The podcast awards
The podcast awards, as determined by me.
Best all-around. I listen to this podcast every week. I catch up if I fall behind. I never skip segments. I even listen to repeat episodes (clip shows): Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. The gold standard of podcasts. This show has been consistently excellent for the 10+ years I've been listening to it. Bonus: Tom Hanks hosted the most recent episode and had what sounded like the time of his life doing it.
Runner-up: Movie BS with Bayer and Snider. And I'm not even really a movie person. There is something about the rapport these hosts have with each other that makes me feel like I'm hanging out with two smart people who talk about movies in an entertaining way. Bonus - they tell a story about me in the most recent episode, involving Magdalena and Rogue One.
Mostly fantastic but too many repeats and also I don't care for the fictional segments: This American Life.
Mostly fantastic but every once in a while I hate an episode to the extent that I have flames on the side of my face: Radiolab.
Seriously so fantastic except for the episodes with swear warnings which I can't listen to because when they say there will be a lot of swears, THEY MEAN IT: Reply All.
Most uneven in season quality: Serial. Season 1 was amazing. Season 2 was stil one of the better podcasts out there, but it didn't touch the original. Bonus: listening to Crime Writers On Serial after each episode.
Most mourned: Mystery Show. I loved this podcast with all my heart. Rest in peace. Runner up: How to Do Everything. That show was literally about nothing but I always enjoyed listening to it.
Most "huh?" podcast: Invisibilia. I mean, it was good, I guess, but I didn't think it was AMAZING like the internet did.
Most skewed ratio of awesomeness to production values: Rex Factor. So clever. So informative. PLEASE GET A REAL MIC, YOU GUYS.
Most enjoyable to listen to while drifting off to sleep: Stuff You Should Know. Ah, the dulcet tones of Josh and Chuck.
Most enjoyable to listen to while lying-on-the-bathroom-floor sick/keeping vigil with a sick kid: Stuff You Missed in History Class. There is something about this podcast that is so soothing when you're ill. Engaging enough to take your mind off more unpleasant things, but not so cerebral that you can't check out for a few minutes now and then as needed. Perfect.
Most forgotten, like I used to listen to it religiously but it occurs to me that it has now been years since I heard an episode: Freakonomics. Runner-up: Ask Me Another, though I made a conscious decision to stop listening to that one. Every episode, I just wished the trivia were more difficult. I was using AMA to fill the Jeopardy!-sized hole in my heart, and it didn't fit.
Most educational: Planet Money.
Most improved: Hidden Brain. Early episodes were a bit shaky, but the format has calmed down a bit and it's now reliably applicable and interesting.
Best new (to me) podcasts: Undone, 99% Invisible, and Twice Removed seem really promising. I also recently remembered Tell Me Something I Don't Know and plan to catch up on back episodes.
What did I miss?