With the popularity of podcasts on the rise each year, the desire for more content continues to grow. In fact, the percentage of Americans who say they have never listened to a podcast is steadily declining, according to a recent survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital. And with recent news of Serial shifting to a biweekly schedule, the demand is as fierce as ever.
While the thirst for more unsolved mysteries is at an all-time high, thanks to season 1 of Serial re-examining the 1999 murder case of a Baltimore teenager and Netflix’s recent hit Making a Murderer, listeners are on a quest to find the next fascinating topic to take over our Gchat messages and dinner conservations. Whether you’re a cinephile who appreciates the history of cinema or one who opts for the sheer pleasure of mocking a Razzie-worthy movie, or a pop culture addict who needs to dive deeper into the world ofReal Housewives or Game of Thrones, EW’s got you covered. Want to hear a spooky story or get some life advice? We’ve got your fix. To fill this week’s hole left by Serial, check out some top picks from EW staffers.
For the Film Buff
You Must Remember This
Los Angeles film critic Karina Longworth’s podcast is a must-listen for any film buff who happens to be a sucker for stories from Hollywood’s Golden Age — both its glimmering surface and its tarnished underside. Whether taking on the scandalous love life of Howard Hughes, the tawdry inner workings of the star factory, or true-crime sagas like the Manson family murder of Sharon Tate, You Must Remember This makes Tinseltown’s history come back to roaring life.– Chris Nashawaty, Movie Critic
Blumhouse.com staffers Rebekah McKendry and Rob Galluzzo host this weekly dose of horror movie rumination with fellow terror flick aficionado Elric Kane. Killer POV reflects both genre developments — recent guests include Krampus director Michael Dougherty — and the trio’s own entertainingly idiosyncratic interests. Take a drink every time McKendry expresses her love for aquatic monster flicks or Kane waxes lyrical about 1981’s Isabelle Adjani-starring Possession and you may wake up with a terrifying hangover. – Clark Collis, Senior Writer
The Flop House
Hosted by a trio of dudes (former Daily Show head writer Elliott Kalan, current DS scribe Dan McCoy, and professional party animal Stuart Wellington), The Flop House is the definitive exploration of some of the biggest commercial and critical disasters left on the cinematic scrap heap. The show provides the only decent reason to allow movies like Dracula Untold and Chappie to exist, and over the course of nearly 200 episodes, the hosts have developed a phenomenally deep well of in-jokes, from the multiple mutations of Gerard Butler’s name (Gremlin Batler is the best) to the made-up movie series Rocket Crocodile and the World of Tomorrow. – Kyle Anderson, Senior Writer
How Did This Get Made?
People tend to think one of two things about bad movies: either they’re bad without merit, or they’re great in their own special way.How Did This Get Made? believes in the second ethos and goes all out. Comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael — usually joined by a guest — rip every shaky plot thread, mock ridiculous dialogue, and revel in the comically horrible quality of bad films. Just be warned that if you’re in a public space listening to the improv-trained comics take a deep dive on flicks like Con Air orSharknado, or even ones you’ve never seen, you’ll be that person cracking up to yourself. – Will Robinson, Digital Writer
For the Music Junkie
If you’re looking to go deeper into the world of EDM music beyond, say, global stars Calvin Harris and Avicii, tune into the monthly podcasts from DJ Jaytech. Berlin-based producer and artist James Cayzer delivers the best survey of what’s hot in progressive house, trance and other electronic sub-genres at the moment — all woven together into a seamless, nearly two-hour mix. It’s the perfect companion for cruising around a metropolis on mass transit. – Kevin O’Donnell, Senior Editor, Music
For the TV Addict
Each week Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and her pal Danielle Schneider (co-creator of Hulu’s The Hotwives) hilariously dissect each episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with the precision of a brain surgeon. No RHOBH subject is left untouched including: miniature horses, Kyle by Alene Too, and Lisa Rinna’s slammin’ bod. The women also share important teaching moments from their own lives — in episode 5, Wilson describes what to do when you bend over in a Chicago department store to pick a brassiere off the floor and throw out your back. – Henry Goldblatt, Editor
Binge-watching can be both a blessing and a curse — you can burn through episodes as fast or slow as you want, but going at your own pace means you can’t discuss what’s happening with people who are too far ahead or too far behind. But if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan, you’re in luck, because there’s the Gilmore Guys: two dudes (veteran fan Kevin T. Porter and Stars Hollow newcomer Demi Adejuyigbe) who are watching and (hilariously) analyzing the show episode by episode, many times with special guests joining them for the Lorelai/Rory/Richard/Emily/etc fun. – Jessica Derschowitz, Digital News Editor
