Finding podcasts that help you ponder life

Graphic by Alan Li

Want a break from life? Tired of the exceedingly mundane? Have you considered podcasts? Of course you have, everyone and their grandmother has a podcast they love. I have six that hold a permanent spot in my audio library.

However, I want to talk about just three podcasts and what makes them unique.

So my first one, which is currently what I’m listening to, is Super Soul Sunday from the Oprah Network. Oprah hosts different people within her circle, or who have been in the spotlight, and sits with them to discuss life and spirituality. But what makes this podcast unique is the focus Oprah places on the dark times in life.

“You have to get through Saturday to get to Sunday,” is something Oprah often says to her guests.

The role spirituality plays in the show is that we need a higher being to help us get through the hardest parts of our lives. Even if you aren’t religious, it’s still a great podcast. It teaches you the importance of vulnerability within relationships, and how to practice gratitude and find joy when all seems lost.

I started listening to Super Soul Sunday after finished a different podcast called Serial. Great transition, right? But, Serial is the mystery everyone needs.

Without spoiling the plot, Julie Snyder does deep investigations of people deemed criminal. In her investigations she brings up facts previously unknown, or just not taken into account, then leaves it to listeners to decide if they still find the condemned guilty or not.

The only commonality that these three podcasts seem to share is their platform. Other than that, their genres, content and formatting are completely estranged from each other. However, they’re also three unique podcasts that engage you and force you to ask the big questions.

Take for example, her season two case study, Bowe Bergdahl. You may recognize the name of being the American solider held captive by the Taliban for five years. He was tortured daily, and the US did everything to get him back. Or did they?

Snyder looks into why it took five years to get Bergdahl back, what the U.S. sacrificed in place and why, before he even touched American soil, Bergdahl was being tried for desertion.

Like Super Soul Sunday, this is a podcast that makes you think. Serial makes you ask the hard questions about law, justice and morality. Is it right to jail a man who was a prisoner of war for five years? Listen to Serial and decide that for yourself.

If both those are too serious for you, then I would suggest Welcome to Night Vale. Writing about this podcast is a real throwback for me, because I first began listening to the series when I was still in high school. Since then, it’s grown exponentially. The creators, Joesph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor travel across the world with their team, giving live shows and doing book signings.

But, what I love about this series is the absurdity and dark humour in the writing. As well, how the writers utilize the podcast and narrate through the character Cecil Baldwin, a radio show host delivering news to the desert town.

If you’re wondering what this show has in common with the others, it would be how it makes you question what we know. The odd way simple things such as pets, or even apartment buildings are portrayed leave you looking at the world through a new lens.

The only commonality that these three podcasts seem to share is their platform. Other than that, their genres, content and formatting are completely estranged from each other.

However, they’re also three unique podcasts that engage you and force you to ask the big questions.

Leave a reply