Nonfiction Podcast Series for Road Tripping
November 24, 2014 6:41 AM   Subscribe

ISO: Nonfiction podcasts, spread over multiple episodes, not Serial but in that vein of long-form audio storytelling. Help!

I've an upcoming road trip with someone who has not yet listened to Serial, so we'll be listening to that all the way through. Which has me wondering what else I might be able to find to keep my friend entertained for several hours.

He's not big into fiction so no Welcome to Night Vale, I think we want to keep this pretty strictly non-fiction. I like the idea of a story that would unfold over time, so while I have lots of great one-off episode ideas from this older question, I'm wondering if I might be overlooking something else that might scratch the same long-form story-telling itch as Serial. Doesn't have to be investigative, doesn't have to be true crime, just an interesting story told over time.

Is there such a thing? I love me some Serial but surely it's got some parents or siblings out there in the podcasting world.
posted by Stacey to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
The Hardcore History podcasts often arc over several episodes to cover whatever the subject is.
posted by COD at 6:58 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

It's a bit more on the educational side than the entertainment side but Revolutions podcast covers famous revolutions (American, English, and currently in the middle of the French). It's the same person who did The History of Rome Podcast so they are relatively polished and entertaining...with the bonus of teaching you stuff.
posted by Captain_Science at 7:00 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Bah, was typing what COD said. Seconded.

The Blueprint for Armageddon episode set within the Hardcore History series is good. The detail on the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand assassination was fascinating.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:00 AM on November 24, 2014

You Must Remember This is really good. And while about half of the episodes focus on relationships (Howard Hughes gets 3, though he shows up in several more because he kind of got around), it's through a lens of feminism/Hollywood sexism that's a nice angle.

Criminal is not serial but each episode is about a crime. It's fairly new, there's not that many episodes.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:39 AM on November 24, 2014

I love the Planet Money podcast. They've done a couple of serial stories. One about Toxie, the toxic mortgage bond they bought and followed to its demise. And one about making a t-shirt from scratch and following the international trade.
posted by Nelson at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might enjoy A History of the World in 100 Objects and Shakespeare's Restless World both from BBC Radio 4.
posted by atlantica at 9:05 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another two history podcasts that do this are The Ancient World and The History of Byzantium. And seconding A History of the World in 100 Objects.

There are some Ideas (from CBC radio) podcasts that have several parts. Most recently they had a 5 part series about children in WWI called Lost Innocence. I assume it's good but I was crying too much during the first part to want to find out. There were also two shorter series recently - How To Do Ordinary Things about Jean Vanier, and Being Canadian about a Korean woman and her family and life.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2014

The StarUp by Alex Blumberg (from This American Life and Planet Money) is a great podcast, very rich and entertaining.
posted by 3dd at 10:06 AM on November 24, 2014

Alex Blumberg's StartUp is great as 3dd mentioned. Also as nelson recommended, Planet Money's T-Shirt Project was really interesting.
posted by radioamy at 10:08 AM on November 24, 2014

Not a podcast, but if you have a way to get audiobooks without too much trouble, Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927 is basically a very very longform article on 4ish amazing months in American history.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if it fits completely, but you could check out The Tobolowsky Files. It's actor Stephen Tobolowsky telling usually ~40-60 minute long stories from his life. It's not a series as such, but the episodes do build on each other in varying degrees, and sometimes you do get a mini-series of a few connected episodes.
posted by bjrn at 10:54 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Like Revolutions, I would also recommend Mike Duncan's History of Rome. It's close to 200 episodes, so unless you are driving from Anchorage to Punta Arenas, you should be fine.
posted by Hactar at 9:26 AM on November 25, 2014

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