One medium of cultural creativity that did not disappoint in 2016 was the world of podcasting, with an assortment of new and returning shows entertaining and educating us throughout the year.
Here’s our very subjective list of 2016’s best podcasts. As you can tell, our interests primarily lie in the categories of Film/TV and Politics. Additionally, we excluded shows we’re involved in making (The 99%, Aubergine Surprise etc.) but they are also worth a listen!
Allow Roman Mars’ sooting voice to engage and inform you on countless fascinating subjects. Each episode is short and fast-paced. Perfect listening for the walk to work.
THE AXE FILES
David Axelrod interviews an assortment of figures from the political world, from Bernie Sanders and Mitt Romney to Mark McKinnon and Van Jones.
THE EMPIRE PODCAST
Now in its fifth year, this continues to be the most charming weekly breakdown of movie news, as Chris Hewitt, Helen O’Hara and a host of others answer peculiar film-themed viewer questions and wax lyrical about Hamilton.
HERE’S THE THING WITH ALEC BALDWIN
Baldwin’s voice is a miracle from the gods, and his interview podcast Here’s The Thing is a great chance to listen to it at length, as the legendary actor/Trump impersonator interviews cultural figures about a variety of offbeat topics.
After an 18-month hiatus, Hype After Dark‘s Andrew and Mason returned to weekly podcasting with this premium (but worth every penny) show. A reliably funny insight into two very different lives.
Hugh Linehan hosts The Irish Times’ flagship political podcast, featuring informative discussion of local and international affairs. During February’s General Election campaign and the successive government formation, this was the best resource online for analysis and interviews with key figures.
KERMODE & MAYO’S FILM REVIEW
Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s unique rapport has enthralled millions of listeners, and in their second decade of co-hosting, they remain on top form. If you haven’t joined the Church of Wittertainment yet, you’re seriously missing out.
As the Potter fandom comes back to life, with both Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts released this year, MuggleCast has gained much of its golden-era momentum and continues to provide immersive coverage of the Wizarding World on a regular basis.
During a long election campaign full of bullshit, it was important to have a voice of reason and journalistic integrity constantly available for some respite. NPR Politics provided that, with a team of informed- but unbiased- reporters releasing astonishingly frequent episodes that were entertaining, funny and profoundly enlightening.
THE WEST WING WEEKLY
Possibly the greatest podcast about television ever, TWWW was one of 2016’s biggest pop culture breakthroughs. West Wing actor Joshua Malina (who doesn’t appear until Season 4) and the soothingly-voiced Hrishikesh Hirway break down every episode of Aaron Sorkin’s political masterpiece, interviewing the cast and crew and delving into the nuance of the show. Rapidly evolving into a community of its own, with merchandise and dozens of recurring gags, it’s as if Kermode & Mayo were American and only discussed The West Wing. An emerging gem of the podcasting world.