In April, my sister and I drove down the Pacific Coast to LA on a several day road trip where we visited Hearst Castle, Morro Bay, Catalina Island, and Harry Potter world at Universal. One of the suggestions my sister had was to listen to podcasts along the way. My suggestion was to listen to the Backstreet Boys.
(I never claimed to have sophisticated taste in music, okay? Losing hipster cred here.)
She asked me for suggestions on podcasts she could download which I thought was funny because I had never listened to one before. I had, of course, heard of This American Life and Serial and a few others, but the format didn’t really interest me much. Coincidentally I had just read an article about S-Town so that was my suggestion.
She came armed with several podcasts she thought I might like besides S-Town. Undisclosed, The Art of Charm, Sawbones, Stuff You Missed in History and maybe some others. So we listened to those during the trip. My heart belonged to S-Town though, a story about a maybe-murder that turned into an examination of a life cut short by mental illness.
By the time we got home, we had a couple of episodes left of S-Town so I downloaded the BeyondPod app to finish listening to it. I also downloaded a couple more episodes of Sawbones and Stuff You Missed in History, and started listening on my commute(s) which are generally around 30 minutes each way, the perfect podcast length.
While I would not say I’m obsessed, it has definitely become part of my week. Here’s what I’ve been listening to!
The Nerdist Podcast – I can only take Chris Hardwick in small doses on TV but I actually find him quite appealing on the podcast. I particularly enjoyed the recent Elijah Wood episode as well as the one with Trey Parker (of South Park fame/infamy)
Criminal – This one has bite sized (30 mins or less) stories of weird tales of crimes. Start with episode 51 where a woman learns her identity was stolen… but then years later learns who did it.
Tom & Lorenzo’s Pop Style Opinion Fest – I don’t listen to all of TLo’s podcasts but they always have interesting things to say about pop culture and television. Most recently I enjoyed their discussions on “Peak TV” and their deep dive on Game of Thrones.
Mind Body Green Podcast – I just started listening to this one so I’m only a couple eps in, but the ones I’ve listened to so far (interviews with Melissa Hartwig of Whole30 fame and Califia Farms founder Greg Stehltenpohl) are really interesting. Those particular interviews had an entrepreneurial bent and really flowed well.
Lore – really well produced historical background on urban myths and legends.
The Chris & Sam Podcast – Shout out to my long-time internet friend Sam! Started listening to this a while back and as a shallow American, I just love listening to New Zealand accents. These guys talk about a lot of different, random topics, and are pretty funny – and the length is just the right amount for a commute. And did I mention the accents? 😉
One-offs or series I don’t listen to very often but are still entertaining or interesting.
S-Town – I mentioned it above but I can’t express enough how much I got into listening to this one. In a way, I wish it hadn’t been the first one I listened to because the production quality is so good and raised the bar for others that I’ve tried. It also raises some great questions such as – was it too intrusive on its subject matter and should it have even been made? One of the things I found so engrossing about it was how it started off being one thing but at the end of the second episode it just pivoted into something else entirely. Even months after I listened to it I still think of John B. Macklemore
30 for 30 Podcasts – I have only just started listening to this one (not through the first ep yet) but the production values are spot on and the topics interesting. I thoroughly enjoy their TV documentaries on ESPN and if you haven’t watched their epic OJ: Made in America (one of the finest documentaries I’ve ever seen… and I’ve seen approximately one million) then you are missing out. I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast and have high hopes for it!
CG Garage: Episode 131 – Interview with my cousin regarding his career as a VFX and matte painter in Hollywood. It was interesting to hear my cousin talk about his career and the industry. Over the years it’s sort of like, oh yeah, whatever, but this really shone a light on all the hard work he’s done to get where he is today – having a proud cousin moment, haha!
Sawbones – husband (comedian) and wife (doctor) duo discussing weird medical history as well as topical items in a humorous and accessible way.
And that’s about it for now! I will likely revisit this in the future as I listen to more. And possibly at some point my sister and I will go on another trip where I will be exposed to other podcasts. If you have any other recommendations please leave me a comment and I’ll check it out!