With humanity scattered, alien forces continue their fight for control over Earth. Physicist Gordon Freeman and Alex Vance must work to intercept a Combine transmission and reunite with rebel forces before humanity is destroyed.
The setting for most of your previous adventures is nothing more than a smoldering scar on Episode Two's skyline and the Citadel looks like a long-finished game of girder-Jenga. In every episode, host Lever Burton (Roots, Reading Rainbow, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story.
Lever Burton is an Actor, Director, Educator & Cofounder of the award-winning Library App, host and Executive Producer of PBS's Reading Rainbow and lifelong children's literacy advocate. In this post-Serial audio world, journalists, celebrities, academics and yes, anyone else who owns a mixing desk and a microphone, now has a regular show.
The quality is generally very high, but some efforts can still be hit-and-miss with dozens of podcasts popping up around the same themes or TV shows. To help you out we curate this every-changing list of interesting podcast recommendations spanning technology, culture, science, politics and beyond.
Stephen Merchant's back and forth on salty language in Fighting With My Family, Joe Cornish getting teen dialogue right for Attack The Block, Kelly O' Sullivan, Barry Jenkins, Gallucci... this film interview podcast from British journalist Al Corner gets into the nitty-gritty of screenwriting with obsessive detail, care and attention. Doubling up as a 'how this got made' for some incredible films (who approached who, character arcs, what was improvised), it's a lovely deep dive into some recent classics for those of us who are heavily Covid-rationing cinema visits or not going at all.
Keen, a bluff Brit whose accent verges on the Mid-Atlantic, conducts with panache interviews with luminaries of all stripes, from Yanis Varoufakis to Talking Politics's David Russian. The format is admittedly bog-standard, but Keen is unpredictable enough to fire off the occasional left-field question, delivering a generally more original product than your usual talk-radio-style podcast.
Hosted by botanist James Wong, the series covers everything from illegal traffickers willing to go to criminal ends to get the perfect specimen to poisonings solved with the help of plant science, all the while reminding listeners of the desperate need to conserve some of the world’s most endangered species. Some podcasts give you the whole shebang, but This Day is more of a teaser for discussions about big and small moments in US history like the East Coast dim outs during WW2 or the time Texas House Democrats hid out in Oklahoma to avoid a redistricting vote.
With Jody Avian (ex-538 and others) hosting, historian Nicole Hemmer, this pod sometimes features guests whose voices you'll know from other American podcasts (Harry Enter, Janelle Bowie) Medical sitcom Scrubs ran eight good years and one bad one, and built much of its appeal around the warmth and camaraderie of its young cast.
Every other week, Gastropod co-hosts Cynthia Grader and Nicola Twilled explore a different topic relating to food and dig into the science and history behind it. Featuring interviews with chefs, scientists and experts from all over the world, the duo are excellent at digging up the fascinating stories behind the stuff that ends up in our plates, bowls and mouths.
The podcast also features interviews with Office icons like Rain Wilson (Scranton oddball, Dwight Chute), Elora Hardin (Former Under Mifflin head honcho, Jan Levinson), and writer Greg Daniels. But the real highlight here is hosts Fischer and Kinsey, their interaction with fans and candid storytelling about working in Hollywood makes Office Ladies a really wholesome listen.
The flip-side of that is, of course, what Barbell calls ” extreme privacy”: making sure in every conceivable way that you are not exposing your information to internet voyeurs and cyber-criminals. Hence, the episodes where Barbell explains, in incredible detail, how everything around you is rigged to extract your personal information and turning it against you.
But even for those who are not wont to investigate shady individuals via their TikTok profiles, the podcast offers a glimpse of the scope of potential cyber-threats we pass by every day without even realizing, and of the quasi-paranoid lengths to which privacy-minded individuals are ready to go to keep out of harm’s way. Aaron Hernandez had just signed a multi-million contract with the New England Patriots, the most successful team in the NFL, when he murdered his friend Odin Lloyd.
Once arrested, it soon became clear his crime was just the grim end to years of deviant behavior seemingly enabled by his status as a star player. Gladiator, a co-production between the Boston Globe's Spotlight investigation team and Wonder, delves into his story and the impact American Football, particularly its culture and its violence, had on his life.
From the award-winning team at WIRED UK (yes, that's us) comes a sideways look at the week in tech, culture, science and politics. And, while this is a tech podcast, we skip the gadget chat in favor of more interesting topics, like why high-tech Japanese toilets are conquering the West.
