13 Minutes To The Moon
Time Bomb: Apollo 13
It has been almost exactly fifty years since the catastrophic explosion aboard Apollo 13’s service module that nearly cost three astronauts their lives. The events leading up to this accident and the ensuing tale of survival are the subject of the latest season of the BBC’s 13 Minutes To The Moon. Host Kevin Fong interweaves archived recordings and new interviews with surviving astronauts Jim Lovell and Fred Haise to provide new insights into the doomed mission. What’s underlined in this first episode is just how small the inciting incident for this near tragedy was: A piece of apparatus was accidentally dropped from a height of no more than two inches before installation. The domino effect that this kicked off highlights just how much had to go right on the Apollo missions and how easily it could end in disaster. But even more than the technical details, it’s the small personal moments that really engage the listener. Snippets of jokes and putdowns transmitted to and from mission control as well as descriptions of the awe inspired by a rocket launch bring the events of fifty years ago vividly to life. [Anthony D Herrera]
A Hotdog Is A Sandwich
Are Boneless Wings Really Wings?
Classic food debates take center stage on this new podcast from John Scherer and Nicole Hendizadeh, hosts of the recently launched Mythical Kitchen YouTube channel. Every week, they’re tackling extremely important questions that you’ve likely discussed with your friends and family over the dinner table and maybe even seen on the food-centric spinoff of this very website. Questions like, “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” or “Should boneless wings really be called wings?” Whether you like the food in question isn’t really the issue. That’s all subjective and based on personal taste. But the semantics of it all deserve some attention. For instance, if a food product doesn’t have a bone, doesn’t have any wing meat in it, and is actually just a malformed piece of breast meat served with blue cheese dip, why are we calling it a wing? But if you call these dippable boneless bites “chicken nuggets,” you’ll have another group of people ready to disagree with you. Hot takes and big appetites are a central theme of this show that everyone is bound to have an opinion about. [Dan Neilan]
G.R.I.D.br34k3r vol IV
When a murder is committed, the widely accepted thing to do is to call the police. When people keep mysteriously dying after playing the next-level VR game Gridbreaker, eccentric game developer and CEO Brad Price has another idea. Enter the titular Ghostpuncher Corps, a trio consisting of Elektra the synth witch, Mikey the druid, and Petua the art historian elf. Together, they investigate wayward spirits and souls for Lucifer herself and send them on their merry way to hell. With its original premise and unique world-building, Ghostpuncher Corps sets itself apart from other actual play podcasts by carving a place of its own and developing its quirks: The trust between DM Lilith K. and her all-woman cast of players makes for strong storytelling and compelling character development amidst tense action sequences that feel raw and real. At heart, Ghostpuncher Corps is a story about and by LGBTQ+ people clawing to find their place in a world that keeps collapsing in on itself, and this newest arc explores themes of isolation, capitalism, and disability without feeling heavy-handed. [Alma Roda-Gil]
Saffron And Sephora
Goop Yourself is a pop-culture confection and delightful dissection of anything and everything Goop. Gwyneth Paltrow’s aspirational lifestyle brand lends itself to strong opinions, and hosts Bryan Rucker and Aggie Hewitt sort through those feelings by reading the newsletter for you. Their breezy rapport vacillates between sincere praise for their favorite Goop skincare products and deep disappointment in the lack of Gwyneth content in the newsletter. This week, Aggie is super excited about the launch of Goop products in Sephora stores, and she unpacks what the brand’s presence means to people who care about earning Sephora rewards points. Bryan, meanwhile, tries to mine virtue from a new, wildly expensive specialty latte and brainstorms ways to pay for your meal if you want to be seen at the new Gucci restaurant in Beverly Hills. The hosts’ devotion to their lifestyle goddess is wholesome and authentic, and as they share their takes on the guru’s sugar cravings and serums, you might feel like you’re in the presence of Gwyneth herself. [Morgan McNaught]
Along with being former co-stars on The Office, Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer are best friends, and they convey a warmth and camaraderie that two people can probably only develop by working together on a single project across an entire decade. On Office Ladies, they rewatch episodes of the show and provide insight that goes well beyond what fans might find on DVD commentary tracks. They discuss deleted scenes, highlight moments of great improv, and share personal memories from the set that diehard fans crave. This week, these Office Ladies discuss season 2, episode 13, “The Secret,” which Fischer and Kinsey note was directed by Dennie Gordon, one of only six female directors across all nine seasons of The Office. It’s a pleasure to listen to the hosts share such specific and personal recollections, such as their excitement for Steve Carell’s Golden Globe win (which was announced the same week “The Secret” aired) or their appreciation for co-star Rainn Wilson’s proclivity for props. [Jose Nateras]
A new show from an old source documents the well-lived life of 101-year-old Scottish actor Ida Schuster. Arranged in the form of autobiographical snippets, Schuster is positively bubbly as she recounts the beginnings of the lengthy career. Like Angela Lansbury, she’s played elderly women as early as the 1980s. Also like Angela Lansbury, she’s friends with Alan Cumming, who introduces her podcast. Destiny called Schuster as a young woman in the form of the Glasgow Jewish Institute, a forward-thinking civic organization. Her initial indifference toward musical theater was corrected with some light corporal punishment, and in 1936 she joined the institute’s professional performing troupe. She embarked on a fledgling career that first saw her perform both the classics and contemporary Jewish works commenting on the worrying political atmosphere. Anyone coming to the show with low expectations should set them aside now. Schuster’s memory is clear, and her conversation moves swiftly unless she draws on her performance muscles for dramatic effect. [Zach Brooke]
The Bitter Southerner Podcast
Can The South Be Redeemed?
For its season finale, The Bitter Southerner Podcast tackles perhaps the toughest question the American South must answer. Host Chuck Reece takes just over an hour —the podcast’s longest episode to date—to discuss the topics of race and hate through the lens of the American South’s most prominent leaders. He presents various audio clips from activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and an intense speech by Sala Udin where he explains his personal decision to become a Freedom Rider for the rest of his life. He speaks with Congressman John Lewis about his biographical graphic novel series, March, which details his own involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and Lewis discusses how artist Andrew Aydin helped put it all together. Most interesting is the episode’s one-on-one interview with Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of former Alabama governor George Wallace, who won over voters with his vocally pro-segregation stance. Co-produced by Georgia Public Broadcasting, this episode is an effective and revealing audio journey through the heart of the South. [Kevin Cortez]