1. The Top 5 of Death Podcast
A group of friends including Matt, BWK, Dooley, and DJ share their personal top five lists on any given topic. After the episode, the lists go up on their website, where fans can vote for which list they agree with the most. The following episode, the winner is announced, and writes a short fictional story about how the other hosts die using subject matter from the previous week’s episode.
The premise might seem a little strange, but stay with me here. This group is full of great personalities. They bring professional improv experience and comedy skills to the show, as well as some great (bad) puns. After hearing their stories, you begin to feel like you know Matt and the rest of the crew and want to jump into the conversation with them. The topics chosen for the show have a great range. From personal topics (my favorite is their “Dumb Personal Stories” episode), to wrestling, to cereal, to the 70s hit Blossom, the crew covers it all. I’ve picked out some of the more geek-focused episodes for those of you who want to check it out:
- Episode 80: Current and Desired Super Smash Bros Characters
- Episode 77: Comic Book Heroes
- Episode 69: Comic Book Villains
- Episode 44: Sega vs. SNES
- Episode 1: Original Nintendo Games
2. This American Life
This American Life is a popular podcast that has won numerous major broadcasting awards. Each episode has a general theme and is divided into acts. Each act is a different story (mostly true) of everyday people. Many are familiar with the spinoff Serial about Adnan Syed. Not every episode of this podcast falls into the “nerdy” category. However, episode 178 popped up on my iPhone last week.
In Episode 178: Superpowers: “We answer the following questions about superpowers: Can superheroes be real people? (No.) Can real people become superheroes? (Maybe.) And which is better: flight or invisibility? (Depends who you ask.)” They also go into “what makes a successful superhero?” in terms of what sells comic books. My favorite part of this episode is Act 2: Wonder Woman:
Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6’5″ warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands. She made a list of all the skills she would need to master if she wanted to actually become the superhero she dreamed of being. Sample items: Martial arts, evasive driving and bomb diffusion. She actually checked off most things on the list…and then had a run-in with the CIA.
Fandible is an Actual Play roleplaying podcast. The group has used numerous systems including D&D, World of Darkness, Fiasco, Pathfinder, Rotted Capes, Rogue Trader, Dungeon World, The Dresden Files RPG, and Fate – and that’s just some of them. The group itself has a great chemistry and the ability to draw you into the story. The characters they choose are dynamic.
Shrouded Lullaby is a favorite episode of many:
The three imaginary friends of Kendra Walters are her helpers and her support in a world of grownups. Each representing an aspect of her personality, they help fight off all threats of childhood from an annoying brother to the monster under the bed. But what happens when an event triggers an evil no child should ever have to face?
The group expertly takes on the challenging (and personal) topic of child abuse in a respectful way. The use of voice and storytelling by the GM in this episode is also impressive.
In addition to these podcasts, the group also has Geekly Topics Round Table episodes where they discuss heavier topics such as religion and race in games and comics along with pop culture items such as the new Mad Max film.
4. Darkness Radio
Dave Schrader hosts this talk radio show (that can be downloaded as a podcast) where he interviews guests about the paranormal and the unknown. Schrader is an excellent host who asks intelligent questions and relies on a healthy amount of skepticism without offending those he is interviewing.
A mini-synopsis from the Facebook page:
He covers every aspect of the paranormal: from ghosts to UFO activity, and more. Each week, he speaks with experts in every field to bring you the latest and most up to date stories and dig deeper into classic and familiar tales and urban legends.
The radio show is based in Minnesota and streams all over the world. If you want to listen live, tune in every Monday through Friday from 9PM to Midnight. The radio show itself is titled: The Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Each episode has three parts to it and follows a different theme. Some are consistent, such as True Crime Tuesdays, Para-Share days, and Supernatural News. Schrader is resourceful as well; he finds the right people to interview and is sure to get the best source for the story.
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