You know those lists you get in December? The Best Whatever of Whenever. I always think ‘yeah I should do one of those about podcasts’ but can never remember anything that happened before October.
So this year I’m going to be a bit more on top of things.
Note – It’s likely that some episodes were actually released in previous years. The only rule is that I listened to it in 2017. The second rule is that I can make up more rules whenever I want, even if that means inventing multiple new rules within the same paragraph.
Radiolab: Lose Lose
The point of sport is to win. But sometimes it’s strategically or socially better to lose (e.g. letting your girlfriend win at arm wrestling as a lead-in to some sexy time). I once watched some so-called ‘elite level tennis’ with two Spanish players ‘competing’. The stronger player had already got through to the next round and if he lost, his countryman and best friend would get through too. It was super tedious since I knew what they were up to. And guess what? The best player won in the end. Which didn’t fit my conspiracy theory narrative at all.
But this Radiolab episode is the true story of some shenanigans at the London Olympics. The twist – both teams wanted to lose.
Featuring Radiolab’s trademark over-production, melliflous voices, and superbly constructed story, this was a super start to podcasts in 2017.
James Bond Radio: You Only Live Splice
The JBR guys have taken it up a notch since I reviewed the best James Bond podcasts. They’ve got a musician (Warren Ringham) helping them with episodes about the James Bond theme music (much more interesting than you’d expect – there was a bitter court case about it) and the one about the James Bond trumpeter was a good listen.
But today’s episode was from their other new recruit, audio/film editor Dan Gale. He did one about the James Bond audiobooks that was fairly incredible – he spliced himself into some bits of the audiobooks – really funny and clever. This latest thing was the same but with video, which I imagine is 200 times more time-consuming. It was his tribute to John Glen, who edited and directed a bunch of Bond films.
Now, I despise video-format podcasts. They’re like 6 times bigger than audio-only files, and if you’ve got limited space on your phone or a limited data plan, you’re not going to want too many video podcasts coming down your pipes. Also, I listen to podcasts while doing other things – I can’t play Skyrim while watching a video. But as a one-off I’ll give this one a pass. It’s about film editing, after all, and how better to show that than by… showing that.
Long story short, it’s outstanding and funny but not really a podcast, so head over to their website and watch it there. You’ll be hooked within the first couple of minutes.