Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Podcasts Ahoy! 2017 Edition

I continue to listen to many, many podcasts related to media.  There are lots of recommendations to cover this year, as some familiar old voices are back in the podcasting arena, along with plenty of newbies.  The landscape has been changing quickly, with Kickstarter and Patreon campaigns becoming the norm, and paywalls beginning their inevitable encroachment.  And, alas, too many of these shows are fleeting.  However, I've found that the podcasters never seem to be able to stay away from the microphone too long, and tend to migrate to new berths in the podcasting world eventually.  

Happy listening!   

TV Avalanche - Television critic Alan Sepinwall has returned to podcasting at last, along with his new Uproxx affiliated co-host Brian Grubb.  Since "Firewall and Iceberg" went off the air (internet?), I have sorely missed having a good television-centric podcast in my life.  "TV Avalanche" more or less keeps the same rapid-fire review format as the previous show, but so far there are more laughs and fewer sports metaphors this time around.  The show only started up in January, but it's already found its groove.  

Toon Goons - A trio of twenty-something friends casually review and discuss all things animation related, with heavy emphasis on Cartoon Network shows and anime favorites.  Episodes center around one show or movie, but also make time for news and show recaps.  This is a perfect snapshot of where I was in fandom (and otakudom) in my early twenties, so I find this podcast tremendously nostalgic and fun.  Sadly, after 100 episodes, the show is on semi-hiatus while the hosts are looking to restructure the format.  However, there's lots to explore in their episode archives.

A Storm of Spoilers - This is technically a "Game of Thrones" podcast geared toward book-readers who want a show that caters to their experience of watching the show.  However, with such a long break between seasons, the show has become more of a general  media podcast during their off-season.  And it's become an excellent place to listen to spoilery discussions of many current television shows and movies.  One of the hosts is Joanna Robinson, who appears later on this list, and on so many other podcasts these days that I've lost track.  Co-hosts Dave Gonzales, and Neil Miller are from the Film School Rejects crew.  The show also spun off an "American Gods" recap podcast.      

Medium Jump - If I had a most promising newbie award, it would go to this show, where a trio of movie fans approach their discussions of movies by comparing the finished product to the original source material or earlier scripts.  Depending on the film of the day, the quality of the episodes varies.  The best installments tend to be the ones where they dissect what went wrong with a film, like the infamous "Passengers."  Others are total geek-out love fests, like the one for the Wachowskis' "Speed Racer."  My biggest reservation with the show is that it leans very genre-heavy and is very fanboy-oriented.  

I Was There Too - Interviews actors and crew who were involved with your favorite media in smaller roles.  For instance, a recent episode was all about Dileep Rao, who had bit parts in "Avatar" and "Inception."  Another interviewed one of the cameramen who worked on the infamous "Star Wars Christmas Special."  The quality of the show varies greatly depending on who is being interviewed, but the show is much more accessible than similar retrospective podcasts because it's focused on more well-known media.  Be forewarned, that most of the past episodes are behind a paywall.  

Gen Pop - /Film's Dave Chen and Joanna Robinson tackle whatever is going on in the wider culture in the past week, from movies and films to other podcasts, like "This American Life" spinoff "S-Town."  They invite a guest each week related to whatever topic they're covering, mostly other critics and writers.  I first ran across Chen and Robinson on the /Filmcast, and they also host numerous TV podcasts together, including ones for "Game of Thrones," "Westworld," and "Better Call Saul."  "Gen Pop," alas, only lasted 24 episodes due to funding and other problems, but it's still worth checking out the episodes.

And honorable mentions go to "We Hate Movies" (especially the animation specials), "Decoding Westworld," "Pop Culture Happy Hour," "The Business," and "Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period" (because I really need to watch more Denzel Washington before attempting to talk about this one).


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