Looking to add a different podcast to your weekly rotation? New to the whole thing and totally overwhelmed with where to begin? Here at Fantastic Fandoms, we’ve got your back. Below are 10 of our tried and true podcast favorites.
THIS AMERICAN LIFE : If you are new to podcasting, there is no better place to start than with This American Life. If you’re a podcast veteran and still not listening to This American Life, what is wrong with you? This is podcasting 101, a must listen. Each week Ira Glass guides listeners through a mix of storytelling and reporting centered around a single theme, staying true to it’s name and highlighting American life. I was introduced to TAL in 2006 with episode 186 Prom , and haven’t missed an episode since. The stories told on this show have stayed with me for days and weeks and years, and here are some of my all time favorites: 109 Notes on Camp , 487 Harper High School Part 1 & Part 2 , and 472 Our Friend David .
SERIAL : Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Adnan Syed. On January 13th, 1999 Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee was strangled, and less than a year later her ex boyfriend Adnan was behind bars. The This American Life spin-off follows the true story of Hae’s murder and Adnan’s sentence, right up to the present day. Annoyed by the hype? We get it. But this is still one of the most important pieces of podcasting today, and it honestly lives up to every ounce of praise. Season 2 debuts later in 2015.
RADIOLAB : If This American Life is #1, RadioLab comes in a very close second. I never pegged myself as a science geek, but RadioLab’s simple presentation of complex concepts is astounding. I was in tears on the train home from work the day I listened to Season 11 Episode 6 23 Weeks and 6 Days , and the night I walked home listening to Season 2 Episode 5 Space , I was in such awe of what I was hearing that I laid on the grass near my apartment complex and stared at the moon while they told stories of the men and women who’ve walked there. RadioLab is beautiful, thought provoking and reminds you how great it is to be human.
THE MEMORY PALACE : It has been a long time since a podcast has caught my attention as quickly as The Memory Palace did. After discovering Nate DiMeo, I listened non stop until I’d heard every single episode, and then I listened to each one again. The Memory Place travels through time bringing you stories from the past. Each show is short, running between two and fifteen minutes, and every night before I go to bed I pray that Nate DiMeo will drop everything else in his life and spend every waking hour making more things for me to listen to. A couple of my favorite episodes include episode 54 Origin Stories , episode 49 Dreamland , episode 45 Heard, Once , and episode 35 A Brief Eulogy for a Consumer Electronics Product . The Memory Palace is part of the Maximum Fun Network .
MY BROTHER, MY BROTHER, AND ME : An advice show for the modern era, and a Maximum Fun Network powerhouse. I’ve been listening to this comedy podcast for years , and am well aware that not everyone is going to be into it. But the McElroy brothers are just hilarious. I laugh out loud every episode. I don’t know what else there is to say other than if you like laughing, you should probably be listening to MBMBAM. They also recently began The Adventure Zone , a D&D podcast that is on. point. I’m not very familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, but have loved learning and listening to the McElroy family’s high adventure.
BOILED LEATHER AUDIO HOUR : This A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones podcast is far from perfect, but it’s still worth a listen. Very academically focused, Sean and Stefan explore moral and ethical issues within the ASOIAF universe. These guys know what they’re talking about. If you’re only a fan of the TV show, or not caught up on the books, there will probably be spoilers, so be careful. Or just read the freakin books. Downside? Audio quality. The latest episode, The Theory of Everything: Analyzing Popular Theories from a Narrative & Thematic Perspective , was a great one.
WE’RE ALIVE: A STORY OF SURVIVAL : We’re Alive was the first radio drama I’d ever listened to, and my far my favorite. The story follows the survivors of a zombie apocalypse in LA, banning together in the safe haven called The Tower. I’d recommend starting at the very beginning, Chapter 1 Episode 1 It Begins . We’re Alive wrapped up this past July, and I still really miss my pals Michael, Saul and Datu. It took me a little while to get into the flow of this story, but stick it out and you’ll be glad you did.
DAN CARLIN’S HARDCORE HISTORY : If you’re a history buff, this show is for you. Dan Carlin is the history professor I never had. He presents often forgotten moments from our past in a thought provoking way, weaving a narrative that reminds you why you fell in love with history in the first place. Episodes are long, sometimes over 4 hours, and released every other month. The latest series, Blueprint for Armageddon , has shaped World War I in an entirely new way for me.
THE MOTH : This podcast is about the art of story telling, true stories told live without notes on stage. Each story and storyteller comes alive on stage in front of an audience, and I love feeling the live energy and feedback that you know is present in the room. Episodes range from 10 to 20 minutes long and while you find the occasional dud, they are few and far between. I’ll be honest and say I no longer enjoy The Moth as much as I did a few years ago, but it is an easy and important introduction to the podcasting world as a whole.
THE LAPSE : Self described as “The Moth meets RadioLab,” The Lapse is fairly new to my weekly podcast rotation. After getting a little bored with The Moth, I’ve been on the hunt for a storytelling podcast and The Lapse hit the spot. Mixing everyday people and their everyday stories with cinematic storytelling, Kyle Gest narrates his way through relationships, depression, and the human condition.
What are your favorite podcasts? We’d love your recommendations. Tweet us @FandomMatters!