Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

Dark Poutine
Over The Edge: Death And Daring At Niagara Falls (ON) 

Illustration for article titled iThe Ringer/i finally gets around to rewatching iThe Wire/i
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At some point in the life cycle of any true-crime podcast, the hosts inevitably experience “murder fatigue” and need a break from endless tales of brutal homicide. In the latest episode of Dark Poutine, a Canadian dark history podcast hosted by Mike Browne and Scott Hemenway, the morbid Canucks’ vacation from killing still includes plenty of death as Browne recounts to Hemenway several instances of accidents, suicides, and daredevil antics at Niagara Falls. The most notable daredevil was the first to go over the falls in a barrel: a 63-year-old ex-dance instructor named Annie Edson Taylor. She cooked up the scheme to achieve fame and escape crushing poverty, and in 1901 she rode down the falls with only pillows to soften the impact. She would later say of the journey, “I felt as though all nature was being annihilated.” This and other incredible stories are delivered with a cozy energy that might remind listeners of the strange but well-meaning Canadian uncles they never had. [Anthony D Herrera]


Strong Black Lead
Taye Diggs

Illustration for article titled iThe Ringer/i finally gets around to rewatching iThe Wire/i

Calling all aunties, thirsty folks, and pop culture junkies on whatever day of isolation this is. Netflix’s Strong Black Lead is a podcast that passes the mic to black entertainment legends, and this week host Tracy Clayton (formerly of Another Round) speaks with entertainment icon and notable beautiful person Taye Diggs. The multi-hyphenate talent recounts the defining moments in his long career: the first time he went with his mother to rehearsal as a child, his experiences in performing arts school, and working with celebrity crush Lucy Liu on the romantic comedy Set It Up. Diggs and Clayton discuss using art as activism, the challenges of transitioning from stage to film, and the pitfalls of the entertainment business, particularly the ways in which black artists often have uniquely complex career trajectories. Diggs’ anecdote about the original cast of Rent (known then as the Bad Kids Of Broadway) singing “Seasons Of Love” together for the first time makes this a can’t-miss episode for musical theater geekdom. [Morgan McNaught]


The Wire: Way Down In The Hole
“The Target”

Illustration for article titled iThe Ringer/i finally gets around to rewatching iThe Wire/i

Over the years, The Ringer podcast network has made a concerted effort to perfect the rewatch podcast format. So it seems fitting that they would eventually get around to developing a show dedicated to one of the most rewatched series of all time, The Wire. Though criminally underappreciated when it originally aired on HBO, The Wire has since been recognized as one of the greatest if not the greatest television shows ever. There’s a reason all of your annoying friends act shocked and appalled when you say you haven’t seen it yet. Here to be your tour guides through the rough streets of West Baltimore are Jemele Hill (The Atlantic) and Van Lathan (formerly of TMZ Live). Together, they discuss the multilayered themes explored in each episode, do detailed breakdowns of specific characters, and even highlight the show’s occasional narrative missteps. Be warned, though, this is a spoiler-filled zone. If you don’t already know which characters end up on the wrong side of a gun by the end of the series, you might want to binge all five seasons before heading Way Down In The Hole. [Dan Neilan]

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