Refresh my podcasts
September 19, 2016 6:56 PM   Subscribe

I need new podcasts to listen to! I like two kinds of podcasts: 1) high-production, good sound design, on almost any topic (think 99% Invisible, RadioLab) and 2) historical and/or biographical topics (Everything is Stories, Backstory, Criminal). And a few others. But my playlist has gone stale -- refresh me? Examples of what I already like and dislike are inside.

Historical/biographical, likes: Everything is stories, Futility Closet, Lore, Revolutions, History of Rome, Stuff You Missed in History, Backstory, Hardcore History, Criminal, You Must Remember This, Serial

Historical/biographical, don't likes: History of Byzantium, Mortified, Story Collider (and most first-person unnarrated documentary)

High-production values, good sound design, likes: 99% Invisible, RadioLab, Here Be Monsters, Theory of Everything, UnFictional, Love+Radio, Memory Palace, Re:Sound, Under the Influence

I don't actually have any examples of the second type that I don't like.

What do you suggest?
posted by OrangeDisk to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
Rob Has a Podcast (Mostly reality and scripted TV, high production value.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 PM on September 19, 2016

Maybe you forgot to mention it on your like/dislike rundown, because it seems crazy to me that you would not be aware of it given how wide-ranging your list is, but: This American Life?

I also like Invisibilia.
posted by zeee at 6:59 PM on September 19, 2016

Archaeological Fantasies - extremely skeptical, expert and good-hearted. You can start with whatever show interests you.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:05 PM on September 19, 2016

I am a big fan of Mystery Show, and think you would like the biographical story-telling and high production value components.
posted by shortyJBot at 7:08 PM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Imaginary Worlds: fantasy, SF, myth, well-produced, often with a historical bent. Quite smart and far ranging.

Witness from the BBC World Service: History told by the people who were there. Small episodes, always interesting.
posted by maudlin at 7:12 PM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've enjoyed Science Vs a great deal. There are only six of them so far, hopefully more to come soon.
posted by Cuke at 7:12 PM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Gastropod is a great, nerdy podcast about food through the perspective of science and history.

For great sound design and journalism, I love Planet Money. I was skeptical at first but they do a really phenomenal job diving into a variety of economy-related topics in a really tangible, thoughtful, non-alienating way. Like spending 4 episodes actually doing business as a legal oil company.
posted by cnidaria at 7:20 PM on September 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

History Extra from BBC History Magazine.
posted by amtho at 7:21 PM on September 19, 2016

In Our Time is one of my favorites and a huge back catalog for you to go through. History of the World in 100 objects is also wonderfl.
posted by nightwood at 7:32 PM on September 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

You like Serial and Criminal, so these are worth a shot: Bowraville, Breakdown, In the Dark, Sword and Scale, Someone Knows Something, and Undisclosed.

Actual Innocence has potential, but is still figuring out the whole podcasting thing.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:58 PM on September 19, 2016

Okay, assuming you've explored all the Radiotopia podcasts, here are a few of my favorites:
The History of English
Punt PI

Definitely History of the World in 100 Objects, as recommended above.
posted by Lexica at 8:20 PM on September 19, 2016

I'm currently really enjoying "Presidential" from the Washington Post. You should also check out "More Perfect."
posted by ocherdraco at 8:39 PM on September 19, 2016

Based on your lists, I'd recommend In the Dark; Bullseye; Invisibilia; and Death, Sex, & Money.
posted by trixie119 at 9:06 PM on September 19, 2016

Going though my list, the ones that stand out that I'd think you like are Planet Money, Freakonomics, Surprinsingly Awesome and Ungeniused. All are very high production values, and should also at least come close to vaguely resembling historical in some ways. Oh, Sawbones!! Medical history (not as boring as it sounds) and high production values. If you like that you can also try Schmanners.

Also since you mentioned Stuff you Missed in History Class, have you tried Stuff you should Know? If that works for you they have a back catalogue that will take you eons to get through.
posted by cgg at 9:31 PM on September 19, 2016

Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell for the history side, and Sampler for discovering new podcasts every episode.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:14 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Metafilters own Reply All is the best podcast about the Internet.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:23 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Curious City. (Chicago-centric, but still good historical stuff)
posted by wells at 5:49 AM on September 20, 2016

The Allusionist (on the same network as 99% Invisible) has great sound design and production.
posted by saladin at 6:32 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

@Cuke, the first season of Science Vs is actually available on iTunes (/Stitcher, etc). I would also recommend it.

