Reaching the end of the 2010s means that most people reading this article no longer need a primer on what podcasts are or what they’re good for. The medium has steadily gone from a fringe interest to a cultural tentpole within the past decade, creating new careers, garnering coverage in legacy outlets and even inspiring a parody on “Saturday Night Live” along the way.
Podcasts of all stripes have accompanied us on road trips, long commutes, workouts and marathon cleaning sessions, sustaining our attention through otherwise unremarkable but necessary tasks.
As the world of podcasts has grown, so has the number of people who flock to it. There are the comedy devotees, the history nerds, the news junkies, the sports nuts, the true-crime aficionados. As such, one person’s playlist can look vastly different from another’s. Even the most dedicated listener will inevitably neglect entire genres. There are only so many hours, as they say.
With that in mind, these nine series that arrived in 2019 were chosen to reflect some of the best new contributions to the medium as a whole — they’re surprising, fascinating, deeply personal and, above all, endlessly listenable. They’re propulsive, leaving the listener wanting more at the end of each episode. And they’re just a small slice of the worthy offerings out there.
Even if these series fall outside of your typical listening habits, they’re all deserving of a weekend binge or a spot on your regular rotation. All you have to do is press play.