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7 Podcast Series to Binge on This Holiday Season

1 / 7

Caliphate (The New York Times)

Genre: News & Politics

We’ve been fans of Rukmini Callimachi, who covers terrorism for the New York Times, since her guest episode on Gimlet Media’s Reply All, so it was no surprise that we scarfed down all ten chapters of Caliphate in one sitting. Callimachi takes a no-holds-barred deep dive into the world of ISIS, from the training of new recruits to the fall of Mosul. At times difficult to listen to, this series is a surprisingly intimate look at one of the most feared organisations in the world today.

 

2 / 7

Limetown (Two-Up)

Genre: Performing Arts

We picked up the first episode of Limetown on a whim this year – it was actually released in 2015 – and boy, have we been sleeping on this one. Follow American Public Radio reporter Lia Haddock’s attempt to learn what happened to the over three hundred women, men and children who disappeared overnight from a small town in Tennessee. You’ll be sucked right in (we were!) and downloading season two, conveniently released earlier this year, before you know it. The production of this series makes it a cut above the rest in the fictional podcast world.

 

3 / 7

Slow Burn Season 2: The Impeachment of Bill Clinton (Slate)

Genre: History

Following up an incredible season one (also recommended), Slow Burn’s season two does not disappoint in the slightest. We never thought we would be this interested in the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, but host Leon Nayfakh has a way of making his examination of history so fascinating you won’t be able to hit pause before the series is over. We have no doubt you’ll be recommending this to your friends, American history buffs or not.

 

4 / 7

Making Obama (WBEZ Chicago)

Genre: Society & Culture

We recommend listening to this Making Obama at the same time as reading Michelle Obama’s best seller memoir “Becoming” – between the two of them, you’ll get a rich history of just what it took to make the former President and First Lady of the United States the people, and political figures, that they are. WBEZ’s Jenn White takes an intimate look at Obama’s history prior to his presidency, and his story left us inspired and even more in awe of America’s first African American President. It’s incredibly well made and thoroughly researched, so we promise you won’t fall asleep listening to this one.   

 

5 / 7

Gossip (Allison Raskin and Stitcher)

Genre: Performing Arts

If you want a quick departure from history or grisly true crime this holiday season, hurry up and binge all of Gossip while you can.  Spearheaded by best-selling New York Times author Allison Raskin, this comedic soap opera will have you laughing out loud while desperately queuing up the next episode in your feed. Every week, sit down with three unlikely girlfriends as they discuss the latest gossip floating around their small suburban town over a cup of steaming coffee… although some steaming tea may have been more apt.

 

6 / 7

The White Vault (Fool and Scholar Productions)

Genre: Performing Arts

Listen to this one at your own risk – the mounting terror in this series made us check and double check all the lights were switched on while we were listening. The audio equivalent of found footage, The White Vault is the horror drama we didn’t even know or think we were looking for. Follow along as the Documentarian walks you through the collected records of a repair team sent to Outpost Fristed in the cold, white wastes of Svalbard, who slowly discover that things are not quite what they seem. The second season was released this year, and you can bet that we are waiting for each new episode with bated breath.

 

7 / 7

Serial Season 3 (This American Life)

Genre: News & Politics

What kind of list would this be without podcast granddaddy Serial? After suffering through a lackluster second season, we were hoping Serial would find the magic of its first season again, and we weren’t disappointed! Season three is an unobstructed view (mostly) of Cleveland’s Justice Centre, the epicentre of this season’s stories. The episodes range from hour long looks at specific cases, to a whole day spent in a single judge’s court. We won’t lie, it was difficult to listen to some episodes, but Sarah Koenig does an excellent job presenting the harsh realities of the American criminal justice system without alienating her listeners. We can safely say that Serial is finally back!

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