Published on November 24th, 2015 | by Matt Bowes0
Winter 2015 Podcast Roundup
Winter has arrived in our fair city, and what better time is there to snuggle up inside and listen to some podcasts? Perhaps you’re going back home for the holidays, or your commute has become lengthier due to road conditions. Whatever the case, some of the best free entertainment out there can be found in podcasts, so here are a few great ones recommended by the pulp’s talented writing staff.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I must lay my cards on the table: myself and fellow pulp contributor Erin Fraser have recently started our own podcast, Bollywood is For Lovers. I’d love for you to listen to it, but I won’t be including it in the list. Erin’s also the co-host of the long-running Edmonton movie podcast Trash, Art and the Movies, which is definitely also worth checking out.)
Matt Bowes, Lit + Film Editor
These linked podcasts follow two separate investigations of weird phenomena, with a format that recalls the immensely successful true-crime story Serial. The Black Tapes follows Alex Reagan, former reporter for “Pacific Northwest Stories” and paranormal sceptic Dr. Richard Strand as they investigate a strange series of mysteries relating to demonic possession, while TANIS focuses on Nic Silver’s delving into oddball internet culture and conspiracy theories in the search for a mythical city-state. Both of these shows feature top-notch production and writing and, like any good alternate reality game, the websites backing each program up are full of intriguing supplemental material. Highly recommended for fans of Twin Peaks, The X-Files or video games such as The Secret World and Assassin’s Creed.
This podcast is currently on a break, as its host Mike Duncan is working on a book, as well as the next series, which makes right now the perfect time to dive in. Revolutions examines, well, the great revolutions of history, starting with the English, then moving on to the American and most recently the French. While the amount of episodes devoted to each historical event might seem a little daunting at the outset (the French Revolution resulted in an astounding fifty-four episodes on its own), the short length of each instalment, around half an hour, should assuage any fears. Duncan is an extremely entertaining narrator for these tumultuous events, and the ease at which he explains concepts should be studied by history teachers the world over. History is not always as dry a discipline as it seems, and Revolutions makes these events appointment listening week in, week out.
While comics and their associated films are all the rage right now, delving into the deep continuity that comes in their wake can be a little bit intimidating to newcomers. That’s where this great podcast from the United Kingdom comes in. Each week, Kieran Shiach takes listeners through the entire history, or at least one particularly fascinating portion, of one of comics’ bevy of long-running characters. His co-host Helena Hart is a relative newcomer to a lot of the concepts brought up each episode, and her delightful responses to things that a lot of fans have just gotten used to over the years provides the podcast’s main entertainment. Be forewarned, though, this show will make you want to spend a lot of money, or at least a lot of time at the library tracking down some of these comics runs. Shiach describes the oft-ridiculous comics histories in such a loving, respectful but also irreverent way that is incredibly enjoyable to listen to.
Allan Mott, Pulp Contributor
Recorded out of Florida, this weekly tribute to cinema’s best of the worst has made it to 300 episodes thanks to the good-natured, but passionate interplay of hosts Harlo, Maki, B.J. and Chuck. As much as they may dislike some of the film’s they discuss, they seldom settle for cheap snark, which makes it much easier to digest when they dis a personal fave (I’m side-eyeing you, How Did This Get Made).
Former New York Post and xoJane writer/editor Stadtmiller focuses mostly on NYC media/entertainment personalities (occasionally straying outside the big city for guests like So You’ve Been Publically Shamed’s Jon Ronson and Nailin’ Palin’s Lisa Ann) with a ruthless dedication to avoiding the boring bits.
This local podcast about all things Kiss-related has earned a global audience and even recently scored a visit by WWE Superstar, Chris Jericho, who reached out to them and asked to discuss his fave album. Even if you’re not a fan of the subject, their enthusiasm might just be enough to get you to seek out a Kiss song or two from Spotify.
CBW Caswell, Pulp Contributor
Three brothers — Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy — look up questions on Yahoo answers and offer the best advice they can. Past topics include “What items can I get from Home Depot to perform a do-it-yourself colonoscopy?” and “What are five warrior names: three for brown cats, one for a white cat, and one for a black cat?” (HINT: You’re not listening for the great advice.)
If you’re a fan of roleplaying tabletop games but your friends just aren’t that funny, follow three brothers and their father traverse the bastion of imagination that is Dungeons and Dragons. Will Taako the magician gather all the ingredients to invent the taco? Will Merle the dwarf cleric convert anyone using his Extreme Teen Bible? Just how funny is the phrase “Abra-ca-fuck-you!”? Tune in every other week to find out!
Russ Dobler, Pulp Contributor
“Your Escape to Reality,” The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe has been entertaining and educating listeners for over a decade, amassing almost a million Facebook followers along the way. The multiple People’s Choice Podcast Award winner pivots between Star Trek arguments and crushing anti-vaxxers before you can yell “BULLSHIT!”