Four Favorite Podcasts: TV On My (Car) Radio

TV Podcasts graphic The 3 Rs Blog
Images via Pixabay, edited and mixed with Enlight

If you haven’t heard me gripe about my daily commute–two hours round-trip on a good day–you’re new around here, and/or you don’t know I live and work in the Greater Los Angeles area. Sad to say, commutes like mine are not uncommon here. My commute is what made me an audiobook reader. But I like breaks between my books (and occasionally, during them), and that’s when I cue up some podcasts. My favorites mostly talk about television—what, you thought I’d say “books”?—and they all seem to lead back to one person.

I’ve “known” Linda Holmes since she was a reality-TV recapper, writing up episodes of Survivor, The Amazing Race, and other shows of far lesser quality under the screen name “Miss Alli” at the now-defunct, still-mourned TV website Television Without Pity (TWoP). Now a well-established TV critic and pop-culture analyst, Linda hosts NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (weekly on Fridays, with single-topic “Small Batch Editions” popping up at random), where she has been known to spring the occasional “Regrettable Television Pop Quiz” on her PCHH cohorts Stephen Thompson, Glen Weldon, and various recurring fourth-chair guests. However, in addition to TV, PCHH gathers a wide range of topics along under the “pop culture” umbrella: movies, music, books and comic books, games, and trends. This podcast informs and enlightens me, and it’s easy to hear how much the participants in its “roundtable discussion” enjoy talking with each other.

PCHH is the podcast I’ve subscribed to the longest, but it led me to the newest addition to my TV-podcast list, Appointment Television (biweekly on Thursdays). Hosted by college friends Kathryn VanArendonk, Andrew Cunningham, and Friend of Linda Holmes/sometime PCHH fourth chair Margaret H. Willison, this podcast is new to existence—its third episode just went up last week, so we’ll see how it develops, but I like what I’m hearing so far.

I discovered TV critic Alan Sepinwall via his friend Linda Holmes’ mention of his book The Revolution Was Televised on PCHH, and that led me to his long-running show with Daniel Fienberg, The Firewall and Iceberg Podcast (usually weekly, usually midweek). They preview upcoming TV shows, review and recap ongoing TV shows, discuss the business of making TV, answer listener questions (email, and host the annual themed “Summer TV Rewatch”. These two are longtime friends and colleagues, and while I don’t always agree with their opinions, I do always enjoy their back-and-forth conversation.

Writing as ”Miss Alli” at TWoP, Linda Holmes worked with site founders and editors “Glark,” “Wing Chun,” and “Sars.” They’ve all long since moved on and claimed their real names online. David T. Cole, Tara Ariano, and Sarah D. Bunting are now running the recap-and-commentary site Previously.TV and hosting the Extra Hot Great Podcast (weekly on Tuesdays, with single-topic “Minis” on other weekdays) with a rotating cast of Previously contributors in the role of “Valued Guest.” EHG’s signature segments are “The Canon” and “Game Time.” “The Canon” considers the enduring greatness of a single episode of TV, and occasionally inverts itself into “The Nonac,” which evaluates truly terrible episodes of otherwise good shows. “Game Time” presents a different TV-themed competition to the panel each week, and can be great fun to play along with at home (or in the car, in my case). The hosts know each other well and crack each other up, and they usually crack me up too–this is the most consistently entertaining entertainment podcast I subscribe to.

There you have ‘em—a few of my favorite podcasts, all brought to me, in some capacity, by Linda Holmes. If you’d like to bring me any TV- or entertainment-themed podcasts, leave your recs in the comments. and I’ll check ‘em out!

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  1. I LOVE the Pop Culture Happy Hour but don’t watch enough t.v., I think, to follow anything that really focuses on that exclusively. On the other hand, you can hardly go wrong with anything Linda Holmes does.