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8 Awesome Pop-Culture Podcasts You Should Check Out


There are currently between 2 million and 3 million podcasts in the world today, so choosing which ones are worth your precious time can be intimidating. As a fan of film, television, and theater, you have likely been bombarded with advertisements for podcasts comprised of reviews, interviews, expert panels, and comedic dialogues on these subjects.



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Don’t fret. There are dozens of audio shows out there that will connect with you, but just for good measure, these eclectic, quality podcasts you may want to check out.

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‘You Must Remember This’

You Must Remember This is more intricately structured and matter-of-fact than your average podcast. Instead of a group of friends sitting around, having a casual discussion, You Must Remember This consists of audio essays written and performed by film critic/author Karina Longworth. These exceptionally detailed and well-researched episodes revolve around Hollywood history and little-known details of past movie stars. With the help of expert sound editing, a fantastic soundtrack, and occasional guest voices from the likes of Patton Oswald to Adam Goldberg, Longworth chronicles cinematic movements and politics through a consciousness-raising modern lens.

Like a television show, this podcast is compiled of seasons on topics such as “Bela and Boris” (Legosi and Karloff’s competitive careers), “The Blacklist” (examining McCarthyism), and “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” (the ‘loss of innocence’ in Tinseltown on the precipice of the New Wave). Her particularly enthralling “Star Wars” series unearths the mindset of Hollywood’s most influential stars and starlets during times of conflict, from the ultra-capitalism of Walt Disney to the contradiction of draft-dodging conservative John Wayne, to the intricate makings of the Marilyn Monroe legend. Thanks to the crispness of the production and Longworth’s professionalism, you’ll find yourself immersed in stories you never imagined could be so captivating.


‘The Always Sunny Podcast’

In late 2021, fans of the long-running comedy classic It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia were delighted to find out Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenney were starting an ep-by-ep retrospective podcast about their experiences writing, editing, and acting in the show. Produced by long-suffering writer Megan Ganz, The Always Sunny Podcast also features the occasional cameo from everyone’s favorite flightless bird, Kaitlin Olsen. Though the gang is systematically working through each episode of the series, sometimes they throw caution to the wind and release an episode talking about whatever. Some highlights include Rob’s retelling of a near-brawl with an obnoxious drive-thru customer, trivia to determine if fans “do indeed have donkey brains,” and the lads testing each other in a customized version of The Newlyweds Game.

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There are times when fiction bleeds into reality, and the boys start bickering about completely inconsequential things, just like their on-screen counterparts. The trio regularly reflects upon what worked about an episode and what didn’t, what constitutes a timeless gag, and which moments in the sitcom’s history are regrettable. One point of contention has been brought up many times on the podcast: Glenn argues that a Season 2 scene where Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) fires a gun in anger would work better if Frank were firing blanks, but Charlie and Rob disagree. These mundane conversations are precisely why The Always Sunny Podcast is so much fun to listen to. These men aren’t just colleagues; their friendship long predates the show, they goof around and often digress into irrelevant tangents, but every second is gold for fans of Always Sunny.


‘Sardonicast’

In 2018, three of the biggest movie-review YouTube channels, those being the Canadian Your Movie Sucks (Adam), the British I Hate Everything (Alex), and the American RalphTheMovieMaker (Ralph), joined together to form Sardonicast. Sardonicast has essentially the same framework as a book club, where listeners are instead tasked with watching a recommended film every two weeks chosen to be the focus of discussion. One week, they may recommend a laughably terrible z-grade mess like Ben and Arthur, and the next, an obtuse 7-hour black and white art house film like Sátántango. Adam is a connoisseur of film festival faves, Ralph will watch any American crime movie (especially if they’re terrible and star Steven Seagal or Bruce Willis), and Alex is inexplicably a diehard Dreamworks fan.

The greatest asset for Sardonicast is the culture clash between them. Many of the funniest interactions between the lads are incited by the slight and often silly differences between their homelands, from their choice of cinema snacks to the arbitrary distinctions between their rating systems. Listening to an episode is a communal experience for fans. The fortnightly film recommendations are the perfect excuse for listeners to finally check out movies that have long been on their radar.

‘The Projection Booth’

No matter how comprehensive and wide-ranging you believe your tastes to be, The Projection Booth will stun you with lengthy discussions on many films you’ve never seen or even heard of. Soviet cinema, obscure independent French films, forgotten B-movies, and massively influential blockbusters are all on the autopsy table to be examined by host Mike White (no, not that Mike White) and his endless procession of guests.

