Best Pods of 2018, Subjectively.

A curated podcast list by
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Creation Date December 26th, 2018
Updated Date Updated March 12th, 2019
 4 people like this
I listen to a lot of pods, but not all of them. This is the best of the podcasts that interested me, a human american male, Caucasian, mid 30’s, privileged, living on land of the Chinook, Clackamas, Kalapuya, and other native tribes.

Vox.com had an amazing year for podcasts!

Today, Explained

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Monday to Friday. All killer, no filler. Hosted by Sean Rameswaram. Featuring the finest explainers from Vox and more. Produced by Vox and Stitcher, and part of the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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Today, Explained started this year and has my favorite delivery of daily news/topic explaining.
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The Impact

In Washington, the story often ends when Congress passes a law. For The Impact, that’s where the story begins. Each season, Sarah Kliff investigates the way policy shapes people’s lives. This season, she’s crisscrossing the country to explore how cities and states are trying to solve our country’s biggest problems. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Future Perfect

Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty to create a more perfect future. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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And lastly from Vox, Future Perfect illustrated some ways to improve society through effective altruism and that was great food for thought.
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Comedy and good times 🤣

Harmontown

Self destructive writer Dan Harmon claims he will one day found a colony of like-minded misfits. He’s appointed suit-clad gadabout Jeff Davis as his Comptroller and bearded dreamboat Spencer Crittenden as his Dungeon Master. It’s like a neurotic town hall meeting, often with alcohol and famous people.

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Harmontown probably made me laugh more than any other podcast. Obviously, It's not new to this year, or having a particular "season" or anything, but its just great content and very consistent.
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Mystery Solver

Sunnie Huggs was the quirky host of "Mystery Loves Company," a popular podcast where she investigated mysteries for her minor celebrity friends. But when her show gets canceled for going insanely over budget, Sunnie's adorable world is turned upside down. Now she's starting a new podcast to squeeze answers from her traitorous former co-workers, her beleaguered roommate, her loud landlord, her flaky horoscope writer, randos off Craigslist…Sunnie will annoy anyone and everyone to solve a mystery!

Mission To Zyxx

An improvised science fiction sitcom following a team of ambassadors as they attempt to establish diplomatic relations with planets in the remote and chaotic Zyxx Quadrant… better known as the "ass end of space."

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Mission To Zyxx had an excellent second season, and I am proud to be a patron on Patreon. Never to late to binge.
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The Incomparable Game Show

A podcast featuring word games, trivia, classic board games, and even a few reimagined classic game shows from years gone by. We rotate through several different games, with different hosts, from episode to episode. What they all have in common is chat, humor, and fun.

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The Incomparable Game Show is ridiculous and silly and makes me crack up. They celebrated 100 episodes with a mashup of many of the games they play which was fun, but the Text Adventure episodes are by far my favorite, followed by Random Trivial Pursuit.
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Beware of the Leopard: the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy podcast

The complete podcast compendium to the science-fiction comedy series, covering the radio, TV, book and film incarnations of Douglas Adams’ “trilogy in five parts”, alphabetically, from Arthur to Zaphod and all points in-between.

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Beware Of The Leopard came back for a new season of going through the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy alphabetically, with a rotating panel of Adams experts (read: they have nice accents), and their banter is delightful. You don’t need to start at A, and every episode is delightful.
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Fiction! 🎭

The Shadows

Kaitlin Prest, creator and host of the Prix-Italia winner The Heart, presents the first audio fiction from CBC Podcasts. The Shadows is a story about the anatomy of a relationship: a crush, a choice, ...

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Winner for Most emotional 😭
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The Phenomenon

When a supernatural threat drives mankind to the point of extinction, survivors around the globe struggle to endure in a world with just three rules: Do not look outside. Do not look at the sky. Do not make noise.

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The Phenomenon is a fantastic audio drama. Completely immersive and has GREAT audio quality.
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Serendipity City

Serendipity City is an actual-play podcast that takes place in a sprawling, dieselpunk metropolis with a magical underworld (in more ways than one). Anarchists fight corrupt companies, shapeshifters fight for turf, dwarves work in the caves underneath the city, and through it all, our intrepid group of questionable heroes just wants to do the job they were hired for.

