I walk over 3.5 miles for my commute daily and this puts me in the perfect position to consume lots of podcasts. It’s also a great way to ramp up or decompress from the work day by letting your mind focus on something else. But lately I have noticed my podcast consumption habits have changed and I can pinpoint the exact point. It was the Bret Kavanaugh hearings.
See, I also consume a lot of news media. Local news is on when I am getting dressed in the morning and making dinner at night. My Twitter feed is filled with lots of news and current event outlets and I used to listen to many current event podcasts. I say used to because all of a sudden I noticed I was doing something I never did before with my usual podcasts…..I was deleting or skipping episodes without listening, because I realized, I needed a break, badly. Podcasts weren’t a way to relax on my way to work anymore. Hearing #metoo stories or yet another attempt to explain consent was stirring up things and I was getting to work stressed, unfocused, and angry. That’s not a good look in any job, but in my role, I have to deal with these types of issues in a professional capacity, so things had to change.
Enter the audio drama. What I need now is escapism in form of heavily produced episodic storytelling and well-developed characters and I found some that have inspired major binge listening.
I have already mentioned some other audio dramas I enjoy – Darkest Night, Deadly Manners, The Black Tapes, and Tanis. The Red Menace has also given you a heads up on another Sci-Fi based fave, Hadron Gospel Hour (more please friends!)
But now I have more!
Limetown follows American Public Radio (a fictional NPR type entity) reporter Lia Haddock as she tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Limetown and its 300+ inhabitants, who have all disappeared without a trace. Structured like a take-off on a Serial type podcast, Limetown is spooky, mysterious, and a very compelling story. You will find yourself wanting to do you own research just to be sure this is in fact, fiction.
Note: It was recently announced that Limetown will be turned into a TV show on Facebook Watch starring Jessica Biel.
King Falls AM 660 on the AM dial wherever the mountain town of King Falls is located. It’s like the X-Files meets Northern Exposure. Shock Jock Sammy Stevens moves to King Falls and begins to host a local AM call in radio show. The whole podcast is done as the radio show, you learn about the characters and happenings of King Falls via call-ins and on-site radio broadcasts. It’s funny, scary, and at times quite emotional (yes there have been tears). King Falls has been around for a few years now, but you definitely want to start at the beginning. Listening to the character development over the episodes has been an absolute joy.
Note: This one has explicit content so not for kiddos or public listening in the office. You are gonna want your headphones, and people can just ask you what you are giggle-snorting about.
Angel of Vine is a crime noir story in which a present day journalist discovers the cassette tapes of a hardboiled 1950’s PI who solved a major Hollywood murder mystery. This one packs some pretty serious voice talent – Joe Manganiello, Alfred Molina, Constance Zimmer, Alan Tudyk, and Misha Collins (which I didn’t know till a few episodes in, so that was a fun surprise) and if this a genre you like, I’m guessing you will like this.
Note: This is another one with some explicit content, so not for the kiddos.
The Walk is quite unique in that the main character is you! Written by Naomi Alderman, who also does my beloved Zombies, Run! and The Power, in The Walk you are accidentally given a mysterious package that you must get from one end of Scotland to the other. The kicker, a terrorist group sets off an EMP in episode one, so the only way to cross the country is to walk.
Note: Perfect for days out strolling if you want to be the star of your own adventure.
Summer is often a time for sitting. Sitting on the beach, sitting in a fishing boat, sitting in traffic. Not all these situations may be conducive to indulging in summer reading. As the person who is often the driver for summer travels I can confirm, reading and driving, super frowned upon. (Note: This is a joke, I don’t even talk on the phone while driving).
There are tons of educational and current events podcasts out there, but summer is also a time for escapism and I think we could all use a break from the daily assault of what’s going on in the news media. So, here are 3 serialized story podcasts for you to enjoy while staring at a either body of water, or the break lights in front of you.
Despite being a pretty avid podcast listener and this absolutely being in my wheelhouse, I was a bit late to the party on this one. The Black Tapes Podcast is presented by Pacific Northwest Stories (PNS), and Minnow Beats Whale. It’s a docudrama hosted by Alex Regan, and presented as a journalist investigation rather than a narrative story. Alex begins her podcast series by looking at unusual jobs, but it very quickly takes a new direction when she meeting Dr. Richard Strand, head of the Strand Institute and his black tapes files. The Strand Institute’s mission is to debunk the supernatural, but what happens when they come across things that can’t be easily explained away?
I binged this one hardcore. It’s 3 seasons and seems to be completed. Shout out to it for being responsible for me cleaning out my closet because I just put my headphones on and next thing I knew, I had a nice pile of items for donation.
Check this out if you like: The X-Files, Serial, Supernatural
This is another one from PNS. After loving The Black Tapes so much I decided to further explore the PNS offerings (and there are still others I have in my queue). Tanis is similarly structured as a journalistic investigation, and hosts who are familiar from The Black Tapes are featured. The central question of this investigation is What is Tanis? Is it a place, a person, a feeling? Nic Sliver sets out to answer this question and is quickly pulled into a terrifying mystery that affects him and everyone he interacts with.
I’m still listening to Tanis, it’s 4 seasons and it still going. It took slightly longer to grab me than The Black Tapes, but once it did grab me, I always make sure I have at least 3 episodes downloaded on my phone and ready for listening.
Check this out if you like: horror based mystery, things about cults, and salty hackers
Did you know that AMC/Sundance were into the podcast game? Me neither until I happened upon Deadly Manners. Deadly Manners is also a murder mystery, but much more of a “who done it” done in the style of a classic radio drama. There is a fancy dinner party at a grand house during a snowstorm. Soon enough people start dying, and with no one able to leave, and a host who insists the party must go one, will any of the guests survive the night?
What makes Deadly Manners so much fun is the voice talent. You will hear some very familiar voices including Kristen Bell, RuPaul, and LeVar Burton. This is another completed podcast so very bingeable.
Check this out if you like: Clue, some over the top voice acting, and twists.
All of these podcasts – plus our own podcast – are available via iTunes. Let us know any others that we should be checking out!