Hello friends! Back in March, right around the time the lockdown kicked in in Hungary, I discovered the wondrous world of (fictional) podcasts. I’ve talked about some of them on the blog before, particularly about my favorites, however, I felt like it was time to bring you a full post where I can introduce my favorite podcasts to you.
My list is in no particular order – the podcasts are way too different to properly rank them – but I will end the post with my top favorite podcast, which happens to be one of my favorite things in the world.
Two Girls One Ghost
🖤 We shall start this list with the one and only nonfiction podcast I actively listen to (there are a few bookish podcasts I occasionally listen to, mostly when their host interviews an author I know and love.)
🤍 Two Girls One Ghost is hosted by Corinna and Sabrina, two friends who are interested in and believe in ghosts. Every week, they share ghost stories – some they’ve researched, some listeners sent in, others the girls themselves have experienced.
🖤 I’m a huge sceptic when it comes to ghosts, but parts of this podcast have seriously creeped me out. On top of that, the hosts are really nice to listen to.
The Penumbra Podcast
🖤 The Penumbra Podcast is a weird one, because (1) I have issues with it, (2) I only listen to about half of the episodes made. The podcast follows two main storylines, and while I love the “Juno Steel” stories, frankly, I couldn’t care less about “The Second Citadel.” On a side note, I did listen to the standalone stories they created at the beginning of S1 and I quite liked those!
🤍 The podcast has been praised for putting a lot of effort and care into Juno’s mental health representation and his character development. Many of its cast and crew are LGBTQ+ folk and that is also true for every character in the podcast. Penumbra has nonbinary, bisexual, gay, and aro/ace characters, just to name a few.
🖤 At the same time, the podcast has been called out by fans for multiple issues.. and, to my knowledge, the creators have failed to address any of them, which is frustrating when the podcast prides itself on being inclusive. I think the most concerning issue is that they commissioned “official fan art” for their characters, which portrays multiple characters as POC… all of whom are played by white voice actors. The artist who created the fanart spoke up about this multiple times while the creators of The Penumbra refuse to acknowledge it. On top of that, they’ve also deadnamed both transgender characters they introduced in their most recent season. I love the characters of the “Juno Steel” stories, but I doubt I’d have started the podcast were I aware of these things beforehand. So I wanted to give that choice to you.
🤍 On a final note, be prepared that The Penumbra contains kissing noises, which are one of the worst things in the world, istg.
The Bright Sessions
🖤 The Bright Sessions follows Dr. Bright, a psychologist who serves both as a mental health expert, as well as someone people with special abilities can come to. We follow multiple characters as they learn about themselves and their abilities and, as the story goes by, we see how these people’s lives connect.
🤍 While I rated the podcast four stars, I had some pretty significant issues with its writing. The pacing is off at multiple points and certain episodes felt rather pointless; for instance, there is a full episode in S2 that didn’t add anything to the plot or to the character development. On top of that, certain characters and events weren’t explored well, in my opinion.
🖤 With that being said, I flew through The Bright Sessions, as the characters were easy to care about and the plot was pretty thrilling for the most part.
🤍 As for the rep, the podcast has an asexual character, an M/M couple, as well as a bisexual character. The podcast also deals with mental health issues, such as panic attacks and anxiety.
🖤 Finally, just a quick heads up! Like Penumbra, this one also has kissing sounds, which are still so fucking horrid to listen to, oh my god. (Only two instances of it as far as I remember? But still.)
The Two Princes
🖤 The Two Princes follows Rupert, a 17-year-old prince who is ready to take a more active role in the kingdom despite the wishes of his mother, the queen. When shit hits the fan, Rupert sizes the opportunity to run away into the woods, where he feels a calling from. There he meets Amir, the prince of the neighboring kingdom, with whom his destiny is connected to. (Obviously, this an M/M romance.)
🤍 I’d consider this a cross between Middle Grade and Young Adult; it’s YA because of the characters age, but there is a certain fairytale-like quality to it, which reminds me of MG. In any case, if you want to enter the world of podcasts as a lover of YA, this is a good way to go!
🖤 The Two Princes is so soft and calming! Even though there are high stakes moments, they don’t last for long and I never doubted that the characters would come out alive in the end.
🤍 Everything is of very high quality in this podcast, including the writing, the sound design, and the voice acting. I believe most of the cast is made up of trained and/or experienced actors, many of whom are POC.
🖤 Wooden Overcoats follows Rudyard and Antigone Funn, twins and owners of Funn Funerals, the only funeral home in their small town. People come to them because they must… that is until Eric Chapman, newly moved in resident, opens his own funeral parlor, where he “puts the fun in funerals.” Rudyard and Antigone are not about to give up, however, and they try to think of new – and increasingly more ridiculous – ways of destroying Chapman’s business.
🤍 This podcast is so incredibly entertaining and over the top; if you like dark comedies, especially British humor, this is the way to go for you.
🖤 At the same time, the characters are well-made (which is not always the case with comedy, in my experience) and I really grew to love them as the podcast progressed.
🤍 The podcast is of very high quality; the voice acting and the sound design are freaking incredibly.
The Magnus Archives
🖤 This is a horror anthology that follows Jonathan Sims, the newly appointed Head Archivist of the Magnus Institute, a place dedicated to researching the supernatural. In an attempt to make the Archives more organized, Jon decides to record old, written statements about people’s encounters with the supernatural. Each episode contains a statement – this is where the anthology aspect of the podcast comes from – but as the story progresses, we slowly get to know multiple characters and see how working at the Institute changes their lives.
🤍 The writing is immaculate. The way the statements and the overarching plot are written could not be more perfect. Still on the topic of the creators, the direction is fantastic as well, and the voice acting is by far one of the best I’ve ever heard. On a side note, I love listening to the q&as at the end of each season as they give a glimpse into how thoroughly everything has been planned out.
🖤 Even though I love the individual stories and the overarching plot, I believe the reason why I absolutely adore this podcast is that the characters have stolen my heart. I love nearly everyone – and was close to tears when some died, okay – but my favorite has to be one Martin Blackwood, the softest cinnamon roll of a character you’ll ever encounter. 🥺
🤍 This is a personal thing, but despite being a horror podcast, TMA has become the biggest comfort for me during the pandemic. Whenever I’m feeling particularly sad or stressed, I listen to my favorite episodes, look up fanart, read fanfiction, or listen to fan-made compilations of my favorite TMA character. I have so much love for this podcast, you all. 😭
🖤 Something I appreciate about the podcast and the people behind it is that they have owned up to and apologized for the problematic representation included in the podcast. This not to say that the podcast or its creators are “perfect” or that you should forgive them, but I do think they are good at holding themselves accountable.
🤍 Before we finish, I want to specify some things, because I know that, seeing the fanart, some listeners have been disappointed that certain things are not canon. The podcast has a canon M/M pairing (one of them is asexaul and bi-romantic) and a canon, side F/F pairing. It takes time to get there, but the journey is well worth it, in my opinion, especially because S4 is full of pining between the M/M couple. 🥺 Many in the fandom ship another M/M and F/F couple, neither of which are canon. That said, I think the real issue some had – which is valid! – is that they thought the podcast has multiple characters of color, which is not the case. None of the main characters are described – as far as I remember – and the majority of the cast is made of up white voice actors.
Do you listen to podcasts? Do you want to try them? Let me know if you have any questions about these podcasts! Do you like any of my favorites? Do you happen to have any recommendations?