Happy Holidays! I’m so excited to share Audible Feast’s Best Podcasts of 2017. This year I increased my subscription count to 446 podcasts and over the past 12 months I have listened to somewhere around 2000 episodes of various shows (you can check my list
here!). I’ve really tried to diversify what comes in my ears, and appreciate all the recommendations I’ve heard from my readers. Keep them coming.
There are three lists here: the best overall shows in 2017, the best new shows that I want to hear more of in 2018, and the honorable mentions. This post covers the best
series, and I’m working on the best episodes of the year – that post will be published in the next few days.
If you’re new to Audible Feast, I publish
reviews of all kinds of shows and curate a list of the best stuff I’ve heard all week on Fridays. I have had some great guest reviews in 2017 and have interviewed a couple of amazing podcast hosts. I also have a newsletter that is published every other week. Here’s to even more great audio in 2018! The Best Podcasts of 2017
The cream of the crop, the best of the best. Each of these shows appeared on my Delicious Ingredients lists more than once or had a 5-star review in 2017. Why Oh Why appeared a whopping
eight times on my weekly best-of lists, and Between Us Girls, Terrible, Thanks for Asking, The Karen and Ellen Letters, Criminal, and Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller were also recognized repeatedly throughout the year.
Pictures link to the show’s site or a way to listen to the podcast.
Varmints! is a very silly show about animals. It's totally light, including my favorite features about where the animal appears in pop culture and a subjective rating of how smart an animal is.
Super addictive, serial show which, in its first season, follows several international contestants through the grueling Van Cliburn Piano Competition. With the backdrop of gorgeous piano music, this was a home run.
Making Gay History
Hosted by the talented and genuine Eric Marcus, Making Gay History uses archival tape of interviews with gay rights pioneers. The interviews are poignant, sometimes funny, and always touching.
Sooo Many White Guys
This show's 2nd season ended in March, but I still remember episodes with Tom Hanks and Melissa Harris-Perry. Robinson is an awesome host.
Alone A Love Story
I binge listened to this podcast because I was drawn in immediately by host Michelle Parise's blunt examination of her love life.
The novelty factor of Ear Hustle being recorded and produced in San Quentin Prison is only a small part of what makes this show great. Despite being behind bars, these are fellow humans who have stories to tell and deserve to be heard.
Between Us Girls
Three women from Houston talk about love and life over a bottle of wine. What makes Between Us Girls stand out is the women's personalities, which are so different and mesh so well. This show is full of laughter.
Terrible, Thanks for Asking
Life isn't perfect or ideal - it's sometimes awful. We feel terrible, but we're not supposed to talk about it. This show does, and it's cathartic in so many ways.
The Karen and Ellen Letters
Re-enacted readings of decades-old letters between a landlord and his tenants. Are they real or not?
This American Life
This was a great year for TAL-I especially loved White Haze and Expect Delays. The show had a great mix of local, personal fallout from current political events and classic TAL storytelling.
ArtCurious Podcast has literally singlehandedly increased my interest in art. It's led me to seek out other podcasts on art and realize art isn't just an esoteric interest. Very well done.
Journalists from all over the spectrum get together to reconcile what's going on in the news each week.
This brainy investigation into all things drug-related was done in a great storytelling fashion. Another show where I moved each week's episode to the top of my playlist.
Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller
Feminism is the word of 2017. A show like Inflection Point is critical to support; I financially support it and you should too. This show praises women changing the status quo and incites others to stand up for feminism.
This is About
This is About is a bit nebulous, it is human interest storytelling, but sometimes with an unexpected turn.
Scene on Radio
Scene on Radio's 14-part series on "Seeing White" is can't-miss, everyone needs to listen to it and it should be used in schools.
Tremendous year for The Heart, which had so many outstanding series this year peppered with solo episodes.
The American Suburb series of Q'ed Up got me hooked on the show. Since then,, the local human interest stories out of the Bay Area have kept me engaged.
Worst Meatball Sandwich Ever
The guys from WMSE read 1-star Yelp reviews from venues and restaurants across Detroit in the voice they think the reviewer might have. It's so silly and I'm always guaranteed to LOL.
Why Oh Why
I haven't reviewed Why Oh Why yet, but it's one of my favorite shows, even though I'm not in the dating scene Andrea Silenzi is investigating. It might be a vicarious living thing. She is so likable and down to earth, I don't wish her any dating pains but I sure like being on the journey with her and her guests.
What I love about Homecoming is mentally suspending reality to keep up with the frenetic pace of the characters, who seem to constantly spin out of control. The star-studded cast makes Homecoming so juicy.
