This Week in Podcasts a weekly roundup of mini-reviews of all of the podcasts I’ve listened to in a week. If you see any podcasts that you feel are missing from my list, there’s a good chance I haven’t listened to the show yet! Feel free to give me recommendations–as well as any feedback or discussion!–in the comments below, in my asks on tumblr, or on twitter.
The Once and Future Nerd
“What Used To Be Enough, Pt. 5”
This week’s episode of The Once and Future Nerd completed this chapter of Book 2 with a level of grace and sophistication that the show has been building towards for years. While this show is always an underrated gem, this episode’s combination of acting, production, and writing exemplifies its quality. Specifically, the writing was everything one could want from a fantasy adventure. The stakes were high, the suspense was palpable, and so many different building plot and character developments. I’m not going to explain any of this because I want everyone who enjoys audio drama to listen to this show.
“36 Questions – The Podcast Musical – Act 2 of 3”
It’s no surprise that Two-Up Productions’s 36 Questions has been spectacular in both of its episodes so far. With a limited three-episode run and a standout track record, it’ll be a shock if all three episodes don’t appear as highlights in these lists. This episode gives some much-needed characterization of both Jace and Judith through some lovely songs. The first song, “We Both,” is one of the best in the show so far, but the others all come close. The format of a musical still feels fresh and innovative within the medium. While I’m usually wary of shows that receive the most praise in the media, with 36 Questions, the praise seems completely accurate.
“Episode One: Pilot (Redux)”
While this wasn’t one of the best episodes I heard this week, it did stand out in how much it improved upon its original version. Remaking an early episode is something The Penumbra Podcast has done, and my feelings on it are complicated. On one hand, it seems as though the show should just improve instead of attempting to redeem its early content. On the other hand, episodes like this remind listeners of why they stick with shows even if their early episodes might not impress. Podcast production is hard, and remastered episodes like this show how much producers can improve. Inkwyrm is a show I was starting to grow frustrated with after only just starting it; this episode, though, reeled me back in. The production was sleek and the acting had improved exponentially. I ended the episode so excited to see how the new episodes will sound.
“Episode 50: The Hiccups Method”
This episode was the exact opposite of listening to the Inkwyrm episode. While this week’s Wolf 359 episode was not the worst thing I heard this week, it showed exactly how disappointing this final season has been so far. I struggled to remember what happened this episode, other than that it had me theorizing for the show’s endgame. This is doubly frustrating because I know the show had important developments. It just felt tired and forgettable. Each episode this season has been less and less noteworthy. I hope that the steam builds back up before it ends; before this season began, Wolf 359 was one of the audio dramas I would consider a Holy Grail podcast. Now, it isn’t even one I look forward to when it pops up in my Pocket Casts notifications.
This Week’s Ratings
- The Once and Future Nerd, “What Used to Be Enough, Pt. 5”: A-
- The Sporkful, “Rachel Maddow Fixed The Pina Colada”: B-
- Station to Station, “Supplementary Recording Np. 1 – Miranda Quan (Teaser #1)”: B
- This American Life, “#621: Fear and Loathing in Homer and Rockville”: C
- Two-Up, “36 Questions – The Podcast Musical – Act 2 of 3”: A-
- Hello from the Magic Tavern, “Season 2, Ep 19 – Momo”: C+
- Wolf 359, “Episode 50: The Hiccups Method”: C-
- Beautiful Stories From Anonymous Strangers, “71. American Studies”: B-
- Song Exploder, “Phoenix: Ti Amo”: C
- Myths and Legends, “77-Romanian Folklore: Mrs. Piggy”: B
- 99% Invisible, “El Gordo”: B-
- The Moth, “Om Choudhary & Annablle Gurwich”: C+
- Note to Self, “Escape From Yahoo!”: C+
- Inkwyrm, “Episode One: Pilot (Redux)”: B
- Nancy, “#16: Let’s Talk About Trump’s Trans Ban”: B-
- Imaginary Worlds, “Evil Plans”: B
- Pop Culture Happy Hour, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”: A-, but I’m extremely biased because I hated this movie more than words can say
- Bite, “36 – Trumpcare’s Assault on Your Dinner”: B+
- Snap Judgment, “The Cadillac Hotel”: C
- Radiolab, “Breaking News”: C
- CoolGames Inc, “Episode 61: Breeding Amiibles (with Softhard™ Technology)”: B-
- Nothing of note