Who doesn’t love a good podcast? People who hate joy. At this point in time, there are more podcasts than there are stars in the sky. There are even probably more lists of good podcasts than there are stars in the sky. But I’m going to go ahead and throw my two cents. My time is precious. During my commute, I alternate between audio books, podcasts, and music. So here are the podcasts who often make it into rotation:
When I’m With the Pipsqueak
Wow in the World. I have tried to listen to numerous different podcasts with my seven year old. We’ve done serial stories, standalone stories, educational, funny, musical, etc. etc. But the only podcast that makes her eyes light up and have her pump her fists in the air in excitement is Wow in the World. This science-based pod is funny, engaging, and still educational. They have little mini episodes that are around 10 minutes – which are great for the drive to and from the grocery store – in addition to the usual half hour episodes.
When I Want Something Quick and Sweet
Pop Culture Happy Hour. The bite-sized half-hour episodes of Pop Culture Happy Hour are perfect for a car ride to the next big town. The four hosts take turns giving reviews and spoiler-free recaps of important moments in music, TV, film, or whatever piece of pop culture media that has caught their or the public’s interest. Each episode ends with a segment called “What’s Making Me Happy,” where they offer recommendations on what little piece of art is currently tickling their personal fancies. It’s also where I first learned about the next pod on my list.
When I Want a Movie Deep Dive
Blank Check with Griffin & David. In every episode of this podcast, the eponymous Griffin provides the same summary explaining what the podcast is. I have heard it so often that I could type it out from memory. But I won’t. I explain this because if you ever listen to the podcast, you’ll know that any summary I write myself will be far inferior. But anyway, Griffin Newman (an actor who you may know from Amazon’s The Tick) and David Sims (a film critic with The Atlantic) pick a director who received early success in their career which led them to get a so-called “blank check” to make whatever follow-up film(s) they wanted. The two friends then devote an episode to discussing each movie in the director’s filmography. They’ve covered directors from Paul Verhoeven (a personal favorite) to Nora Ephron (another personal favorite). The episodes are hilarious, informative, and can often have runtimes longer than the movies they’re discussing. But it never feels laborious. I never want an episode to end. This is a must listen for any film lover.
When I Need Some Time With God
The Bible Binge. Ok, to be fair, when I am looking for real meditative time, I stick to audio recordings of the Bible or sacred music. But when I want to dig deeper into the Bible itself when I’m on the move, there’s no more entertaining way to do so than with the Bible Binge. Knox and Jamie break down stories from the Bible as if they were recapping a television show or movie. If you’re looking for an apologist deep dive into the text…this probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for alternative – but Biblically sound – ways to read the Bible, this is a great place to start. Warning: They cast famous actors to “play” the parts of the Biblical characters (in your head) and their casting choices can sometimes be…questionable. (I’m looking at you, Kid Rock!)
When I Just Want One Season
The Dream. Disclaimer: I have not listened to season 2 of the Dream. I have heard mixed reviews about season 2. But I can tell you that season 1 is absolutely a ride. In season 1, the pod takes a look at the rise of Multilevel Marketing over the past few decades. I once participated in an MLM but left fairly quickly for numerous reasons. I have many friends who participate in MLMs and I support a number of them by buying their products. But there is something rather insidious about many of these businesses. The Dream looks at how and why they are so popular and how and why it is nigh impossible to actually really succeed in this sales model.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my list, when I’ll focus on nerd and show-specific pods!