A list of my top 20 favorite podcasts of 2020!
I listened to way more podcasts in 2020 than any year before, I’m so lucky to be part of the cast & crew of several podcasts on this list, & I discovered so many new amazing podcasts, so I wanted to make a list of what they were & why I like them!
A lot of them are spooky in some way, a lot of them are edutainment, & many of them are queer. There is a THEME here haha. There were a few others I listened to, but I didn’t listen to enough episodes for them to make the cut, but considering how much I liked what I heard, they will likely be on another list at some point because I wanna recommend them to you too.
You can view this list on Podchaser here!
1. Jar of Rebuke
What It Is: Every 7th and 21st, join in Dr. Jared Hel’s audio journal entries as he works to re-discover his forgotten past and learns about all of the strange supernatural entities and anomalies for an organization called ‘The Enclosure’ within the small midwestern farm town of Wichton. With episodes based upon REAL legends and lore within the midwestern United States, follow along as Jared tries to figure out the secrets of the town as well as the secrets of his own identity.
Why I Like It: WELLLLLLL I’m part of the cast & crew for this podcast so MAYBE I’m biased haha & it is created by my best friend & business partner Casper Oliver, BUT I love Jar of Rebuke because the protagonist, Dr. Jared Hel, is an amazing character who I really relate to & would totally wanna to be friends with if we lived in the same universe, there are so many other fantastic characters like Darius, Jamie, Holly, Milo, Ester, Laura, & SO. MANY. MORE. Plus a STELLAR cast of voice actors & a super awesome & intriguing storyline that has the perfect balance of humor, angst, & creepiness mixed with cryptids based on real Midwestern lore.
2. The Queer Thesperience
What It Is: “The Queer Thesperience” is a bi-weekly podcast featuring guests within the entertainment world who are also within the LGBT+ community to discuss their experiences, knowledge, and stories with your host Casper Oliver, a queer trans actor and podcaster.
Why I Like It: ALSO might be biased on this one because I’m part of the crew for this & was interviewed on the pilot episode of this show which is also hosted by Casper. But I love it because every episode gives me so many interesting insights & ideas from an INCREDIBLE selection of guests across a variety of performance mediums, & it’s so fascinating to hear about the experiences of such cool people! ALSO, it’s super queer & has to do with performing which I am Very Here For because that sums up me as a person haha~
3. Midnight Margaritas
What It Is: Hollis Coffin (he/him) & Casper Oliver (they/he) discuss different topics in witchcraft! From holidays to practices to specific tarot cards, once a month we do a video call and talk witchcraft! All while playing a drinking game with rules that we establish at the beginning of each episodes.
Find our hosts on social media at @coffinpolish & @casperolivervo.
Why I Like It: I’ve been a witch since I was 16, so I love anything witchy, & with two hilarious queer hosts joking around as they teach you about interesting lore & facts about witchy history, celebrations, different gods & goddesses, & more!
4. Georgie Romero is Done For
What It Is: Georgie Romero has risen from the grave, driven to solve the mystery of her former human life with the help of an inept witch and a cynical ghost. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/georgieromeroisdonefor/support.
Why I Like It: Georgie Romero is Done For has the PERFECT combination of feel good & spooky. I love the character of Georgie – she’s determined & spunky, & her friends Hanako & Zabel, as well as all the other interesting & funny residents of their AU Florida, make this podcast a joy to listen to especially when I want something compelling & light-hearted. Also, I’m friends with several people on the cast & crew (including one upcoming cast member!) so that makes it even more fun to listen to!
5. Dos: After You
What It Is: Things changed after him. Deck has fallen for someone that isn’t human, and so he leaves a hungry home to find him. Todo cambió después de él. Deck se ha enamorado de alguien que no es humano, y deja así atrás una casa hambrienta para verle de nuevo. ¿Le estará esperando? El mundo ha cambiado… ¿Y él?Horror, urban fantasy LGBT+ audiodrama available in English & Spanish. Find out more about Dos: After You at https://dosafteryou.com/ and support the podcast by joining our patreon at www.patreon.com/dosafteryou.com Twitter: @dosafteryou Instagram: @dosafteryou_ Email at email@example.com English Spanish Category: Fiction, Art, Fiction: Drama. Clean. Dos: After You is Licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Why I Like It: Created by an almost-entirely trans cast & crew, telling a dark & fascinating story about a man who has fallen in love with a god & trying to find him again, Dos: After You is both a dark love story AND a compelling suspense drama story that I am super excited to see what happens next in. Also, I think it’s really cool that each episode is released in both English AND Spanish, & episodes are usually only 5-7 minutes long, which makes it very easy to listen to (so no excuse NOT to listen to it if that plot sounds interesting to you, just sayin’~).
