Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Podcast Roundup // Fiction & Docudramas

Hey friends!

So, I like many have become obsessed with podcasts. They come in handy when I am working away making jewelry and designing new baby blocks and cutting boards at my day job as a designer + maker at WoodKeeps. My little workspace is tucked away behind the main wood shop and it gets lonely sometimes, but I have the many voices of podcasts to keep me company & keep my mind occupied. I LOVE them. I live on them. Here are a few of my favorites!

This week I wanted to share some of my favorite docudramas. Serial gained a huge audience in its first season, and several of these podcasts share a similar structure: one story told over many episodes, often in interview format. The catch with docudramas is that they are just that... dramas. Very convincing dramas (the Black Tapes had me furiously googling names and places to try to verify its status as fact or fiction when I first started listening to it), but dramas nonetheless. Do not be fooled! If you love a good spooky story and you enjoy Serial/This American Life-style podcasts, you'll love the following docudramas... and in case you can't tell from this list, I am slightly obsessed with the bizarre, the paranormal, and tales of conspiracies.

Note: the following podcast recommendations are not kid-friendly. Unless your kids are into the horror/thriller genre. Then the following podcasts are totally kid-friendly.

Alice Isn't Dead // By the creators of the famed "Welcome to Night Vale" (see below), Alice Isn't Dead is a fantastically narrated, beautifully produced story of a woman on a search for her missing wife through the highways of North America. Things get weird fast, as to be expected from Joseph Fink, writer. If you want extra creeps, listen to this one in the car on a long road trip late at night...

The Black Tapes // I quickly became addicted to this serialized docudrama about the strange, paranormal happenings surrounding Dr. Richard Strand, a skeptic who is set on disproving every haunting, possession, or sighting of the supernatural that crosses his path. The first season is excellent, engaging, and highly entertaining. The second season seems to be lagging a bit, but maybe that's just because I've caught up and now have to listen to new episodes once every two weeks according to their show schedule like everyone else. If you can't get enough of the Black Tapes, their sister show, Tanis, is also good entertainment, though I feel it is a bit repetitive as a follow-up to the Black Tapes. I swear, Alex and Nic must be related, their voices sound so similar after a while.

The Bright Sessions // X-men meets pop psychology in this adventure of a podcast! Each episode is a different session recorded by Dr. Bright, who is a therapist for the strange and unusual, where she talks with her strange and unusual clientele. It is immediately engaging from the start (each episode is only about 17 minutes long) and quickly turns into a grand adventure with continually inventive mechanisms for telling its story. My biggest complaint: the actor who plays Caleb. At this point I can barely stand to hear his voice... something about it just irritates me. But it's worth it, for a great cast overall and a fun story.

Limetown // This was another podcast that had me frantically searching around the internet to determine whether or not it was a true story. It is another Serial-style podcast with a Wayward-Pines-esque plot, but if you ask me I would tell you to skip the show and just listen to the podcast. ;) Another varied cast here, well-produced, and also very addicting.

The Message // Basically Pontypool the podcast, but with aliens instead of zombies (spoiler alert). If you have to choose one to consume, choose Pontypool, but the Message was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Old Time Radio Mystery Theatre // Always a good time! If you love old radio and if you love The Twilight Zone, you will adore the hours of old mystery stories provided by this podcast.

Welcome to Night Vale // This one took me a bit to get into, but my mistake the first time was that I tried too hard to multitask while I had it on... it is done in a community-radio style talk show, with news, weather, traffic updates, so on, and so it sounds completely boring as background music, which is why you need to be able to pay attention as you listen. If you do, a strange world of conspiracies and bizarreness-made-mundane await you. Every so often a larger plot will span across several episodes, but the stand-alone ones are just as fun. Also, Cecil is an excellent host.

I hope you've found a new favorite! Please, share any of your favorite fiction/docudrama podcasts not listed in the podcasts... I am ALWAYS on the lookout for recommendations.

♥ Ciara Kay

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