The phenomenal success of the Serial podcast, Sarah Koenig’s multi-episode investigation into the murder of a schoolgirl in 1999 and the subsequent arrest and jailing of the accused Adnan Syed, has caused a resurgence of interest in a medium that’s been around for over a decade.
As well as being a gripping listen – Koenig drip-feeds details from the original court case and offers various sides to every claim and counter-claim – the beauty of Serial is the narrative thread running through it, plus the fact that, like a good DVD box set, episodes can be downloaded in one go and consumed in just a few sittings.
If you’re looking for a new podcast for the walk/bus/train to work, here are eight suggestions that have a definite beginning, middle and, at some point, an end. So hit download, grab a batch of episodes and listen at your leisure.
Serial Spoiler Specials
First up, for fans of Serial who can’t get enough of the story, here’s a podcast about the podcast. Slate’s Serial Spoiler Specials appear soon after each official Serial episode is released, analysing the various points raised and other Serial-related information from the real world. How long until a podcast about the podcast about the podcast?
The Serial Serial
The A.V. Club’s take on the Serial phenomenon.
The Frequency of Laughter: A History of Radio Comedy
This comprehensive six-part history of radio comedy from the BBC is a perfect way to learn while laughing. Journalist Grace Dent takes a trip from 1975 to 2005, interviewing many of the key figures – including Graeme Garden, John Lloyd and Armando Iannucci – and illustrates them with clips from classic series.
Welcome to Night Vale
Think EastEnders meets The Twilight Zone. This twice-monthly podcast is set in the fictional town of Night Vale, where odd events are presented in a down-to-earth manner by host Cecil Gershwin Palmer (Cecil Baldwin). You’ll soon find yourself engrossed in the stories, waiting eagerly to find out if there have been any dinosaurs spotted or rifts in spacetime. Look out for a novel based on the series in 2015.
We’re Alive – A Zombie story of survival
Zombies have been everywhere these past few years, but it seems there are still stories to be told about the undead. We’re Alive centres on Army Reserve Soldier Michael Cross, who leads a group of survivors against the walking dead in present-day Los Angeles. The series began in 2009 and ended in 2014, meaning there 142 episodes to enjoy, with a spin-off series promised.
This ambitious daily BBC radio series was created to commemorate the centenary of World War One and is set to run for the duration of the original conflict, starting in August 2014 and ending in 2018. Each 12-minute episode follow a group of characters as they live through the war, with each episode set 100 years to the day of broadcast. The podcasts are a perfect way to sample some great drama and learn something about our past at the same time.
Coffee Break French
Ever had the urge to learn a new language but can’t find the time? Podcasts could be the solution, with ongoing courses such as the long-running Coffee Break French offering listeners short bursts of lessons designed to be consumed in, well, coffee breaks and commutes. Starting with simple phrases – oui means yes – each episode builds on the previous one, gradually improving your knowledge. Search iTunes for other podcasts covering different languages.
The British History Podcast
Bored with dry history lessons taught in school, Jamie Jeffers decided to revisit the subject in a fresh way by starting his chronological history of Britain in 2011. Jeffers’ multi-directional approach explores a history bursting with treachery, murder, love, bravery, alliances, myths and legends, breathing life into the stories that might otherwise be deemed as dull. Who knew history could be so much fun?
Got your own favourite podcasts? Tweet us your tips via @wow247 or post a comment below
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