Dan Carlin is on par with Carl Sagan in my book. If some of his podcasts are 8 hours long, I still feel the need to savor them. His political podcast, Common Sense, is also really good. People should check him out:
I don’t listen to the political one but the history one is quality stuff if even it takes several hours for a listen. His episode on the Communist witch hunts of the 50s was enlightening. While I still don’t excuse the behavior of the FBI and such of the time learning that the now leaders of the time cut their teeth as new agents working cases of actual bombings by Communists and Anarchists a little light of understanding happened.
I’d give it a try, if you haven’t already. I avoided it for it for the longest time, afraid of what I might hear, but he has an unusual non-partisan perspective that’s taking a broad view of the dysfunctions in our democracy–corruption, the two party system, and so on. For example, when he talked about Syria, it was all about the fact that the executive can start a war on a whim, because Congress no longer asserts its right to decide when we declare war. It’s refreshing.
Believe it or not, he actually got invited to a CENTCOM meeting.
I like Welcome to Nightvale, but it has lost the interest it once had post Desert Bluff arc. I don’t know exactly why, but that was the peak for me, and even that is a long way into the story so it’s not really a bad thing at all.
I, however much I want to like it, can’t recommend Hello from the Magic Tavern. It has every aspect I dislike about improv without the things I like, and the sheer lack of effort towards keeping consistency (especially with the effort put into the “other dimension” story which is good) makes it seem like they are looking down on fantasy stories. I really wanted to like it and got a good way in before giving up on it when it started cycling the laziest jokes/characters back for a third time or more. Some of the ideas are hilarious, and with even just a little more effort I would probably love it but I just don’t.
yeah, i get it – i think they were more committed to the idea of the story at the beginning than they are now, for sure. it’s not to everyone’s tastes. but what i find hilarious about it nowadays is the long-running gags keep worming their way back, and i also love how far they go to CLEARLY try to trip each other up, all the while smirking at the microphone. there are also some of the reoccurring guest characters that i really find amusing, like the elf and the traveling actor. it’s completely sophomoric humor for sure, but it’s a great antidote to all the political stuff i’m consuming.
My favorite podcasts with long titles:
The Mysterious Radio Listening Society - Hand-picked old time radio horror followed by analysis as whether episode stands the test of time.
Recommended episode - The Screaming Skull
The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified - Kid friendly serial with strong female protagonist.
Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast - (NSFW) Interviews with old-time show business icons.
Recommended episode - Dick Van Dyke
99% Invisible is excellent, as well as Song Exploder and The Allusionist. I’ve been hearing that the Hawaii-based Offshore is very good as well but haven’t listened to it yet.
Ironically, as a guy who makes a chunk of his living doing promo artwork for podcasts (including all of the ones listed here) I hardly ever get a chance to listen to them. Listening to people talking or singing as I try to make text look good on a page is just way too distracting.
You have perfectly described why I can’t listen to any of the improv podcasts.
I find them soooo irritating!
WTNV can get a little in-jokey at times. Especially their live shows, do not try to introduce someone to WTNV by taking them to a live show, its like its in a different language.
Seconding 99% Invisible and Hardcore History. Also “You Must Remember This” about old-time Hollywood – the blacklist episodes are especially good.
I keep forgetting about Song Exploder.
That’s soooo three years ago.
i never claimed to be hip, yo.
A second for this. I should listen more often, interesting, entertaining, and some of the stories are just OMG!
Changed my life that episode did! Inspired me to write to a nonagenarian in Malibu who sent me this photo of himself in earlier days:
Backstory (American history as it relates to current events) (with a 10-year episode back catalog, good stuff)
Generation Anthropocene (climate and enviro topics focusing on Earth-as-a-system, I adore this one) (also with a big back catalog)
Harry Shearer’s Le Show
Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill
About half the time:
On Being with Krista Tippett
Slate Politics and Prose (hoping Doctorow got recorded when he was there for his Walkaway tour)
Several other Slate podcasts (The Gist, Political Gabfest, Amicus, Trumpcast)
I need to find a good city planning one.
Also, the whole Trump-impersonation-in-a-podcast thing needs to end. It was cool for about two weeks at most.
i thought of another podcast that is brief that i really love: Making Gay History. every episode leaves me so grateful, in tears, and prouder than ever.
Over the weekend, I listened to ars Paradoxica, based on your list. It was really good!
I know you made this thread to ask for recommendations, but I wanted to thank you for yours also. Thanks!
I’m not sure what’s next, but I am planning on trying some of the others on your list. My feeds are kind of news-heavy which is important, but depressing.
Criminal, mentioned right up there at the top, is really on a roll at the moment. I was listening to the latest episode while I was doing laundry, and realised I’d just… stopped… and was doing nothing but listen. I love it when that happens.
There’s a glorious newish one for lovers of Brit humoUr and silly films: Smershpod, in which all the Bond movies are ruthlessly dissected. I will never look at Desmond Llewellyn in the same way again.
I’ve been considering playing some podcasts for my Zombies, Run! runs, at least while I’m in non-story-line missions, at least. However while We Are Alive seems like something I’d enjoy, I think I’ll listen to that one in the car!