6. Across the Veil
What It Is: Best friends and amateur cryptozoologists Zelda and Emma discuss creepy creatures, strange happenings and spooky circumstances. Follow us on instagram @across.the.veil and twitter @acrosstheveil1 Support us by becoming a patron! https://www.patreon.com/acrosstheveil Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/acrosstheveil/support
Why I Like It: I’ve learned SO MUCH about cool cryptids & ghosts & whatnot from this podcast! I love how the hosts tackle primarily things I’ve never heard about before – as much as I adore Mothman, it’s really nice to hear about cryptids from other countries like the Pontianak or the Bukit Timah Monkey Man, as well as some lesser-known American cryptids like the Fresno Nightcrawler! The hosts cover the topics in a super informative while also super fun way, & watching them interact in their friendship is just a joy, they seem like friendship goals haha.
7. The Spooky Sapphic Storyteller
What It Is: A hybrid personal narrative/audio drama podcast exploring LGBTQ experiences and the paranormal.
Why I Like It: I’ve never listened to a podcast before that combines telling personal stories from the writer’s own life through fictional characters & their interactions with other characters & storylines within the podcast, but I LOVE it! Both the fictional story & the personal stories are both compelling, I totally wanna see what happens next for all the characters because I care about their stories (THERE ARE QUEER & TRANS GHOSTS!), & it’s also nice to hear about the experiences of other people who have gone through similar things that I have!
8. Less is Morgue
What It Is: Set in an alternate Tallahassee, FL where monsters, ghouls, and ghosts are the norm, our hosts Riley and Evelyn attempt to record and produce a podcast, often interrupted by everything from Blackbeard’s ghost to an irritating tech bro with a God complex.
Why I Like It: I haven’t had a chance to listen to that many episodes yet, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far! The love-hate friendship between the two protagonists (who host the “podcast within the podcast”) is hilarious & so much fun to watch, & I know that some of the more recent episodes address topics like mental health, so I’m super excited to see that! I also think it’s a fun universe this story takes place in, & also, QUEER & NONBINARY CHARACTERS!
9. Welcome to Night Vale
What It Is: Twice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true. Turn on your radio and hide. Never listened before? It’s an ongoing radio show. Start with the current episode, and you’ll catch on in no time. Or, go right to Episode 1 if you wanna binge-listen.
Why I Like It: I just started listening to WTNV in 2019 after Casper recommended it to me & I, wanting to actually listen to interesting & good podcasts for a change after a long time of NOT listening to any, or any good ones at least, decided to give it a try. Well…….I ended up loving it, & here I am, 120 episodes later. I love WTNV because of interesting spooky stories, so so many great characters that I just love A Lot, & the way that it handles queerness just as something that *is*, without making a big deal out of it in a similar way to what Good Omens does!
10. Kakos Industries
What It Is: A deeply entertaining, R-rated, darkly satirical, sex-positive comedy audio drama with elements of horror. Congratulations! You are now a shareholder in Kakos Industries, a megacorporation that specializes in helping its clients to Do Evil Better. You are now entitled to listen to the shareholder announcements that keep you up to date on all of the advancements made in Evil and the bizarre occurrences inside of Kakos Industries itself. For fans of Welcome to Night Vale, Douglas Adams, Better Off Ted, the Venture Brothers, and Archer.
Why I Like It: Kakos Industries has kind of a similar vibe to WTNV, but it’s less spooky & more of an absurdist comedy about an organization that secretly runs a lot of the Evil in the world. I love absurdist things, & though I may be asexual, I still do enjoy me some dark & R-rated humor, so Kakos Industries has a great mix of both those things.
11. Sounds Fake But Okay
What It Is: A podcast where an aromantic asexual girl and a demisexual-straight girl talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that they just don’t understand.
Why I Like It: I love podcasts where two friends talk about things they really find interesting (as you can see by many other podcasts on this list haha). And this one has two best friends talking about something I don’t hear about quite as much in podcasts – being asexual & aromantic! As an asexual (specifically, at this point I identify as demisexual but I might be gray asexual~) & aromantic person, so many of the topics covered on this podcast are things I’ve ALWAYS wondered, but never wanted to actually have to ask my friends, so I’ve learned a lot from it & felt less confused as an aroace person because of it.
12. A OK
What It Is: Weekly interviews with people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums.
