Some people listen to podcasts episode by episode as a daily or weekly way to entertain themselves. But some binge a series’s episodes all in one go. Even if you’re usually in the first category, if you’re planning a road trip it’s likely you’re looking for the best bingeable options, because there is no better time to indulge in a full season quite like a road trip.
Whatever your interests, there’s a bingeable podcast to entertain you for the next four-plus-hour drive to your summer holiday destination. Here are some lesser-known treats, and a few tried-and-tested goodies.
This long-running American podcast has been dropping episodes for more than six years, but it remains one of the best story-based podcasts in existence. Marketed as a podcast about the internet, it’s really a well-produced collection of modern stories. Each ep focuses on a new tale, so if you’re not a fan of serial podcasts, this is a great option. Our favourite ep, and where you should begin, is “The Takeover”. We won’t tell you any more, just trust us.
A fiction podcast from ABC Radio National, The Fitzroy Diaries focuses on (yep, you guessed it) the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, telling the stories of fictional residents of its streets. There are two seasons available and both follow the same set of characters, so that’s 16 eps of entertainment right there.
Feel like a bit of apocalyptic fiction instead? Academy Award-winning actor Rami Malek stars in (and executive produces) this series about small-town radio DJ Simon Itani, whose life is thrown into turmoil when the power goes out across all of America. The series follows Itani as he tries to protect his family amid the breakdown of modern civilisation. And each episode is a snappy 20-ish minutes.
Disclaimer: this is my independent podcast, but I feel it’s worth a mention. Why? Each episode is around an hour, with either my co-host, Josie Rozenberg-Clarke, or I bringing a (relatively) well-researched tale from Australian history. As the ex-hosts of popular true-crime podcast All Aussie Mystery Hour, we often lean into the weird and unexplained, but there’s plenty of political intrigue and odd back-stories to Aussie icons in the mix, too.
This is a podcast for nosy parkers worldwide. Each episode delves into somebody’s truly wild experience, from a man who finds himself completely fearless (and all the questionable stuff he subsequently does) to a woman who grew up in a cult. Ten seasons are already available, so there is more than enough here to binge – although warning: episodes can be pretty harrowing.
This podcast is dedicated to so-bad-they’re-good films, and the reason How Did This Get Made works is down to the hosts. Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer and June Diane Raphael are genuinely funny comedians who have a great rapport. This is one podcast where it really does feel like you’re sitting down having a wine with friends (if all your friends are hilarious professional comedians).
If you’re a fan of the spooky, get on board with this podcast by Crime Junkie co-host Ashley Flowers. Known for her dynamic storytelling, Flowers branched out with this podcast to cover conspiracies, ghosts and other unexplainable events.
A five-part series from the creators of Serial? You know it’s going to be insightful, gripping and have you questioning your own beliefs. Focusing on America’s public school system, Nice White Parents follows what happens when an influx of white children attend a predominantly Black school, and the politics that come into play when their parents join the long-standing school committee.
Feel like you missed a lot of the zeitgeist in 2020? This podcast, by two Australian journalists, Grace O’Neill and Isabelle Truman, covers off the big stuff in pop culture and news in the way you’d chat about it over, well, after-work drinks. O’Neill and Truman dissect core social issues stemming from what we’re clicking on, and even older eps dealing with months-old news can be worth a listen.
Go way, way back on this podcast and you’ll find episodes where host Nicole Byers (your new best friend) chats to actual people she once hooked up with. Those are fun, but in more recent episodes Byers lays bare her dating ups and downs while also chatting to guests, from therapists to famous Youtubers, about dating, sex and everything in-between, and these are just as engaging. Basically, Byers is a joy to listen to and a great road trip companion.
Who better to chronicle the fashion moments from the ’90s than Vogue? Some episodes profile the evolution of individual fashion houses such as Gucci and Prada, while others look at cultural changes – such as the rise of queer visibility – and how they impacted the fashion world.
Fans of Hollywood’s golden age and all the gossip, drama and intrigue that came with it will love this podcast, which has been running for six years (so you’ve got plenty of episodes to catch up on). “Charles Manson’s Hollywood” paints a brilliant picture of how the cult leader and murderer fit into Hollywood culture at the time. And “The Blacklist” dives deep into the infamous anti-communism measures taken in America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and their effect on Tinsel Town.
Standout podcasts you’ve probably listened to already, but worth a binge if you haven’t.
Consistently landing in the top ten when it comes to Aussie podcast charts, while the main episodes cover newsy topics, try the convo episodes with notable people like Dolly Alderton and Jameela Jamil.
The ABC’s top podcast, Conversations is chock-full of stellar interviews with fascinating individuals. Start with Peter O’Brien discussing his time teaching at a bush school in the `60s.
This Aussie true crime podcast is huge both in Australia and with overseas audiences, with each episode covering a different Australian crime.
Arguably the podcast that started it all, This American Life has been running on public radio in the States since 1995, and has a stack of Peabody awards. This is journalism with a plot, each episode looking at one American experience.
If you didn’t binge this ABC podcast when it dropped mid-2020, it’s worth doing so now. Covering the events that led to the dismissal of prime minister Gough Whitlam, it’s journalism at its finest.