By now it seems like everyone has listened to (or at least heard of) Serial but I'm just here with a friendly reminder that if you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet you should...now! It's the first podcast I listened to and I think it's the best on to start on; it's exciting, smart and just really well produced. I love the narrative factor and how it follows the same story through each of the twelve episodes. It follows the murder case of a high school student (Hae Min Lee) and the arrest of her fellow student and ex-boyfriend (Adnan Syed). The case against Adnan definitely had some flaws so the podcast looks to search through the evidence to figure out if he's truly guilty.
If you have listened to Serial but have a craving for more you should check out Undisclosed or Serial Dynasty. Undisclosed is less narrative and more fact based (it's three lawyers who do it) and Serial Dynasty is listener driven and delves more into speculative theories (which I kind of like!)
This is a fairly new podcast, there's only three episodes out so far, but it's getting some serious buzz. Unlike the others I have listed here, this one is fictional (sure doesn't feel that way when you listen to it though!) Limetown is the story of how all the people from a small town (Limetown, obviously) just disappeared one day and have never been heard of again. I was hooked from the very first episode and have been desperately waiting for the most recent episode to be released. This is a fun one and I love how it brings back the old school radio show vibe.
Right now there's a full season of Invisibilia available and they are working on season 2. The basis for the show is looking at the invisible forces that control human behavior. The two hosts, Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, are great and they tackle a new topic each week. 'Entanglement' was probably my favorite episode from season 1 so check that one out. As I said, each week is different so you don't have to listen to these ones in order.
I think Radiolab has had some of my favourite podcast episodes but it does cover a vast array of topics so I certainly like some more than others. There's a ton of episodes though so read through the descriptions and pick something you think you'll enjoy. A few of my picks are 'Gray's Donation', 'Outside Westgate', and 'In the Dust of this Planet'.
Pop Culture Happy Hour
Another NPR podcast (they're kind of the podcast royalty) that focuses on all things pop culture. This is a round table discussion on current pop culture topics covering movies, TV, books, comics, etc. I don't listen to this one all the time but it's a good place to run when I need a movie review or a new TV show to watch.
This is a podcast about crime but kind of with a twist. I like this one because the episodes are only about 20 minutes so it's not a huge time commitment and they always have unique opinions and theories on crimes that have happened. My favourite episode is the very first one 'Animal Instincts' which is actually about the same case the documentary miniseries 'The Jinx' was based on. Off topic, but if you haven't watched 'The Jinx' it's fantastic (if you like true crime stuff.)
If you're interested in finance or want to get more educated, this is a great podcast because it focuses on money/business topics that are currently in the headlines. The guests on the show are always knowledgeable and have good insights into what is going on in the world to help keep you informed. Listen to a few recent episodes of Slate Money before a dinner party and you'll be full of smart conversation ;)