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Recommendation Engine

Recommendation Engine: Things Fell Apart

Everyone's talking about Jon Ronson's new series

10:00 AM GMT on January 17, 2024

    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.

    Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy:

    Spotify New & 🔥

    The new series of Jon Ronson’s Things Fell Apart was warmly received:

    • Tom Goulding in the Radio Times - “An offbeat podcast examining how culture war politics have upended our fragile world order.”
    • Charlotte Runcie in the Telegraph - “This exquisitely put-together series repeatedly performs a remarkable magic trick: it starts off somewhere totally unfamiliar, with a strange story that you’ve probably never heard before. And then it slowly leads you through time and introductions to key players, towards a familiar place indeed, with a whole new perspective on how we got there.”
    • Miranda Sawyer in the Observer - “Much of what made the first season so special is here. There’s the careful structure: Ronson holding back just enough information for there to be a “No way, what!” moment in each show. There’s the amiable interview style: his scalpel-sharp journalistic mind comes wrapped in disarming, diffident warmth.”
    • James Marriott in the Times - “As an interviewer Ronson is sympathetic, wise and funny. Plus he’s combative when he needs to be. His interview with the antivaxer and Capitol rioter Mikki Willis is a masterclass in taking apart conspiracy theory nonsense.”
    • Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts - “Expect engrossing storytelling and unpredictable twists.”

    Miranda Sawyer continues

    • The Queen’s Reading Room - "This is a show designed, one presumes, to promote reading. And perhaps it will, if only by being so dull we stop listening and pick up a paperback. Clever!”

    Fiona Sturges in the FT

    • Self Help - “His plan, over five episodes, is to see what happens when he is left alone with the voices in his head — ‘Something doctors are always trying to stop me from doing.’ And so we join him on long walks around rural Scotland, sometimes in thunder and rain, as he delivers monologues on his experience of mental illness.”

    The Guardian’s Hear Here column recommends

    • Football’s Greatest - “The first episode hears Stelling reunited with Soccer Saturday partner Chris Kamara, reliving many fond memories including the origins of that iconic ‘Unbelievable, Jeff!’ catchphrase.”
    • Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows - “Misinformation and missteps were rife in the early years of the HIV epidemic and this podcast zeroes in on New York.”
    • Catching the Kingpins - “This six-parter about the Met Police’s biggest organised crime bust will do the job.”
    • Less and Better - “Is eating high-quality meat and less of it better for you?”
    • January 6th: An American Story - “An insightful series from Our Body Politics about the people of colour who helped lead the January 6th committee investigation.”

    And in the Guardian’s Guide newsletter

    Highlights from the Radio Times

    Heat’s Top of the Pods

    Scott Bryan in Great British Podcasts

    In PodPod’s Earworms column

    • Ryan Patel, The Moment: World Business Report - “Concise updates on the latest global developments.”
    • Brandon Lutz, Miro: The Ezra Klein Show - “Bringing people with different opinions.”
    • Jane Ray, Whicker Awards: Buried - “Brilliant and at times moving.”
    • Jules Hammond, Mint & Co: Spores - “Beautifully written and acted.”
    • Mark Asquith, If Books Could Kill - “Instantly became a staple of my listening schedule.”

    Elsewhere, Pod Bible have been looking at their favourite comedy podcasts and on Podcast Rex, my colleague Anya has been introducing her favourite podcasts for kids and their parents.

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