I’ve been able to do Work Things this week like running groups and info-sessions and at one point a woman pointed to the lady beside her and said, “We’re a couple, we have a daughter” and I had to be Very Professional and not stand on a chair and screech, “YOU’RE QUEER? I’M QUEER!!!” and Internet, it was hard.
It’s almost that time again, when the weather gets warmer, and we’re dragged along by our families on mind-numbingly long road trips to places we don’t actually care about. Ah, the joys of summer vacation. Fortunately, for those 8 hour bore-fests, podcasts have your back! My family travels a lot, so I decided to share my favorite podcasts to keep y’all company on the road (ﾉ･ｪ･)ﾉ
Our Fair City: An insanely vast and detailed show that takes the term “world building”, and shows it it’s maker (which is, of course, the ever benevolent Hart-Life Corporation). Filled with more colorful characters than you can shake a stick at, Our Fair City had a variety of intertwining stories and beings that will steal your heart, and possibly your science equipment for various nefarious purposes. I’m only on season two, and am still extremely impressed with the effort that went into creating the world of Hart Life, and the many characters that inhabit it. You’ll have more than a few favorites, especially Dr. Herbert West, who manages to capture both the unbridled joy, and sinister dark side, of everything science. If you like classic old-time radio and the apocalypse with a twist, this show is for you.
ars Paradoxica: Time travel is this show’s bitch. No, seriously. Set in an alternate history-afied 1940s, ars Paradoxica handles the often-complicated trope of time travel with grace and creativity, providing several twists you won’t see coming. Starring my newest fictional wife, the utterly adorkable Sally Grissom, the show features some stellar voice acting, and continuity down to the tiniest detail. It actually finds a way to subtly use transitions like an actual TV show, and the sound effects are just killer. Once you start binging it, the story grabs ahold of you and utterly refuses to let go. While the pacing is a bit speedy, the drunk scientists in Vegas plotline is well worth it, and sets ars Paradoxica at a must-listen for any podcast fan.
The Bright Sessions: Before I begin, I just want to say that I wish my therapy sessions had been this exciting. The Bright Sessions is the audio recordings of Dr. Bright, a psychologist who specializes in the atypical. And by atypical, I mean superpowers. For those who like science fiction, but with a more slice-of-life feel, The Bright Sessions is a treat. It features a surprisingly complex antagonist, that pesky corrupt corporation that keeps showing up in podcasts these days, two female characters that I really wish went to my school, and an adorably awkward teenage romance… between two boys. Yep, this show has queer representation, and deals with it like it’s just a normal, everyday thing, which it is. Along with a very soothing atmosphere, when plot bombs aren’t being dropped, of course, The Bright Sessions is a great show for fans who want a unique take on what it means to be out of the norm.
Wolf 359: So, y’know that mood-whiplash podcast that literally everyone has been talking about? Yeah, that’s Wolf 359. Following the audio logs of loveable asshole, Comms Officer Doug Eiffel, the show is bar none, the best fictional podcast out there. No shit. It has everything you could possibly want: cool adventures in space? Check. Found family trope used to perfection? Check. Insanely complex characters and sympathetic villains who really make you question your own morals? Check. An even gender divide and strong female characters written the right way? Check to the max. The show deserves every ounce of praise it gets, and then some. The writing is witty, smart and thought-provoking, the soundtrack is gorgeous, the cast is insanely talented and wonderful and I love them all dearly, and the fandom is the best I’ve ever been in. I am not an emotional person, but this show has made me break down sobbing, and have trouble breathing from laughing so hard. Everything about it is incredible, and I implore you to give it a listen. You really won’t regret it.
Alice Isn’t Dead: Anyone who listens to Welcome to Night Vale has heard of this, and I’m here to tell you that it’s worth the hype. Alice Isn’t Dead follows one woman’s country-wide search for her wife via a truck, and that search gets dark, fast. Jasika Nicole once again does a masterful job of bringing her character to life, the writing is just as profound and weird as you’d expect from Fink, and the whole has a very creepy Americana feel that I like a lot. The story is just beginning to unwind, and whoo boy is it one that has me hooked.
The Black Tapes Podcast/TANIS: I’m grouping these two together, and both are worth your time. The Black Tapes Podcast follows cinnamon roll reporter Alex Reagan, and human ball of awkward darkness Richard Strand, as they unravel the mystery of the Strand Institution’s mysterious black tapes, a collection of unsolved cases involving the paranormal. It’s very creepy, very complicated, and very good. Both characters have secrets, and both are interesting as heck. TANIS is Alex’s producer, Nic Silver’s, quest to to discover what exactly the myth of TANIS actually is. He is joined by “information specialist”, Meerkatnip, who could beat me up and I would thank her. In terms of mystery, they end up getting a lot more than they bargained for, and you will too.
Limetown: Lia Haddock, investigative reporter for APR, is precious and perfect and must be protected at all costs. Unfortunately, she has literally no self-preservation. About 10 years ago, a research town out in the prairie called Limetown, caught the attention of the world when, after a 911 call, became completely void of any people. Now, with survivors contacting her and the mystery unfolding, Lia is doing literally whatever it takes to uncover the truth. The mystery and science fiction genres blend very nicely here, and there are several twists that shocked me. The writing is very gripping and neat, and the various survivors were all a treat to listen to. If you liked Serial, you’ll love Limetown.
Wooden Overcoats: Move over Cabin Pressure, there’s a new British podcast sitcom in town, and it’s great at being great. Wooden Overcoats follows the shenanigans of twins Rudyard and Antigone Funn, and their assistant Georgie Crusoe, as they engage in a pathetically one-sided rivalry with newcomer Eric Chapman over who is the best funeral home on the tiny island of Piffling Vale. Oh, and the mouse is the narrator, and she’s awesome. All the girls are, actually. There’s character development galore, snappy dialogue that had me kneeling over with laughter, a really neat and well-developed setting, and oh yeah, it’s British. Plus, the mayor and the reverend hook up, and it’s sickeningly adorable, and also gay. Everyone is so well written, and I honestly cannot gush enough about how wonderful and funny this show is.
EOS 10: As my friend Keelin once eloquently put it, EOS 10 is like Scrubs in space with conspiracy theories. Also, pretty much no one is completely straight. Following the most unorthodox bunch of medical professionals I have ever witnessed, plus one deposed prince-turned saucier, and a not-actually-terrorist who is thirsty af, the show features the headache-inducingly-insane happenings on EOS 10, an intergalactic travel hub set far in the future. And yet, we still have anti-vaxxers. Sorry, society. On the bright side: found family trope! Canon queer characters! A wonderful and awesome main romance that I ship like fedex! Mature and insightful handling of addiction! Girls who could kick my ass and I would thank them for it! Did I mention that everyone’s a little bit gay! Also, an autistic-coded main character (fucking fight me on this istg) and more conspiracies than Jane has hobbies. Everyone is so likable and well written, the comedy is pitch-perfect, and the world-building is really great. Oh, and the plot kick-starts in the episode where they have to fix an erection that won’t go away. It’s my second favorite podcast out there, and I implore you to give it a listen.