Podcast (with storyline) recommendations?

djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
I'm looking for a podcast that has a storyline of some sort, that has a sense of 'togetherness' (-vs- just being individual episodes), has characters that are interesting (rather than just events that are discussed), and that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Doesn't have to be non-fiction or fiction, either way is fine -- but I'm not looking for a "this week we discuss XYZ" sort of thing, This American Life or 99PI or Reply All, while great, are not what I'm after here.

Examples I've enjoyed; Serial series 1 (skipped S2 and I bounced off S3 halfway through, though) Mogul S1 and S2. S-Town. Surviving Y2K (I guess it's a bit episodic but it still all goes together as a single thing) Or, fiction, Homecoming. Bubble. Mars Patel S1 and S2, not listened to S3 yet.

Oh, and things that are a length that I could conceivably listen to all of it -- TAZ has complete stories, but something that scale would be a heck of a lot to take on.

Context -- I find that when I go somewhere and just walk around looking at things, I like to listen to podcasts that have stories and notable events during the story and stuff, because then whatever-it-was that I was listening to ties in to whatever-it-was that I was looking at at the same time, and I like having the sense that "this trip was accompanied by this story". So, for example, seeing the amazon domes when walking around Seattle is the bit in Surviving Y2K where he meets the survivalists with the kitten, and the waterfront cranes are the bit about "first baby of the millennium". Or a particular street in my hometown is now the section where Sarah Koenig talks to Adnan's parents at the start of Serial.

This is a pretty fuzzy set of criteria, but there are _so many_ podcasts out there, and searching for "story based podcast" tends to find one-at-a-time ones, and searching for "podcast like Serial" just gets true crime stuff, which isn't necessarily what I'm after either.

(fake edit: I did some more googling and currently have The Bright Sessions, Limetown, Steal The Stars, The Message, Wolverine The Long Night, and Hector vs The Future queued up -- those are pretty much all sci-fi / mystery, but if there's other ones that aren't in those genres I'm open to suggestions, the pages I found were all along those sorts of lines)


  • sedersmithsedersmith Registered User new member
    Ah, you have still more than me, need to finish those the one you listed.

    Sloth Smith

  • MorranMorran Registered User regular
    Maybe hardcore history with Dan Carlin would fit the bill? Longer (sometimes multi-hour) episodes about some historic event, with a few episodes covering each event.

    Examples: "blueprint for Armageddon", 6 episodes ww1, "Kings of the East", 3 episodes about the Persian empire.

    Above are free, loads of older episodes for sale as well.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    TAZ just started a new series, called Graduation, which is very good so far. Great, and much more manageable, bite than jumping into the 80 eps of Balance or 60ish of Amnesty.

  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    The CritShow is an Actual Play of the Powered-by-The Apocalypse tabletop RPG, Monster of the Week. There are several story arcs available, and the cast are all entertaining to listen to.

  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited November 2019
    A couple of good Australian ones in the vein of Serial 1 are 'Bowraville' and 'Teacher's Pet.'

    bsjezz on
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    It's not quite a serial podcast, but there's always the Acquisitions Inc DnD podcast that is still going, 10 years later.

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    Thanks for the suggestions! Hardcore History looks like the sort of length I'm after, so I'll give that a shot to get started, and Bowraville/Teacher's Pet seem like another good option after that.

    I'm already listening to TAZ:graduation, I went through Balance/Amnesty(,Dust, etc) already, so I'm hopeful that it works well with Travis DMing; I'll put the CritShow in the queue, and I think the last time I listened to the acquisitions inc podcast was the Dark Sun episodes which were, let's see, 9 years ago so I think there's a lot of catching up to do..)

  • Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    It's not quite a serial podcast, but there's always the Acquisitions Inc DnD podcast that is still going, 10 years later.

    It's a challenge to listen to that all on sequence though. I don't think it's available anywhere in audio form 100% complete?

    Oh brilliant
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    Friends at the Table is "an actual-play podcast focused on critical world building, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends," and is definitely one of my favorite pieces of media to consume. Yeah, not just podcasts, including everything else.

    They just finished their post-post-apocalyptic fantasy campaign, Seasons of Hieron, so that's a complete story although it will also take a long time to listen to... about three years worth of episodes? Their mini-season, Marielda, is a good jumping on point as it's only about a dozen episodes long, and while its events tie into the greater campaign it is also somewhat self-contained. Otherwise just start at the beginning of the first season, Autumn. Autumn is a little rough to start both because of audio quality and because this was their first actual season (and for some players, their first actual roleplaying) but everyone gets a quick grasp on their characters and the world they inhabit. It is very much a setting made to counter fantasy cliches and stale tropes.

