I like In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg for deep-dive discussions on subjects you knew you wanted to learn about, like Jane Eyre and the invention of photography, to ones you didn't know you should know about, like the Lancashire cotton famine during the US Civil War and the female Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut.
Scriptnotes is a podcast from John August and Craig Mazin, two accomplished screenwriters who live and breathe their industry. It's a must for movie fans, especially those interested in the art of screenwriting, but anyone at all should listen a few times to hear two great hosts do their thing.
Serial got us all hooked on cliff-hangers, but Criminal is the thinking girl's true-crime podcast. Host Phoebe Judge gets beyond the murder headlines and grisly blood spatter and tells fascinating stories about people caught up in all aspects of crime.
I love Worst Episode Ever for its obsessive dissection of postclassic "Simpsons" episodes and increasingly ridiculous in-jokes. The show's been described by The Village Voice as "breathtakingly self-indulgent", which is pretty much spot-on. It's glorious.
My absolute favorite wrestling podcast is Cheap Heat. It entertains whether you're a fan of wrestling, a general sports fan or simply here to appreciate the outstanding chemistry between the hosts. Also, no other podcast on the planet has done more for making Fu Fu Schma Schma a household name.
Whether you're a foodie, a science geek or a history nut, Gastropod encapsulates a tasty morsel for everyone. In this biweekly podcast, hosts Cynthia Graber (Fast Company, Slate) and Nicola Twilley (The New Yorker, Edible Geography) look at what we eat, the way we eat and how it got that way.
I love 2 Dope Queens, hosted by Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson (same person from Sooo Many White Guys). The podcast showcases not only the comedic chemistry of Jessica and Phoebe, but boasts a diverse lineup of comedians.
Spontaneanation is where comedian Paul F. Tompkins makes up an intro, interviews a guest and then joins forces with three improv comedians to create a long-form improv narrative based on a location and talking points provided by the guest. Easily one of the funnier, weirder podcasts I've ever listened to.
There's no other world to describe SAYER but brilliant. It all takes place in the form of instructions being relayed to the listener, a resident on the artificial moon of Typhon, by the artificial intelligence SAYER. It's delightfully creepy and will surprise you until the end.
Joe posts a podcast almost every day, and they're usually around three hours long. You may not be into all of them, but you'll savour each of those 180 minutes when you find a guest you dig. Russell Brand, evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad and biologist Rupert Sheldrake were top casts, for instance.
Giant Bombcast is my No. 1 favorite podcast since I started listening in 2009, and I'm not saying this just because I work in the same building as these guys. Seven years later it's still funny, still relevant and still endlessly listenable. Yes, it's produced by CNET's sister site, Giant Bomb, but I'd listen even if it wasn't recorded downstairs.
If you're involved or interested in beef and dairy production, the Beef and Dairy Network podcast covers such important topics as cows in space, the dangers of lamb and some of the best ways to enjoy beef. It's interesting and informative!
As the title suggests, this is a podcast by three brothers -- Travis, Griffin and Justin McElroy. It's a pseudo-advice podcast where the brothers riff on questions asked on Yahoo and sent to them by listeners. It's fun and light, perfect if you want to take a break from the Hardcore Histories of the world.
Hapless, witty husband Justin McElroy (from the previous podcast on this list) and his brilliant wife Dr. Sydnee McElroy take listeners through a "marital tour of misguided medicine." Every week they choose a topic and explain how doctors ruined it for old-timey people, and how it finally found its place in modern medicine.