CULTURE & ARTS

7 Full Podcast Seasons For Your Holiday Binge-Listening Pleasure

Indulge in the satisfaction of an auditory beginning, middle and end.

What's better than 30 or 45 minutes of a good podcast? Duh: hours and hours of a good podcast! While many auditory standbys have hundreds of episodes to sift through ("WTF with Marc Maron," anyone?), sometimes its nice just to dive into a new 'cast and be able to see a cohesive storyline through to the end. 

Plus, podcasts are an ideal form of entertainment when your schedule is packed with random errands that don't require your full attention, but are not as suited to pulling out a book or cueing up a movie. Let Sarah Koenig take you through a tricky criminal investigation while you're wrapping gifts, or get deep into the fictional world of mysterious paranormal black tapes during your layover.

Podcasts are a great, quick way to do a deep dive on a subject you wouldn't normally investigate otherwise. Download the first episode of these shows -- we promise you won't stop there.

  • "The Season," Season 1
    In the <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/shows/theseason/">inaugural episode</a> of this recently completed season, host Ilya Marr
    WNYC
    In the inaugural episode of this recently completed season, host Ilya Marritz confesses he's carrying around a Football for Dummies book in his bag. If you can relate to that sentiment, then "The Season" is for you -- Marritz and crew cover the historically losing Columbia University football team in its first, well, season after hiring celebrated coach Al Bagnoli to turn the tide. What follows is a thrilling and heartfelt look at why sports capture the admiration and attention of so many: the triumphs, the close calls, and the willingness to perform at full capacity even in the face of a 22-game losing streak.
  • "The Black Tapes Podcast," Season 1
    This is <a href="http://theblacktapespodcast.com/">the first effort</a> out of the fictional "This American Life" analogue "P
    Minnow Beats Whale
    This is the first effort out of the fictional "This American Life" analogue "Pacific Northwest Stories." The host goes off in search of people with interesting jobs and gets swept up in a mystery surrounding paranormal phenomena. Add a famously skeptical scientist and the titular "black tapes" -- cases he can't quite explain -- to the mix, and you've got yourself a doozy of a story that will keep listeners downloading more.
  • "Millennial," Season 1
    Host Megan Tan just put a cap on her first 10-episode season of <a href="http://www.millennialpodcast.org/">this show</a>, wh
    Millennial
    Host Megan Tan just put a cap on her first 10-episode season of this show, which captures the big dreams and bigger uncertainties of the murky post-grad years. Even as she searches for her own answers, working a restaurant job and trying to figure out how to parlay her passion for radio into a concrete job, Tan's openness throughout the process will provide any listener with some existential comfort. It's like listening to your best friend chat for a few hours -- if your best friend were really talented at audio production.
  • "StartUp," Seasons 1 and 2
    If you love Gimlet media's other shows -- "The Mystery Show" or "Reply All," for example -- listen to the podcast that starte
    Gimlet Media
    If you love Gimlet media's other shows -- "The Mystery Show" or "Reply All," for example -- listen to the podcast that started it all. Follow host Alex Blumberg through Season 1 as he tries to transform his dream of a high-quality podcast company into a reality (rife with silly moments, like his suggestion to call the company Orelo, aka "ear" in Esperanto). Season 2 adds Lisa Chow as co-host, and she turns a magnifying glass to dating site startup Dating Ring. Somehow, the excitement of a startup pitch and the nail-biting financial concerns never get old -- the two seasons thus far of "StartUp" have felt interesting and fresh.
  • "The Message," Season 1
    Though some bristled at the fact that the entirety of fictional sci-fi podcast "<a href="http://themessagepodcast.com/">The M
    Panoply/GE
    Though some bristled at the fact that the entirety of fictional sci-fi podcast "The Message" was produced by the same people who made your dad's electric oven, it sounds nothing like an ad for General Electric. Instead, listeners get a captivating story about a team of codebreakers intent on figuring out a mysterious audio transmission that has stumped professionals for decades. It gets spookier when said audio transmission turns ominous -- after all, the whole story centers on listening.
  • "Invisibilia," Season 1
    So much of human behavior is unseen, influenced by forces we can't identify or touch. Enter "<a href="http://www.npr.org/prog
    NPR
    So much of human behavior is unseen, influenced by forces we can't identify or touch. Enter "Invisibilia," where hosts Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel explore these forces by weaving thoughtful storytelling with fascinating psychological research. Dive into their too-short first season (just six episodes!), and if you finish it before the new year, there's always NPR's "Hidden Brain."
  • "Serial," Season 1
    Why not give a listen (or re-listen) to the first season of the podcast that put podcasting on the map? "Serial," for those l
    Serial
    Why not give a listen (or re-listen) to the first season of the podcast that put podcasting on the map? "Serial," for those living under a rock, follows the case of Adan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999 and has maintained his innocence ever since. You missed the cultural zeitgeist, but it's still a fascinating walk through troubling truths about the criminal justice system, potentially damning lawyers and chats with those involved who -- understandably -- have a hazy memory of events that occurred over two decades ago. Just try to get that opening theme out of your head.

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