There’s no new episode this week, but we know you need your fix. How about trying one of these eight podcasts, video series, and websites we like?
Honestly, you’re probably already listening to 99% Invisible. But if you’ve been living in a cave for the last few years, the show is devoted to revealing the design that goes into every aspect of our modern world, and which often goes unnoticed. Some of our favorite episodes include: “Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Twine”, about two twine balls competing for the title of world’s largest; “Goodnight Nobody”, about a librarian’s vendetta against Goodnight Moon; and “Their Dark Materials”, all about vantablack, the material from which no light can escape. (And, which, coincidentally, forced us to scuttle our own episode about vantablack…)
There are so many great podcasts about British history, but one of our favorites is Chris Fernandez Packham’s Age of Victoria. His episode about “The Philosophy of Empire” is one of the best explorations of the concept of empire and what it means for everyone involved, rulers and subjects alike. That one episode alone is probably the best episode of any podcast released in the last year.
The best comeback story of 2020 was when everyone fired from Deadspin for refusing to stick only to sports regrouped to create their own sports-ish site, Defector. Drew Magary and David Roth host their Distraction podcast, which again, is mostly about sports, but doesn’t hesitate to tackle other issues from time to time.
We only stumbled across Dan Olson’s Folding Ideas recently, but his hot takes really resonate with us. Of particular interest to podcast listeners will be his videos “In Search of a Flat Earth” and “That Time Geocentrists Tricked a Bunch of Physicists”. For reasons that will become apparent about halfway through Series 6.
You are probably already aware of video essayist, podcaster, PBS television personality, and bestselling author Lindsay Ellis. If you’re not, you need to go over to YouTube and check out her amazing videos about film and pop culture right now. They’re actual reasoned commentary, not the picayune nitpicking you find on other “criticism” channels. You can start with a nine-part series examining the Transformers franchise through various critical lenses. Or listen to her utter befuddlement about the very concept of Cats. Or take a very, very NSFW dive into the Omegaverse.
You will find yourself inexplicably drawn to Lingthusiasm when they get AI researcher Janelle Shane to have her machines write an episode of their show. And then you’ll be charmed enough to stick around for a deep dive into the schwa, or a discussion about the various approaches to translation. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes’ Maintenance Phase is all about the junk science behind health fads and wellness scams. It’s relatively new, but we were hooked from the first mention of “hot sex juice.”
Season One of Wild Things started when Laura Krantz discovered she was related to one of the world’s premiere Bigfoot researchers and fell into a very deep rabbit hole about what Bigfoot means to us, both scientifically and culturally. Season Two does the same thing for UFOs and aliens, and it’s just as great.
New Content from Old Favorites
Many of our favorite podcasts had excellent election specials. Check out The Constant‘s episode on the contentious election of “1876”, The Last Archive‘s “Election Special”, The Pessimist’s Archive‘s “The Most Important Podcast of Our Lifetime!” and Overheard at National Geographic‘s “Documenting Democracy”.
Between Things We Like installments, Lauren Ober’s Spectacular Failures managed to pump out an incredible second season. Check out their amazing episodes on Forever 21, Love Canal, and Pan Am.
Also in the “unexpected returns” category, Radio Free Hipster returned from a pandemic-induced hiatus with an excellent Halloween episode. Can’t wait to hear this year’s Christmas episode in a few weeks.
And finally, The Dollop covers one of our favorite sports stories, the crazy tale of “The Cocaine Pirates.”