I’ve been getting more and more into podcasts recently, partly because I have a fairly long drive to work and partly because I’m over listening to music. I can turn on the news on Sirius XM, but I’ve usually heard it all by the time I get to the car in the morning. So podcasts it is, or has been recently.
I’ve downloaded some episodes from NPR.org before, mostly Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! which is a very entertaining and funny game show. I decided, though, that I should have some variety, so after searching for what are deemed to be the best podcasts out there, I found a few that looked interesting and downloaded a sample or two from each series onto a memory stick for playing in the car.
One of the podcasts that turns up on almost all the lists of Best Podcasts I’ve seen is The Nerdist. The Nerdist is hosted by Chris Hardwick who, along with a couple of his nerdy friends, usually spend the hour interviewing celebrities. I downloaded a couple of episodes, one of which was Benedict Cumberbatch’s interview from December when he was promoting The Imitation Game (and before he was announced as the star of Marvel’s Doctor Strange – that’s serious nerd cred there). You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Benedict, he of the lovely cultured English accent and sonorous tones, make every kind of fart noise he can think of. That’s Nerdist.
A very recent Nerdist podcast had the guys interviewing Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, along with Jurassic’s director Colin Trevorrow. Pratt seems like such a nice guy you can’t help but just be happy for him for his recent success, especially when he talks about things like his early auditions (for jerk roles) or his struggles with his weight. Awwww.
If you’re really, really into comic books, The Nerdist also has a Comic Book Club Channel. Immediate geek cred given for listening to that one.
One of the other highly-recommended podcasts I listened to recently was from How Stuff Works. There are actually several series here to pick from, including the original Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff To Blow Your Mind, and Stuff They Didn’t Want You To Know, among others.
Stuff You Should Know is hosted by two guys, Josh and Chuck, who talk about topics like How Autopsies Work, What’s The Deal With Blood Types? and How Junk Food Works (not sure why anyone would be confused about how junk food works, but I digress). The episode I downloaded was How ESP Works. I thought this one would be fun, since I am a big skeptic about things like clairvoyance and the ability to talk to the dead. They hit on several such topics and not just on ESP, but I’m not sure I really learned much of anything I didn’t know already.
I’m in the meh category on this one, but it could be just the episode I listened to. It took the guys a good 15 minutes of chit-chat and commercials before they really got into talking about ESP and related subjects. What is up with all the chit and the chat?! A little is good before you get into the subject at hand, but 15 minutes? During the course of the episode they strayed from the topic as well and went off on a tangent before finally remembering they were supposed to be doing a show about ESP.
They should compare notes before they hit the Record button also – if one of them tells an anecdote about some past research trial and the other guy then tells him it was determined later that it was pretty easy to cheat on that trial, it’s clear they’re not spending enough time beforehand discussing what they’re going to say. And one more thing – anyone who researches such things for a podcast should also know that name of the so-called “medium” who had the show called Crossing Over is John Edward, not Edwards.
Suffice it to say I’d have to listen to some more of this series’ episodes before I say skip it, but if you’re looking for tightly researched scientific knowledge on a subject this podcast is probably not where to find it. It was somewhat entertaining, nonetheless, so I don’t want to be too down on it just because the episode I heard was a little rough.
I’ve mentioned NPR’s very popular Serial podcast on this blog before, which focused on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. If you were hooked on the Syed case after listening to that series, you might want to pick up on Undisclosed. This podcast picks apart the details of the case that sent Syed to prison for life 15 years ago. He recently won a court victory that may lead to a new trial.
I’ve added a podcast category in my links and listed some of the ones I’ve been listening to there. If you have some other suggestions use the comments below and let us know what you recommend (or not).
#TheNerdist #BenedictCumberbatch #ChrisPratt #StuffYouShouldKnow