    Between each of their Hieron seasons, they have done a mecha sci-fi season set in the far distant future. Two seasons of that have been made, and while they take place in the same setting, they are set tens of thousands of years apart, so they are effectively stand-alone

    COUNTER//Weight, a dystopian cyberpunk game, is how I first got into FaaT. Honestly one of my all-time favorite stories of the past decade.

    The second sci-fi season, Twilight Mirage, was exploring the ending of a utopian society. It's much more experimental and freeform than other seasons. Not what I would consider a good starting point because it takes a while for them to find their stride, but damn did it finish strong.

    The third sci-fi season, PARTIZAN, is going to be starting very soon, if you wanted to get in on the ground floor of a season. They have been releasing a series of one-shots to fill in some of the time gap between Twilight Mirage and PARTIZAN to help set the stage for the new political climate of the galaxy.

    (Oh, there's also Bluff City, their Patreon-exclusive campaign, where they play a series of one shot games set in a magical realist version of Atlantic City. It's a ton of fun, but I would never suggest you just start paying money to listen without checking out their free stuff first.)

    Gamertag: PrimusD | Rock Band DLC | GW:OttW - arrcd | WLD - Thortar
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    It's not quite a serial podcast, but there's always the Acquisitions Inc DnD podcast that is still going, 10 years later.

    It's a challenge to listen to that all on sequence though. I don't think it's available anywhere in audio form 100% complete?

    The Acq Inc feed goes back to 2016, but I'm nearly certain the older episodes are at WOTC.com and you can dig out a RSS link with a few steps.

  • KelorKelor Registered User regular
    I think they rolled the old Acquisitions Inc episodes into their Dungeon Delve podcast, I went looking for them a while ago and found them there in roughly chronological order. They just combined the shorter podcasts into longer ones.

    The Dollop has done some good two parter episodes, off the top of my head Opium in the US was interesting and informative, particularly the second half when it gets into exactly how drug companies twisted and had new legislation passed to get the ball rolling on starting what is now a crisis.

  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    Passenger List
    Showcase (this one features limited run podcasts over time. I'd recommend Polybius Conspiracy and Spacebridge, but the others are interesting as well)

  • SCREECH OF THE FARGSCREECH OF THE FARG #1 PARROTHEAD margaritavilleRegistered User regular
    magnus archives is very good

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    I remember liking Welcome to Night Vale back in the day.

    It's basically a local news radio show set in a very Weird town in the American badlands. It went for a while but there are lots of clean breaks where you can easily exit the story, so there's no need to feel overwhelmed.

    Also had some excellent musical showcases.

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    edited December 2019
    Welcome to Night Vale is still going strong; heck, I went to the live show with my kid when it was in town last month, and that was the podcast that accompanied "walking back from the TMBG show in Denver" when I did that earlier this year.

    I've added a bunch more things to my list, thanks everyone -- in the end I wound up listening to Wolverine: The Long Night because I figured it would be the most likely to not make me listen to mattress adverts any more times, and it seemed like a complete story that would take up the right amount of time. (spoiler: there were adverts, but they were adverts for other story-based podcasts, so fair enough). (next spoiler for content)
    As for the podcast itself, it was very well made and well done technically, it just felt like the story could have done with some trimming down, and imho the ending fell a bit flat. Worth a listen if you want Marvel-continuity (kind of) podcast, though, and I think they have another season coming out which might help with my plotting-related complaints.

    Currently started on Limetown, which so far seems interesting, though it also feels like I know what's going to happen just from the first episode -- though maybe that's the point, I can't believe they aren't aware that people listening to it have read other stories before.

    (edit a bit later: nope, Limetown is no good. The story went exactly where I expected it would, the characters don't seem to have any personalities or realistic behavior beyond being there to read out bits of prose that the writers thought were cool, the writing is just plain sloppy in places For example: "I park 40 minutes from the beach and walk (to meet X)". They meet, talk, X says "want to follow me in your car?" and drives off. and then the narrator says "As I follow X's car ..." But no, you didn't, because just now you told us that you parked 40 minutes away, so you can't follow him because your car isn't there to follow him _in_. It's not a big deal in itself, but this sort of thing happened often enough to be surprisingly distracting.

    Also, the main plot driving element is poorly-defined enough to not really make any sense (or just inconsistently written), so anything to do with that felt pretty much arbitrary as to what would happen, it seemed to do whatever-was-handy at the time, which made the whole thing feel like a waste of time).

    djmitchella on
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