Best Podcasts 2019

By Christopher Mahon

Get ready for autumn by bundling up with these amazing podcasts! Whether it’s heady discussions between influential ladies, a true crime saga told by a serial killer’s daughter, or a deep dive into the weirder side of food, we’ve got something to satisfy all podcast aficionados looking for their next obsession.

Call Your Girlfriend

Call Your Girlfriend (Gina Delvac)

If we had to sum up this podcast in a single sentence, it’d be “real talk for the modern woman.” From politics to pop culture, co-hosts Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman fearlessly explore womanhood in all its facets with humor, empathy, and honesty. Best of all, Call Your is fun and accessible without skimping on substance—topics include exploring how money can affect relationships and dealing with friends who have become new parents, as well as how to navigate gender pronouns and a discussion with an ACLU attorney about recent Supreme Court cases that will impact trans rights. It’s got it all.

The Shrink Next Door

The Shrink Next Door (Wondery and Bloomberg)

This wildly popular seven-episode series charts the bizarre 30-year relationship between Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, a celebrity psychiatrist, and his patient Marty Markowitz, who was systematically manipulated and exploited until Herschkopf dominated nearly every aspect of his life, from becoming the president of his patient’s fabric business to advising him to cut all ties to his family members. As the story unwinds, it becomes both the chronicle of a shattered life and a disturbing examination of the blurry line that separates a therapist from an intimate friend … and how Herschkopf exploited that gray area to get almost anything he wanted.

Dare I Say

Dare I Say (Harper’s Bazaar)

The format of Dare I Say is almost as engaging as its wide-ranging topics: Each episode, host Olivia Wilde brings together a pair of prominent female figures in politics, science, or culture for an open discussion on some of the most important topics facing women and the world. Whether it’s white supremacy, body image, or the environment, the conversations are always enlightening and thought-provoking. Some of the standout discussions address how the fashion industry can reduce plastic waste in its fabrics and why inclusivity and intersectionality are essential for modern life.

Julie

Julie (NPR)

Julie is at once heartbreaking, uplifting, and utterly unique: After being born blind in South Vietnam, escaping to Hong Kong, then the US, Julie Yip-Williams regained her sight, found love, and built a family. At the age of 37, however, her world was turned upside down: She was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. The podcast records Julie’s personal journey as she comes to terms with her own death, with interviews filled with humor, honesty, and insights into what it means to live a life of beauty. Though Julie died in March of 2018, her voice and story lives on.

Murderville, GA

Murderville, GA (The Intercept)

A new favorite for fans of true crime and an infuriating depiction of how the justice system can fail, Murderville, GA follows a series of murders in a small town called Adel, beginning with the death of Donna Brown. After police peg a prime suspect, 20-year-old Devonia Inman, justice is swift—Inman is convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. However, when three more murders occur two years later, doubts begin to swirl—did the police get the wrong guy? Twenty years after the death of Donna Brown, the hosts of Murderville delve into the crimes and discover that much of the case against Inman has fallen apart, leading them to track down the real murderer.

The Clearing

The Clearing (Pineapple Street Media and Gimlet)

April Balascio is both the host and a key character of The Clearing, a sprawling investigation into the history and crimes of April’s father Ed Edwards, who was revealed to be a serial murderer after years of suspicion. The series pieces together the clues that drove April to contact a private detective, which led to her father’s arrest and eventual life sentences for several murders, many of which happened after he began touring and speaking about being a “reformed” criminal. In addition to detailing Edwards’ five known murders, April and her co-host Josh Dean pore over several unsolved murders that Edwards may have committed. It’s a one-in-a-million premise, and the final product is both chilling and fascinating.

Proof

Proof (America’s Test Kitchen)

If you’re interested in the hidden science and histories of foods both strange and familiar, Proof is the perfect podcast to feed your craving for surprising and interesting bits of trivia. Whether it’s the early 20th century conspiracy to engineer the extinction of the Chinese restaurant or a deep dive into whether probiotics actually help your body, Proof’s exploration of food is weird, wonderful, and always stimulating. Some of the podcast’s most fun episodes are framed as bizarre questions, like “Can you bake a cookie in space?” and “Can you get drunk off kombucha?”

Best Podcasts Archive

Best Podcasts: Summer 2019

A look at the 2000 presidential election, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and behind-bars prison experiences.

Best Podcasts: May 2019

This month’s best podcasts explore two genres that go hand-in-hand: history and true crime.

Best Podcasts of 2019: March

A $900 billion Silicon Valley fraud, the story of a British punk band told by a hip hop legend, and the violent legacy of THE SATANIC VERSES. And that’s not all…

Best Podcasts: January 2019

The New Year begins with the search for Bigfoot, an adventurous self-improvement show, and the history of country music’s most outrageous moments.

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