Whether you’re a big fan of podcasts or are looking to break into the medium, here’s a good selection to move you along.
“Alice isn’t Dead”
“Alice Isn’t Dead” features the comforting voice of Jasika Nicole asking you questions about the sustainability of an economy where efficiency surpasses human capabilities, her missing wife and the horrors of Midwestern America. It is, I dare say, the quintessential American gothic podcast. Nicole’s character is a trucker who is searching for her wife, missing and assumed dead, across America, following a trail of murders and people who aren’t quite people, battling her anxiety and the silence of so much open road. There are rumors that it’s going to be a TV show as well, so you can stay ahead of the curve by giving it a listen now.
Let’s be honest here. I hear “a podcast made by current TU students and alumni” and I’m already suspicious about the quality. But it has a funny name and a catchy but short intro. I don’t need much more than that to give it a try. “Hostel Discourse” covers pop culture, up to and including Harry Potter movies, aliens and boxing matches (seriously, it’s better than any of these facts are making it sound). It’s charming, fast-paced and energetic, the narrators disagree just enough to get your attention without ever turning awkward or uncomfortable. It’s structured into 15-minute conversation and then 45 minutes of debate. You can listen on Soundcloud, which I somehow feel adds to the conversational tone of the podcast.
“The Black Tapes”
Who doesn’t like a ghost story? This fictional series focuses on the eponymous black tapes, a series of cases of the supernatural that famed skeptic and debunker of the paranormal stories Dr. Strand has yet to solve. Journalist Alex Reagan looks into the black tapes and narrates her interviews and interactions in this spinoff of the podcast Pacific Northwest Stories. It’s a little slow in places, but holds up as a thoughtful and curious inquiry into our feelings about the supernatural and human connections.
“This American Life”
This is a staple. If you listen to podcasts, you’ve heard of “This American Life.” If you don’t listen to podcasts . . . you’ve probably heard of “This American Life.” It’s one of the most popular shows in the nation, with weekly content and a wide variety of topics and presenters, generally focused on current events or interesting science. But it’s popular because it’s good, and you can nearly always find something you’re interested in if you’re willing to wade through the pages and pages of podcast titles and descriptions. If you’re trying to figure out if you like podcasts, this is a great place to start.
“The Bright Sessions”
Another serialized story podcast, but one with an innovative format. It follows the therapy sessions of Dr. Bright, who uses voice recordings to document her interactions with her patients, and over time it evolves past the limits of her office. She helps atypicals, people with superhuman abilities and it follows both their struggles with their abilities and their mundane problems, like anxiety or relationships. It’s a fun trip into lighthearted sci-fi complete with awkward family relationships and superhuman abilities that don’t fall into the tired superhero tropes you’ve probably seen three times in the last month alone.