Are you listening to the brand new podcasts Complete Me, Pod Planet, and More Perfect? All three are fantastic, and I'm really excited about each one. Here's how they work...
The gist: Complete Me is a great new independent documentary podcast from host and producer Laura Herberg. She's an award-winning public radio producer for Detroit's WDET, and she's also a chronic procrastinator (according to the show's site, the podcast has been in the works for four years). In each episode, Laura checks something off her list that she's been meaning to get around to. In episode one, she attempts to pick up a drum set that she left at a house she lived in three years ago. In the second episode, she finally books a flight for her mom, lifting the Detroit travel ban she previously had in place. And in episode three (which is coming soon!), she'll be house hunting around the city.
What's great: I expected Complete Me to be really well-made (and it is!). Laura does have an impressive background creating award-winning radio. But I didn't expect to be so captivated by the content of the show. Laura's charm makes listening in on phone calls, chats with old roommates, and trips to the airport enjoyable in the same way that Starlee Kine's personality makes Mystery Show so great. If you love that podcast or other documentary shows like Millennial or The Intern, then this one is absolutely for you.
Where to start: Two short episodes (both around twenty minutes) have been released so far, and the third one is on its way. I'd recommend starting with the very first upload -- Pick Up Drums -- if you're interested. It definitely hooked me.
The gist: Pod Planet is a fantastic new story-based podcast that's like nothing I've ever heard before. It's from co-writers and co-producers Clive Desmond and Peter McHugh, and they call the show a deadpan satire comedy memoir. According to the show's website, Pod Planet is "A place where things happen that may sound unbelievable. Outrageous. Incredible." Each episode features a story that's "between 83 and 100% true." In the first one, a Good Samaritan named Nancy finds an unconscious man lying next to her car in a parking lot. And in the second one, the pet monkey of an opera singer escapes into suburbia and becomes an internet sensation.
What's great: Each episode is performed by Clive Desmond, who has such a great voice for deadpan audio storytelling. Episodes are produced and edited really well, and on top of that, the writing is excellent, with stories that are perfectly weird and funny. I've become so accustomed to storytelling podcasts that stay strictly within their genre -- they either tell true stories based on real events, or they tell totally fictional stories featuring superhuman characters on dramatic missions. While I love both of those genres separately, I also love that Pod Planet falls somewhere in-between.
Where to start: Eight short episodes (each around ten minutes) have been uploaded so far, and they've all been really great. Search and Rescue and Runaway Molly have been my favorite two. If you're intrigued, I'd definitely recommend starting there.
The gist: More Perfect is the very first spin-off from WNYC's Radiolab, created by host Jad Abumrad and edited by legal expert Elie Mystal, with help from executive producer Suzie Lechtenberg, Radiolab producer Kelsey Padgett, WNYC producer Sean Rameswaram, and journalist Katherine Wells. The show tells the stories behind some of the Supreme Court's most groundbreaking decisions that impact our lives on a daily basis. In the first episode, the crew dives into death penalty law, focusing on what exactly constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Future episodes will explore the "Batson Rule," Marbury v. Madison, and the landmark case that gave one justice a nervous breakdown and put another one in the hospital.
What's great: With one Supreme Court seat wide open, five months to go before a momentous presidential election, and several critical rulings expected in the weeks ahead, the timing of More Perfect's release couldn't be any better. Beyond that, the show is impeccably made in the same style as Radiolab. And in the first episode at least, the team sheds light on some truly fascinating aspects of the Supreme Court's work.
Where to start: Just one episode -- Cruel and Unusual -- has been released in the miniseries so far, but more weekly uploads are on their way. If you haven't listened to episode one yet, you're missing out. Definitely start there, or with this short trailer for a quick take on what to expect.