It’s important to start this off by stating a few things up front. This is one of the most subjective lists imaginable. There are thousands (and thousands) of podcasts out there and it’s completely impossible to listen to everything. This is coming strictly from the 50+ shows that I listen to weekly, however I should also note I’m leaving off all Geekscape podcasts for a special awards portion at the end.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s tackle my top ten moments in podcasting for 2017!
YMRT is one of the very best podcasts out there. It’s always informative and captivating. In 2015 their series on the Charles Manson murders was one of the most compelling podcasting phenomenon this side of Serial. This year had three different series, and while all of them were great (Dead Blondes, Jean & Jane), it was the October series focusing on the careers of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff that truly stood out among the pack. Insightful and informative, it’s definitely worth a listen, specifically for a horror fan.
9. The Debut Of ‘ADAM SANDLER PLEASE STOP’
There were a handful of great shows that debuted this year, and while this is the first one I’ll mention out of five shows, that doesn’t take away just how great the show is. In early episodes co-hosts Robert and Marie were trying to find their footing, but somewhere around The Waterboy it all clicked – the movies kept getting worse and their sanity kept being put into play. At this point they’ve finished watching every Adam Sandler movie (proving it can be done in a year so… get on that) and plan to keep the show going by focusing on other Happy Madison stars like Kevin James and Rob Schneider while waiting for future Sandler releases. They kept each episode a manageable drive time length and pack it with constant laughs. This might be the funniest podcast you’ve probably slept on.
8. ‘THE CRACKED PODCAST’
– Schmitty The Clam Takes Over As New Host
At one point The Cracked Podcast was one of the best shows out there. Over the years the show became fairly dark, focusing on our impending doom in the political world. While I consider this important, I didn’t go to The Cracked Podcast for that. If anything I listened to their show for an hour distraction from the darkness of the world. In June, then-host and editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien stepped down and Alex Schmidt (aka Schmitty the Clam) took over and brought the show back to conversations about pop culture. It’s given the show an entirely new breath of life.
7. The Debut Of ‘I ONLY LISTEN TO THE MOUNTAIN GOATS’
Fandom has never sounded better than
when Welcome To Night Vale’s Joseph Fink sits with John Darinelle of The Mountain Goats and breaks down the album All Hail West Texas track by track. It provides such incredible insight on the songwriting process, as well as Darinelle’s own perspective of himself. Even if you’re not a fan of the band, it’s an interesting listen for any music fan who’s curious about the songwriting process.
6. ‘SHOCK WAVES’ – The Day of the Woman Episode
Shock Waves is probably the best horror podcast from an informative standpoint. All four co-hosts bring such different perspectives that you’re always sure to discover a new movie to watch through the show. Prior to Shock Waves, ¾ of the team was doing the incredible Killer POV (episodes are still on iTunes and are essential listening for any horror fan). Picking a standout episode for this year is a little difficult but I feel like I have to shine a light on this episode specifically. When I heard that the main focus was going to be on women’s exploitation and rape I felt uncomfortable about the episode, however guest BJ Colangelo’s insight on the subject and the empowerment watching revenge films can provide really changed my perspective of the topic. I’ve recommended this to so many of my friends and everyone who checked it out felt the same. This was a truly powerful episode of horror podcasting.
5. The Debut Of ‘S-TOWN’
What more can be said about a show that has been discussed and dissected to death over the last year. I was late to the train – just two weeks ago I was working alone in my office with nothing to listen to so I decided to give Serial (which I had put off for a year or so) a listen. I loved the first season, but was starting to lose interest after season two. However, when I checked out S-Town I was totally hooked. A lot of people really were disappointed by the show, but I wanted more in the best possible way. It was touching, interesting, and genuine. It wasn’t a story like Serial that focused on one person in an extraordinary situation, this focused on very strange but very real people in a very common situation but it never stopped being engrossing. If you’ve avoided this due to people’s negative response to it, give it a shot. You may love it on the same level I did.
4. ‘ALL FANTASY EVERYTHING’ Finds Its Footing
All Fantasy Everything is quickly becoming my favorite podcast. I get beyond excited each time a new episode drops on Thursday Afternoon and I immediately listen to it when I leave work. The first few episodes started in the Fall of 2016 and while there are a handful of memorable discussions it really found its footing in 2017. The draft topics continued to become more insane and also more entertaining discussing things ranging from “Stuff To Do When You’re Drunk” and “Taco Bell Menu Items” to more bizarre topics like “Kanye West” and “Music Videos You Wish You Could Live In” or (my personal favorite) musical episodes like “TV Theme Songs” and “Soft Rock Ballads”. It’s also propelled three comedians not on my radar (Ian Karmel, Sean Jordan, David Gborie) to guys whose careers I want to follow and cheer on. If I had one goal in 2018, it’d be to get Horror Movie Night big enough that I’ll one day be invited to join these three for a draft (like, I don’t know … Scariest Scenes in Movies That Shouldn’t Be Scary).
3. The Debut Of ‘EAR HUSTLE’
This show absolutely captivated me for its brief first season run. In just 20-30 minutes each episode takes us into different stories of life behind the prison walls of San Quentin State Prison. It shines a nice light on these men and lets you get a rough idea of their day to day life. The show juggles a weird balance between making you hope that some of these people will one day get a second chance out the outside while also feeling like life behind bars is a slightly better life than they’d have on the outside (in a few cases). It is one of the most heartfelt and interesting podcasts in years. The Second Season starts in March so you have plenty of time to get caught up on the first season over the next few months.
I grew up as a church kid. I love punk/ska music as well. This meant in my eyes the ultimate record label was Tooth & Nail Records. It was the best mix of bands and had arguably the biggest Christian label success with bands like MxPX, Underoath and Anberlin to name a few. The first season of Labelled focused on different bands, tour stories and topics that captivated me and really anyone who grew up listening to this music. I recommend starting with either the first episode about Further Seems Forever or the episode on the worst tour prank ever.
1. ‘THE ADVENTURE ZONE’ “Balance” Arc Wraps Up
I never expected to love a podcast as much as I loved The Adventure Zone. Every other Thursday the McElroy Brothers and their Father told the story of the Tres Horny Boys using D&D as the storytelling device. While the show is far from an accurate depiction of a real D&D campaign, it doesn’t stop it from telling a compelling story. As we grew to love the three adventurers as well as Griffin’s many NPCs, we started to dread the unavoidable conclusion when we would no longer hear the voices of Takko, Magnus, and Merle. The series wrapped up on a beautiful note leaving many listeners teary-eyed. If there was one podcast in this world that’s worthy of the time it will take up, it’s The Adventure Zone. If you’re a fan of storytelling than you owe it to yourself to listen to the full 69 episode run of the “Balance” arc and listen to the biggest evidence of podcasting’s capability to be more than just interviews and movie discussions.
Best Flagship Show – GEEKSCAPE
Best Podcast About Women Drinking Wine While Discussing Star Trek – SEVEN OF WINE
Best Boy Meets World Podcast – PLAYING WITH SQUIRRELS
Best New Podcast – THE OVER LEAGUE
Best Video Game Podcast – GEEKSCAPE GAMES
Best Show That Ended Too Soon – THE 90’S TV HOUR
Please Listen To My Podcast (Please) – HORROR MOVIE NIGHT