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Awesome first season of this actual play podcast set in an alt-1920's magical underwood. It's laugh out loud funny. Great season finale.
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The Truth

THE TRUTH makes movies for your ears. They're short stories that are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, and always intriguing. Every story is different, but they all take you to unexpected places using only sound. If you're new, some good starting places are: Silvia's Blood, That's Democracy, Moon Graffiti, Tape Delay, or whatever's most recent. Listening with headphones is encouraged! We're a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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The Truth did a 4-part series called The Off Season about the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, and it was one of the best projects they've done, and I think is a must listen for anyone that likes audio fiction. Part 1: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/the-truth-50178/episodes/the-off-season-part-1-32181325 Part 2: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/the-truth-50178/episodes/the-off-season-part-2-32390839 Part 3: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/the-truth-50178/episodes/the-off-season-part-3-32617903 Part 4: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/the-truth-50178/episodes/the-off-season-part-4-32831371
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Non-Fiction and history 👨‍🏫

Switched on Pop

What makes pop songs so catchy? Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work their magic on our ears & our culture. You’ll fall in love with music you didn’t even know you liked.

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Switched On Pop had some great episodes on some of my favorite music. Best episodes: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/switched-on-pop-143420/episodes/the-side-effects-of-pop-music-31700364 Where I found out about bülow who is now my favorite artist of the year. https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/switched-on-pop-143420/episodes/charli-xcx-and-troye-sivan-lov-32660073 because there should always be more Charli XCX on Switched On Pop and their end of the year retrospective on how the podcast actually made them fans of pop music: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/switched-on-pop-143420/episodes/look-what-you-made-us-do-34597871
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Slow Burn

Leon Neyfakh excavates the strange subplots and forgotten characters of recent political history—and finds surprising parallels to the present. Season 1 of Slow Burn captured what it felt like to live through Watergate; Season 2 does the same with the saga of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

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Learned a lot about the Clinton's... 🤔
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Bag Man

Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember? To have one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American history play out before the country while nobody’s paying attention? In her first original podcast, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes back 45 years to dig into a story that got overshadowed in its day. There’s intrigue. Corruption. Envelopes of cash delivered to the White House. It’s a story that’s not well known, but it probably should be. Especially today. Bag Man. A Rachel Maddow podcast from MSNBC. Listen to the Peabody Award-nominated series now.

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And more about the people around Nixon 🤦🏻‍♂️
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UnErased: The History of Conversion Therapy in America

Over 700,000 people in America have been subjected to conversion therapy, the dangerous and controversial ex-gay treatment. UnErased tells their stories.

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Fantastic dive into conversion therapy, and the faulty bible rational for it.
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99% Invisible

Design is everywhere in our lives, perhaps most importantly in the places where we've just stopped noticing. 99% Invisible is a weekly exploration of the process and power of design and architecture. From award winning producer Roman Mars. Learn more at 99percentinvisible.org. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

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Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

Radiolab’s More Perfect is a series about the Supreme Court. More Perfect explores how cases inside the rarefied world of the Supreme Court affect our lives far away from the bench. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other great podcasts including Radiolab, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media, Nancy and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. © WNYC Studios

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Loved the experimental season of More Perfect, but it wasn’t my favorite season. Great podcast.
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Bitrate

Join Brendan Hutchins 🙈 and Mark Steadman 🧔🏻 as they digest the very latest in podcast culture.

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BitRate started this year! The first season was stellar with some awesome guests including Ma'ayan from RadioPublic, Kevin from Discoverpods.com, and even Bradley from Podchaser!
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The Dream

What if we told you that with zero experience and only a few hundred dollars down, this podcast could change your life? Well, we’d be lying. This season on The Dream, Jane Marie dives into the world of pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing, and all the other businesses that require their members to recruit their nearest and dearest in hopes of a commission. Join us as we trace the path of get-rich schemes from Jane’s roots in rural Michigan all the way to the White House. 

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Holy shit, I knew MLMs were bad and pyramid schemes, but I had no idea it was this bad, and so connected to government. The beginning and the end of the season are the best, where they actually embed themselves in an MLM, and when they deliver excellent reporting on all the presidents relationships to MLMs. There are some filler episodes in the middle about some of the history that didn't hit it for me, but the series is a great binge regardless.
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And yes, even one Gimlet podcast:

The Cut on Tuesdays

The Cut on Tuesdays brings you women’s voices on culture, style, sex, politics, and people: It’s everything The Cut can’t stop talking about. Join host Molly Fischer every week for arguments, obsessions, dissections, reflections, confessions, and other deep dives. From New York Magazine and Gimlet Media.