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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: The Week In Podcast Reviews

This week's reviews include the latest installment of Goalhanger's The Rest Is... line up.

9:00 AM GMT+1 on September 6, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Recommendation Engine from Podcast Rex, rounding up the week in podcast reviews. Get this in an email each week by signing up to be a supporter of Podcast Rex from £3.99.

Anna Leszkiewicz in the New Statesman

  • The Trial of Lucy Letby - “The dangling of each piece of evidence as it is presented in court encourages the listener to position themselves as detective. It’s a deeply uncomfortable listen – in every sense.”

Miranda Sawyer in the Observer

  • Finn and the Bell, Rumble Strip via Radiolab - “Finn and the Bell has won loads of awards, including a Peabody, and if you listen, you’ll understand why. It’s an exceptional listen: a glittering jewel of a story, absolutely heartbreaking and completely uplifting all at once.”
  • The Rest Is Money - “After some slightly unconvincing opening blurb and a by-the-numbers section about the collapse of Wilko and Pizza Hut, the show got into its stride.”

The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

  • The Immortals - “Mindblowing.”
  • BBC Trending: Extreme - “Case studies from the fringes of social media.”
  • Drilled - “This true-crime podcast about the climate crisis points out the real threat to free speech: the clampdown on environmental protests.”
  • Good Bad Billionaire - “Is there such thing as a ‘good billionaire’?”
  • All My Half East Asian BFFs “They explore shared cultural touchstones, including family, sex and dating, media representation and the cliche of the high achiever.”

Also in Hear Here, Charlie Lindlar looks at five of the best US politics podcasts

  • All In with Chris Hayes - “The quickfire format translates perfectly for Americophiles wanting to make sense of what just happened stateside.”
  • Slow Burn - “Compelling listens that still say plenty about the state of American democracy now.”
  • Renegades: Born in the USA - Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen “share their perspectives on how racism, growing up in the fraught 1960s and 70s, fatherhood and music have shaped their politics and life paths.”
  • The Brown Girls Guide to Politics - “There’s few better-placed voices than Gholar to help you learn not only about America’s problems, but how to solve them.”
  • Politics Weekly America - “Jonathan and co examine what the state of the Republican party means for the rest of us, whether Trump will run again (and what could befall us if he does), and what chance Joe Biden has of retaining office.”

Also mentioned: The Big Flop, Weight for It, Mother Half

And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

  • One Year: 1955 - “The first episode, about an all-Black youth baseball team’s fight against segregation, suggests we’re in for another doozy.”

Radio Times reviews

Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

  • Real Survival Stories - “There’s everything from paragliding events gone wrong, to grizzly bear attacks in the middle of nowhere.”
  • The Break - “Unlike a lot of careers podcasts out there, this one does not fall into the trap of reeling out nonsensical inspirational quotes, but rather provides practical steps, motivation and anecdotes.”
  • Living with Ovarian Cancer - “There’s honest conversations, which will be of comfort to any listener connected to it.”

In PodPod’s Earworms column:

In “Freshly Dropped” they mention Newscast, Accessed That, Happiful, and Your Mama’s Kitchen.

The Pod Bible newsletter recommends:

  • Scriptnotes - “ This is a goldmine of resources for writers, and tales for the curious.”
  • Write Me Dirty - “It fills the hole (oo-err) left by My Dad Wrote A Porno ending.”
  • Shado-lite “It asks big questions, such as 'Why are police in our schools?' and 'Is a bit of eco-anxiety a good thing?'” 

Fiona McCann in the Irish Times

  • Where Should We Begin? - “The gist is that couples agree to have their sessions recorded – names and other identifying elements removed – and over the course of 40 minutes or so, they talk through some major obstacle they’ve encountered in their relationship. And, by God, there are some real sticky issues out there.”

And Henrietta McKervey in

  • 13 Minutes to the Moon - “It’s impossible not to feel the terror and exhilaration of those minutes as those involved in the moon landing tell their stories, supported by original footage from Nasa recordings.”

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