March is #TryPod month, and Hypable has 10 fantastic podcast recommendations to add to your must-listen iTunes list.
All throughout the month, podcast fans have been using the hashtag #TryPod to spread the word about their favorite shows. Of course, we here at Hypable produce plenty of our own amazing podcasts — you’ve definitely heard of MuggleCast, right? — but we’re avid listeners like anyone else!
So, from history, to fandom, to sociology, and the just plain weird, here are 10 podcast recommendations that we just couldn’t commute/exercise/clean/basically function without.
The best podcast recommendations for 2017
‘Children of the Force’
If you’re a grown-ass adult who loves Star Wars, there is no shortage of podcasts to feed your obsession. But Children of the Force, hosted by a dad (Al Nowatski) and his two kids (Anna and Liam), offers a different entry point to the theater of analysis and speculation.
Though thoroughly kid-friendly (segments are marked by silly songs, and include a bad joke corner) Children of the Force isn’t just for younglings. Anna and Liam’s insights into the Star Wars galaxy may be different from the grownups, but they are no less keen for their youth. Prompted by Al, the kids explore concepts of justice, morality, and yes, even politics through the lens of the galaxy far, far away.
Sweet, funny, smart, and poignant, this Force-sensitive family is a much-needed break from the cynical side of fandom — and reminds me of why we all became fans in the first place. – Michal Schick
‘The Complete Guide to Everything’
In The Complete Guide to Everything, Tim and Tom teach you everything there is to know about a wide variety of topics, from left handedness, to Tom Hanks, to the ever mysterious sport of golf.
Okay… so a more accurate description of The Complete Guide to Everything would be that Tim and Tom pick a topic every week and go on a series of unrelated tangents, rarely touching the actual subject.
The appeal of The Complete Guide to Everything isn’t derived from its educational value. What keeps me coming back, week after week, is the hilarity and charm of the hosts. As longtime friends, they have an effortless rapport that is so fun to listen to. You truly feel like you’re hanging out with a pair of your own hilarious friends. In fact, The Complete Guide to Everything is my go-to source when I need a laugh on a Monday morning.
Give them a try! You probably won’t learn anything, but they just might put a smile on your face. – Kendra Leary
‘Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People’
If you like listening to real people tell real stories of any kind, Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People is the podcast for you. Comedian Chris Gethard receives an anonymous phone call, and isn’t allowed to hang up. After one hour, the phone hangs up on its own, and he and the caller will probably never speak again.
This set-up makes for beautifully open conversations with all sorts of people, from frustrated artists to talkative nurses and cult escapees. Chris listens, laughs, cries and asks questions, and we become aware of just how interesting people can be if we only get a chance to listen. – Nasim Mansuri
If you’re looking for an entertainment podcast that is equal parts hilarious and insightful, then you need to give No, Totally! a try. Hosted by the incomparable Shaun Lau, and often featuring his equally excellent co-host Brian, the show delves into various movies and television shows — recent and older — and they bridge the gap between hilarious commentary and serious analysis to great effect.
But it’s when Shaun, particularly, turns the spotlight on social issues where the show really shines. Arguably, the jewel in the No, Totally! crown is a series of episodes called “49 Voices” — where Shaun spoke to 49 LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals in the wake of the Pulse shootings. It was deeply affecting and one of the standout moments for me in podcasting last year.
There’s plenty to love about the podcast. You might come for the excellent insight into and eclectic mix of films, from Romeo Must Die to Star Wars, but you’ll stay for the frank and honest discussion of the Asian American experience, diversity in Hollywood, and so, so much more. – Donya Abramo
‘The Pirate History Podcast’
As the name suggests, the Pirate History Podcast dives deep into the story of Caribbean piracy. Host Matt takes a long view of the buccaneer’s trade, beginning with the very earliest European explorers who braved the waves to plant their flag (and kill people) in the New World.
In his delightfully sonorous voice, Matt offers a unique perspective on the bright blue drama we think we know. From the cataclysm of the Protestant Reformation to the very specific torture tactics of famous pirates, the distant fruits of Europe’s violent greed become clearer with every episode.
