The Good and the Bad: The Survivor Jury System

In this episode, Khendall thinks in depth on Survivors' most important twist: the jury system. What are the merits of the jury system? How does the jury system help the game? Are there ways that the jury system damages the game? How do jurors affect this system? Are modern players or fans better at fulfilling their jury duties than previous seasons? Khendall will discuss this and more as he takes a deep dive into these questions, examining the twist that brings new generations into the game of Survivor.

February 6, 2021

The Greatest Showman, Rick Devens

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, host Khendall talks about a more recent season of Survivor history: Edge of Extinction. In this he covers one of the most exciting and special Survivor players in recent memory, focusing on this person's time in the game, what he embodies about the game, the other players reaction to him, and how all that serves as a commentary on where and why the game of Survivor is moving in the direction it is. The name of this player was the morning report, Rick Devens. He was exciting and dynamic, and although he didn't attain the tile of Sole Survivor, he was among the most popular and exciting players in the season. Khendall will talk about why fans love the game of Survivor, who deserved to win season 38, and more!

January 22, 2021

The Black Widow of Survivor: Parvati Shallow

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, host Khendall talks about one of the game's most legendary players, Parvati. Parvati played a number of seasons of Survivor, returning from her premiere in the Cook Islands to three more seasons. In many of these seasons, she secured her place as a surviving player in the final tribals. She quickly demonstrated her prowess as a player, often relying on flirting and strong social play to take her from one day of the game to the next. Yet, it was during her time on Survivor that she changed and improved, going from a skilled social player to also a strong tactician and competitor. She played as a core member of some of the most dangerous and surprising alliances in the history of Survivor, proving time and again why she is so popular among fans. In this episode, Khendall examines Parvati's social play in the Cook Islands across from Yul and Ozzy before moving to her evolution as a player and blindsider in Micronesia and Heroes vs. Villains. Parvati would even prove dangerous enough to be a stones throw from the second ever two-time winner, even threatening to take away that title from Sandra. What was it about Parvati's game that changed? What was it that made Parvati so likeable? Is a strong social game enough to win Survivor? What role did the jury have in the outcome of these seasons? Khendall looks at all these questions and more as he takes a deep dive into the best and most cunning black widow in the game of Survivor.

January 5, 2021

Winning Against All Odds: Worlds Apart

In this episode of Never Draw Rocks, Khendall considers the 30th season of Survivor in which the season winner played the role of the underdog, garnering the mutual distrust of his entire tribe. In this season, we see a number of strong players and competitors competing against one another, but after 39 hard fought days, only one came out on top: Mike Holloway. With the theme of White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar, we saw an interesting combination of players which resulted in one of the most entertaining and difficult roads to the crowning of the Sole Survivor. Khendall talks about the big players in the game, their alliances, the social and physical aspect of the game, as well as players like Mike, Rodney, and Carolyn and what we can learn from yet another strong season of Survivor history. What do players need to do pre-merge? What caused Mike to lose his alliance? What was he thinking when he did? Is building relationships important? What about jury management? We discuss all this in more as we take a dive into season 30, Worlds Apart.

Potential Spoilers: Season 20, 22, 30, and 40.