The Best True Detective Podcasts

by Podcast Paul | Last Updated: June 21, 2015

Dear Cecile, Jen, and all the other True Detective fans out there,

The show with the best theme music (since Fraggle Rock) is coming back! TONIGHT! If you’re going to watch series 2 of True Detective, and I know you are, you’re going to want a True Detective podcast to tide you over between episodes. You know the sort of thing – fans like you and me (but with better microphones) doing episode recaps, getting enthusiastic about high moments or frustrated as the characters self-destruct, and helping us work out what the hell is going on. While you read on, listen to the theme song to set the appropriate mood:

True Detective season 2 starts tonight (omg yay etc). And after every episode I’ll be listening to one or more podcasts to help me to digest it all. Time may be a flat circle, but it seems series 2 will be less opaque than series 1. Still, one thing’s for sure – there will be loads to talk about. These are the True Detective podcasts I know about, and what I know about them:

Detect This!

From the dudes at Film Geek Radio, Detect This! might just be the best True Detective podcast. They continued to gather 5-star reviews and new fans even during the long wait between series. Praise for Detect This! includes phrases like ‘interesting discussion; smoothly presented’, and ‘thorough analysis, they stick to the script, they pace themselves well.’ On the downside, one of the guys uptalks like he’s a teen at a mall, which is like, a bit annoying? It makes him sound less confident? Even when he’s just telling us his opinion? It’s a minor gripe. Maybe American listeners wouldn’t even notice it.

The TV show is aired on Sundays and the podcast tends to be released around Wednesday. If you’re hyper obsessive about the show you might think that’s a bit late, but as I read on one forum, it’s ‘well worth the wait.’

Based on their performance from season 1, Detect This! will be the staple of my True Detective podcasts.

True Detective: Truth Squad

True Detective: Truth Squad is another excellent True Detective podcast and I hope they return for season 2. It’s hosted by two women, and listening to a random episode today made me realise that my podcast intake is very much male-dominated (Reply All, Sword and Scale, Welcome to Night Vale, various financial podcasts, most of the Game of Thrones podcasts – my iPhone is a man’s world). So depending on what you currently listen to you might want to hear some women for a change.

They bring a female perspective on the complicated, often misogynistic main characters, which will appeal to you or repel you based on how much you identify with said main characters. I suppose what I’m saying is that if you’re a neanderthal, you might not like to hear criticism of people who act neanderthally. Which isn’t to say these guys are full-on feminists – far from it. They analyse the show, discuss motivations, speculate about the plot, just exactly what we want from TV-related podcasts.

If you go back and listen to their first episodes you might find them a bit hesitant, uncertain. They got better and better, though, and hit their stride towards the end of season 1. They had a special guest called Michael Hughes a few times. He wrote this amazing dissection of some of the weird imagery in the first season. It seems the second won’t have the same kind of gothic horror vibe, but if it does and Mr. Hughes is back on the show, he’ll be the kind of added value that money can’t buy.

Bald Move

This wasn’t on this list at first, but people wrote in demanding their inclusion. (Update – I had a section here with a Soundcloud but it got taken down.)

Others

There’s a huge network of shows from something called AfterBuzz. They have after-show podcasts for dozens of shows. The website is hateful, one of the founders has a laugh that makes you want to set up your own Carcosa, and it’s all utterly charmless and grasping. To be fair, that’s my response to the introduction to the podcast and not the podcast itself. I listened to a bit of one and it’s just very fluffy. Someone on Reddit called it ‘generic’ and that nails it.

Fuzzy Typewriter was a name that popped up in my research, but it doesn’t seem to have been updated for a very long time, and its broadcasts weren’t specific to True Detective. They had Dr. Who one week, a Hollywood blockbuster the next. Which could be good or bad depending on how much micromanaging of your podcast feed you can be bothered with.

Unspoiled! Podcast – reviews of loads of shows and books that I like. I dipped into one of their old True Detective episodes. There was a short introduction, which basically meant saying the name (i.e. not the concept or spoiler warnings). I like when shows explain something about what they’re all about. e.g. “We’re called Unspoiled because we assume you’ve seen the show. If you haven’t, be warned that listening to this will ruin everything.” It’s also just common sense to briefly introduce the hosts. Anyway, it was a bit messy and I wouldn’t come back unless I was a total True Detective crackhead and/or one of the first two podcasts wasn’t covering season 2.

And if you’ve forgotten what True Detective was like and why you loved it, here’s a reminder:

 

Okay, that just about does it. I’m stocking up on the cheapest, vilest cans of beer I can find, putting on my ceremonial deer antler hat, and oiling the subtitles button on my remote control so I can understand characters when they mumble. Whoop!

Andrew