Glanced at out of the corner of your eye, Adventure Time seems like a silly kids’ cartoon that also manages to entertain stoned adults. But hiding beneath the colorful surface are deeply felt ideas about friendship, loneliness, maturity, and responsibility, among other serious topics. With Conversation Parade, public radio veteran/comedian John Moe and rapper Open Mike Eagle giveAdventure Time the in-depth analysis it deserves. They also interview the show’s artists and voice actors, giving their podcast the same mix of serious thought and entertaining diversion as the show itself. – Christian Holub, Digital Writer
For the Gamer
Idle Thumbs brings together a host of game developers to discuss their latest gaming habits and news of the industry, but their experience making games — and even some of them doing so together — brings a comfortable and accessible bent to the discussion. Hosts Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, Sean Vanaman, Nick Breckon, and James Spafford’s take on the industry is simultaneously funny and insightful, detailed and easy to understand, looking at the industry through academic, entertainment, and societal lenses. Even for those who can’t tell a MOBA from an MMORPG, Idle Thumbs is one of the best gaming podcasts around. – Jonathon Dornbush, FanWatch Assistant Editor
For the Pop Culture Obsessed
Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig
Comedian and YouTube creator Grace Helbig’s audio-video podcastNot Too Deep with Grace Helbig will make you laugh your ass off each week. Every Monday Helbig interviews a guest (usually a fellow YouTuber) and makes sure the conversation doesn’t get, well, too deep. Her format of random questions (from fans and herself) allows guests to freely tell gut-busting anecdotes about peeing their pants, naming children after alcohol, and so much more. The only thing you know you’re going to hear every week is Helbig and her guest’s hysterical laughter. – Katie Minard, Assistant Social Media Editor
Every week ex-Grantlanders Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald partner up to bring you an hour of the liveliest and most intelligent pop culture banter you can find. From hilariously opinionated takes on spy novels and underground ’90s rap, to their love of Game of Thronesand contempt for city-leveling superhero scenes, these two inject heavyweight wit and humor into the vast landscape of modern entertainment. The Watch is a terrific companion for the most obsessive media consumer. – Keir Novesky, Deputy Design Director
How Was Your Week with Julie Klausner
Writer-comedian Julie Klausner invites listeners into her pop culture-obsessed mind to vent about American Horror Story, update us on her celebrity feuds (we’re looking at you, Pauley Perrette), and mainly just offer very strong opinions on every single facet of television, movies, books, and celebrities in general. Klausner’s chats with guests, such as Natasha Lyonne, Seth Rogen, and Julianne Moore, comes off as more friendly conversation than formal interviews. In fact, as the colloquial title suggests, every episode feels like a conversation with a friend — Klausner records them in her home and often takes breaks to talk to her cat Jimmy Jazz. – Dylan Kickham, Intern
For Fans of Scares
Do you like scary stories? No, really. If you’re a fan of horror and have read a history book or two, LORE is the perfect podcast to add to your rotation. Writer-host-producer Aaron Mahnke creates captivating, well-researched 20-minute episodes that are just snackable enough to devour on your daily commute, and yet completely satisfying. The combination of historical background and creepy coincidences make each tale simultaneously educational and tantalizing, without the occasionally campy factor of the Hollywood horror story. As we’re constantly reminded, sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction — and that’s what makes this podcast so eerily enjoyable. Just don’t fall asleep with it on autoplay: guaranteed nightmares. – Drew Elovitz, Senior Social Editor
The Black Tapes
Serial may have spawned a thousand parodies and copycats, but none are as delightfully creepy as The Black Tapes. This Sarah Koenig-meets-Mulder-and-Scully drama follows radio reporter Alex Reagan as she starts looking into Dr. Richard Strand, a paranormal investigator and noted skeptic. While Strand has debunked thousands of supposedly spooky stories, he still has a few unsolved cases. Just how creepy are Strand’s Black Tapes? Your own mileage may vary, depending on how easily scared you are, but you still might want to listen to this one with the lights on. Season two starts Jan. 19, so start catching up now. – Devan Coggan, Editorial Assistant
For Those Looking for Advice
Wild writer Cheryl Strayed began doling out her honest, thoughtful advice on The Rumpus column Dear Sugar, which now lives on as an engaging podcast. Strayed teamed up with the original Sugar, writer Steve Almond, and together, they answer questions from listeners about everything from addiction to infidelity. The two hosts are admirably empathetic in their approach, and each episode leaves you with the deeply comforting feeling that there is always hope, no matter how difficult your struggle might be. – Ariana Bacle, Digital Writer
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