Friday, February 24, 2017

Podcasts I'm Listening To...

"Binge-watch" has become an overused word in my vocabulary (thanks, Netflix). I rarely ever watch shows on an actual television set, especially since moving to Russia. However, the amount of complete television series I have finished on Netflix is sickening. I thought about writing a post on what I've watched since moving to Russia, and my review of them, but I, honestly, won't be able to remember all the shows. I also don't really want to think about how many hours I've wasted watching Netflix. It's definitely way over the average number of hours a person watches television. In my defense, I do watch shows when I cook, get ready, or lesson plan, but I'll be the first to admit I still watch too much.

At the end of the summer, I finished Making a Murderer, which I wanted to see because everyone was talking about it. I was curious as to what the fuss was about. When the series was over, I didn't know what to watch next. Netflix Russia doesn't have many options. I remembered hearing about Serial, because everyone would talk about Making a Murderer and Serial around the same time. I decided to give it a try, and I loved it. I liked that it was like watching a tv show, but, unlike a tv show, I didn't have to focus on the screen lest I miss something. I finished season 1 and was hooked!

Since I started Serial I've listened to three other podcasts. All are currently still producing new content, so I haven't stopped listening to them. I wanted to do a review where I give them a grade, but I thought that would be too hard because I like them all for different reasons. For future posts like this I will rate them on a scale from 5-1 with 5 being the best an 1 being the worts, and with a description explaining why. These podcasts are in no particular order. They are simply listed in the order I listened to them.

SERIAL - 4

Serial is a podcast that tells one single story over the course of the podcast's season. Season 1, the story of high school student Adnan Syed who was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, is probably what this podcast is best known for. The second season takes you through the story of Bowe Bergdahl's defection from his post in Afghanistan and the consequences that follow as a result of his decision. 

The first thing I liked about this podcast, as creepy as it sounds, is Sarah Koenig's voice. Her voice sounds trusting. It's very clear, and she sounds like someone you would want to hear a story from. I also liked that she tries to tell the story based on facts and not on personal opinions, although she does mention throughout the seasons when her personal bias might be present. Unlike the other podcasts you have to listen to the episodes in order.  I am anxiously waiting for season 3!

CRIMINAL - 5

I started listening to Criminal after reading this post on Messy Nessy Chic about people stealing petrified wood from Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park. As you can tell from my blog I like offbeat things. First, the artwork for each criminal episode is amazing! If I wasn't living in Russia I'd have bought so many things from their shop. Second, it's not just about murder. Anything related to criminal activity is game in this podcast, from online catfishing to stolen identity to that mysterious petrified wood in Arizona. You also don't need to listen to this podcast in order. I think there is only one episode that requires you listen to the previous episode first, but she warns you before it begins. If you like weird crime stories then you should definitely listen to this podcast.

LORE - 4.5

I love a good ghost story and urban legend. They scare the life out of me, but I can't get enough. Zombie movies are an example of this. I know I'll certainly get nightmares, but I have to watch them! This podcast is the same. I came across Lore after seeing an article on Facebook about how the producers of The Walking Dead wanted to turn the podcast into a television series. I was intrigued because I like The Walking Dead and I like scary stories. At first I couldn't stand Aaron Mahnke's voice. It wasn't so much his voice, but they way he would tell the story. It was just so slow, but eventually I got used to it and the stories are so good! I was going back and forth trying to decide how to rate this podcast. I really enjoyed listening to it but sometimes it was really hard to follow what Mahnke's point was. He'd tell one story and have another one that kind of related but I still couldn't tell if his point was about ghosts, vampires, or what. Maybe I just need to be explicitly told what is happening. Eventually I settled on "loved" because I do like the idea of the podcast. Lore is obviously about folk lore, legends, and the supernatural. If you like any of those things you should give Lore a listen.

THE MEMORY PALACE - 5

I started listening to this podcast after reading reviews on Lore. People were saying Aaron Mahnke was a "wannabe" and his podcast wasn't as good as The Memory Palace (which I totally don't agree with because they are both really good in their own way). I hated this podcast when I first started. I read a book in college called, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, in which the author tries to get you to remember the story of Ricci's life through visual representations. These images would be placed inside an abstract palace in your mind that you could recall by going into the different rooms. I liked the idea, but I hated the book. So, when I started listening to this podcast I just kept remembering the book and how much I hated it. I didn't like that the podcast was so short either. I was used to the 20 minute episodes of the previous podcasts that 3 minutes left me thinking, "That's it?"

In his defense, Nate DiMeo tells you in the first few episodes, and on his website, not to start with the first one. He encourages you to start with the later episodes. But I like structure and order, and I knew if I started later it would leave me anxious. I continued to listen because of what those people wrote. I thought if those reviewers said The Memory Palace was better than Lore then I must just be missing something. I'm SO glad I stuck through it. It's not that the older episodes were bad, I just wasn't used to his style, but I totally recommend this podcast. It's a historical podcast, but he tells stories about those people or events that are often overlooked in history. He wants you to experience what those moments in history felt like for the people who lived through them. He tries to make you feel what the people in the early 20th century felt when they thought there was life on Mars. I'm a very emotional person, especially when reading about historical events. The mix of history with stories of insignificant people making a difference is so captivating that I sometimes catch myself starting to cry. I think this is my favorite podcast!

Do you listen to podcasts? Which are your favorites?

8 comments

  1. Interesting... I'm always looking for new podcasts that can match up with how much I loved Serial but none have fit the bill so far. The only ones I try to listen to regularly are a Berlin-oriented one, Women of the Hour (Lena Dunham's feminist podcast), and have been meaning to try a blogging one but have not got around to it yet...

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    1. You might really like Criminal. The woman who hosts it reminds me a lot of Sarah Koenig! I might have to listen to Women of the Hour. I actually really hate Lena Dunham, but maybe her podcast will change my mind about her.

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  2. I love Criminal, too. As for my favorite podcasts, I love Retail Nightmares, In Sight, True Crime Garage, Sean's Russia Blog, Astonishing Legends, Already Gone, Accused, and The Great Albums.

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    1. Ooo! I'll have to give those all a listen! Thank you!

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  3. Great list! I've added them all to my list (except lore cause I'm not too into ghost stories). I mostly listen to home decor, budgeting, or entrepreneurial podcasts... I liked the first season of Serial too. I haven't really gotten too into listening to podcasts yet, but my commute is longer and I started listening to them on my phone in the car while playing music quietly so I'm less bored. I'll let you know if I find any good ones.

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    1. The first season of Serial is definitely better than the second, but the second is still really good. I always listened to a morning talkshow in Cleveland on my favorite radio station, so I think that was my gateway into podcasts.

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  4. I LOVE podcasts! Most of the ones I listen to are done by women. The Guilty Feminist is amazing. It took me a while to warm up to the two co-hosts, but now I can't get enough. It's comedy but it's also poignant so sometimes it makes me cry. I also really love Women's Hour and Stuff Mom Never Told You. I haven't listened to any supernatural / crime related podcasts but I love ghost stories so I'm definitely going to give some a try! I listen to way too much Netflix too - because I live alone, it's always in the background when I potter around the house. I think that's okay - it's nice to have some background noise. Gilmore Girls is my favourite background series! xx

    Jessthetics

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    1. Serial and Criminal are both done by women, and they are phenomenal! I'll have to check other the other ones. Ugh, I love Gilmore Girls. I used to watch it every so often but this year I actually watched the whole thing from beginning to end and I didn't realize how short her time in high school was. I always thought that was a big part of the show.

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