In just 40 days, office-sharing firm WeWork went from a $47bn valuation to the biggest business scandal since Enron, via a botched IPO and the resignation of charismatic CEO Adam Neumann. The Crashed podcast is the definitive inside story of the rise and fall of the company, where Neumann built a cultish following as he created one of the most valuable startups in the world.
Radio Lab creator and host Had Aboard reaches deep inside the Dolly verse to find out how Parton's genius as a songwriter and musician has turned her into the rarest of things: an icon equally loved by people on both sides of today's cultural divide. In this hard-hitting, multiyear-spanning podcast, Brian Thompson travels across the States to find out what really happened to pizza at McDonald’s.
From hilariously awkward phone calls with staff members at McDonald’s to a visit to the last place in the US still selling it, Thompson will take you on a journey to find the answer to the world’s biggest question. “Fake it until you make it on an industrial scale” underpins the tale of Anna Delta, real name Anna Stroking, who conned the Gossip Girl class of New York into believing she was a rich trust fund heiress.
She racked up bills at expensive hotels and forced friends to pay for her, blaming difficulty in moving money from her overseas accounts, and stole $275,000 through a variety of scams. Fake Heiress is an entertaining mix of fictional reenactments, narration and interviews with those who knew her to understand how a girl from a tiny town in Russia became a big name in New York.
It delves into topics that tend to fly under the radar, offering in-depth explorations of geopolitical issues like the 2019 coup in Bolivia, and news stories like the prosecution of Julian Assange, or the cover-up of CIA torture. Analysis is suffused with a critical appraisal of America's role in global politics and presents refreshingly new and thought-provoking perspectives as a result.
Every episode, the Heavyweight host takes a guest back to a point in their life where everything changed and helps unravel the mysteries that sprang from that moment. There's the addict who sold his dad's prized possession to get high, or the woman who never found the right moment to tell the father of her child that he had a daughter.
Each episode is as touching as it is funny, as Goldstein bumbles himself and his companion towards some kind of resolution. Binge Mode is part of the growing trend of recap podcasts that delve into the finer details of films and TV shows.
Having previously tackled Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter movies, hosts Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion bring their eye for detail and hilarity to Star Wars. Each episode deals with a specific film in the series or examines a character in more detail.
The inevitable Jar Banks episode is brilliant as the hosts have a knack for laugh out loud skits and bring plenty of context from canon and #noncanon extended universe stories, which add depth for film viewers. Call Your Girlfriend is co-hosted by New York Times journalist Ann Friedman and businesswoman Amino Sow, who are based on opposite sides of the US.
It takes the format of a weekly phone call between the two friends, where they connect to share fresh, irreverent takes on pop culture and politics (particularly the ravings of the ‘Cheetos in Chief’), and chat to a range of fascinating interviewees from novelists to politicians to activists. A searing dissection of how popular media narratives shelter the powerful and cloud the truth.
Want to know how the west’s narrow definition of corruption obscures a vast wealth transfer from the global south to wealthy westerners? Citations Needed fearlessly explores how mainstream US media narratives shelter the powerful and distort our views on a huge variety of topical issues.
Chris Mollify's Hit Parade, from Slate, isn't the kind of podcast you dip into on the commute. Get into the three phases of the Bee Gees; the power of posthumous hits or the chart history of show tunes with Mollify's meticulously researched deep dives that treat No.1 records with the respect they deserve.
A fascinating exploration of pyramid schemes, the people who run them, and the lives ruined by them While a few early joiners revealed in what appeared to be a limitless money machine, those towards the bottom wasted thousands.
Get ready to meet some strange characters behind multi-level marketing schemes and the people who had their lives changed by them forever in unexpected ways. Strange and unappetizing, the vegetable was initially shunned by Europeans when it was first imported to the continent in the mid-sixteenth century, but soon it became a staple crop for millions.
Lab grown meat, argue Slate's Seth Stevenson and The Economist's Tom Stand age in one episode, may well become the new basis of our future diets. Every week the journalists dig up a story from the history books that gives a hint about where we might head in the future.
As he takes us through stories of the 'refs' who adjudicate and pass judgement in worlds like finance, art, charity and sport, Michael Lewis always sounds slightly amused, even as he's digging into the decline in the power of fair, neutral referees and regulators, and the rise of biased ones, in every industry and aspect of our lives. Against The Rules is from Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weinberg's Jewish podcast joint Pushkin Industries and despite the fact it makes us pretty despondent about our fellow humans, it's a hoot.
