Podcast and You Tube Recommendations
I have no problems finding podcasts and You Tube channels that explore the subjects that I like. It’s determining which ones are any good that is the real trick and the only way to do this is to sit down and listen or watch them. Sometimes you need to give two or three episodes a go before you can truly determine if a show is for you. So, I thought it may be useful to share another small selection of the content that I am currently enjoying, so you don’t have to wade through quite so much “white noise” that fills the internet. I’ve made a conscious decision to select a broader spectrum of material and not to focus just on gaming. All the shows recommended are freely available although you can support the content creators if you wish to. Feel free to leave comments on the titles listed and share your own recommendations.
The Infinite Monkey Cage. Science can be very complex, esoteric and daunting. Many of the big topics can seem inaccessible to the layman. However, The Infinite Monkey Cage addresses this with its witty, irreverent look at the universe. Physicist Brian Cox, comedian Robin Ince and a selection of guests discuss and debate such subjects as the Big Bang, Infinity and human irrationality. The light-hearted approach helps break down barriers and make the topics somewhat clearer, without trivialising matters. Guests have included Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins and Alan Moore. This is a very entertaining show which appeals on multiple levels. The mixture of academic and non-academic guest often means that explanations are rendered in clear and understandable terms. Frequently the subjects discussed will remain with the listener for days after the show as they are so thought-provoking. Furthermore, if that wasn't enough to recommend this podcast to you, a few years ago it acquired a great new theme tune by Eric Idle.
A Podcast to the Curious. This show explores and dissects not only the collected works of author M R James, but in more recent episode focuses on the short stories that influenced his writing. The two hosts Will Ross and Mike Taylor are knowledgeable entertaining and easy to listen to. The production is slick and academic, with all the appropriate references discussed clearly appearing in the show notes. I live in the hope that others will listen to the show and be inspired to produces a similar podcast focusing on the works of comparable authors. If you are an avid reader, then listening to A Podcast to the Curious is like joining a book club where you can swap ideas and discuss the meaning behind the text. It’s a great show that is both enjoyable to listen to and very illuminating. The subtleties of the authors work are fully explored, and I’ve gained a wider insight into the work of M R James as a result.
The Geek to Geek Podcast. There are many game related podcasts and shows that also talk about pop culture. What makes The Geek to Geek Podcast different from others is the quality of the discussions between host Beej and Void. Their respective tastes are similar but not identical and therefore they’re not afraid to disagree. The banter is thoughtful and at times quite scholarly, but the tone remains light, enthusiastic and engaging. Void also does an extremely good job of moderating the discussions and the show is well edited. As a result, a lot of material is packed into the hour running time and the pair maintain a regular publishing schedule. Beej and Void are also happy to engage with their listeners and have a subreddit where they expand upon subjects covered in the show. It is this attention to detail along with good natured and informed conversation, that makes The Geek to Geek Podcast stand out from similar shows about gaming, comics, the MCU and all things geek.
The Evolution of Horror. One of my minor podcasting regrets is that I never managed to get the movie related show I was planning off the drawing board and into production. However, The Evolution of Horror has recently come along and filled that gap for me. Hosted by freelance video producer Mike Muncer, the show explores the long-term evolution of the horror genre, through analysis of its respective sub-genres. The primary focus is that of horror cinema, but the show is not shy from tackling the subject from a literary, television and even theatrical perspective. Mike is well informed and dedicated. He regularly draws upon his professional contacts and peers as guests who are always illuminating and engaging. These have included writer Alan Jones, actor and writer Andy Nyman and director Lesley Manning. Furthermore, horror fandom is sometimes perceived as a male dominated province. The Evolution of Horror flies in the face of this not only by having female guests but frequently exploring the subject from a gender perspective. So, if you are a fan of horror and enjoy the audio equivalent of long-form critiquing, then this podcast is essential listening.
Good Bad Flicks. As a consummate movie fan who likes material from both ends of the cinematic spectrum, Good Bad Flicks is a refreshing change from some of the dry and dusty shows that explore more cerebral movies. Cecil Trachenburg regularly creates videos that explore cult classics, obscure horror as well as exploitation and other sub-genres. These analyses are in-depth, well researched and humourlessly narrated. The latter is a real skill as all too often other video hosts come across as mocking the very material they explore. Cecil does not do this, and his light-hearted approach is born of affection for the subject rather than scorn. I’ve watched several films as a result of reviews on Good Bad Flicks. I found Operation Avalanche to be exactly as described although I didn’t reciprocate Cecil’s stance on Doom. However, Good Bad Flicks isn’t a dogmatic fanboy show entrenched in a defensive stance. It’s about enjoying something even if it’s bad and Cecil makes it clear that not everything will be to everyone taste. Hence, I can wholeheartedly recommend his You Tube channel as it encapsulated the good things about fandom and not the negative.