If you're interested in the law as well -- I find it fascinating especially as it relates to history -- I'd add a recommendation for Amicus and Life of the Law LotL is pretty similar to Criminal, and Amicus is focused on the Supreme Court.

If you're interested in true crime at least a little, which seems likely due to your interested in Serial, Breakdown is really well-produced, as is Finding Tammy Jo; the latter is more of a historical retelling of a cold case. Undisclosed goes into the weeds of Adnan's case, and recently started investigating another possible wrongful conviction.

Others with high production values:
Flash Forward, stories about our possible futures and interviews with people who can help prevent or cause them;
This is Actually Happening is very similar in feel and tone to Everything is Stories;
Everything Sounds, which analyzes sound and its effect on the world;
Pitch is similar to Everything Sounds;
Song Exploder, interviews with songwriters about the songwriting process;
Rendered doesn't run anymore but the back catalog is great, it's about creativity and crafts;
ARRVLS is about transitional periods in a person's life but is first-person unnarrated just to warn you;
Anxious Machine is about humanity's changing relationship to technology;
Unfictional is more like a traditional documentary show;
Invisibilia is about culture and psychology.
posted by possibilityleft at 6:40 AM on September 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Oh, also, if you like Reply All, their previous podcast TLDR is still available and very similar.
posted by possibilityleft at 6:41 AM on September 20, 2016

Planet Money is really so, so good. I didn't care a whit for econ before listening to it, but I'm always delighted to see it pop up in my feed. Particularly great episodes: an fbi hostage negotiator buys a car, how four drinking buddies saved Brazil, the hoverboard life, gold standard RIP, how do you decide who gets lungs, the anti-addiction pill, and the secret document that transformed China.

Embedded is very good, extremely high values.

Only Human is absolutely fantastic, super high production values, and great great content.

Seconding Song Exploder, Science Vs. (there are actually two seasons, but they show up as different shows in iTunes), Sawbones, and Radiolab Presents: More Perfect (about the Supreme Court). I assume you've already heard 99% Invisible.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:25 AM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

1. Mysterious Universe is like nothing else I've ever heard, and if it's the kind of thing you like, you're going to get addicted quickly. Two smart, funny, skeptical Australian guys discuss current events, science, futurology, the paranormal, aliens, and all kind of fringe/"news of the weird" topics with great wit, clarity and verve. They do really great book reviews and author interviews - very in-depth, thoughtful, detailed. It's free, but they also have a membership option that unlocks hours and hours and hours of additional content. Excellent production values - one of the best-sounding podcasts out there. If it sounds a little too "out there," well, I really hope you give it a chance. Great for road trips or if you do a lot of commuting!

2. Star Talk - for your weekly dose of Neil deGrasse Tyson riffing on space, science and the future of humanity. Usually a comedian co-host and at least one guest, which could be anyone from former astronaut Mike Mullane to Al Gore.

3. TED Radio Hour is always interesting, thought-provoking and engrossing - in a bite-sized package.

4. Ear Biscuits! Even if you have no idea who Rhett and Link (YouTube internetainers extraordinaire) are, their podcast content is excellent. Most of their podcasts center around in-depth interviews with seminal YouTube content makers. This might not sound exciting, but if you're interested in how people tick, how people get where they are, and the history of the internet, it's fascinating stuff. Rhett and Link are hilarious masters of comedic storytelling. They also give out surprisingly great advice on how to communicate and maintain healthy relationships.

5. If you're interested in human sexuality, relationships, reproductive health, and LGBTQ+ rights, give the Savage Lovecast a listen.
posted by the thought-fox at 3:10 PM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might like Reveal . It aspires to be the 60 Minutes of podcasts. I've only listened to a few, so I can't weight in on the claim yet.
posted by systematize at 8:03 PM on September 20, 2016

I requested and got recs for a bunch of history podcasts myself a while back, and of that bumper crop I think you might like Rex Factor. Lighthearted discussion of the history of the British monarchy with two hosts. One does the quite solid research and the other does the charming color commentary, together they banter about who was the king-y-est king of all. (Or queen as the case may be.) The audio quality is a bit ropey on the first handful of episodes, but after that they sort themselves out, you can skip them if it bugs you.
posted by Diablevert at 4:42 PM on September 26, 2016

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