Favorite podcast dramas
Podcasts are a somewhat recent development in my life. I had to train my brain into listening to them — for the longest time I lost the train of the podcast at the slightest distraction. It took some trial and error to find what kind of podcasts I truly enjoy, but the biggest challenge was diving into fictional stories in podcast form. I was reluctant mainly because I cannot for the life of me listen to audiobooks. I tend to find them too slow — I’m that kind of reader who rushes through pages to get to the plot twist only to realize I missed something, and then I have to go back and re-read seven pages. And then I rush through everything again.
But soon I discovered drama podcasts is a medium in itself. And the really great ones are very much episodic like television, which helps someone as scatterbrained as myself. Don’t get me wrong — I still can only listen to drama podcasts if I’m doing ordinary things like cooking, or cleaning, or walking down at the beach. I can’t be thinking about anything other than the story I’m listening to.
So I’ve listened to a bunch of fictional podcasts this past year or so. Most of them are sci-fi, most of them have female protagonists. Here’s ten of them:
A detective comedy podcast. Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions. | victoriocity.com
I adore Victoriocity. It’s so weird and dry and cyberpunky and very very British. 2 seasons have been completed, and a third season is in the works.
2. THE AMELIA PROJECT
A secret organization offering a very special service: Faking its clients’ deaths! Its eccentric clientele includes cult leaders, criminals and politicians all desperate to disappear and start over… For how long can the secrecy last? With the help of his indispensable assistant Alvina, The Amelia Project’s Interviewer needs only a 20 minute consultation to help any troubled client disappear into a new and exotic life. His solutions are delivered with a flourish of ingenuity, style, and a mug of finest cocoa. But you don’t get to be this good without attracting some unwanted attention… | ameliapodcast.com
The premise is crazy bananapants, but the episodes are biting, and funny, and great. Season 1 is complete, season 2 is in the works.
3. THE BRIGHT SESSIONS
The Bright Sessions is a science fiction podcast that follows a group of therapy patients. But these are not your typical patients — each has a unique supernatural ability. The show documents their struggles and discoveries, as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Joan Bright. | thebrightsessions.com
This show is amazing. It has everything. The characters are so insanely complex and complicated, and there’s action and tears and adventure and love and hate and superpowers. The Bright Sessions is complete, and they’ve recently launched a spinoff, but I haven’t listened to it yet.
4. GIRL IN SPACE
She’s a girl. In space. Abandoned on a dying ship in the farthest reaches of known space, a young scientist fights for survival (and patience with the on-board A.I.). Who is she? No one knows. But a lot of dangerous entities really want to find out. Listen monthly as the story unfolds for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space. | girlinspacepodcast.com
Girl in Space hasn’t been updated in awhile, but the first 12 episodes are worth the abrupt halt. It’s sooooo good. Plus, the creator has mentioned recently that she’s working on episode 13, so fingers crossed it’ll be resumed soon.
5. THE FAR MERIDIAN
Peri hadn’t left her lighthouse in years. Until one morning, the lighthouse was somewhere new. Set adrift to wander new and mysterious places, Peri must face her fears and her memories if she wants to use her new situation to find her missing brother. Though life is a long, meandering path with many branches, our story moves in a straight line. | thefarmeridian.com
This is such an introspective and delicate story, that keeps getting more and more complicated as Peri gets to explore new places. As listeners we’re just along for the ride in the best possible way.
6. ars PARADOXICA
When an experiment in a time much like our own goes horribly awry, Dr. Sally Grissom finds herself stranded in the past and entrenched in the activities of a clandestine branch of the US government. Grissom and her team quickly learn that there’s no safety net when toying with the fundamental logic of the universe. | arsparadoxica.com
This. show. is. the. best. THE BESTEST. I’ve listened to it twice [it’s a complete story], and I know in my heart I’ll keep going back and re-listening every once in awhile just so I can bask it its awesomeness again.
7. DECK THE HALLS (WITH MATRIMONY!)
A young wedding planner discovers that her new mystery suitor might be the groom of her company’s big Christmas wedding. She and her best friend business partner go to outlandish lengths to put off his romantic advances… until they discover they have made a huge mistake! | fb.com/deckthehallswithmatrimony
This is a rom-com, and they only release episodes during holidays. It’s so great — like a warm blanket in a cold day.
8. STEAL THE STARS
The story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO. Despite being forbidden to fraternize, Dak and Matt fall in love and decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: they’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence. | tor-labs.com/steal-the-stars
Steal the Stars is angsty and weird and VERY sci-fi, but it has so much heart it kills me. The story is complete.
Tides follows biologist Dr. Winifred Eurus, a member of the first manned expedition to Fons, an Earth-like moon wracked by extreme tidal waves due to its orbit around a nearby gas giant. When surveying ocean life her submarine is destroyed, leaving her alone to walk to higher ground before the wave comes back. Along the way, she makes notes about what she finds in the intertidal zone, and gradually realizes that some of the life there is more than what it seems. | tidespodcast.com
Another very introspective show, and I find all the science-y stuff as fascinating as the story itself. S1 is complete, S2 is upcoming.
10. THE BLACK TAPES
The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both. How do you feel about paranormal activity or the Supernatural? Ghosts? Spirits? Demons? Do you believe? | theblacktapespodcast.com
I’ve barely started listening to The Black Tapes, and I’m obsessed. It’s equal amounts creepy and heartfelt, which I guess is a weird thing to say — but it’s true. There are three complete seasons currently. I’m not even done with S1 yet and it has made my faves lists already.