Hosted by 99% producer Avery Truman, who speaks to experts on topics such as how Hawaii's Aloha shirt lead to casual Fridays in offices, it's perfect for people who'd rather listen to a podcast about dressing well than dress well. For smart, well-thought-out analysis of the biggest trends shaping the tech industry, look no further than Exponent.
Hosted by Ben Thompson, the writer of one of the most highly-regarded tech blogs and newsletters, Stretcher, and James All worth, head of innovation at Cloudflare, each episode dissects the workings of the tech industry from a strategic point of view. With a leaning towards the business side of things, rather than the cultural implications of technology, Exponent draws links between companies and headlines to really bring to the fore the trends that are driving the tech industry today.
After a few episodes in, you'll begin to realize that although it feels like we're in truly uncharted technology, there is usually an antecedent to the situations tech companies end up in today, and getting your brain out of the latest headlines can reveal much about where you can expect firms to head in the future. The scope of the show is huge, and you can expect to hear stories about science, politics and culture dissected and vociferously debated.
If you're bored with the same old headlines about Trump and Brexit, The Week Unwrapped is the perfect podcast to peek behind the news agenda and sink your teeth into something a little more substantial. Hosted by Bruce Paisley, Twitter’s European vice president, Eat Sleep Work Repeat focuses on how individuals and businesses can improve workplace culture.
Analysis of national security and global events from real experts in defense policy Politically-inclined podcasts in the UK and US are so often obsessed with the insular (admittedly juicy) goings-on of Westminster and Washington.
Believed from NPR tells the horrific story of Larry NASCAR, the US Olympic gymnastics doctor got away with sexually abusing hundreds of young girls over several decades under the cover of “medical” procedures. With Barack Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Love as the presenter, you can’t expect less than carefully picked words for the finest degree of eloquence.
From city benches built to be deliberately uncomfortable to deter rough sleepers, to the serious design flaws that mean governments are turning their backs on cul-de-sacs, 99% Invisible tells the fascinating stories behind the parts of our world we don't always pay much attention to. As an added bonus, host Roman Mars has one of the smoothest voices in podcasting.
The Dollop with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds is the most fun you will ever have during a history lesson. Every week, Anthony reads a story from American history to Reynolds who has no idea what the topic is going to be about.
This weekly podcast gives a satisfyingly dramatic look at the detective work behind journalism. There will be car chases, slammed doors, terrorist cells, meetings in dimly lit bars and close shaves with despotic regimes.
Isis has seldom been out of headlines since the terrorist group declared a caliphate in June 2014, before claiming responsibility for a long string of attacks that have killed hundreds of people outside of Iraq and Syria. New York Times foreign correspondent Running Callimachi gets behind Isis' mask in this 12-part series.
In January 2017, NASA placed six people inside a dome at the base of at the summit of a Hawaiian volcano. Those familiar with Azeem Altar’s in-depth and smartly curated newsletter of the same name will find the same level of quality and attention to detail in his Exponential View podcast.
Though Altar is a brilliant and penetrating host, whether discussing cyberspace regulation or the future of renewable energy, the real star of his podcast are the guests: they read like a who’s who of world experts on the future of technology. This podcast will take you down some of the strangest online rabbit holes that you never knew existed.
Whether it's exploring why mysterious Amazon packages keep getting sent to random addresses or finding out who is really behind those annoying call center scams, Reply All is an investigative podcast about things you see on the internet but usually dismiss in an instant. NPR’s How I built this tells the story of successful companies in the words of their creators.
Host Guy Ran speaks to a different entrepreneur in each episode, and has them recount how they built their business. The real draw for listeners is the caliber of guests that the show manages to attract: past episodes have featured the brains behind prominent startups including Instagram and Airbnb, but also more mainstream business leaders such as the executive chairman of Starbucks and the founders of Ben & Jerry’s.
It’s an intimate insight into the history of well-known brands, and great inspiration if you’re looking to get your own business idea off the ground. Funny and honest, Ctrl Alt Delete brings a much-needed female perspective to the internet.
As the former social media editor of British Glamour, Emma Cannon draws on her own experiences online to discusses the world of work and existing online with her high profile guests. From dealing with trolls to baring your soul on social media, this series has never been more relevant for emerging women in the workplace.
Advertisement If you want a podcast that is informative without being painfully dry, No Such Thing As A Fish is for you. From getting ants drunk to whether humans are magnetic, listen in to swot up on the most niche facts that the brains behind QI have to offer.