A Pint with Seaniebee
A 2016 pick for best new podcast, I continue to enjoy Sean Boyle's informal interviews with people in creative positions, many in the advertising industry. The library of episodes could be used for teenagers who aren't sure what life path they want to follow.
Hands down my favorite fiction podcast. I immediately moved Bronzeville to the top of my list every single week and I knew the time of day it would be released. I truly hope there's more coming from this show.
A much-needed light, punny, and smart show in the face of a disastrous news year. HZ, hope to meet you one day!
Issa Rae Presents...Fruit
Season 2 is already out on Stitcher Premium, but this year I loved season 1 of this fictional (?!) show about a rising athlete who is in the closet but has fallen in love.
Outstanding real-time reporting from the trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile, an unarmed black man, in a traffic stop in 2016.
The Secret to Victory
A short first season only had six episodes, but The Secret to Victory appeared on my Delicious Ingredients list three times.
Regrets of the Dying
Lovely short series about people who are facing death, reflecting on life. It's not depressing, as you'll hear many of the subjects have so much faith, hope, and love for their loved ones that will carry on after they're gone.
Long-running (20+ years!) Latino USA was a new discovery for me this year, and I heard many terrific episodes about Latino news and culture. Great storytelling and extremely well-produced.
Unique, autobiographical but not entirely true, sound-rich show about a man who leaves his life behind. There are some gorgeous, innovative audio pieces in this show, which is complete as of the end of 2017.
Vanessa Lowe is quietly plugging along with one of my favorite shows. This year's episodes about the night were particularly well paced and often calm.
Someone Knows Something
Someone Knows Something had two very different seasons in 2017 - I particularly loved season 3 about redemption in a cold-blooded cold case in Mississippi.
I never got into Presidential, from the same WashPo folks behind this show, but I have been surprised at how I am drawn in time and time again to Constitutional's stories of what was really behind the creation of the Constitution.
From Our Americana Podcast Network's Josh Hallmark, this is an inventive and fun show that is already on its second season after just having been launched in August. A revolving panel of independent podcasters talk about the music they love related to a theme.
30 For 30 Podcast
A "sports" podcast that isn't always really about sports - terrific storytelling abounds. Currently in its second season within a year's time.
Criminal was phenomenal this year. This show about crime is rarely gory and always well-produced and narrated by one of the best voices in podcasting. I haven't missed an episode of the show ever. If you don't subscribe, you're missing out.
Ladies, We Need to Talk
A much-needed show where women talk about things they should be talking about, like our mental load and what we can do about it (hint, decide to stop worrying about certain things that just aren't that important).
Switched on Pop
Still my favorite music podcast, this year Switched on Pop had memorable episodes about Demi Lovato, Kendrick Lamar, and Justin Bieber. Right up my musical alley.
The Best NEW Podcasts of 2017
These are some of my favorite new shows in the past year. I haven’t listened to enough episodes of each to place them in the overall best podcasts of the year, but I am excited to hear more from most of them – some series may not have release dates for additional content, but I’m hoping for it pr for another show from the hosts/producers.
She's in Russia
Two millennial friends, one in Brooklyn and one in St. Petersburg, talk about life in Russia.
Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings talk about black history, pop culture, and life in general.
It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
Rising journalist Sam Sanders talks to people in the news about what's been going on in the world each week.
Glynn Washington narrates this investigation into the Heaven's Gate cult.
How Do You Sleep At Night?
Host Sarah McVeigh interviews people who do or have done something many view as morally questionable.
Love and Movies
A couple shares the story of how they met, married, and had a child against the backdrop of the movies they watched along the way.
Closer Than They Appear
This podcast is complex - the fabulous Carvell Wallace talks with guests about how to reconcile and face things from your past. Kind of. It's complicated and I love it.
I've only listened to a few episodes of Migration Trail, but it is terrific, it follows migrants as they move from one country to another over 10 days.
Uncivil retells the story of the Civil War from a point of view which should have been part of the history books we've all been taught from for generations.
A beautiful, peaceful, poetic, personal, thoughtful show from Stacia Brown, a phenomenal radio producer in Baltimore.
This investigative report looking into the death of a young boy 25 years ago was riveting.
How to Be Amazing with Michael Ian Black
The Lonely Palette
Don’t Act Your Age
Death, Sex & Money
The Brain Candy Podcast
The Trail Went Cold
How I Built This
Call Your Girlfriend
The Dirty Bits
Probably True Podcast
Out of the Blocks
I welcome your feedback at audiblefeast at gmail – send me a note anytime! Keep pitching your shows to me, keep the press releases coming, and I hope you’ve found some new shows to listen to in 2018!