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With over 550 episodes and counting, there are so many different reviews and interviews that anyone could find something that appeals to them. Where else could you find a podcast with several months dedicated to Czech cinema, next to discussions of early feminist cinema and an interview with body-horror and sci-fi legend Jeffrey Combs? One for the most hardcore film enthusiasts, give The Projection Booth a listen, even if it’s to add some of these weird, obscure movies to your watch list.

‘MusicalSplaining’

Popular YouTube personality Lindsay Ellis is famous for her video essays dissecting popular culture, especially musical theater and Disney. Her love of musicals is the basis for MusicalSplaining. In this podcast, she drags her reluctant and cynical friend, Kaveh Taherian, to the theater to watch shows like Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Wicked. A veritable odd-couple, Taherian mostly dislikes musical theater, whereas Ellis is a die-hard fan of even the worst shows, though she often denies it. The true heart of the podcast is the sheer delight apparent in Ellis’s laughter as she listens to Taherian trying to process his emotions at whatever weird production Ellis has suckered him into watching this week.

In early 2022, Ellis took a break from hosting to be replaced by long-time guest and equally fanatical musical connoisseur Angelina Meehan. The team goes all out in illuminating the variations in quality between different incarnations of each show and how well their movie adaptations succeed in translating the live show into a new medium. MusicalSplaining is as charming and light-hearted as Broadway’s best musicals, and with engaging guests including Jenny Nicholson, ToddInTheShadows, and many more, it’s well worth your time.

‘Talking Sopranos’

Much in the same vein as The Always Sunny Podcast or Office Ladies, Talking Sopranos features The Sopranos players Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccalieri) going over every Sopranos episode one by one. Along the way, they divulge priceless trivia tidbits and stories about the intricate, occasionally frustrating, and often humorous details of what happened behind the scenes. The “People’s Voice” winner at the 2021 Webby Awards, guest stars range from acclaimed Sopranos costume designers, casting agents, and cinematographers, to beloved cast members Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, and Steve Buscemi.

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It’s particularly heart-warming to hear about the relationships that are still holding strong even 15 years after the HBO show wrapped. Imperioli and Schirripa never hesitate to praise the often unsung heroes behind the camera that made The Sopranos special. The first Talking Sopranos episode was released amid the COVID-19 pandemic (the podcast concluding in December 2021). It was a much-needed companion for those who wanted to escape reality for a while and binge-watch their favorite show all over again.

‘Small Beans’

A bit of a cheat here. Small Beans is actually a podcast network headed by ex-alumni of comedy website, Cracked.com; the main team is spearheaded by writer/actor Michael Swaim and director Abe Epperson. Their varied podcasts include regular content-creator guests like Cody Johnston, Maggie Mae Fish, Katy Stoll, and so many more. Swaim’s silly quips and often childish humor are a definite highlight, mixed with his surprisingly profound introspection.

Their flagship show, Frame Rate, is a conventional dialogue on selected films from arthouse features like The Congress to broad comedies like Austin Powers. Kings of King is their podcast dedicated to examining all movies and shows (regardless of quality) based on the writings of Stephen King. “Shooting Threes” (an analysis of trilogies), “Directorpiece Theatre” (detailing the behind the scenes obligations of filmmakers and their stylistic choices), and “1Upsmanship” (debates on video games and gaming culture) are just a few of the topics wrangled by this diverse and entertaining team.

‘Show Me The Meaning’

Like the Wisecrack YouTube channel, Show Me The Meaning focuses on the philosophical messaging found in popular films, whether they be subtextual, unintentional, or explicit. Did you ever wonder about the ideology and ramifications of the Boss Baby universe? No? Well, too bad! Show Me The Meaning dives into it anyway. Through the lens of Immanuel Kant, Slavoj Žižek, Albert Camus, Bertrand Russell, and a varied assortment of other philosophical whizzes, the Wisecrack crew raises some captivating ideas, illustrating that there are always anthropologically relevant curiosities hidden beneath the surface of even the most shallow art.

If you’ve ever loved or loathed a particular flick, yet can’t fully articulate why Show Me The Meaning will allow you to see it through different eyes. A great example is their episode on Don’t Look Up: an in-depth investigation of why the movie failed, despite its massive budget, star power, and efforts to be a biting satire of the current political landscape. Unfortunately, this podcast wrapped up with its final episode in early 2022. Luckily, you can still listen to the same personalities on their new podcast CineMythology.

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