Why I Like It: I know this podcast isn’t running anymore, & I haven’t heard many episodes of it yet, but I’ve loved what I’ve heard! It’s interviews with folx on the asexual or aromantic spectrums, & a lot of them have really cool & interesting insights about what it’s like & with their own experiences! Which I also like, & it reminds me how many ace & aro people there are in the world while also giving representation to those identities!
13. The Adventure Zone
What It Is: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy from My Brother, My Brother and Me have recruited their dad Clint for a campaign of high adventure. Join the McElroys as they find their fortune and slay an unconscionable number of … you know, kobolds or whatever in … The Adventure Zone.
Why I Like It: Any of the McElroy-related podcasts on this list were ALSO recommended to me by Casper (who, tbh probably actually recommended nearly everything on this list to me now that I think about it haha, they have SO MANY GOOD RECOMMENDATIONS for so many things~). This is probably my TOP comfort podcast to listen to, so I tend to listen to it a lot when my life gets stressful. I love it because it has a super good, funny, emotional, & fascinating storyline to follow, is made by some really funny & nice people, has AMAZING characters, &…I laugh SO MUCH to myself in my car at this podcast. I just love it a lot, definitely one of my favorites.
What It Is: Join husband Travis McElroy and wife Teresa McElroy every Friday and they’ll improve your etiquette week by week! Perplexed by thank you notes? Baffled by black tie? Dismayed by dinner parties? Worry no more, Shmanners has your answers!
Why I Like It: I *LOVE* edutainment podcasts & shows because I love learning & I love fun & humor, so when you put those those two things together, you end up with an excellent chance of me liking something. While I may have rebelled when my grandma tried to teach me manners as a kid, I am now an adult with some social anxiety, who really wants to be likeable, & who also loves learning cool facts about the histories of things & why we do certain things that we do. Shmanners has ALL of that & is hosted by some really great people.
15. Know It All
What It Is: Know It All is the Netflix podcast hosted by OnlyJayus, the internet’s favorite weird fact finder. Every other week, Jayus will look for the answers to all the questions that come up while watching Netflix shows.
Why I Like It: Short episodes that teach me cool & interesting facts about a variety of different random topics while also being a fun edutainment podcast by an (I’m fairly sure) queer host.
16. My Brother, My Brother And Me
What It Is: Free advice from three of the world’s most qualified, most related experts: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For one-half to three-quarters of an hour every Monday, we tell people how to live their lives, because we’re obviously doing such a great job of it so far.
Why I Like It: I have never heard anything by the McElroys that I didn’t like, & this is no exception. Three hilarious people give sometimes good but usually bad advice to people who’ve asked questions online, & hearing their answers is so hilarious, I’ve laughed at this podcast so many times & I haven’t even had a chance to listen to that many of the episodes yet.
What It Is: Join Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin McElroy for a tour of all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.
Why I Like It: ANOTHER great edutainment podcast from the McElroys, this one talks about weird medical things people in the past did, & it is SUPER fascinating & also oftentimes, funny. People used to do so many seriously weird & sometimes even harmful things in the name of medicine, & I feel I’ve learned a lot about history in general & weird interesting medical facts which I then like info-dumping on my family from this podcast.
What It Is: Mystery. Manipulation. Murder. Cults are associated with all of these. But what really goes on inside a cult? More specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them? Every Tuesday, Greg and Vanessa (co-hosts of the podcast Serial Killers) explore the history and psychology behind the most notorious cults. Cults is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media production.
Why I Like It: Cults are fascinating to me on a lot of levels in the same ways that serial killers are, & Parcast Network does a really good job of covering the stories of various cults while also the psychology as to why the cult leaders did what they did, & why their followers ended up following them.
19. Serial Killers
What It Is: Every Monday and Thursday, Serial Killers takes a psychological and entertaining approach to provide a rare glimpse into the mind, methods and madness of the most notorious serial killers with the hopes of better understanding their psychological profile. With the help of in-depth research, we delve deep into their lives and stories. Serial Killers is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media Production.
Why I Like It: Another great podcast from Parcast Network, this is a really interesting look at serial killers & their stories. I started listening to it when I was doing research on Jack the Ripper, & they do a really good job telling the stories in an interesting & compelling way, which is why I’ve continued to listen to it!
What It Is: Lore is a bi-weekly podcast (as well as a TV show and book series) about dark historical tales. Each episode explores the mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.
Why I Like It: This usually delves into darker & spookier topics, but I love learning about lore & stories of creepy things like ghosts, hauntings, superstitions, cryptids, & more from the past. I always learn a lot from this podcast, & it’s given me a lot of interesting ideas to use in stories!