Hello friends! As some of you might know, I’ve fallen in love with podcasts during the past year or so, and I have already shared some of my favorite podcasts a couple of months ago (click here to read about them). Today, I had the idea to (1) catch you up on the podcasts I’ve continued to listen to since that last post, and (2) discuss the ones that I have started since that last post. Most of these are high quality podcasts that I’d highly recommend, but there have been some mixed feelings and disappointments along the way.
Podcasts I’ve Recently Caught Up With
The Magnus Archives
The Magnus Archives, a horror anthology podcast that slowly builds its over-arching plot, has recently come to an end which left me with the strangest feeling. I’ve been listening to this podcast since last March, so I’ve spent a little more than a year consuming the podcast, reading fanfiction, looking at fanart, and theorizing with my friends about how it would end. Long story short, much of my last year was about The Magnus Archives, so it feels weird that it’s now over. So weird in fact that I started to relisten to the podcast as soon as I finished the last episode. 😅
I feel a bit torn over the final – on the one hand, I don’t have a massive issue with the ending and I liked multiple elements of it; on the other hand, there was one pretty significant thing that I didn’t like. That being said, with me being so invested in the podcast, I wonder if any ending would have satisfied me fully? In any case, this still remains my all time favorite podcast and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in it at all. 5/5
The Two Princes
Ah, unfortunately, season three of The Two Princes wasn’t as good as I hoped it’d be. On the one hand, it brought back some of what I love about the podcast, such as the light, fun atmosphere, the banter and the lovable characters. On the other hand, it wasn’t the most exciting of seasons, in fact, I found it a bit repetitive and boring. That said, the worst part of season three is that they made it… a musical.
Look, I love musicals, however, not when it comes to podcasts. So far, this is the second time I’ve encountered a podcast with singing in it – The Bright Sessions had a musical episode – and both times were horrid. I think there are two main issues: (1) the songs have no substance and thus feel like fillers, (2) the voice actors, while being absolutely fantastic at acting, aren’t good singers. The fact that every single episode of The Two Princes S3 had a song in it killed a part of me, it really did. As a whole, The Two Princes receives 4/5 stars from me, but S3 only got 3 stars, and that was me being kind.
The Penumbra Podcast
Season three of The Penumbra Podcast came to an end, and god, I’m so glad I’m no longer as invested in this podcast as I used to be because the last couple of episodes were incredibly disappointing to me. (Side note, I actually only listen to the Juno Steele stories of Penumbra, because The Second Citadel bores me to tears.) Partly, I think my issue is that – to my knowledge – the creators never addressed the criticism they received, which is especially disheartening with a podcast that prides itself on being diverse. Don’t get me wrong, Magnus isn’t perfect, but the creators at least did the bare minimum and addressed the criticism they received? Obviously, it’s not my place to accept or not accept that apology, so I can’t comment on that, but with Penumbra, there wasn’t even an apology. 😭
The other thing is that, even though S3 started off really strongly, I later felt like some of the episodes weren’t very good and the last three episodes in particular were disappointing. There was also a subplot that, uncharacteristically, got dragged out for multiple episodes and was left open at the end of the season. This would have been fine had it not been for the two to three instances where the creators pretended that finally we would get some answers to our questions… just to then push us farther away from those answers. I don’t have an issue with unclosed season finals, to an extent they are necessary, but I do take an issue with being baited into believing that the answers are just around the corner. I’d still give 4 stars to this podcast, but we’re inching away from it to 3 stars.
Podcasts I’ve Recently Listened To
Unfortunately, Archive 81 was utterly disappointing – to be honest, I’m really surprised it was picked up by Netflix, because every single podcast I’ve listened to so far was more original and better written than Archive 81. It is a found footage podcast where the main character is listening to tapes made by a filmmaker who was investigating a creepy cult. While I was invested at first, the more I listened to the story, the more disappointed I became, and don’t even get me started on the ending. Still, I looked up some information about the following seasons and man, what I found left me even more confused and made me decide that I wouldn’t continue with Archive 81. I expect that they will change many things for the Netflix show so I might check that out when it drops, because the original concept is fascinating, but right now I’m ready to forget about this podcast. 2/5
Despite not being a big fan of science fiction, I started Wolf 359 because it kept appearing on everyone’s lists of best podcasts and it sounded great. Initially, the podcast follows a couple of characters – three humans and an AI – who were sent to space to look for alien life and who start to discover that the mission they know about is just the top of the iceberg. Wolf 359 is an excellent podcast with spectacular voice acting, complex characters and a plot that was incredibly captivating.
The only issue I have with this podcast is that it starts relatively slowly – the first approx. nine episodes are essentially plotless: they are doing nothing, but showing us the types of arguments and troubles that the crew gets into. Not going to lie, I found these episodes really boring, but looking back we needed them to introduce the original cast and to build the world a bit. Anyhow, even with these episodes, Wolf 359 is a five star podcast for me and one I’d gladly recommend. 5/5
The Left Right Game
I think it’s no question that, in terms of production costs, The Left Right Game is the most expensive podcast on this list – not only does Tessa Thompson play the main role, but the sound design of the podcast is also exceptional. The Lift Right Game is based on a story that appeared on reddit, and it follows a journalist who is investigating a game which will allegedly take you to a different world.
First, the positives – not only are the actors fantastic, but the characters they play are also intriguing. Furthermore, I was completely engrossed in the plot – as someone that had no read the original posts on reddit, I was fascinated by where the story was going and I couldn’t stop listening to the podcast. My issue is that, especially towards the ending, listeners are left to guess what is happening based on the background noises and sounds, as there is little to no narration / explanation. This was baffling because the beginning of the podcast had no such issue, although even there, occasionally I felt that some more explanation would have been good. In any case, The Left Right Game is still a good podcast that I’d give a strong four star rating.
Old Gods of Appalachia
Ahh, I love this podcast so much! As The Magnus Archives was ending, I knew I wanted to find a solid horror podcast to listen to, and Old Gods of Appalachia came highly recommended. It is narrated by one person (Steve Shell) who does an incredibly job presenting the stories in an engaging manner – every episode, I found myself transported into the setting. Even though the podcast is called an anthology, the episodes are connected, at least within each seasons. My explanation of what the podcast is like is really not doing justice to it, but believe me when I say, Old Gods of Appalachia is well worth listening to. 5/5
Do you listen to podcasts? Do you want to try podcasts? What are your favorite podcasts? Have you listened to any of the ones I discussed in this post?