“Radio drama” dates all the way back to the latter half of the 19th Century. As long as people have been listening to the radio, they’ve been listening to gripping, emotional, and entrancing audio stories for fun and entertainment. With the rise of film and television through the 1900s, the radio play seemed to wither away. That is until the audio-based story made a comeback, thanks to the great podcast boom last decade.
It’s hard to beat a good podcast binge. It’s such a special feeling to race to the end of an episode knowing that a twist is coming but not knowing what to expect. Luckily, writers and creatives have been able to adopt the form of narrative podcasts around astounding, new, and exciting fiction. Here are 11 of our favorites we think you need to check out ASAP!
No narrative podcast list is complete without the original. Welcome to Night Vale has been around for nearly as long as podcasts have, it seems, and it’s still one of the best around. Presented as a radio show in a fictional town, Cecil Gershwin Palmer takes you through the surreal and sensational happenings of a town somewhere in the Southwestern United States.
Anna Limón is a nurse in search of Mabel Martin. The audio drama about “ghosts, strange houses, stranger occurrences, and missed connections” reveals a winding, detailed, surprising, and often haunting story. And if you’re having trouble catching up, you can join the thriving online community around their wiki.
Drenched in classic British humour, the Funn siblings are left to run their family’s failing funeral parlor. Wooden Overcoats follows them as their new rival, the perfect Eric Chapman, starts to steal all their clients in the dirty business of death.
Remember finding a door that you were scared to open? Ostium takes place in a hidden city full of those doors, and every episode unfolds as every one of those doors opens. These are quick, too! Short, digestible episodes make this one easy to binge.
From the people who brought you Welcome to Night Vale comes Within the Wires. An epistolary podcast, WtW changes every season but is always investigating the ways in which we communicate with one another and what it means to hear another person.
Flash Pulp revitalizes a rich tradition in fiction in bite-sized episodes. Waiting in line? Taking a shower? Just have 10 minutes to kill? Flash Pulp can give you a full story’s arc and intrigue by the time you’re done.
The best in the business of narrative podcast at Night Vale do it again with Alice Isn’t Dead. A truck driver travels across the country to find his presumed-deceased wife and along the way comes into contact with the weird, the abstract, the out-of-time, and more.
Did you enjoy Serial? Of course, you did! Limetown takes the concept and structure of Serial’s classic public radio style and twists it up into a wild and cacophonous universe akin to The X-Files.
A star-studded cast of characters including Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, and David Cross, Gimlet’s first narrative podcast, Homecoming delivers a psychological thriller unlike anything else on this list. Binged already? You can check out the show based on the pod on Amazon Prime.
A one-man operation, Imaginary Advice is a monthly podcast of audio-fiction experiments. U.K. native Ross Sutherland brings a new story to the table every month that’s guaranteed to engross.
Reminiscent of the cult classic play Greater Tuna, King Falls AM takes the loony lens of late-night AM Radio and points it at the strange and lonely mountain town of King Falls.
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