And it’s not all grim work! Matt occasionally breaks from form to discuss topics in pirate life, like Christmas on the high seas, and whether or not pirates actually said “Matey.” A heady blend of hard fact, smart commentary, and the salacious details we all secretly want, the Pirate History Podcast is sure to please your inner history nerd… and the rest of your brain as well. – Michal Schick
‘Dear Hank and John’
From Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green (yes, the author), it’s a comedy podcast about death, dubious advice, and the latest news on Mars and English football team AFC Wimbledon. It sounds random, but you’ll instantly love the poems, fun questions (what are the top 10 kinds of spoons?) deep questions (will we ever be a perfectly unified planet?) and bizarre questions (should we fear a locust apocalypse?) You’ll even start caring about obscure football teams!
Whether or not you’re already a fan of the Vlogbrothers, Dear Hank and John is for anyone who likes a healthy mix of depth and silliness, science and literature, space and sports, and doesn’t mind scaring fellow commuters by bursting into laughter because of a podcast. – Nasim Mansuri
What makes a podcast stand out is not the story, but the storyteller. Revisionist History has a storyteller that unfolds each sentence flawlessly. With each episode hardly exceeding 30 minutes, you would never imagine the topics of the past, present, and future would be satisfyingly concluded, but amazingly it is.
Host Malcolm Gladwell chooses a topic for each of the 10 episodes of season one and explores it on many levels. One of my favorite episodes is the exploration of what makes someone an artistic genius and how time and iteration take a role in the production of their work. How some of the most memorable works of art have had very modest and undistinguished beginnings.
Don’t let the title fool you. This is far from the boring lectures you remember in history class. His topics are things we don’t typically think or talk about. Little moments in history that may seem small to begin with, but end up being a piece of a whole picture. A picture we like to call life. – Emily McDonald
‘Shut Yer Five Hole’
When you’re a fan that sits firmly in the intersection between sports and a more traditional fandom experience, it can often be difficult to find media that caters to that — even less so when it comes to craving female voices speaking on a heavily male-dominated space.
Enter Shut Yer Five Hole. As you may have guessed, it is about ice hockey — but it is so much more than just that. You don’t need to be a fan of ice hockey to enjoy the discussion, which takes on a distinctly familiar fandom flavor, but you’ll be hard pressed to remain indifferent by time time you’re done.
It’s still a fledgling podcast, but hosts Meg and Piper — who are very serious sports analysts and hockey experts — have an easy rapport that will have you hooked by the end of the first episode. Nothing is off limits for discussion, and it is clear that they both have a lot of love for hockey, but they don’t forget the key part of any fandom — having fun. Sure, they can be critical of certain aspects of the sport (and rightly so) but they are always fair, and always, always hilariously delightful. – Donya Abramo
If you’re like me and think you know everything there is to know about A Song of Ice and Fire, well, sit yourself down. On Radio Westeros, hosts Yolkboy and Lady Gwynhyfvar dive deep (really, really deep!) into the characters, plotlines, mysteries, and theories of George R.R. Martin’s epic work.
Casuals beware — this is the excavational kind of analysis. It’s an intricate hunt through the wilds of story, with the text unfailingly consulted to shore up every detail and claim.
Though often scholarly in approach, Radio Westeros is anything but dry. Analysis and speculation is interspersed with fandom-inspired music and cheeky “advertisements” from ASOIAF-themed “sponsors.” (Frey, Frey, Frey & Frey Wedding and Party Planners, anyone?)
Beautifully produced, wry, and unfailingly compassionate toward GRRM’s literary victims, Radio Westeros is a valuable addition to any ASOIAF diet. And with most of their episodes clocking in at well over an hour, the podcast serves another essential function: Helping to pass the time until GRRM finally finishes The Winds of Winter! – Michal Schick
Sawbones is podcast for people who like to learn weird historical and/or medical facts… and maybe have a story or two to fascinate and/or horrify at parties.
Sydnee and Justin McElroy are a married couple; one a professional doctor, the other a comedian. They break down all the ways humans have tried to cure diseases across history, and tell stories like “The Man Who Ate Everything” and “The Woman Who Gave Birth To Rabbits” (probably the strangest story ever). You might also find out how a horrible rectum-related disease actually became a fashion thanks to a certain King!
Humans have done a lot of weird things, and Sydnee and Justin help you appreciate just how interesting, messed-up and hilarious it all was. – Nasim Mansuri
Curated by Michal Schick.